Secrets of a Parallel Universe              Stress: Are You Coping or Failing?

transfixed. Everything that is wrong is fascinating because it reinforces the false life. The moment we respond, thus reinforcing the wrong, we feel "alive," and the painful reality trades places with the dream, our new reality.
     How simple it is. Why have psychology and religion been unable to explain these things?
     Religion does talk about sin, about not drinking and not fornicating, and not getting involved with the wrong kinds of people, but it never explains their fascination for you. It simply forbids you to partake of them. "You must not do that," says the minister, "it's bad for you." Well, we know it's bad for us, but when we see the hypocrisy behind the way religion forbids it, we know that we don't want to get "right" like our preachers, so we figure it can't be too harmful to go the other way for awhile-long enough to satisfy our curiosity, at least.
     Often, we would do better to shut ourselves off from the world entirely for awhile, rather than seek help in a church. For instance, you might see that you have to give up an addiction that is slowly killing you, but you can't overcome it yourself, so you join a religion, and it stops you. Now, you are responding to a religion or a religious leader, and this kind of response may program your surface behavior for awhile, but a secret longing for the forbidden things may be growing under the surface, threatening to break through the straitjacket of churchly authority.
     God does not pressure us to "be good." Any authority that takes it upon itself to exert such pressure produces a mere facade of respectability, at best. It may cause you to feel good about yourself, but in the very way that a drug addict feels good about himself while he is using. For the drug you have substituted a religious concept, along with a pseudo-religious role model (pusher?) who places a pious veneer over the indwelling evil.
     Every wrong person wants to look good. Some acquire the "look" by immersing themselves in religion, others find it in music or another of the arts, and some are driven to satisfy

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