Self Reliance and religion

In my recent research into self reliance I have begun coming across uses of the phrase “self reliance” in a negative connotation. These are almost always in reference to religion, and usually describing a person’s relationship with God. In this case the self reliant person is trusting in their own strength and abilities and not in God.

This is not to pick on religion or anti-religion. This is simply to clarify something. When I refer to self reliance in this blog it is not in that sense. Self reliance, as far as this site is concerned, simply refers to ones state of preparedness and ability to subsist with minimal charitable assistance from others.

However, I will state here also that I am a religious person. I believe that God wants us to be self reliant in the sense I have discussed and, to quote a common phrase, that “God helps those who help themselves.” We rely on God, and we acknowledge our reliance on him, but we minimize the extent to which we are beholden to other people. Owing too much to others limits our ability to fully explore our relationship with God. Or, to refer to another common quote, “No man can serve two masters.”

Now, having clarified that, I don’t intend to get overly religious on this site. I want to include as many people as I can, and you don’t do that by purposely picking fights. If self reliance is your interest I really don’t care if it’s because of religion, environmental concerns, thrift, doomsday-ism, or because the voice in your freezer that normally says “Zuul” is encouraging you. If you have something to add, please do. If you find something of value here, wonderful!

Nor will I exclude religion. Religion, especially my own, often has a lot to add to the discussion of self reliance. If it’s appropriate to the discussion I won’t shy away from it. I think we can all be respectful of each others’ beliefs and still discuss our own when we have something to add. I think we can learn from one another.

That’s what this site is all about.


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2 Responses to Self Reliance and religion

  1. Penumbra says:

    I find myself caught in the same gap between religion and Anti-religion. I applaud your stance and I try to follow the same path. If spirituallity has an impact on something in my life I am not going to deny it for the sake of my "freethinker" friends.

    Keep up the good work

  2. Thom says:

    Thanks, Lyle! It's a little sad that people of a religious or spiritual nature have to feel like we're on the defensive all the time. I mean, isn't the goal everyone touts these days greater tolerance and understanding? Too many people seem to forget that it's a two-way street.

    For my part, the only people I can't learn something from are the people who can't discuss differences calmly and respectfully. Everyone else can enrich my life in some way if I'm just willing to listen to them. Listening with respect doesn't mean you have to change your own mind.

    In any case, I agree that you shouldn't have to deny your own spirituality for the sake of free-thinking friends. If they can't accept your point of view–even if they don't agree with it–then they are neither free-thinkers or friends.

    Best of luck to you!

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