Religious Consciousness

My religious consciousness is different from my ordinary consciousness. There
are a lot of actions that some people consider to be acceptable and ordinary,
but religious people consider to be a sin. There are also certain objects,
places, and times of the year that a non-religious person would think of as
ordinary, but a some religious people would view as very special. From a
Christian viewpoint, a Church is a holy place. It is thought of as the House of
God. When I go to Church on Sunday, I find myself in a very religious mood. On
another day of the week, Tuesday for example, I might not think of God even once
all day long. When I go to Church I am thinking of how grateful I am that God
loves me and I thank Him for the opportunity to live in this wonderful world.

When I leave Church it is very possible that my religious feelings will slowly
fade away. By Tuesday, I might be back to thinking like an average American
(non-religious) guy. It would be nice to have something at home to remind me of
the thoughts that I was thinking in Church on Sunday. I do have some religious
items, but they are not displayed in a place where I see them every day.

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Christmas is a time of the year when I am thinking about God a lot more often.

With all the decorations around the house and the neighborhood, its hard to
forget about Him. I know some non religious people who celebrate Christmas, but
they do not think of it as a religious holiday. To them it is just a holiday to
be with the family and exchange gifts – they skip all the religious ideas behind
it. There are also some actions that might not get a second thought from some
people, but that I would feel guilty doing. I would think of these actions as
sins. A few examples are lying and stealing. I know some people who might tell a
lie every now-and-then. They think that nobody knows the truth except them. I
know that I have had that thought cross my mind too. The difference between me
and a non-religious person is the fact that I think of how God knows that it
would be a lie. I cant keep any secrets from Him, so usually I wouldnt
lie. It is the same way for stealing. Taking the Lords name in vain is
another example. I know that there are a lot of people in this country who
swear. Whenever I swore in the past, I would have a guilty feeling. Swearing is
one bad habit that I found to be pretty easy to overcome. I own some religious
objects that I view as sacred. The objects include a Bible, a crucifix, and a
rosary. Even though these objects do not have much material value, I consider
them to be very important. I treat them with more care than I would for an
object that is worth a lot of money. The Bible is Gods word and I treat it
with a lot of care. The crucifix reminds me of how Jesus died on the cross for
me and everyone else so that our sins may be forgiven. A person who isnt
Christian might think of it as just two pieces of wood nailed together; an
object that they would throw in the trash. People can make any object or place
special in an instant. If I didnt have a crucifix, I could cut a cross out an
old cardboard box and tack it to my wall. Now I would have a crucifix that I
could pray to. The artistic design isnt important. I can see all of the
artwork and beautiful images in my imagination when I am thinking about God. To
become closer to God, I dont need to buy a lot of expensive religious
decorations. Just one crucifix or picture of Jesus is all that is necessary.

Once I see that, it will activate my imagination and I will start to think nice
thoughts about God, and He will do the rest. Section Three, #7 Indian and
Christian religions have different goals. The goal of Christian religions is to
go to Heaven. The goal of Indian religions like Buddhism and Hinduism is to
attain Nirvana. Heaven is a place. Nirvana is a state of mind. The word Nirvana
comes from the root meaning to blow out and refers to the extinguishing of
the fires of greed, hatred and delusion. When these bad emotional and
psychological things are destroyed by wisdom, the mind becomes free, radiant and
joyful and at death a person is no longer subject to rebirth. Buddha said
“One thing and only one thing do I teach, suffering and the cessation of
suffering.” Cessation means a temporary or final ceasing. Buddha also
said that “Nirvana is ultimate happiness.” (nibbanam paramam sukham).

Some people have asked “If desire, wanting, and craving, causes rebirth,
then how could one ever attain Nirvana because in wanting to attain it one would
be strengthening the very thing that prevents it from being attained?”
Johnansson , The Psychology of Nirvana, Garden City, 1970. This question does
not recognize the fact that Nirvana is not something that a person gets by
wanting and then pursuing, rather it is the state of being utterly without
wanting. Another criticism is that Nirvana takes so long to accomplish, that
very few people can do it. The Buddha did not agree with this view. He said that
anyone can attain Nirvana. If the person follows his instructions sincerely and
carefully, a person could attain Nirvana in this lifetime. Nirvana is beyond the
world of mind and body. Nirvana is composed of ni and vana. In
Sanskrit ni implies to be free from and vana means weaving
or craving. When a person manages to extinguish all his desires, he escapes
from the cycle of birth and death and attains Nirvana. Now the person is free
from lust, hatred and ignorance and has reached supreme peace. Nirvana is
different from the Christian belief of Heaven. Nirvana is a state of
desirelessness; Heaven is a state of an person reaching his most fundamental
desire. Christians believe that Heaven is a place where a person meets God face
to face. Nirvana is a place of ultimate lack of emotion and indifference. Heaven
is a place of ultimate joy and fulfillment. Nirvana also differs from Heaven
because it suggests a person will loose his body and identity forever.

Christians believe they will keep both of them eternally. As a Catholic person,
I have always thought of Heaven as a very difficult place to get to. If I was to
die today I would probably go to Hell. This is not because I am a bad person,
but because the rules are so strict that it seems as if only nuns living in a
monastery, a newly baptized infant, or someone who went to confession very
recently would be free of sins and would go to Heaven. The people who I know
that go to confession at all, only go once every year or two. If a person dies
with a mortal sin on their soul, they go to Hell. There are a lot of very simple
things that are mortal sins, such as not going to church on Sunday, coveting thy
neighbors wife or thy neighbors goods. It seems to me as if 99.99% of the
human race would go to Hell. Hopefully I am wrong.


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