The sense of security is an indispensable need for emotional health. We need to feel secure on several practical dimensions: financial, physical, social, interpersonal, & emotional. We also need to feel secure at a much deeper level—this is called existential insecurity.
The question to ponder is, what is it that can make a person feel secure and protected in the world? Our parents have often been held responsible for developing it in us. The love of a father and a mother creates in the child the feeling of being wanted, filling the child’s world with warmth and loving kindness. In this manner is engendered the sense of security which we all need for a happy response to the rigorous demands of everyday living.
There is no uncertainty that parental love will add to the child’s feeling of security in the world, particularly for the very young child. Yet parental love is an inadequate anchor for emotional security. For our parents are worldly and mortal, and we are bound to lose them. And even while we have them, they do not always offer us enough anchorage in life, for as we grow in emotional and worldly perception, we comprehend that our parents are but finite creatures. We are limited in the resources of wisdom and strength with which to support our own lives. We need another love to bolster parental love if we are to have durable sources of security for living.
The love which time cannot undermine, and which is available to under-gird us in our need for feeling at home in the world, is the love of God. The Holy Quran (2:165) says, “Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides God, as equal (with God): They love them as they should love God. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for God.”
One who recognizes God’s love is psychologically prepared for the arduous business of living. For His sense of security is based on unwavering foundations. The Holy Bible says, “The steadfast love of God endures all the day” (Psalm 52:1.)
During what periods of your life have you felt secure and insecure? How have you learned to live with a certain degree of existential insecurity?
In the eight century, during the rise of Islam in the Middle East and the following the siege of Constantinople, some Christian holy men carried the portrait to Belsk in east-central Poland. During the looting that followed the 1382 Tartar invasion, the portrait remained hidden because a mysterious cloud enveloped the chapel that housed this portrait. After the Tartars abandoned their siege of Belsk in 1384, a Prince of Belsk took the Black Madonna icon to a then-obscure parish called Czestochowa and entrusted it with the Pauline monks of St. Paul of the Desert at the Jasna Gora Monastery near Czestochowa. Over the course of time, Jasna Gora became a centre of pilgrimage for Polish Christians and Catholics.
In 1430 The Hussites attached Czestochowa and embezzled the Black Madonna icon. Legend has it that as the Hussites were leaving Czestochowa, their horses mysteriously halted at the edges of the village and they could not be spurred to move forward without abandoning the Black Madonna portrait. When the Pauline monks found the portrait stained by mud and blood, they could not find any water in the wells of the village because the all the water had been used to fight a big fire incited by the invading Hussites. Then, a miraculous fountain initiated itself to aid the monks. This spring is said to have magical powers.
After the Hussite invasion the Poles fought for three hundred years with the Teutonic Crusaders, and all the decisive victories won by the Polish nation in these battles are attributed to the miraculous help of the Holy Virgin. Thus the safety of the shrine of Czestochowa is identified with the very safety and independence of the whole nation.
In the seventeenth century, the Black Madonna icon is credited with saving the Jasna Gora Monastery when the Swedish army took siege of Czestochowa for more than six weeks during The Deluge. Even though this event is not significant from a military perspective, the event inspired the Polish unity and independence over the centuries. On 1-Apr-1656, the King of Poland Jan Kazimierz consecrated Poland to the protection of the Mother of God and proclaimed Her the Patron of his kingdom and acclaimed her the Queen of Poland. That preserved Czestochowa’s reputation as the spiritual capital of the nation of Poland.
The Jasna Gora Monastery is a functioning Monastery inside which the ‘Kaplica Cudownego Obrazu’, or the Chapel of Our Lady, holds the venerated Black Madonna Icon, Poland’s most revered icon. The unveiling ceremony is held at 06:00 and 13:30 on the weekdays and at 06:00 and 14:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. The veiling ceremony is held at 12:00 and 21:20 on the weekdays and at 13:00 and 21:20 on Saturdays and Sundays.
A museum holds, among many artifacts, arsenals, and religious objects of interest, the medal from the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize received by Lech Walesa, the Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist.
British philosopher and Nobel Prize winnerBertrand Russell argued very persuasively through his writings and speeches that religion was merely a fallacy and, notwithstanding any positive effects that religion might have on a person’s emotional or psychological well-being, the concept of religion is for the most part detrimental to people. Bertrand Russell resolutely believed that religion and a religious point of view serve to hinder knowledge and cultivate a fear of anxiety, fear, and dependency.
Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes … . A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.
Bertrand Russell on Belief and the Value of Religion
TV Interviewer: Why are you not a Christian? Bertrand Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever in any of the Christian dogmas. I have examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.
TV Interviewer: Do you think there is a practical reason for having a religious belief for many people? Bertrand Russell: There can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. I rule it out. It is impossible. Either a thing is true or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe in it. If it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it is true or it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. It seems to me fundamental dishonesty and fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it is useful and not because you think it is true.
TV Interviewer: I was thinking of those people who find that some kind of religious code helps them to live their lives — it gives them a very strict set of rules — the right and the wrongs. Bertrand Russell: People are generally quite mistaken. Great many of them do more harm than good and they would probably be able to find rational morality that they could live by if they drop this irrational traditional taboo morality that comes down from savage ages.
TV Interviewer: But are we, perhaps, the ordinary person, perhaps, is not strong enough to find his own personal ethic. They have to have something imposed upon them from outside. Bertrand Russell: I don’t think that is true. What is imposed on you from outside is of no value whatever. Doesn’t count.
TV Interviewer: You were brought up, of course, as a Christian. When did you first decide that you did not want to remain a believer in the Christian faith? Bertrand Russell: I never decided that I did not want to remain a believer. Between the ages of 15 and 18, I spent almost all my spare time thinking about Christian dogmas and trying to find out whether there was any reason to believe them. By the time I was 18 I had discarded the last of them.
TV Interviewer: Do you think that that gave you an extra strength in your life? Bertrand Russell: No, I don’t know. No I shouldn’t have said so. Neither it’s a strength nor the opposite. I was just engaged in the pursuit of knowledge.
TV Interviewer: As you approach the end of life, do you have any fear of some kind of afterlife? Bertrand Russell: No, that is nonsense.
TV Interviewer: There is no afterlife? Bertrand Russell: None whatsoever.
TV Interviewer: Do you have any fear of something that is common among atheists and agnostics who have been atheists or agnostics all entire lives, who are converted just before they die to a form of religion. Bertrand Russell: Well, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as religious people think it does. Because, religious people, most of them, think that it is a virtuous act to tell lies of the deathbeds of agnostics and such. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t happen very often.
Bertrand Russell’s Books on Religion, God, and Atheism
The Conquest of Happiness: Bertrand Russell uses analytic empiricism to discuss the psychological issues of ennui, enthusiasm, envy, sin, indulgence, persecution, populism and public opinion, zest, and other topics.
In AD 590, Pope Gregory I amended and consolidated the various lists of seven sins that were in vogue then and created the more common list of Seven Deadly Sins. Even Dante Alighieri, the celebrated Italian poet of the Middle Ages, quoted this list of Seven Deadly Sins in his epic, The Divine Comedy.
lechery / lust (luxuria in Latin)
gluttony (gula in Latin)
avarice / greed (avaritia in Latin)
sloth / discouragement (acedia in Latin)
wrath (ira in Latin)
envy (invidia in Latin)
pride (superbia in Latin)
“Five Poisons” in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism
The Mahayana tradition of Buddhism inventories five kleshas, mental states that can cloud the mind and result in unwholesome actions: