Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #1 Intro

Intro

When a husband and wife come together, in that physical expression of mutual love and intimacy, sometimes a biological fusion will occur that starts a new life. After nine months a miracle of nature takes place and that foetus, now fully grown, sees the light of this world for the first time.

When in the womb of the mother that little human being does not know what happened before it. When that baby comes into the world it does not remember anything from before. The brain of the child is not yet fully formed and has no knowledge as yet. That child does not yet have any idea about right or wrong, good or bad. It is, in that sense, a blank slate.

As that child develops into a person, he will be influenced by the events of his life. The child shall grow up forming his inner being, his mind and way of thinking (his “soul”), along the way. That “soul” may be blessed with moments of goodness but will also be spotted with sin. Each person will struggle with temptation, each in their own way. Some struggling to resist; some consenting with their lusts and being drawn away by them.

Yet much of that child’s life has already been determined by the circumstance of its birth. There is “a time for birth,” Solomon said, but also “a time to die” (Ecclesia 3:1-2), and the days in between may be filled with many kinds of experiences including joy, pain, hard labour, abundance, trial and, if without God, emptiness (Job 7:1-3). Everything that a person has belongs to God, for it is only God (and not that person) who can deliver the “soul” from the power of death (Psalm 89:47-48). No person is so strong that they shall live on and escape the iron grip of death.

There may be a point in a person’s life where thought is given to the purpose of this life, and a conclusion might be reached that what this life offers is not entirely satisfying. At that point a person might stop and consider exploring if there is some higher purpose or truth in this life (Ecclesiastic 3:11). A person may embark on this inquiry without understanding completely that this inner urge to explore these questions are part of being created by God. Each person is created in the likeness of his Creator. All children are in the image of God, like the first human beings were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). And though from one perspective giving birth is a “natural” act, God is responsible for bringing things to life and all “natural” things (Psalm 90:2). Having eternity set within our hearts, yet living only for a short time, we long for something more; we long for a way for our person (our “soul”) to conquer death.

English: Fountain of Eternal Life

Fountain of Eternal Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Scriptures speak of another sort of birth, a spiritual birth, leading a new sort of life. A person “born of water and of the spirit” (John 3:5) can enter the Kingdom of God, becoming a child of God and enjoying everlasting life. This, then, is the way for the “soul” to endure. Not through natural immortality but through a second birth and entering through the small gate into the Kingdom of God.

In this chapter we shall look at what it means to have a “soul”, to form a “soul”, to have a mind to think and a body to be in; what it means to be mortal and to have the opportunity for eternal life, from the perspective of the New Testament.

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To be continued

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Additional reading:

  1. What is life?
  2. Creation Creator and Creation
  3. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  4. Born to Shine not to fear!
  5. Looking at three “I am” s
  6. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  7. Necessity of a revelation of creation 2 Organisation of a system of things
  8. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth

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Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pan...

Hagia Sophia ; Empress Zoë mosaic : Christ Pantocrator; Istanbul, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the previous chapter we have seen that already in the time of the apostles there where teachers who took the focus on Christ Jesus, the Messiah his offering and our personal relationship to our own person, the people around us, Jesus and the Father of Jesus, the Only One God, away. By concentrating more on the institute of the church and putting dogmatic teachings as the obligatory string for the community, the self-development and the role of free choice became a minor point to the acceptance and following of the church doctrines and ceremonials.

By the years there were many influences of several theologians who at their turn looked at different philosophers. More interested in the retrieving of power, the real spiritual matters were often put aside or forgotten. Though in that world of many fraternities there were also people who were greatly respected and widely sought after masters who went out into the hills to escape the hustle and bustle of society. some took refuge in a shed in the countryside, others took up residence in a cave, far away from the clergy their institutions.

Several devout people wanted to escape the authoritarian church and did find Christ had liberated us instead of bringing new chains in to the world.

There are many spiritual traditions, each of which has its own unique language and concepts concerning the nature of the ultimate, the path that must be followed to experience the ultimate, how spiritual realizations are confirmed, the nature of spiritual enlightenment, and the implications of spiritual understanding for ordinary human life.

Lots of people spend their whole lives trying to become an idealized version of themselves that they want to be or of that what their church pictures them that they should become. Not having a found foundation, this causes many to  rebel against their natural chaotic states. Not finding enough background or trustworthy teaching they put endless amounts of energy into maintaining stability, and trying to mold their lives into an ordered state that they themselves find pleasing. In short, what we’re fighting against isn’t poverty, starvation, instability, unhappiness.  Mostly they are fighting against entropy; the tendency for ordered systems to degrade into a chaotic state. They may have lots of energy but can not centralise it, not able to pattern it or organise it they seem to be lost in their own world of chaotic thinking. They may receive lots of information from their church, magazines, but do not manage to channel it in accordance with what they can find in the Bible or other sacred books.

Most people are taking their life, their very essence, for granted as though it’s some permanent guarantee and all others have to fit to their life. Having to adapt to others seem too awkward.

It are always the others who cause pain and make our experiences so difficult.

do think many who are confronted with the feelings of inadequacy, loss of perspective.
They also consider others talking to them as a nuisance. Many do find it an infringement on the privacy when other question their sayings or their actions. Certainly today lots of people consider it their right to say whatever awful words or to insult others who dare to come too close to their own personality. Not many do want to hear the voices of others, and the least of institutions or of those who seem to represent institutions or organisations. Luckily there might be others who are hearing the voices of the people who question their actions, but some might loose than the essence of what it is they are trying to do.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Español: Ralph Waldo Emers...

Ralph Waldo Emerson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wondering what the self is doing demands the question what it would like to do and why it wants to do what. Whilst our society loves ego tripping the spiritual minded person just wants to strip himself or herself from his/her ego. Trying to get into the deeper self it should not be done from some sort of self passion or love for the ego, because then the person would turn round in circles staying in the dark. Like the American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wanted to find himself outside the traditional religion that had coursed throughout his family for generations, many today are also looking for the self and a place of the self out of the classical or traditional church. This at a time were other just want to strengthen the feeling of being part of a church which wants to hold to tradition and to the old values they remember from their grand grand parents. They forget that perhaps their ancestors just reacted against the corrupted society and its institutions — particularly organized religion and political parties. Strangely enough are there people like Sarah Paling crying we should return to the values of the Pilgrims and the founders of the United States of America.  As a trinitarian either she overlooks or she does not want to see that it were just those people who fled the European ties of corrupted and false religion. Those who came to settle in the United States tried to find new grounds to start all over again, afresh and liberated from all religious chains, but grounded on the teachings of the book they read regularly. Today there are not many people who really take every day time to read some chapters from the Bible. Some politicians do want to restrict other people and get them to believe the same as they believe. Often they already think that everybody believes in the same god and the same values as they do. Several people want to have their religion to become the state religion — ultimately corrupting the purity of the individual, and that is want the peoeple who fled Europe had felt and would be afraid of finding such a repeating system. The ones who fled Europe had faith that people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent. Today, again as in the time of the gnostics and the church of the 4th and 5th century those who do not want to comply with their believes are considered not to be Christians. Those conservative Christians posing their idea of Christianity onto others are also against the spiritual individu, because that person could be a danger for the group.

But the real spiritual person just wants to become closer to the self and wants to liberate himself or herself from the mass or group. The person looking for spirituality often wants to liberate himself from the person looking for a religion. The spiritual person believes to become at his best when he can be truly “self-reliant” and independent. For them it is also clear that it is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.

Sensations and perception not necessarily are the basic and most important form of true cognition. The ones who came into the New World had learned to struggle, to battle against all sorts of weather conditions, and got to walk on their own feet, working with their own hands but they also wanted now to speak their own minds.

“A nation of men will for the first time exist, because each believes himself inspired by the Divine Soul which also inspires all men.” {1837 speech “The American Scholar}

Again there was a reaction against the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. Again people wanted, like some would love to see it again today as well, a form of live where the emotions are again of value in a liberated and radicalised environment. A real spiritual person would love to encounter the inner emotions, because they can be considered as an authentic source of aesthetic experience. In romanticism there was placed such new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe and now with transcendentalism liberal thinkers, “agreeing in nothing but their liberality” {Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007: 5. ISBN 0-8090-3477-8} could find unity of willing persons to exchange ideas without having to give up their freedom to think differently than the majority, but recognising where in the differences there were/are also like-minded men and women.

Along with Andrews Norton, William Ellery Channing (April 7, 1780 – October 2, 1842) was the foremost Unitarian preacher in the United States in the early nineteenth century

Rooted in English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the scepticism of Hume, and the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant (and of German Idealism more generally), the transcedentalists movement, intimately familiar with the English Romantics, might have been an American outgrowth of Romanticism. From Unitarianism the transcendentalists took a concern for self-culture, a sense of moral seriousness, a neo-Platonic concept of piety, a tendency toward individualism, a belief in the importance of literature, and an interest in moral reform. They looked to certain Unitarians as mentors, especially the great Boston preacher William Ellery Channing. Theology was in crisis during Channing’s prime. Almost from the beginning there were two warring parties in New England. The Calvinists believed in a jealous God, the depravity of mankind, and the absence of free will. The anti-Calvinists believed in a merciful God, the potential redemption of all mankind, and the existence of free will. As the 19th century proceeded, the fight between the parties sharpened. Channing, after much deliberation, sided with the anti-Calvinists. Channing’s religion and thought were among the chief influences on the New England Transcendentalists, though he never countenanced their views, which he saw as extreme. Transcendentalists came to reject key aspects of the Unitarian worldview, starting with their rational, historical Christian apologetic. Many prominent ministers, reformers, and writers of the 19th century were associated with it, including Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) who was considered the most thought-provoking American cultural leader of the mid-19th century. In Concord he met a prickly young Harvard graduate who became his disciple, friend, and occasional adversary, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862). Among his close friends were Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), George Ripley, and Theodore Parker (1810–1860).  Margaret Fuller (1810–1850) and Orestes Brownson (1803–1876) also associated with him.

Emerson spoke out against materialism (the belief that material or physical things—not spiritual—are the most important), formal religion, and slavery. Emerson spoke of slavery in the context of the Fugitive Slave Law (1850), saying, in one of his rare bursts of obscenity (foul language), “I will not obey it, by God.”
He believed in a reality and a knowledge that rose above the everyday reality to which Americans were accustomed. He believed in the honesty of the person. He believed in a spiritual universe ruled by a spiritual Oversoul (the basis of all spiritual existence), with which each individual soul should try to connect.

A spiritual person should look for those values, trying to be honest to himself in the first place, choosing for those thing he really believes in because he does understands them; and not choosing for dogma’s because others accept them and by not accepting them he would not be able to be part of that group or community. Going to search in one self the person should also try to come over or to deal with human losses and failings. In such essays as “Compensation” and “Experience,” Emmerson tried to suggest how to deal with human losses and failings and in such pieces as “Self-reliance,” “Spiritual Laws,” “Nature,” “The Poet,” and “The Over-soul,” he explained the inborn goodness of man, the joys of nature and their spiritual significance, and a universal god (a god that exists everywhere and belongs to all).

English: A collage of photographs from K Stree...

A collage of photographs from K Street and Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary Schools in Fresno, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Various organizations and periodicals gave the Unitarian and transcendental movement shape. The earliest was the so-called “Transcendental Club” (1836–1840), an informal group that met to discuss intellectual and religious topics; also important was the “Saturday Club,” organized much later (1854). Many transcendentalists participated in the utopian communities of Brook Farm (1841–1848; located in West Roxbury, Massachusetts), founded by George Ripley (1802–1880) and his wife, Sophia Dana Ripley (1803–1861), and the short-lived Fruitlands (1843–1844; located in Harvard, Massachusetts), founded by Alcott. A number of transcendentalist ministers established experimental churches to give their religious ideas institutional form. The most important of these churches were three in Boston: Orestes Brownson’s Society for Christian Union and Progress (1836–1841); the Church of the Disciples (founded 1841), pastored by James Freeman Clarke (1810–1888); and Theodore Parker’s Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society (founded 1845–1846). The most famous transcendentalist magazine was the Dial (1840–1844), edited by Fuller and then by Emerson; other major periodicals associated with the movement included the Boston Quarterly Review (1838–1842), edited by Brownson, and the Massachusetts Quarterly Review (1847–1850), edited by Parker. {Dictionary of American History, 2003}

But also in Europe in the 21st century we still can see such a romantic movement going on, or should we perhaps say more an utopist movement like the one political or social reformer, visionary preacher and idealist Marcus Ampe is still dreaming of. He may not be influenced by Asian religions, but the thoughts and ideas he would love to realise are similar as in many of those and older traditions and religions, but very founded on the Torah, the Old and the New Testament, which he considers the most complete guide for the community. For him it is clear that without going into the inner-self, not being in the clear with the self, a person can not come into the clear with God. Those who have (moral)qualms or who did not yet have come to terms with themselves, loving themselves, shall not be able to love others and shall have it difficult to come in front of Christ, loving him and loving his Father, the only One God. Those who have not seen the light in themselves often want to find light in elements of nature and by doing so will create different gods. This can be clearly seen in the writings on many blogs about God and religion. To come to Biblical Truth, people should study the Bible, look at it from the way of thinking in the periods it was written and in the manner of speaking it was written.

The transcendentalists varied in their interpretations of the practical aims of will. Some among the group linked it with utopian social change; Brownson connected it with early socialism, while others considered it an exclusively individualist and idealist project. Emerson believed the latter. In his 1842 lecture “The Transcendentalist“, Emerson suggested that the goal of a purely transcendental outlook on life was impossible to attain in practice:

You will see by this sketch that there is no such thing as a transcendental party; that there is no pure transcendentalist; that we know of no one but prophets and heralds of such a philosophy; that all who by strong bias of nature have leaned to the spiritual side in doctrine, have stopped short of their goal. We have had many harbingers and forerunners; but of a purely spiritual life, history has afforded no example. I mean, we have yet no man who has leaned entirely on his character, and eaten angels’ food; who, trusting to his sentiments, found life made of miracles; who, working for universal aims, found himself fed, he knew not how; clothed, sheltered, and weaponed, he knew not how, and yet it was done by his own hands. …Shall we say, then, that transcendentalism is the Saturnalia or excess of Faith; the presentiment of a faith proper to man in his integrity, excessive only when his imperfect obedience hinders the satisfaction of his wish.

Many churches do not like to have their members to go to deep in their self and questioning the church or community, because this would be seen as a doubting the community and the church as institution. Many churches  or religions impede on the individual coming to individual spiritual development. Any form of religious dogma should be abolished and church should be able to trust on the choice God makes, because it is Him Who calls. The traditional church got afraid that ordinary people could get a simple belief in human moral, in godly and brotherly love and according to the clergy and theologians the common person would not be able to understand the Bible, but that would mean they say God did not make His Words clear for everybody, so He would have not have given everybody the same chance to be saved. God, Who is a God of order and clarity made His Word clear enough for those who are willing to read it and to think about it. In each individual is enough potential and intuitive capacity for discovering spiritual truth. Divinity or having a Godlike character or the state of being divine, lays in man, who is created in the image of God, and nature, and so true religion means seeking the divine in oneself and one’s surroundings. Inward experience was seen as the ultimate path to spiritual satisfaction, and thus the Transcendentalists cultivated a lifestyle that encouraged contemplation, communing with nature, continuing education, and creative expression. Many kept regular journals, which they considered invaluable tools in the process of self-examination.

The spiritual minded person should seek to cultivate the capacity to do good in themselves and others.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

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Please do read also:

  1. Only One God
  2. God of gods
  3. God is One
  4. Jesus spitting image of his father
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #8 Found Divinely Created not Incarnated
  6. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten
  7. Jesus begotten Son of God #18 Believing in inhuman or human person
  8. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  9. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  10. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  11. It is a free will choice
  12. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  13. Hellenistic influences
  14. The early days of Christianity: Politics and power first priority #1
  15. Politics and power first priority #2
  16. Foundation to go the distance
  17. Re-Creating Community
  18. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  19. The imaginational war against Christmas
  20. Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights
  21. More-Letter-Words
  22. God doesn’t call the qualified
  23. Can we not do what Jesus did?

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Also interesting to read:

  1. The Hermit
  2. Post 4: Entropy pt. 1
  3. Post 5: Sacrifice
  4. Why I chose Emerson

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English: Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_1940_Issue-3c.jpg...

Ralph Waldo Emerson 1940 ssue-3c.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Rewriting History – The History of America Mega-Conference: Part Three, “Religious Liberalism” And Those Magnificent Mathers (homeschoolersanonymous.wordpress.com)
    Eidsmoe spoke warmly of early Americans who celebrated Christianity. The Constitutional Convention, he claimed, had mostly Christians in attendance and involved God in their work. He dismissed the deist Founding Fathers in attendance as “outliers”. He discussed the message of 18th century preacher George Whitfield, who did much to unite Americans under a common faith, he claimed.Eidsmoe also smiled upon Benjamin Franklin for praising Christian preaching and social endeavors, suggesting that the Founding Father appreciated Christianity. However, I found his portrait of Franklin to lack nuance. While Franklin did celebrate the Puritan virtues of his upbringing and respect preachers such as George Whitefield, he also referred to himself as a Deist in his 1771 autobiography, embraced Enlightenment ideas, endorsed religious pluralism, and spent time at a London Unitarian congregation.
  • Transcendentalism (womenshistory.answers.com)
    Transcendentalists made a distinction between true reason and a merely analytic understanding. They believed that subjective intuition was at least as reliable a source of truth as empirical investigation. They wanted to base their religion and philosophy on principles that were not related to the physical senses. Transcendentalists were familiar with the ideas of the English Romantics. The movement is sometimes described as a slightly later, American version of Romanticism.
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    What is transcendentalism?
  • “Unitarian Universalism” and “Unity” Churches – similarities and differences (ironicschmoozer.wordpress.com)
    Unitarian Universalism (UUism) has been more of an institution-based movement from the beginning, while Unity has been more of a message-based movement, with an extensive publishing outreach that touches people beyond its churches.  Of note is Unity’s “Daily Word” devotional booklet.
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    Both UUism and Unity affirm goodness in everyone and divine love for all.  Both have a diversity of concepts of the divine in their literature and in their congregations.  However, there are very few UUs who like terms like Father or Lord, and Unity is often comfortable with it.
    UUs include many self-describe Religious Humanists–who are atheists or agnostics and don’t respond to God language.  Most UUs, especially Humanists, disagree with the idea that there is a soul separate from the body.
  • 140/365: When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough (makethreesixtyfive.wordpress.com)
    I had chosen not to be confirmed as a junior high student, and my relationship with the church was tentative, though it provided me with such a network of safety, joy, and service.
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    Lillian explain what I have always known: that faith might be personal, but the community of faith is the most important, valuable part of the church. She writes, “Church is a school for sinners, not a club for saints.” In the end, my sin has always been in my faith, in my disbelief. With all things that you are supposed to “just know”, I have struggled: love, faith, life choices. But Lillian says, “I pitch my tent in the field of mystery, and have yet to nail it down,” which I think is a perfect analogy for the journey I’m on now, in all parts of my life, but particularly with spirituality.
  • Spiritual Fathers (krclynn.org)
    calling earthly men “spiritual fathers”.  I hear these words from the mouths of so many carelessly and I always flinch at the sound of it.  Are we to have mentors and people that we look up to in the church to point us to Christ?  Absolutely!  Do we need men and women of God to give us words of direction and minister to us when we face problems in different areas of our life?  Absolutely!  The problem is that the term “spiritual father” is not found in scripture nor is it supported.
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    Did we forget that Jesus is the head of the church and the chief apostle?  Did we forget that God qualified Jesus as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him – Hebrews 5:9.  Although there are more mature Christians than us and have more knowledge of scripture than we do, No Person has no more holiness than the average Christian and is not entitled to be called “these exaggerated names.”
  • Pop culture and spirituality without religion (christiantoday.com)
    Pop artists are fond of provocative religious imagery, but Ted Turnau says that should not be surprising for Christians and rather than getting offended, they should be looking for ways to come alongside today’s secularised pop stars to help them use such religious imagery appropriately.
  • Want to Argue About Creeds? I Don’t (theresauuco.wordpress.com)
    Unitarian Universalists are fond of saying that we believe in “deeds not creeds.”  Almost every Sunday I start the worship service by welcoming visitors telling them that we value diversity of all types. Our congregations include people who self-identify as Christians, Pagans,  Humanists, Agnostics, Jews, Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Spiritualists, and pretty much everything else.  I say that what matters most is how we treat other people and how we care for this planet of ours.  That is another way of saying “deeds not creeds.” Our faith tradition has a long history of respect for the individual right of conscience.  Believe whatever makes sense to you about God and what happens after we die, but let’s see if we can get together and try to make our own lives and this world a better place.  We can discuss differing theological beliefs. I love hearing what others believe about the big issues, and I like to talk about my own, always evolving, sense of the universe and what this life of ours is all about.  Arguing is pointless, however, and generally serves to increase the distance between people rather than bring them closer together.
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    Unitarian Universalism is changing and we will keep changing; change is in our DNA.  We were formed from the merger of two Christian denominations, both of which date back to the 1700′s in this country.  That history is still part of us, but I don’t think many of our religious ancestors would necessarily recognize us today.  We brought in science and humanism, incorporated wisdom from other  world religions and from the earth centered traditions.  The Transcendentalist also had a huge impact. For those of us who believe in God, revelation is definitely not sealed.  For those of us who believe in the human spirit, change is simply part of life.
  • Is Yoga New Agey? (elephantjournal.com)

    Emerson, one of the foremost minds of 19th century America, was himself heavily influenced by Vedanta, the spiritual teachings of Hinduism, which originated in India. With regard to the concept of karma, for example, he wrote, “You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong.”

    Ralph Waldo was a transcendentalist who read the Bhagavad Gita and considered himself a yogi. (Albeit his lineage was more jnana than hatha; more about knowledge and wisdom than breath and movement.)

    The “new” doesn’t refer to time but rather new as opposed to established Western societal beliefs. The “age” refers to the Aquarian Age (as in, ‘this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.’)

  • Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious? (drcindysimpson.com)
    “I’m spiritual but not religious.”  I hear and read this many times.  What does this phrase mean? For people who do research in the area of religion and spirituality, however, separating the two is very difficult, if not impossible.  For millennia the word religious had about the same meaning as the word spiritual.Today religion is popularly labeled as the doctrine and beliefs of a group.  Spirituality, on the other hand, is individualized and only concerns itself with the relationship of that person to the sacred or transcendent (Koenig, 2005, pp. 44-45). Yet current research finds that at least 74% of people do not make a distinction between religion and spirituality.  How then can we best define the relationship between the two?
  • Transcendentalism vs. Puritanism: The Enduring Relevance of Competing Ideologies in Modern American Society (theiridescentbubble.com)
    Transcendentalism and Puritanism share an enduring relativity embedded in modern American individualism. Transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau espoused the tenants of a quasi-religion governed by individuality and nature while Puritans like Jonathan Edwards, though influenced by the academics of free thinking, knelt at the altar of altruism governed by an angry God. While we indeed have deep roots within Puritanism as a nation, we are equally influenced by the individualism that is Transcendentalism. In reflecting upon the condition of modern American society, it seems clear that the divisions that separate these two distinct ideologies, their seeds planted during the time of our foundation, still frame the divisions we face as a collective people today.
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    the exploration of the core tenants of Transcendentalism sheds the greatest light on that which differentiates it from its Puritan opposition.  It is a form of philosophical idealism that calls upon the individual to rise above the animalistic impulses in life, as well as the cultural restrictions imposed upon the individual.  In Transcendentalism, God is a life force found in everything which negates the necessity of churches or holy places.  God is found in both nature and human nature; he is a “light” in everyone.  As a rule, one must ruminate over and nourish the inner light to keep it alive and healthy.  Everyone is in possession of intuition or an inherent understanding of right and wrong but culture and society tend to corrupt the intuition.  To actualize the authority of our intuition, we must learn, think, and reflect.  Further, neither our past nor our future should limit the present.  We must live close to nature because it is our greatest teacher and our connection to God.  Individualism is that the very heart of Transcendentalism and self-empowerment is borne of the defiance of social conventions – even God is not the ultimate authority.  To the Transcendentalist, evil is not the opposite of good, it is simply the absence of good, but good is thought to be more powerful.  Finally, all things are encompassed and contained by the Oversoul, which has spiritual power.

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Eurobarometer Poll 2005 Percentage of those wh...Religion, religiosity and spirituality are not the same. Many people use the three words as synonyms and see no difference between them. Religiosity has to do with the quality of being ‘religiose‘ or being extremely, obtrusively, pious, sanctimoniously or even sentimentally religious, but in its broadest sense it also used to indicate the sort of activity a person is willing to take on for that what he believes.  It is about the numerous aspects of religious activity a person is willing to undertake, his dedication for that belief or religious doctrine. Another term that would work equally well, though less often used, is religiousness for the person’s belief in a god, the God of gods or in gods and their observance of associated activities.

With the choice of a religion comes the preparedness to follow certain teachings of that religion and to follow a sociocultural program for developing spiritually and for bringing spiritual realizations into everyday life according to the teachings or doctrines of that religion. In that movement about certain teachings concerning the individual and his environment the person shall want to become part of that religion and as such would want to take certain attitudes and do certain exercises in that faith. doing those readings, meditations and exercises for the mind, the person shall use ‘‘spirituality’’ to refer to his or her inner experiences that arise from trying to put such programs into practice.

Folk religiosity and faith

Folk religiosity and faith (Photo credit: AlmaGamil_Philippines)

Through the ages lots of people tried to find ways to come to a higher ecstasy or to get into raptures. Their actions in their faith should bring them “Spirituality” bringing them in exaltation a sense of transcendence, sacrality, and ultimacy, making them ready to bring praise, tribute, worship, acclaimglory, blessing, homage, reverence, magnification, apotheosis, glorification, acclamation, panegyric, idolization, extolment, lionization, laudation, in elation, delight, joy, excitement, inspiration, ecstasy, stimulation, with exhilaration, jubilation, exultation, joyousness. Their religious actions want to trigger the ‘becoming more’ going beyond or exceeding the Self. To do this, encoded signs and symbols may be the means by which experiences not only are generated but are described, even recognized and labelled, as religious. The many religions, the world is rich, have always relied upon several symbolic forms for breaking outside of the profane world. In most religions the believers try to come into an other stadium of life and of feeling. They even try to come in an other or alternative reality known only through its ecstatic qualities and interpretive frames.

Even within contemporary, more secular social settings, research suggests that those persons most involved in their religious traditions are more likely to report having strong religious experiences (Yamane and Polzer 1994, pp. 1–25).

To come to full or real spirituality the person has to give himself or herself to the faith which she want to follow and take on its traditions, demanding not only the will to come to an interior life or religious discipline but also to undertake social action, making ethical choices, family commitments, friendship, to live and work according that faith and to make choices for the way to live and in politics.

Whilst ‘Religion’ is a human invention that centers on specific rituals and a set of stories that outline a basic moral code and belief system, ‘spirituality’ is a natural reaction on feeling and the way people do behave. Spirituality relates to the spirit or essential essence of humanity. People who say they are spiritual are working to grow and better this inner force. Religious people are generally spiritual people as well, but spiritual people do not necessarily have to be religious. They may work to attain a heightened spirituality through alternative methods. Religions often, but not necessarily, have a hierarchy of initiates, bringing those further into the inner circle, leading the rituals for the general populace. Their rituals may look or seem spiritual but often can be performed on automatic pilot leaving the spiritual out.
English: Graph of timelines for major religions

Graph of timelines for major religions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people may be very religious but not exactly spiritual, not interested to dig deep in themselves. Some religious people are not so much interested in doing the things themselves, but just want to follow set regulations and handlings done in the religious community. They for example just want to sit down in church and be passive, looking and hearing what is going on, with sometimes even having the mind strolling of to somewhere else. Whilst the religion may be brought on by their parents or their environment where they grew up to get spiritual they have to undertake themselves the action to be willing to enter the spirituality which stems from their inner soul, and not from the hierarchy of their religion, their pastors or priests, but is dependent on their will to search in themselves, to look for the very essence of their own being. The spirited approach or spirituality like the religion may come form influences of different sources, where the parents, in first instance or the most important one, and from driving forces in the life of the person, like a God Almighty.

Some think spirituality can be achieved only through the use of every moral quality in its proper place and on its proper occasion. Moral shall influence the way of thinking and the background of material shall give possibilities to think about those theories, values and attitudes. Because being bounded to the natural state of our being in the universe, our ‘natural state of man’ has a very strong relationship with his moral and spiritual states, so much so that even a person’s manner of eating and drinking affects his moral and spiritual states. If the natural state of a person is subjected to the control of the directions of divine law it becomes his moral state and deeply affects his spirituality, as is said that whatever falls into a salt mine is converted into salt. That is why several Holy Scriptures like the Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an have laid stress on physical and psychical cleanliness and postures, and their regulation in relation to all worship and inner purity and spiritual humility.
According to the Bible the first essential quality of a spiritually perfect man is that his relationship should be correct and right both with his Creator God and man, his fellow-creatures. Both relationships should be right and correct which can only retrieved by having righteous conduct, seeking good influences, safeguarding oneself against conduct which is likely to harm the relationships.
The division of ‘morals’ is to be found also in religious faith and in religious life. It is important, therefore, to be clear about religious faith and religious life. There are people who equate religious life with moral life and think they are the same. To them to be religious is to be moral and to be moral is to be religious. This is incorrect and confusing.In religious life ‘morality’ and ‘spirituality’ may be the cornerstones. A man of good moral character may be just moral and be not necessarily religious. He may be a good man but not a perfect man. His moral part is all right, but not his spiritual part. We as human beings should come into ‘a being’ or ‘a creation’ where moral, spirituality and religion are in balance in a correct relationship with the other creatures and with the Creator.

Religious views generally have a great impact on a person’s lifestyle and differing views can cause conflict in relationships. In history we have seen enough examples where the religion was used to come in conflict with other members of the creation. An atheist may be incredibly uncomfortable if their significant other wanted to attend religious services and continue prayers every day. Likewise, a person who is used to being involved in religious practices may feel like something is wrong with them if their boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t want to come with them to their Holy books study or other religious gatherings.
Icon-religion

Many religions cause difficulties in a family or in a community. – Icon-religion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religion may become a stumbling block in a family whilst the spirituality may have the family grow, because it can be independent from the religion. In a family religion can really become a hot mess of opinions, beliefs and arguments. Whereas, spirituality is life affirming. Even atheist can be a spiritual human being. Spirituality is a way of life. It is the only way to conquer ignorance. the spirituality is looking to get out of spiritual blindness which may cause enough foolishness, benightedness, unenlightenment. Spirituality may take the person beyond his first thought limits and bring him or her out of mental darkness. It is understanding that we all are part of a whole. The realm of spirituality is mystical and mysterious. When we look at the world with an attitude of wonder and awe, we become aware that the world is filled with spiritual life. Part of spirituality is being willing to admit that something is beyond our comprehension. With our materialistic attitude and ego-tripping of today, many having a high quality ore it is difficult for them to come to the science in understanding the world, trying to find answers they may never find. When we look at the universe and into our own hearts and see that which we don’t understand, we know that we have touched that which is unknowable and holy. To come to the acceptance of nullity is the most difficult part of spirituality. Only by willing to see  the futility of our self, accepting that insignificance we shall be able to become really spiritual. though we may be religious it can well be that we are not at all spiritual.

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Preceding article: Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Read also:

  1. Faith
  2. Living in faith
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Religion and spirituality
  5. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  8. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  9. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  10. How should we react against the world
  11. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  12. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  13. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  14. Childish or reasonable ways
  15. Words to push and pull
  16. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  17. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  18. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  19. Can we not do what Jesus did?
  20. Making church
  21. Church sent into the world
  22. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  23. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  24. True riches
  25. If you have integrity
  26. Happiness is like manna
  27. Happiness an inner state
  28. Poetry of Peace

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Additional reading:

  1. A Soul Wrapped in Vanity
  2. Identify With Your Soul by Ram Dass
  3. Relationship with God

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religiosity-cover-test-2

religiosity-cover-test-2 (Photo credit: jeffmikels)

  • The Rise of Religion Might Be All About Sex (alternet.org)
    A study suggests religion might have arisen to protect certain reproductive strategies, like long-term partnership.
  • Is There Still a Place for Religion? (virtuoussociety.com)
    Sociologists juxtapose the low religiosity of countries in Northern Europe with their low rates of crime and poverty. Unbelievers in America remark that religious people are over-represented in US prisons—and under-represented among its scientists and thinkers. In the opinion of many researchers, the statistical landscape of religion is bleak.
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    the US states with the lowest incarceration rates have the lowest levels of religiosity. But when controlling for race, income and other social factors by way of regression methods, Stark finds that religion is actually negatively correlated with violent crime.
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    To the extent that social scientists have neglected rigorous analysis in favor of more agreeable correlations, they must re-evaluate their assumptions, and paint their portrait of religious society in finer strokes, and from a wider palette. They will likely find that faith does not cast a shadow on modernity, but rather lights its way.
  • Texas A&M professor blends neuroscience, religion in new course (believervsnonbelievers.wordpress.com)
    In the apparent conflict between science and religion, many are turning to the field of neuroscience to weigh in on debates like whether the Book of Revelation was based on an inspired dream, like Paul said it was, or a simple neurological process.
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    With more than 50 years of research and teaching experience across the entire spectrum of neuroscience, Klemm admits that his emphasis is on neuroscience, because, as he says it, “I’m not a preacher,” but he wants the students to take their own religious beliefs and try to make the connection with what he teaches them about neuroscience.
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    Religionists hold that humans have free will and are accountable for their beliefs and choices, while scientific experiments have led scientists to believe that free will is an illusion.
  • Supplementary Materials on Spirituality and Religion (chermercado.wordpress.com)
    For those who want to expand their understanding of the topic and Spirituality and Religion, you may refer to the following links below. I’ve provided some points of reflection that should help you re-think things though you may not necessarily agree with them.
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    Some Thoughts about the Integration of Spirituality and Religion
    The tendency of people who claim to be Spiritual but not religious is to treat faith as if it were a buffet: cherry-picking only the good parts and leaving the rest behind (as explained by the meme above). It’s convenient and satisfying but it doesn’t capture the essence of real faith.
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    Faith is a matter of reciprocity because it is a two-way street.
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    In summary, if your aim is to develop a personal but life-giving spirituality, it needs a check-in balance system to make sure it does just that. This check-in balance is easily provided by organized religion.
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    The Value of Community in Christian Spirituality
    To relate with the Church, then, is to concretely relate with Jesus, who is God afterall. If you find yourself having a difficult time dealing with the Church’s imperfection, that’s insight in itself into how it might be like for God to be dealing with each and everyone of us. To relate with others (the Church), then, is to get to know more how God relates with us and how He has to deal with our petty problems and imperfections.
  • Religion Vs. Spiritual (etsuwmst.wordpress.com)
    Many people religious background comes from what their parents instill in them but once they reach a certain age is where they find their true calling as to what they think and feel is right. Realistically most people just conform into whatever is most common to them.
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    Religion is organized; it’s more of a physical thing. Like something imaginable as far as seeing or feeling. Religion is instituted by man. In a religion there are many gods, although they are serving the same purpose. Just like there are many beliefs in religion. Where a spiritual person does not have an organized way about being spiritual, it is all within yourself. It’s more of being spiritual than something being physical.
  • Religiosity Raises Risk Among Sex Offenders, Clergy More Dangerous Than Other Groups (atheistrev.com)
    Male clergy accused of sex crimes were found to be more dangerous in some important ways than matched non-clergy offenders (Langevin, Curnoe, & Bain, 2000). And religiosity was positively associated with the number of convictions for sex crimes and the number of victims among convicted male sex offenders (Eshuys & Smallbone, 2006). It was also inversely related to the age of the victims (i.e., more religious offenders tended to victimize younger children).Parents place clergy on pedestals due to their presumed connection to some sort of “god,” and they teach their children to do the same. They lower their guard because the pastor wouldn’t possibly do things like that. Clergy are often viewed as morally superior to the rest of us, and the same goes for highly religious non-clergy. They are given the benefit of the doubt again and again. We couldn’t possibly question behavior that would never be tolerated in other contexts. And this continues despite evidence that clergy and highly religious persons may actually be more dangerous to our children.
  • Who is religious? (suryanarayanarajumd.wordpress.com)
    Common man understands religion by belonging to certain religion or belief system, he follows the pattern followed by crowd, mob by going to temple on certain dates, enjoys the entertainment involved in it.But religiosity is an inner science, “doing” is relevent to outer but “non-doing” is the key to inner exploration which does not mean laziness but it demands heightened awareness. With heightened awareness you touch a point from which you witness the seemingly opposite things are complimentary both in the outer and the inner.
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    First when you are not doing bodily or mentally which include thinking, concentration, contemplation, when all activity caeses “you simply are”, “just be”.
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    develop the skill of watching self activity which is nothing but self-inquiry.As you go on watching self activity from your center of being, thought process slows down, there is radical change in self-activity and one fine day self stops functioning when it is not required. Mind is not enemy but because of lack of awareness in functining of daily activities at present it is dictating our way of life. Mind means past plus future. But life is in the present.
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    The whole education makes the human mind conditioned to trust only in objects which he can dissect their basic constituents.

    The problem arises when when one tries to analyze the subject in the same way. An average mans thinks of Self in an objective way.

    But the nature of subjectivity is that it cannot be observed. That which is observable is not your subject.

    Meditation, watchfulness is the key to explore the inner. With watchfulness a distance is created between the watcher and the mind.

    As watchfulness crystallizes the distance becomes longer and longer. Soon the mind is so far away you can hardly feel that it exists.

  • Spirituality is the world around us (realmof13.wordpress.com)
    God and spirituality are pretty controversial subjects in this day and age.  I myself have run the full circle of beliefs, not really wandering, but falling into the next one based of experiences and changes of perception.  I have never been the biggest fan of organized religion, but I have recognized the good it does for those who participate with good intention in their hearts.
  • Religious vs. Spiritual (reginayflorence.wordpress.com)
    Many people study different types of religions. It says “ the fact that many of the negative things which people attribute to religions are features of some forms of some religions(usually Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), but not of other religions (like Taoism or Buddhism).” We are stating that being spiritual is expressing our religion. By worshiping our spirit it shows that our religion is more than that. It is a way of getting deeper with him(God). It bring a deeper meaning to us when we believe.
  • Relying on Religion (creativesolblog.wordpress.com)
    Many conversations concerning the topic of religion get quite personal, emotional and out of hand fairly fast. This is the case so often that common etiquette generally recommends that one avoids the subject all together (especially at the dinner table).