Spirituality vs Religion

Despite all appearances to the contrary, this isn’t a Christian post… it’s a post I started that, by the end of the second in the series, allowed me to free myself from the bondage of religion in pursuit of getting to know God/Source/the Universe in a way that feels right and true for ME.

I was raised in the Christian church, so obviously the religious text I am most familiar with is the Bible.  The following verses really spoke to me in regard to my topic today:

Matthew 19:14

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matt. 18:2-4

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

What are children, if not beings entering a new world, learning how to navigate it and communicate with those already there?  That’s exactly how I feel.  Like a child, newly borne into a spiritual world I don’t understand.  Because I don’t fully comprehend this world, I may desire things that aren’t good for me, or be unable to express myself adequately, but that willingness to learn and to grow and to explore is the only way to access the pinnacle of the spiritual world, or in religious terms, ‘heaven’.

I was raised in a religious household, but not a spiritual one.  Religion demands, it restricts and regulates.  Spirituality is a growth process, an expansion.  It is an exploration into an entirely new world.  Religion is the square hole in which humanity attempts to thrust the round peg of Spirituality.

Religion is the square hole in which humanity attempts to thrust the round peg of Spirituality.

These verses state unequivocally what I have been feeling, regarding my spiritual growth.  Children explore; they test, they try, they go after what they desire, they learn, they grow.  Christ is our salvation because he is the light that leads us to the doorway of this new world.  He is the son of God, as we are the sons and daughters of God.  He is the way, the truth and the light… he was the embodiment of enlightenment.

My last post spoke of the frustration I have been feeling with my inability to express in writing the concepts I am grasping spiritually, and I think that a big part of that is because I am attempting to explain spiritual aspects I don’t actually understand quite yet… because this concept, I don’t feel I have had any difficulty expressing.  My body is literally humming.  I suppose this must be how Edison felt when, after thousands of false starts, the light finally came on.

For the first time in my life, I feel free to explore my spiritual side without the albatross of religion around my neck, or the shame of wanting to leave it behind.  I have always felt a strong connection to God, or the ‘higher power’ part of the Christian religion in which I was raised, and especially drawn to Jesus’ personality.  I felt guilty, and fearful, for stepping away from its constraints, for the negative feelings I harbored about it.  I feared eternal damnation.  What if I was wrong?  What if I was being led astray by the devil?

To those not raised in a strict, religious household, these questions, and the deep, very real fears they conjure, are absurd.  We are ridiculous or simple-minded.  We are laughed at and ridiculed for the angst we feel at even the thought of abandoning our religion.  It’s terrifying, and those who haven’t experienced it are unable to grasp why we can’t simply see through the ruse of organized religion, to see it for the cult that it is.  To those people I say, it is a process.  A process that is ruled by fear.

In the same way that ridiculing a person who fears spiders won’t make them stop fearing spiders, ridiculing a person who fears the loss or damnation of their eternal soul won’t make them fear it any less.  It may make them stuff down that fear, or repress that fear, but it won’t make it go away.  It will still be there, gnawing, eating away at their sub-conscious, until they find a way to expel it, even if they manage to hide it from those who would make fun of them, the worry that they may be making an eternal mistake still haunts them, floating around in the back of their minds, surfacing from time to time.

This fear has kept me chained, and this series of posts (however many they end up becoming) is going to be my own exploration into these new realizations, and what they mean for me.

Spirituality vs Religion Part II can be found here.

Please note: Questions are welcome.  Seeking clarity about my position on a point I have made is also welcome, but rude or baiting comments will not be approved. This is my space, the place I’m recording MY journey.  That being said, ping-back are active on this site.

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Spirituality vs Religion

    1. Thank you, Olga… and welcome! Part II is scheduled for either tomorrow or the day after (I’ve been writing like mad, so the specific day escapes me at the moment).
      I’m homored by the show of support, and more than just a little relieved that my post has drawn people with whom I wanted to interact, rather than those which I did not!
      I hope your day is marvelous!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. These are issues I too struggled with for a long time until I found my peace. For me religion is a man-made construct with all the usual foibles that go with it. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m saying that there is a lot of politics, ego, power mongering etc that goes on and gets in the way of that connection to God. There are good people there too who are heart centred, well meaning, and find it meets their spiritual needs.
    Spirituality for me is a very personal and deep connection direct to the heart of God. It is alive, all loving, nurturing, supporting.
    Every blessing on your journey of discovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for visiting!
      I have met some very beautiful souls in my years at church, and I don’t doubt that it fulfilled whatever spiritual needs they had, but there is a growing number of people for whom it simply does not… but who are paralyzed with fear as a result of years of indoctrination.
      My journey isn’t for everyone, but I hope in sharing it, those who feel alone and afraid with doubts that bring into question that which they were told NEVER to question will find a way to their own inner peace, or at least find the courage to try.
      Thank you so much, again, for your thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Spirituality vs Religion, Part II – Semantics Station

  3. Amen to that! “I was raised in a religious household, but not a spiritual one.” I think it’s really hard to tell the difference until we are older. Then a lot of us leave the church and end up coming back via a different path. I thought you articulated your thoughts and feelings very well. I’m glad Judie reblogged your post. Have you ever read James Fowler’s Stages of Faith? I found it very helpful. http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/youth/wholeness/workshop2/167602.shtml

    The pastor at the church we attend is SO aware of the fact that churches are full of people who doubt, and so they should be because if we’re not free to doubt, how can the truth set us free? Once a month we have what he calls Doubt Night where whoever wants to can come together and ask and struggle with any questions about spirituality and religion they want. I have been amazed at the different people who have showed up. Certainly some I never would have expected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I learned years ago that, for myself at least (and probably a lot of people), the ‘God the Father’ bit is a big sore spot. A strict, religious father on Earth will translate to a strict, religious ‘Father in Heaven’… and if your experience with parental love is conditional, the concept of ‘Father’ and ‘unconditional love’ simply won’t compute… I feel that those of us who believe in a higher power often can’t overcome these beliefs (conscious or not), and have to find another way… but that’s MY experience.
      I have a tendency to be overly inclusive of others in relation to my own experiences, without a lot of actual proof that anyone else shares them, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

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