March 31, 2023

Guest Post by Dana Dargos, author of 'Einstein in the Attic'

Holier Than Thou? The Hypocrisy That's Driving People Away from Religion

I shook my head. Another day, another witnessing of hypocrisy, lies, selfishness, betrayal, duplicity, deceitfulness, narcissism, manipulativeness, insincerity, gossip, and disappointment: some of the ugliest traits to see in people. In today's event, a group of women's lies had destroyed another woman's marriage, family, honor, respect, and prestige. She was completely ruined in her community, her image was tarnished, and even her own family was against her. She had nothing left. But those women did not care. It was simply entertainment to them. And better yet, after displaying such horrible behavior, they would then run off and hide behind religion. They'd pray, preach, lecture,  judge others on their sin, share religious statuses on social media, and act as if they were the ultimate deities of virute, using religion as a front to project a positive image of themselves to others. It was beyond disgusting and no one stood up and said anything about it.  

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't perfect. No one is. But there is a difference between being flawed and hurting others. And what made it worse was that this was the exact behavior that pushed people away from religion. Whenever I saw such ugly examples of religion, I shake my head and remind myself that it's the people, not the religion. But Despite the fact that I've found my own inner peace by reminding myself that it's the people, not the religion, who can be flawed, many individuals of all ages struggle with this issue. They are pushed away from religion because either they think that religion either reinforces this terrible behavior, or a negative subconscious association is established religion, making it harder for people to trust or engage with it. Therefore, even if they know that logically, that these people do not represent that religion, their subconscious pushes them away from religion. For many people, religion is a source of hope, community, and moral guidance. However, when many members or even communities engage in hypocritical behavior, it can have a devastating impact on people's faith and their willingness to participate in religious communities. Hypocrisy can manifest through many ways, such as through double standards, judgemental attitudes, a lack of compassion, a sense of betrayal and a loss of respect. As a result, it can engender feelings of disillusionment, distrust, and disappointment, all of which can drive people away from religion.

Disillusionment can arise when individuals observe the gap between the teachings of their religion and the actions of its community members. When individuals, for example, notice how community members lie, gossip, and harm one another, such a realization can cause that individual to wonder what kind of religion they are following if community members exhibit such behavior. They feel betrayed because they felt as if religion was one thing, but are showcased something else. They may feel that their religious community is not living up to its stated ideals, leading them to question the sincerity of the religion as a whole.
Distrust can also be a result of religious hypocrisy. When individuals witness the hypocrisy community members, they may begin to question the motives and intentions of those who are supposed to guide and support them. They may feel that the religious community members are not interested in their well-being, but are instead more concerned with maintaining their own power, reputation, and other selfish goals. This can lead to a breakdown in trust, making it difficult for individuals to connect with their religion and its members. After all, if they can't trust their own friends and those who are supposed to trust them, who can they trust? In addition to disillusionment and distrust, religious hypocrisy can also cause feelings of disappointment.

When individuals invest time, energy, and emotion into their religious beliefs and community, they have certain expectations of what they will receive in return. When those expectations are not met due to the hypocrisy of others, individuals may feel let down and disappointed. They expected so much more than that. And yet, their hopes and expectations are crushed. They may question whether their religious community is worth their investment, causing them to distance themselves from the religion and its teachings.

The impact of religious hypocrisy on individuals can be severe, leading them to question their beliefs, lose trust in their leaders and community, and experience disappointment and disillusionment. Unfortunately, there is often a stigma surrounding this issue, in which it is taboo to speak up about such religious disassociament, leaving victims feelig alone, confused, and alone. Part of the reason why Said, (my co-author), and I wrote "Einstein in the Attic" is to combat such a taboo. The philosophical sci-fi novel follows Lebanese-American, Adam Reemi, who becomes disillusioned with his faith upon enduring immense hardships and trauma. However, although Adam has disassociated himself from his beliefs, he feels lost and distressed in life, dissatisfied with his past, marriage, career, and more. This eventually leads him on a quest to understand and make peace with his beliefs by constructing a time machine and zapping the most intelligent philosophical minds of all time--namely Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Soren Kierkegaard, and Baruch Spinoza--from the past and into his attic to help him answer the greatest question mankind has ever posed: Is there a god? Not all goes according to plan, however, and Adam finds himself in a race against time to formulate an answer to the question of intelligent design... or risk losing everything.

In conclusion, religious hypocrisy can have far-reaching consequences on individuals and communities. It can lead to disillusionment, distrust, and disappointment, making it difficult for individuals to maintain their faith and connect with their religious communities. It is important for individuals to speak up about this issue and to work towards creating a more authentic and compassionate religious community. By doing so, we can help ensure that religion remains a source of hope, community, and moral guidance for those who seek it. And for those who have been impacted by religious hypocrisy, there are resources available to help you navigate your journey towards healing and peace. "Einstein in the Attic" is one such resource, offering a unique and thought-provoking exploration of faith, science, and the human condition. Through this book, readers can explore the complex questions surrounding religion and find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. To purchase "Einstein in the Attic," visit Amazon or Barnes and Noble online, and if you enjoy it, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads, as the more a book gets reviews, the more it gets shown to new readers, so this really helps writers.

Remember, whether through literature, therapy, or other means, it is important to prioritize your mental health and well-being as you navigate the complexities of religious disillusionment. Remember, you are not alone in your journey.

About the Book

"Set against the backdrop of the war between science and God, reason and faith, Einstein in the Attic is the story of one scientist’s search for truth and meaning when faced with the ultimate question: Is there a God? Fleeing war-torn Lebanon, Adam Reemi’s faith is shaken by the hardships he has endured, but when he and a colleague successfully construct a nano hadron collider, and using sound waves, Adam finds unheard-of power at his fingertips. To help him answer the greatest question mankind has ever posed, he zaps the best philosophical minds of all time–namely Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Soren Kierkegaard, and Baruch Spinoza–from the past and into his attic. Not all goes according to plan, however, and Adam finds himself in a race against time to formulate an answer to the question of intelligent design… or risk losing everything." 

About the Author

Dana Dargos is a published Lebanese-American writer born and raised in the Bay Area. From the moment she created adventurous, crayon-scribbled tales in kindergarten, she knew writing would forever be a part of her life. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English Literature. Einstein in the Attic is her award-winning debut novel.

Author Photo Credit: Christina Obligar

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