Spiritual & Religious: The Case for Both

Oneness    Recently I mentioned “spirituality” to a friend, to which they sent me a post “Religious, Not Spiritual: The Case for Religion” (which you can read at the bottom of my post):

My simple response is:

I have been researching, studying & practicing all the major world (Western & Eastern) religions & lifestyle philosophies for 34 years (yes, I was sent to religious schools). I consider myself both religious & spiritual. I can define spirituality.

It is a belief in Oneness: that one cannot only have a belief in God/Universal Love on a conscious level (through doctrine/mankind’s interpretations), but that one can actually experience Him/Universal Love directly on a spiritual/nonphysical/energetic level.

If you study the ancient texts, beliefs and rituals of all the traditional major world (Western & Eastern) religions/lifestyle philosophies, you will find that in fact their essence is one in the same. They all ultimately serve and worship the one and only God/Universal Energy — they simply have different ways of describing/naming Him/It.

Since traditional religious/philosophical texts are simply man’s interpretation – they are imperfect. Therefore, only by studying (analyzing, practicing, comparing & contrasting over time) all of the world’s great (traditional) religions et al…. will a person find that one sacred text/tradition will actually answer the questions whose answers were lost in another interpretation. Ultimately giving a person a less biased & more global understanding of God/Universal Omnipotent Energy. Once you have this understanding, everything makes sense – which is truly a great comfort.

Many religions ask for blind faith at times, but if other traditions have the answer to the questions you seek… Why be blind? This is the 21st century – not Medieval times. Only together – as one – do they answer the questions of: How does a person Love unconditionally? How does someone find light in their darkest hour? How can humankind, not only believe in God’s Love, but actually tap into it & feel it? How can I find love & peace?

Of course, you are quite correct when you say many people use the word “spirituality” as a politically correct way to say “religion” these days. However, if that instigates conversations like these – I say, “That’s wonderful”. The more we discuss, the better chance the more people will learn & understand religion & spirituality.

In fact, the direct experience of spirituality might actually be the modern panacea for traditional religion. For once you have a direct experience, you have not doubts. With this in mind, you shouldn’t slam the door in the face of spirituality – you should embrace it.

If you are (Western) Christian, and have a hard time digesting the thought that people claim to be spiritual. I suggest you start by studying one or two of the Christian Mystics, such as Saint Teresa of Avila and/or Hildegard von (of) Bingen. All the great Christian mystics considered themselves religious and spiritual as well.

But remember: ‘The Himalayas of the soul are not for everyone.’ ~ Bhagavad Gita

~always with love

A Curious Faith

Don’t get me wrong. I am not some dogmatic crank trying to carve spirituality out of our religious lives. I’m just saying that “spirituality” (whatever that means) gets more than its share of attention today, while religion seems relegated to the scrap heap of history, certainly in popular American culture and among most (yes, most) of the people I associate with. It is not entirely clear what people mean today when they use the word “spiritual”, especially in the phrase “spiritual, not religious”. For our purposes today, let’s assume it means the private, subjective part of what we used to call religious experience, with “religion” being the public, shared part. I imagine that the audience for this blog is made up mainly of Presbyterians from the northeast who are, like me, in many ways sympathetic with the same forces of social liberalism that shun organized religion. So I think it…

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New York University MA · Aesthetics (study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty/harmony) Colloquium Title: “The Meta- and Physical Epistemology of Aesthetics: how the human body, mind & spirit are effected by beauty/harmony & love” New York University BA · Double Major: Psychology/Art History · Double Minor: Writing/Photography Former Columnist New York Post · New York, NY

2 thoughts on “Spiritual & Religious: The Case for Both”

  1. As I read what came to mind is in the natural what I have witnessed is every parent/child relationship and every marriage are as different as the individuals involved. Why then would we expect the interactions with our Creator to all be the same? Studying all the different world religions was something I did immediately after receiving Christ as my Savior 42 years ago. I knew I had been forever changed and wanted to understand more about what had happened to me and what others believed. For me the most defining difference is Christianity is the only one where God clears the way to have eternal fellowship with His created. In all the other world religions the individual has the responsibility to make themselves acceptable to God. I knew I was incapable of doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I agree… we are all individuals… walking individual paths… we must always stay open to others views & interpretations…. The more we listen to each other, the more we understand….

      Liked by 1 person

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