Site Map
Sects and Stress They Bring
Section › 4   Set    Search  Previous Next


Reservations   Contents    

Stress of monasticism by Painting by K. Razumovsky, Vienna May 2008, with modified text and colours
Stress for long can lead to illness and death.

From much stress, prolonged medium stress, and accumulating mild stress, some diseases are due

Stress causes troubles. Cramped and exploited living promotes stress. Stress needs to be dealt with before it gets old or makes life unbearable. There are steps to take to counteract stress and its effects earlier. [More on stress prevention, diagnosis and management]

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it. - Sydney J. Harris

The end failed

There is evidence that Jesus and followers thought the end of the world was close at hand, and martyrs thought so too. They were wrong about it - millions were misled, in other words victims of a false prophet. Who? Jesus. (Ehrman 1999, 2002, 2013)

Buddha's warning against duping beliefs is great help if followed up. [Kalama Sutta]

A good diagnosis may be good help, but hardly to all and sundry.

Those who aim to live apart

Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering. - Winnie the Pooh

Nobility may not want publicity. It may be harmful, sooner or later. It may be different with upstarts until they learn. Celebrities may soon find it best to shield themselves from paparazzi, the tabloid press and unwelcome others by various means other than expecting politeness and fair dealings. Learn from what happened to the English music artist John Lennon in 1980. He was shot four times in the back and soon died.

Not a few celebs commit suicides, other may seek overdoses, but without letting go of life.

Paparazzis are not the worst menaces there are. There are kidnappers and extortions to bulwark against, if possible.

All the means and measures that are resorted to may not be much help.

Beliefs are frequently causes of stress

Being "just oneself" all the way or even a long way may might upset all who believe: "Love the Yahweh with all your foreskin intact," and in more than one way. Geza Vermes sums it up:

Fl. During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark [Mark 16:15], which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Vermes 2012).

Added to it

Hm Jesus reserve his teachings and salvation for Jews (Matthew 15:24; 10:5-8; Vermes 2012), but only depraved Jews: those of sound moral and spirit are not called by him, and the healthy do not need him (Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:12-13; 12.11). Jesus further puts his sheep on a path to perdition in that he teaches his sheep what is opposed to sound self-preservation. Thereby eyes, limbs, property, fit living-conditions and life itself soon enough are at risk (Matthew 5: 29-30; 39-42). Finally, marring losses come to those who call him 'Lord, Lord' without doing as he tells. (Luke 6:46)

For Gentile followers, all the disciples and the Holy Spirit dispensed with all but a few laws for Jews. And not a word by Jesus for ill Jews was included in the Apostolic Decree from 50 CE either (Acts 15:19-29; 21:25). The four requirements for all Gentile Christians include no to eating blood sausages (blood food) and wrangled chickens and other poultry (choked animals)

Beliefs are causes of stress - quod erat demonstrandum.

Ouch and ouch again

A Christian might beware of a shared faith, after all. (Matthew 5:17-19; Luke 1:26-35; Deuteronomy 22:20,23,24). For Jesus said the Law of Moses was to be valid down to the tiniest dot, like it or not. That Law said the mother of Jesus was to be stoned to death for having him in her belly.

Stake. If . . . evidence of the young woman's virginity is not found, they shall bring the young woman to the entrance of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death." (Deuteronomy 22:20)

If a virgin is engaged to a man, and another man happens to meet her in the city and lies down with her, you should bring them both out to the gate of that city and stone them to death, the girl because she did not scream . . . (Deuteronomy 22:23,24)

There are those who try to make a living by explaining away various unwelcome topics. Was Jesus sawing off the law-branch he seemed to be sitting on or not?

Adding to it, if Jesus had outlived his disciples long after his execution, he was to be killed for being a false prophet as well, according to the Law he vouched for. The Old Testament demands false prophets must be killed and not feared, and Jesus vouched for that Law completely in Matthew 5:17-19. He foretold the end of the world at a time it did not happen. See also Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Ezekiel 13:9.

The much later formed dogmas about the triune God came into being after the misconceptions about the end of the world had not be fulfilled when the gospels said they would - during the lifetime of disciples.

Besides, if Jesus and the Father he addressed on the cross had been versed in the Law of Moses, the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus, they should have grasped that Jehovah used two goats in a regular sacrifice each year to make peace with his people. The sacrifice of Jesus for Jews was uncalled for, unneeded, accordingly. Two goats a year were all it would take, as it is written in the Bible.

Fish are caught and in time consumed. A human should try to stay fit and not be fished and hemmed by a fisher of man with nets and other means. Add a citation: "Just because you're paranoic does not mean the fishers of men are not after you." Or "Better safe than sorry."

"Who is stressed now, you think?

A cause of fear: Doing about the same thing as the mother of Jesus did

Early Christianity was marked by forgeries and "churchy" goring of groups that had different outlooks and outputs than what became the orthodox church. (Ehrman 1999) .

The fabrications could involve the Nativity story as well (Matthew 1 and 2). For one thing, if Mary with foetus Jesus in her belly had been stoned according to the Law that Jesus said was good when he grew,, there would have been no such Jesus and no Christianity and its tyranny. Second, as for the nativity tale of the birth of Jesus in the first two chapters to Matthew, listen to a Bible scholar:

Stake. There are good reasons, based on close analysis of Jewish tradition, to suppose that St Matthew's claim is a variant on a powerful tradition rather than a literal historical claim: a generic story, so to speak, rather than a specific one.

A contemporary of Matthew, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37–c.100 CE), reports, and later rabbinic literature confirms, a folk tale which was in circulation in New Testament times. It relates to the birth of Moses and his miraculous escape from the hands of Pharaoh of Egypt . . .

St Matthew's account of the Nativity - the basis of all Christmas celebrations - appears in a quite different light when it is considered as the product of a particular Jewish linguistic, literary and religious context, rather than the sentimental narrative we have inherited.

The doctrine of the miraculous conception and birth of a God-man was based on a remarkable mistranslation into Greek - willful or otherwise - of Isaiah's original, quite specific Hebrew words. As for the episode of the massacre of the innocents and escape to Egypt, its similarity to the rabbinic story of the birth of Moses is so striking . . . In both we find dreams, a murderous king advised by interpreters of sacred writings, and the frustration by divine intervention of wicked plans. . . .

The awesomely influential Nativity story in the first book of the New Testament is a speculative, rather than a historical text. Far from being a report of a literal happening, it is an amalgam of flawed Greek-Christian scriptural references, and of 'birth tales' current in Judaism in the first century CE. The story with which we are all so familiar is not fact, but folklore. (Vermes 2010:86-87, emphasis added by me.)

Dr Vermez is a renowned bible scholar. Get a fit faith to feed on and stay away from forgeries for your own good.

A question of validity

Does Jesus the Jew for Jews undermine his own validity by vouching for slavery, cruel sacrifices and stoning as regulated in the Law for Hebrews? It could seem so, but take heart: The teachings of Jesus are for Jews only, says the gospel (Matthew 10:5; 15:24; Geza Vermes 2012).

After a gasp of immense relief or whatever, take to heart that non-Jewish Christians got a gentler deal and no rotten tomatos at all.

Garg "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. (Acts 28-29; confirmed in 21:25).

As a non-Jew, why not adjust to bible teachings that are valid for non-Jews? With that golden right on your side, go on to teachings you qualify for and with much good in them - teachings that are helpful - according to a healthy, whole non-maimed body and a sound mind. A fit religion, as we call it, is more a way of living that helps us onward and upward. Find good company too.

There is much in the Bible that may amount to give stress, but only if if taken seriously and reflected on. For starters, ask yourself if you have eaten black pudding, wrangled chicken, and committed Biblical adultery. It is hard to say which of these three are worst sub specie aeternitatis (under the aspect of eternity), but . . .

For over 1900 years those who should make such matters plain, have not, but lived off some faith.

Wrangled poultry, blood sausages and black pudding aside

Geza Vermes, the Jesus scholar:

Fl. His tragic end was precipitated by an unfortunate episode in the Temple of Jerusalem. The noisy business transacted by the merchants and money-changers in the courtyard of the house of God outraged Jesus and the indignant rural holy man overturned their tables and threw them out. He thus created a fracas [a noisy quarrel; brawl] [and] appeared to the Jewish and Roman authorities as a potential threat to law and order. . . . Jesus died on the Roman cross because he did the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Vermes 2010:23-24)

The "wrong thing" was improper conduct during an old celebration in a central place

How does it feel?

All the pretty people, they're all drinking. How does it feel, ah how does it feel? - Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone

Buddha's way is far from based on vicarious sacrifice - inflicting harm on goats or Jesus or others - for is not the best one. The Law of Moses institutes slavery and vicarious sacrifice, and Jesus vouches for it all. (Matthew 5:1-21)

Better heed the Gentle Middle Way with distinct additions like the Apannaka Sutta.

What to go for along the road of life? Consider:

Why call me Lord, Lord without respecting what I have said, that my teachings are not for non-Jews, and not for healthy Jews either? (Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:12-13)

Stay healthy as long and well as you can and do well, free from self-maiming commands and guilt for not obeying Jesus for only ill Jews, on his word. (Matthew 5, passim).

Or prepare for:

Away from me, fake and unqualified follower! You non-Jew!

Many do well without Jesus and alcohol. Enter a more decent path through life. Try to "lift up" the everyday consciousness also, by meditation, and get elevated.

The Americanised guru Yogananda's takes "The Son of Man must be lifted up [like a snake] to mean that. [John 3:14; Yj 56-59, cf. "Kundalini". Sayings of Jesus in the gospels have parallels in other traditions and Hebrew works from times before him. The culturally closest ones are Jewish sources. Much of what Jesus taught, is in the Old Testament. Dropping Jesus on his command (Matthew 15:24; 10:5-8) may be lightly done - granting he reserved his teachings for Jews only.

In a large society there is the stress of conformity too. But hang in there - for as it is said: "Those who commit suicide do it only once."


Stress Knowledge

The Russian researcher Dr. Ivan Semyonovich Khorol has defined stress in step with a definition by Dr. Hans Selye:

Biological stress is the organism's general reaction to any demand to it - whether pleasant or unpleasant - which demands adaptation to a new situation. [Ivan Semyonovich Khorol, in Bai 1981 1981:99]

The biological stress mechanism has these four stages:

  1. The alarm reaction (fright, fight, or flight).
  2. Adaptation.
  3. Depletion - through protracted, stressful adaptation.
  4. The energy for adaptations may stop [Bai 1981 100]

Intense stress may cause hypertension, stomach ulcers and diabetes and many other common ailments. Medical experts today seem to agree that over 50% (estimates may range between 50 and 90%) of the common bodily diseases are caused or co-caused by stress. [Cf. Bai 1981 102-3; Hi 502-10]


Renouncing your fit and fair ideals can make you feigning, which in the long run favours neuroticism and assists in making you cynical. Monks and nuns governing lay people far and wide can make monks and nuns cynical.

Drs Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe at Washington Medical School devised a scheme of stressors. It is much used. Being lorded over by nuns is not part of it.

Some young people may not want to live on without the Internet. Others wonder if they can manage to live on without the Internet. It is all according to an international survey that was conducted among 3,000 students and young people under 30 years in 13 countries by the IT company Cisco. The survey shows: "Over half of the participants in the survey believe they cannot live without the Internet." That was in 2009. [NTB, Adresseavisen, 26/09/2011]

The stress scale of Rahe and Holmes does not (yet) take this last stressful influence into account. The scale has it uses still, predicting what are the possible odds of getting ill or even die - in this way:

Add the stressors you have experienced during the last 12 months:

  1. With a total score of less than 150, there is "merely" 37% chance of getting ill (from that past stress) in the next 2 years.
  2. With a total score between 150 and 300 points, the chance of getting ill is 51% in the coming two years.
  3. With a total score above 300 you may have 80% change of getting ill in the next two years.

All these figures should be considered to be rough estimates only. People differ, conditions with the same "label" differ, and there may be other stressful influences than those on the scale, such as getting one's faith thwarted by fit information. And as suggested, many likely stressor may not have gone into the scale and been rated in it. [see Bai 1981 106-7; Ams 468, Hi 496-97] Some individuals are naturally more able to withstand stress (more stress-resistant) than average, and the points about are average stipulates only.

Also, learning about stress and how to cope with it, increases the odds of maintaining health and of survival as well.

Different Thinking

Hard cults may stress many. Christianity started as a stressing sect, and millions were made martyrs. Many religious wars followed in time, long, religious wars. We would do well to watch out for cult marks:

  • They resort to reductionist thinking and such language to accomplish one or more general aims.
  • They function in step with separating members from those outside.
  • They use reinforcements that shame some of those who don't conform, and also their family.

Many who enter cults are insecure to begin with, says professor Philip Zimbardo (1933-) He also tells that "People join interesting groups that promise to fulfill their pressing needs." But some such groups turn out to be deceptive, defective, dangerous, or opposing basic values of their society. And "Cult methods of recruiting, indoctrinating and influencing their members are not exotic forms of mind control, but only more intensely applied mundane tactics of social influence practiced daily by all compliance professionals and societal agents of influence." And his solution? "We have to . . . create an alternative, "perfect cult", he says. in the American Psychological Association Monitor of May 1997, page 14.

To get a more welcoming large society is Zimbardo's solution against negative cult influence on somewhat insecure youngsters.

Also, to observe and investigate gracefully, preferably in advance of committing to anything or anyone, should fairly often be feasible and recommendable. But you never know . . .


Stress, cults, cult problems etc., Literature  

Bai, Kurt. Livet og pengene (The Life and the Money). Vol. 5, Oslo: Økonomiforlaget, 1981.

Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Ehrman, Bart D. Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

Shealy, C. Norman. The Healing Remedies Sourcebook: Over 1,000 Natural Remedies to Prevent and Cure Common Ailments. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press Lifelong Books, 2012. ⍽▢⍽ Dr Shealy is the founder of the American Holistic Medicine Association. This comprehensive sourcebook is easy to read, understand and use. It is based on eight therapeutic backgrounds: Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine, traditional folk remedies, herbalism, aromatherapy, homeopathy, flower remedies, and vitamins and minerals. There are some largely safe substitutes for conventional medicines in it too.

Shrand, Joseph A., with Leigh M. Devine. Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2012.

Vermes, Geza. The Authentic Gospel of Jesus. London: Penguin, 2005.

Vermes, Geza. From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity. Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012.

Vermes, Geza. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 2010.

Ams: Atkinson, Richard, et al. Introduction to Psychology. 9th ed. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1987.

Bpe: Allport, Gordon. Becoming: Basic Considerations for a Psychology of Personality. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955. Reprint 1966.

Hi: Smith, Carolyn D., ed, et al. Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology. 14th ed. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.

Net: Lamsa, George, tr. The New Testament. Philadelphia: Holman Bible Publishers, 1968.

Yj: Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007.

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

Stress, cults, cult problems etc., To top    Section     Set    Next

Stress, cults, cult problems etc.. User's Guide   ᴥ    Disclaimer 
© 2002–2019, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil [Email]