Spirituality & Religion

“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.” 
― John Lennon

In my formative years, conservative religion was a constant in my life. However, even as a small child, I was a questioner, and blind faith never sat well with me. My trepidations about religion did not mean I always hated church attendance for I loved singing and learning. My problem was I learned by creating pictures of the Biblical stories. I could see them, hear the conversations, and got to know the Biblical characteristics, all in my mind.

When religious rules and tradition cropped up, that did not match my internal pictures; I began to realize that those rules and rituals were other people trying to tell me how to act and believe rather than even part of the spiritual teachings. This disillusionment increased as I heard church leaders deride different beliefs, often telling fantastic stories to demonize the religion. My reaction was to strike back by learning about other religions by reading the materials from that religion and attending their services.

In my life long exploration, I believe I have begun to understand more deeply the difference between religion and spirituality. Humans need a system of belief to make sense of their existence and to lay a foundation for personal ethics and morality. I call this system of belief spirituality. In my definition, spirituality may have little or nothing to do with a belief in a supreme being, but rather foundation ideas about the meaning of life and the morality of living. On the other hand, spirituality may include all or some of the foundational concepts of any religion. The key is the application of these beliefs to day to day living. Without an attempt to apply spiritual concepts to living life, religion is merely a social group. Thus, a religious person can be spiritual, but a spiritual person may not necessarily be religious.

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