Book: Aging Beyond Belief by Don ArdellIf you plan to age, prepare yourself — it's later than you think. The challenge of aging well should be taken seriously, but not grimly! Whatever your age, it's never too soon, or too late, to learn and apply the fine art of aging well, really well. Discover what aspects of aging can't be changed and improve the rest that can. Mold your own realities with REAL wellness, Ardell-style.
The 69 tips — one for each year of the author's life — are thought-provoking, challenging, eye-opening, manageable and fun to read. And all provide practical guidance for intelligently designing your own life-style evolution.
Wellness in the Headlines
(Don's Report to the World)
My wife Carol is a wellspring of ideas, most of which I instantly recognize as quite good; soon enough, I come to appreciate that the others not initially embraced are even more outstanding. (This may or may not be a factor in our blissful union.) Anyway, the other day, Carol suggested I write a book. She didn’t say much about the content, but gently insisted I commence writing as soon as possible because of the great title she had in mind!
The title? How To Create Your Own Belief System.
Come to think of it, this pretty much indicates what the book would be about.
I instantly liked this title, and not just because Carol came up with it. It’s a topic of considerable interest to me, in fact, some people think I have strong feelings about certain belief systems, such as religions. I don’t know where they get that idea, but I readily admit to a conviction that everyone has, or should have, a right to his or her own belief system/religion.
What’s more, they are not based on reason; rather, beliefs systems are imposed under the banner of faith.
Religions Are Assigned, Not Chosen
In America and many other free societies, and in theocracies such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as well, citizens are assigned a religious belief system at birth. From infancy, childhood and well into young adulthood, the vast majority are not free to create their own belief systems. Instead, most are bathed (literally in Christianity), soused, immersed, drenched, infused, marinated, permeated and saturated in the practices, rituals, rules, ceremonies, customs, liturgies, conventions and solemnities of the religion of their parents.
But, joyfully, times are changing, at least in America. (But definitely not in In Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Islamic nations where leaving the given faith is considered apostasy and a prosecutable offense.)
The Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study based upon a survey of over 35,000 respondents suggests that more people of all ages are choosing their own beliefs in this country. (See American Religion: Complicated, Not Dead by Emma Green, The Atlantic, May 12, 2015)
The study also reports that roughly “42 percent of Americans no longer consider themselves part of the religion in which they were raised. The researchers point out that this estimate is probably on the low side.”
Philosopher Daniel Dennett famously offered this assessment of imposing religion on children before they reach an age wherein they have the maturity and wisdom to choose for themselves:
With all due respect, sir, have you considered the possibility that you have blighted your whole life with a fantasy and are polluting the minds of defenseless children with dangerous nonsense?
Dennett favors making religious studies a required part of the school curriculum. Public schools, private schools, even home schools should be required to teach children the basic facts about all major religions. Even home-schooled, fundamentalist creationist voucher-funded schools with limited contact with the outside world should be required to educate about the nature of Islam, Hindu, Buddhism and other religions. Dennett did not say as much, but surely he would want freethought, a religion-free belief system, discussed, as well.
Now you know what my new book, Are You Really, Really Happy with Your Belief System?, which I intend to write and publish before the clamor at my doorstep becomes too overwhelming, will be about.
Therefore, if you are not really, really happy with your belief system and hunger for a book that guides you toward choosing the best possible kind, hang in there and please be patient. Just know this—I’m on it.
Meanwhile, stay well.
(Ed. Note: Views expressed in this and other columns are those of the author and not necessarily those of the SeekWellness Editorial Board.)
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