Religion and Identity The Conservation of Personal Power

How do individuals identify themselves? If you took a fair survey of the adult population, the large majority would identify themselves with a particular institutional religion. They may not be active in that religion, but it would serve as their means of identity. A smaller group would use their nationality as their primary means of identity. It may be their nationality or that of their parents or grandparents.Using institutional religion as one's primary means of identity carries some consequences that may not be positive for the individual. Making this statement then begs the question of what is religion? Religion is a spiritual connection between the individual and the creator (however you wish to define him).

Religion, therefore, is not institutionally based; it is individually based.With institutions, religious or secular, there exists a conservation of personal power that pervades all societies. What it says is that personal power (the power to control your own destiny for example) can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be transferred.

When you align your identity with a particular institutional religion, in essence you are transferring control over your personal power to that institution. The institution becomes the focus, not the individual. In other words you are surrendering part of your identity to the institution.

The institution trumps the individual. This is diametrically opposed to what religion is supposed to be.Therefore, what is your identity? Your identity is you; your beliefs, your goals, your dreams, your enthusiasms, your accomplishments, your nationality. It is a mixture of many different and sundry things.In the end, though, your true identity is your freedom--don't lose it.

.Sanford Kahn has been an economic/business author and speaker for 30 years. He was also the host and producer of the popular Times Mirror cable vision program "Ask the Economist". He has authored many articles dealing with the impact of future economic trends on both individuals and businesses.

He is also the founder of the Kahnian Society. The Seven Precepts of this society can be found at These Seven Precepts were developed to give people a different and realistic view on life and events?devoid of popular myths and seductive illusions.

He can be contacted at

By: Sanford Kahn

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