I believe there is an important distinction to be made between religion and spirituality. Religion I take to be concerned with belief in the claims to salvation of one faith tradition or another-an aspect of which is acceptance of some form of meta-physical or philosophical reality, including perhaps an idea of heaven or hell. Connected with this are religious teachings or dogma, ritual, prayers and so on. Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit-such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, which bring happiness to both self and others.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
A couple of things I never like to talk about and try NOT to talk about are disliked family members, politics, money and religion.
But, I ran across the above quote and had to tackle it. This quote sums up exactly how I feel about what might be defined as “religion”.
I was brought up in the Church of Christ but, while discovering myself in college, I realized that I didn’t really agree with the tenants of the Church. It wasn’t that I believed the opposite or to the other extreme; rather, I believed that religion, as it has come to be, isn’t as I think God intended, if I might be so bold as to make that presumption. For me, and from what I’ve seen, there is far too much judgement in churche congregations. Most (not all) of the people I know who go to church, go to see what everyone else is wearing and to gossi about who has done what outside of church.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped calling myself religious and started calling myself spiritual. I definitely believe in God but I believe that those who believe in Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, Jah, Krishna, Waheguru, etc. are right too. No mortal is able or entitled to say that one is more or less right than another.
My spiritual beliefs are varied and based on several things that I won’t go into here. This isn’t a religious blog. But, I believe that religion, as it is, is fatally flawed. Spirituality, however, is more of a personal thing with much respect for those who believe differently. Spirituality, to me, is not judgemental.
I, as a spiritual person, believe in God, I believe that He / She is infinitely kind and forgiving and wants us to do good for others and be good to others and to be good to ourselves. I believe that He / She wants us to believe in something beyond ourselves, to step out and have faith in something that we can’t see or touch. I believe that He / She loves us, has a pretty good sense of humor and wants to see us thrive, do good and be good. I believe that He / She expects all of us to realize that we are all in this together, to respect all life, to treat animals with as much care as He / She put into creating them and to take care of and have the utmost respect for this wonderful planet that He / She created for us.
This quote by The Dalai Lama perfectly sums up how I feel. Like I said, “religion” isn’t something I normally choose to talk about but this quotation hit too close to my heart to NOT share.
I hope that some of you got something from it too, and, perhaps, from my ramblings.