seen on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheFreeBelieversNetwork?ref=stream
All the talk about God's love and mercy and salvation is ruined when it's filtered through religion because it still leaves people to believe they have to earn it. You could liken it to a man who is feeding the poor. He does so out of the kindness of his heart, but the rumor is spread among the recipients that if they are not grateful, exceedingly grateful... outlandishly grateful... if they don't devote their lives to thanking and praising this kind man that he will stop feeding them, and worse yet turn his kindness into hatred and do harm to the very ones he was feeding. This kind man has been accused of narcissism. Symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder can include the following:
1) Reacts to criticism with rage, shame or humiliation
2) Takes advantage of people to achieve his or her own goals
3) Requires constant attention and admiration
4) Has obsessive self-interest
5) Pursues mainly selfish goals
These characteristics are often attributed to God. As if God is feeding the poor not for the sake of the poor, but for the sake of his own good reputation. As if God's only interest in being kind is so that he might be praised, not because he is just kind. This narcissistic God is perfected in the belief that anyone who neglects or refuses to offer him worship will suffer the consequences of his rage.
It seems to me that when you devote your life to a religion in order to please and appease a God who has expectations of you that benefit him you have accepted the view that God is narcissistic. Perhaps religion itself is based in that view, that God is in it only for himself.