Sunday reflection . . . .But he who would be born again indeed,

Purplerays

‘Tis hard for man to rouse his spirit up–
It is the human creative agony,
Though but to hold the heart an empty cup,
Or tighten on the team the rigid rein.
Many will rather lie among the slain
Than creep through narrow ways the light to gain–
Than wake the will, and be born bitterly.

But he who would be born again indeed,
Must wake his soul unnumbered times a day,
And urge himself to life with holy greed;
Now ope his bosom to the Wind’s free play;
And now, with patience forceful, hard, lie still,
Submiss and ready to the making will,
Athirst and empty, for God’s breath to fill.

~ George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

Art: Meg White
Text & image source: _/_Peggy @ ECUMENICUS
https://www.facebook.com/ecumenicus/

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Pascal’s Possibility

Though many may be happy there has been an increase of theological books, we can see that the interest in God has diminished a lot more.

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Theology has wide appeal, and books promoting it are best sellers, but by the common man we notice that he has drifted further apart from any connection with the Divine Creator.
Though the existence of order presupposes the existence of organizing intelligence. Such intelligence can be none other than God’s.” [Dieu existe? Oui (Paris, 1979), Christian Chabanis, quoting Pierre-Paul Grassé, p. 94.]
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It is not because scientifically we can not prove an existence of something that it doe snot exist. The same with God, we not able to proof He does exist or does not exist, makes it not that He would not exist.

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Our minds cannot fully comprehend the Divine Creator. He seems untouchable and incomprehensible. Though if we would look more to the things around us and listen to our inner soul, we would be more sure. Also when we would listen to the Words in the Holy Scripture and let them enter into our heart we shall come to understand lot more things. Listening to the heart will also give lots of answers.

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It is not our minds cannot fully comprehend it that we would have a sound reason for rejecting the existence of God.

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Levels of existence

Levels of existence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consider examples: (1) Time. No one can point to a certain moment as the beginning of time. And it is a fact that, even though our lives end, time does not. We do not reject the idea of time because there are aspects of it that we do not fully comprehend. Rather, we regulate our lives by it. (2) Space. Astronomers find no beginning or end to space. The farther they probe into the universe, the more there is. They do not reject what the evidence shows; many refer to space as being infinite. The same principle applies to the existence of God.

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Other examples: (1) Astronomers tell us that the heat of the sun at its core is 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (15,000,000° C.). Do we reject that idea because we cannot fully comprehend such intense heat? (2) They tell us that the size of our Milky Way is so great that a beam of light traveling at over 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km/sec) would require 100,000 years to cross it. Do our minds really comprehend such a distance? Yet we accept it because scientific evidence supports it.

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Which is more reasonable—that the universe is the product of a living, intelligent Creator? or that it must have arisen simply by chance from a nonliving source without intelligent direction? Some persons adopt the latter viewpoint because to believe otherwise would mean that they would have to acknowledge the existence of a Creator whose qualities they cannot fully comprehend. But it is well known that scientists do not fully comprehend the functioning of the genes that are within living cells and that determine how these cells will grow. Nor do they fully understand the functioning of the human brain. Yet, who would deny that these exist? Should we really expect to understand everything about a Person who is so great that he could bring into existence the universe, with all its intricate design and stupendous size?

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To remember:

  • criteria for God’s existence
  • to claim that there is no evidence = claim to knowledge which is itself already assuming a criteria of evidence
  • there already exists an unconscious idea
  • how should a God exist on their view
  • reasons for believing in God’s existence =  entirely pragmatic
  • formulate conception of God
  • our inability to truly conceive of perfect goodness
  • when thinking of God, one must think of a being approaching one’s highest ideals of Perfection
  • the better his idea of God => the better he will know God
  • the worse the man, the smaller and more shallow his conception of God will be +> therefore the further from the truth he will be ===> digression
  • Ontotological argument
  • trick of the mind to think that the goodness of a thing counts as positive proof against its existence
  • metaphysical possibility of God’s existence > no proof such a being is an impossibility -> possibility
  • Pascal was right in concluding that the infinite gain one receives by living in a world of objective meaning, in which at the heart of existence really does lie a Perfect Being who shall set all right, and who can ground all logic and truth, easily justifies the risk one takes in believing in something one thinks is even extremely improbable.
  • metaphysics, truth, science, morality, beauty, and a hope in ultimate triumph of good over evil
  • if our faith lasts till the end we shall die with about as much hope as it is possible for the human heart to contain.
  • We must not be tricked into thinking that just because we are gambling we are gambling on an impossibility. Remember, we are betting on a real possibility – a reality which thousands of years of human thought has not been able to prove impossible, and which there is actually good positive evidence for.

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Preceding articles:

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs

Is faith rational?

Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …

Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

Does He exists?

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Additional reading:

  1. Science and God’s existence
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. Christianity is a love affair
  4. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  5. Hatred and hostility against God
  6. Daring to speak in multicultural environment

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Further interesting readings:

Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

When one compares the cohesive developments of scientific understanding with the diversity of religious belief in the world you will find lots of variations and many different thoughts of which some will be contradicting.

We do agree with Theo Philo, who writes:

“I must admit with Baggini, the scientific understanding seems to have more continuity globally than does religious understanding.  Although certainly there are disagreements and different schools of thought in science, there is nothing like the full blown comprehensive, fundamental, and irreconcilable contradictions that exist between different religious traditions in the world.”

“In fact, people from radically different religious traditions often find themselves working side by side in the field of science taking for granted the same scientifically established truths on which they base their further inquiries.  It seems reasonable to suppose that such cohesion in the discipline of science is largely owing to the chief method of inquiry: induction.” {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

In the previous article you could find that we do have the things that can be seen and scientifically proven, but that we do also have things which can not be seen and which can not be scientifically recorded or testified. We can witness many things we can not understand, and in the past lots of things where contributed to either natural phenomena or gods, being which should have been responsible, because many people do not want to believe that anything can happen without man intervening or without a god causing it to happen.

Today there are still lots of people who do not want to know about God, but as soon as something serious happens in their life (a death, a serious accident, an earthquake or flood) they accuse God of doing that to humankind, though God has nothing to do with it. therefore many do question:

  “What is the best explanation for the observable phenomenon of the world and the universe?”

People are mostly connected with their inner soul (their own being), their psyche, their rational and irrational thinking. They would love to make sense of one’s own personal experiences of the world rather than global or universal phenomenon in general (which would need to include the personal and social experiences of people in general—including those of other religious commitments). {Theo Philo}

The subtle nuances of Hick’s pluralist hypothesis avoid claims that all religions are different paths to the same truth and accepts as a starting point the contradictory claims of the world’s major religious traditions, views that Baggini rightly excludes as untenable. {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

Faith should not always be the believe in a god or in the God or be the major element of believing God’s revelation without needing any human arguments to establish it. It is easy to believe in the things we can see, hear and feel. Having faith in the things one has good evidence of is not exactly ‘faith’ but more a believe that it is so.  Faith goes a step further than just believing those things we can be aware of or which can be proven scientifically. It is also more than having the experience of something but it is associated with that inner feeling for those things which not always can be explained. It is also more than the expectation that something would happen because our reasoning just says so and it happened so often before, like the sun ‘going under’ knowing that it does not go deep under the earth or expecting the sun rise, knowing it will not come out of the underworld to lighten the upper-world.

According to Theo Philo:

It seems right to reserve the word “faith” in the common vernacular to refer to belief in God, miracles, transcendent realities and deities in the absence of the “ordinary support of evidence or argument” and therefore either go beyond reason or [at least seem to go] against it (33).  The field of apologetics in the Christian worldview that seeks defend Christian faith need not be taken to presuppose that one must have good evidence and argument before one accepts faith, but can be seen rather as more of a defense mechanism against attacks of skeptics who claim that Christian faith is irrational, as Baggini understands it (93).

Faith is the belief in things not seen yet and having hope in that what the person beliefs would be or become a reality and part of its or their own life. Faith also does not have to be build on everything which can be made clear or would have to sound sensible.

Faith is not the same as believing.  Believing in nothing is also faith, because the person has the faith he is right and the other is wrong. As such atheist also believe in things, like the world is round or did commence with the Big Bang or with something else. They also might think or believe this or that may happen when they die or with the world in the future.

All people have to make choices in their life of what they want to believe and what they want to follow as something where they can believe in or have faith in. In Scriptures we are told that we do have to make choices to take care of our life. In the Book of books is warned that we should make the right choices to find the right path, because there are many directions human being can go to.

Faith is much more than religion, believe in the seen and unseen. It is a state of mind which demands action. In the previous chapter we spoke about the Soul which was presented by the ancient philosophers and storytellers as the Psyche or Eros, which had everything to do with love, which makes us heads turn round. That ‘love‘ is an action which demands an other action. So also faith requires action. It is more than just a state of mind, a state of heart, an intent, or emotion. Biblical Faith is so much more than the worldly faith which can do not much. We do believe the words of the Holy Scriptures which tell us that the Biblical Faith can move mountains.

Faith can be found on earth, though Jesus asks his followers if it would be possible to find it when he returns (Luke 18:8). After Jesus had rested his soul and was resurrected by his Father, the apostles their soul found peace when the Comforter had given them the power to speak about their faith in Christ. Today there are still many, but not so much, who still keep the same faith as Jesus and his followers. They feel they are ‘one’, ‘united in Christ’ having one master, one faith, one hope, one and the same direction on the path of Truth and aiming to enter together the small gate to the Kingdom of God.

” (1)  I call upon you therefore, I the prisoner of the Master, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called,  (2)  with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  (3)  being eager to guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace –  (4)  one body and one Spirit, as you also were called in one expectation of your calling,  (5)  one Master, one belief, one immersion,  (6)  one Elohim and Father of all,1 who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Footnote: 1Mk. 12:32,34, 1 Cor. 8:6, 1 Tim. 2:5, Mk. 12:29-34.  (7)  But to each one of us favour was given according to the measure of the gift of Messiah.” (Ephesians 4:1-7 The Scriptures 1998+)

Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto the Creator of heaven and earth. Those who want to believe in God do have to take the right steps and must believe that God is the Most High, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after him. (Hebrews 11:6) Those who have faith in Christ would love to have the love Jesus had for all those around him. And there where many people with different beliefs which came to see the Nazarene. The rabbi created a pluralistic community of tolerance where unconditional love was practised and still should be practised by those who call themselves Christian. Jesus world is one where the virtue of good deeds outweighs the virtue of formal creeds and where nobody imposes doctrines on others.

Religious authority may by many placed in a denomination. But the church or community Jesus had in mind is not build on an other than God and on the person Jesus, who should be the cornerstone. In case it is constructed on a book, it should be the Book of books, the Bible or Holy Scriptures. Faith and religiosity do not lie in an other person, or institution, but in ourselves. For all people in the community believe should continuously be growing and that should make the religious wisdom ever changing. God His Revelation is continuous and we all have to grown in His Wisdom. All are created in the image of God, believers but also atheists. All have the inner feelings or that what some would call “instinct”.

Faith in God and His son brings people of the same faith together to dwell with each other in peace like brethren and sisters and helping each other to seek knowledge in God’s Gift of Knowledge and Guidance, which can be found in the Bible. In Christ we are liberated of the chains of the world and should also be willing to give all others that freedom, to serve humankind in fellowship — “to the end that all souls (= all beings) shall grow into harmony with the Divine” — Thus do we covenant with each other, and with God.

Most Non-trinitarians or Unitarians do have similar views on our relationship with others in the world, Jesus, the son of God and his Father, the Only One God. They are ware that scientists have good reason to point at the natural causes of disasters. A great deal of the suffering and injustice in the world is owing to human agency, and it is up to human agency to set it right.

According to us those who do not believe in God should still have a purpose in life, and to make the best of it they also should have certain faith in something or somewhat.

Theo Philo quotes in Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

a purpose or meaning given to a creature by its creator just isn’t necessarily the kind of purpose or meaning that we are looking for in life when we wonder what the point of living is for us.  If the only point in living is to serve somebody else’s purposes then we cease to be valuable beings in our own right and we merely become tools for others, like paper knives or cloned workers.  This is why a belief in a creator God does not automatically provide life with a meaning.

We do believe the Divine Creator has implanted in every human being the capacity to think and to make choices. Created in the image of the Creator each person has some elements of God implanted in his or her genes. This makes that each individual can use his or her brains to find the truth. For God each individual is himself or herself responsible for the choices he or she is going to make on the path of life.

God does not want to see or is interested in people being content with being a slave to someone else’s purpose and adopt that existentially for himself or herself so that it becomes not just a purpose for somebody else, but for him or her also.

Baggini compares this to a cast system where a certain class of people genuinely thinks it’s their purpose to work for the aristocracy and the upper class.  This certainly puts a dark spin on the otherwise glowing boast of theists who claim to have a “higher” purpose. {Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

It is wrong to think

the religious has to take something on complete blind trust

The Creator wants people to consider what they do. He would love to see people who make the right choice because they thought about it and have reasons to make such or such a choice. We do agree that there are many religious people who actually don’t have any clue what the meaning or purpose of life is, but that they simply trust God has one for them.

Baggini writes in his book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

“there is still the troubling doubt that a meaning that is given to us by others isn’t necessarily the kind of meaning which makes life meaningful for us. … So God or no God, if life is to be really meaningful it must be so in a way which speaks to our own projects, needs, or desires and not just the purposes of whatever or whoever created us”

Such a personal speaking in our inner self, our inner soul, is what going to form us and shall make us into the being that we shall be at the end of the ‘ride’, the ‘end of life’, when all the books of our being shall be closed and we shall find ourselves facing death in peace or in angst.

When people start the race of life, they at first have not enough background to think reasonably and to put their words and way of thinking in good order. When they get older they should come aware of what is good and and what is bad, even when they do not believe in a god or in the God. As we become older and get more knowledge we can open our mind to the “Beginning of everything” it is the Divine Creator, so that He can call us. When He calls us it it up to us to decide if we want to listen to His Words deep in us and want to find His Words in the Book of Guidance He has given the world. Once called the ball in in our camp and we do have to make the goals.

On our way we can encounter all sorts of people and can read all sorts of book, which can give us more knowledge or can get us to think so that we can build up our knowledge to come to more wisdom. With all the information we can get we can come into a state where we do not need to have scientific proof for certain things. We shall have enough knowledge to know which works (books, documents, documentaries, films) we shall be able to trust. But we shall have also enough knowledge to get to know which words we do have to follow and to believe. The seen and unseen shall than not be so important, because the mind shall be constructed to find the necessary building-stones to continue to build in faith.

When we allow knowledge and intelligence create the background for our life and are prepared to change things, we can let faith conquer. when we reached that stadium faith shall be able to give life. Than faith does the impossible. Though we should be aware that faith has to be practised and that it is dead when there are no works to proof the faith.

“(17)  Now this I say, Torah, that came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously confirmed by Elohim in Messiah, so as to do away with the promise.  (18)  For if the inheritance is by Torah, it is no longer by promise, but Elohim gave it to Aḇraham through a promise.  (19)  Why, then, the Torah? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made. And it was ordained through messengers in the hand of a mediator.  (20)  The Mediator, however, is not of one, but Elohim is one.  (21)  Is the Torah then against the promises of Elohim? Let it not be! For if a law had been given that was able to make alive, truly righteousness would have been by Torah.  (22)  But the Scripture has shut up all mankind under sin, that the promise by belief in יהושע {Jeshua} Messiah might be given to those who believe.  (23)  But before belief came, we were being guarded under Torah, having been shut up for the belief being about to be revealed.  (24)  Therefore the Torah became our trainer unto Messiah, in order to be declared right by belief.  (25)  And after belief has come, we are no longer under a trainer.  (26)  For you are all sons of Elohim through belief in Messiah {Jeshua}.  (27)  For as many of you as were immersed into Messiah have put on Messiah.” (Galatians 3:17-27 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (17)  So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead.  (18)  But someone might say, “You have belief, and I have works.” Show me your belief without your works, and I shall show you my belief by my works.  (19)  You believe that Elohim is one. You do well. The demons also believe – and shudder!  (20)  But do you wish to know, O foolish man, that the belief without the works is dead?  (21)  Was not Aḇraham our father declared right by works when he offered Yitsḥaq his son on the altar?  (22)  Do you see that the belief was working with his works, and by the works the belief was perfected?  (23)  And the Scripture was filled which says, “Aḇraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” And he was called, “Elohim’s friend.”  (24)  You see, then, that a man is declared right by works, and not by belief alone.  (25)  In the same way, was not Raḥaḇ ? the whore also declared right by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?  (26)  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also the belief is dead without the works.” (James 2:17-26 The Scriptures 1998+)

People of faith may look at the people of science and may listen to the men of philosophy, but they also should give priority to the Words of the Most High and trust in His guidance, trying to find out about the seen and unseen, and not just taking everything for granted, always should he be prepared to question things and to do his research.

Every day we should try to get more knowledge and consider that the Spirit fathoms all things, even the inmost depths of God’s being. For what man is there who knows what a man is, except the man’s own spirit within him? We should keep looking for answers and new things. From the beginning of creation god has given man the right to name things and to create things for himself. We should not stop trying to answer the many questions that come unto us. We also may look at the world religions where they may or may not worship a godhead. (It is wrong to think religion requires a belief in God. There has never been a universal legal definition of religion in English law, given the variety of world religions, changes in society, and the different legal contexts in which the issues arise. The court decided: Religion should not be confined to faiths involving a supreme deity, since to do so would exclude Buddhism, Jainism, and others)  The Christian religion or faith in God and in His son is all about not just A god but about the True God, though many of us may not know exactly what or Who He/She/It is. (see previous posting.) So, also, no one comprehends what God is, except the Spirit of God.  When we choose to follow Christ Jesus we took a stand and we should know that it is not the Spirit of the World that we have received, but the Spirit that comes from God, that we may realize the blessings given to us by Him.

We should speak about these gifts, not in language taught by human philosophy, but in language taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things in spiritual words.  The merely intellectual man, when he is vain, shall probably reject the teaching of the Spirit of God; for to him it is mere folly; he cannot grasp it, because it is to be understood only by spiritual insight. But the man with spiritual insight is able to understand everything, although he himself might be understood by no one.  For ‘who has so comprehended the mind of the Most High Supreme Being as to be able to instruct him?’

Real Christians, however, have the very mind of Christ.

“(4)  And my word and my preaching were not with persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  (5)  in order that your belief should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of Elohim.  (6)  Yet we speak wisdom among those who are perfect, and not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age that are being brought to naught.  (7)  But we speak the wisdom of Elohim, which was hidden in a secret, and which Elohim ordained before the ages for our esteem,  (8)  which no one of the rulers of this age knew, for if they had known, they would not have impaled the Master of esteem.  (9)  But as it has been written, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor have entered into the heart of man what Elohim has prepared for those who love Him.”1 Footnote: 1Isa. 64:4.  (10)  But Elohim has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all matters, even the depths of Elohim.  (11)  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? So also, the thoughts of Elohim no one has known, except the Spirit of Elohim.  (12)  And we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from Elohim, in order to know what Elohim has favourably given us,  (13)  which we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Set-apart Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual matters with spiritual matters.  (14)  But the natural man does not receive the matters of the Spirit of Elohim, for they are foolishness to him, and he is unable to know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (15)  But he who is spiritual discerns indeed all matters, but he himself is discerned by no one.  (16)  For “Who has known the mind of יהוה {Jehovah}? Who shall instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Messiah.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-16 The Scriptures 1998+)

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Preceding article: Science, belief, denial and visibility 1

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Please do also find to read:

  1. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  2. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  3. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  4. Experiencing God
  5. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  7. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  8. Faith
  9. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  10. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  11. Not enlightened by God’s Spirit
  12. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  13. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  14. Choices
  15. Always a choice
  16. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  17. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  18. To be chained by love for another one
  19. No man is free who is not master of himself
  20. Fear and protection
  21. Only the contrite self, sick of its pretensions, can find salvation
  22. Choose you this day whom ye will serve
  23. It is a free will choice
  24. For those who make other choices
  25. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  26. Answering a fool according to his folly
  27. You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone
  28. What’s church for, anyway?
  29. Feeling-good, search for happiness and the church
  30. The one who has not had a taste of love
  31. Casual Christians
  32. Christianity is a love affair
  33. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  34. What Jesus did: First things first
  35. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  36. The Greatest of These is Love
  37. A treasure which can give me everything I need
  38. The task given to us to love each other
  39. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  40. God demonstrates his own love
  41. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  42. Unarmed truth and unconditional love
  43. Unconditional love
  44. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  45. No fear in love
  46. When we love we do not need laws
  47. Love envieth not
  48. Love turns one person into two; and two into one
  49. Love is like playing the piano
  50. Love will cure more sins than condemnation
  51. If we love one another, God lives in us
  52. Spread love everywhere you go
  53. Love and cultivate that which is pure
  54. Blessed are those who freely give
  55. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  56. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  57. Work with joy and pray with love
  58. Self-preservation is the highest law of nature
  59. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  60. Growth in character
  61. God let my compassionate affection be tolerant and kind
  62. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  63. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  64. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  65. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  66. Parts of the body of Christ
  67. Breathing and growing with no heir
  68. God loving people justified
  69. United people under Christ
  70. Small churches of the few Christadelphians

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Additional reading:

  1. Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  2. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  3. Against Religion? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  4. Concluding Remarks :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  5. The Unitarian Universalist Church: A Personal Encounter
  6. What Evidence is There That God Exists?
  7. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  8. Direct Faith & Belief
  9. Understanding faith for our salvation
  10. We Have the Best Home
  11. Warning! Get Out of Her – My People!
  12. Researching outside of the Bible – is it safe
  13. “Exercise Faith” / “Believe” and the New World Translation
  14. Why Watchtower has no place criticizing other Christian faiths as unscientific

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  • Why The Big Bang? (thebuybulljournal.wordpress.com)
    The difference in The Big Bang and Creationism and why The Big Bang has credibility and Creationism has none.
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    Believing in something does not make it true. No amount of belief makes something true.
  • Come on, atheists: we must show some faith in ourselves | Zoe Williams (theguardian.com)
    This week a 23-year-old Afghan man became the first person to be granted asylum in this country on the basis of his atheism – which, his lawyers argued, would have made life impossible in his country of birth, where religion permeates every aspect of life.
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    Australia accepts the principle of atheism as a belief to be protected, while the United States doesn’t. It’s one of those things nations can cherry-pick from the fruit bowl of international law without feeling that their “civilised” status is compromised. It may be the only belief of that kind right there in the 1951 refugee convention, but with no back-up institution vulgar enough to insist upon it. That is part of our problem, us atheists: we don’t organise.
  • The Irrationality of Relying on Science Alone: God and Science Are Not At War (stopsines.wordpress.com)
    I want to be clear up front that science is not the means to “discovering” God. Science is an immanent discipline. It studies this dimension of our existence. I have always been curious then as to why we’ve tried to use it to justify our belief or lack of belief in a transcendent being. While we hold that science only tests the physical reality, we do not hold that God is bound by the dimensions of this physical reality. By nature, he is beyond time and space. This is what it means to be God. What potter is confined to the size and shape of his clay pot? God is beyond or outside of our dimensions. This is what I mean by transcendent. This is why I say that science will never arrive at God. It is an immanent discipline, testing only what is confined by time and space, and therefore cannot discover transcendent truths.
  • Philosophy v science: Julian Baggini talks to Lawrence Krauss (3quarksdaily.com)
    Julian Baggini No one who has understood even a fraction of what science has told us about the universe can fail to be in awe of both the cosmos and of science. When physics is compared with the humanities and social sciences, it is easy for the scientists to feel smug and the rest of us to feel somewhat envious. Philosophers in particular can suffer from lab-coat envy. If only our achievements were so clear and indisputable! How wonderful it would be to be free from the duty of constantly justifying the value of your discipline.Philosophy-science-009However – and I’m sure you could see a “but” coming – I do wonder whether science hasn’t suffered from a little mission creep of late. Not content with having achieved so much, some scientists want to take over the domain of other disciplines.
  • Atheists Should Accept the Grim Truth Wherever They Find It (str.typepad.com)
    Atheists should point out that life without God can be meaningful, moral and happy. But that’s “can” not “is” or even “should usually be.” And that means it can just as easily be meaningless, nihilistic and miserable.Atheists have to live with the knowledge that there is no salvation, no redemption, no second chances. Lives can go terribly wrong in ways that can never be put right…. Not much bright about that fact.

    Stressing the jolly side of atheism not only glosses over its harsher truths, it also disguises its unique selling point. The reason to be an atheist is not that it makes us feel better or gives us a more rewarding life. The reason to be an atheist is simply that there is no God and we would prefer to live in full recognition of that, accepting the consequences, even if it makes us less happy.

  • A Bad Reason for Thinking that Atheism is not a Religion (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    a mere lack of belief in something cannot be a religion.  But atheism is not a mere lack of belief in something.  If atheism is just the lack of god-belief, then tables and chairs are atheists.  For they lack god-belief. Am I being uncharitable?  Suppose someone defines atheism more carefully as lack of god-belief in beings capable of having  beliefs.  That is still unacceptable.  Consider a child who lacks both god-belief and god-disbelief.  If lacking god-belief makes him an atheist, then lacking god-disbelief makes him a theist.  So he is both, which is absurd.Obviously,  atheism is is not a mere lack of belief, but a definite belief, namely, the belief that the world is godless.  Atheism is a claim about the way things are: there is no such thing as the God of Judaism, or the God of Christianity, or the God of Islam, or the gods of the Greek pantheon, or . . . etc.  The atheist has a definite belief about the ontological inventory: it does not include God or gods or any reasonable facsimile thereof such as the Plotinian One, etc.  Note also that if you deny that any god exists, then you are denying that the universe is created by God: you are saying something quite positive about the ontological status of the universe, namely, that it does not depend for its existence on a being transcendent of it.  And if it does not so depend, then that implies that it exists on its own as a brute fact or that it necessarily exists or that it causes itself to exist.  Without getting into all the details here, the point is that if you deny that God exists, this is not just a denial  of the existence of a certain being, but implies a positive claim about the ontological status of the universe.  What’s more, if  there is no creator God, then the apparent order of the universe, its apparent designedness, is merely apparent.  This is a positive thesis about the nature of the physical universe.Atheism, then, is not a mere lack of god-belief.  For it implies definite positive beliefs about reality as a whole and  about the nature and mode of existence of the physical universe.
  • Are Liberals Too “Special” to Go to Church? (religiondispatches.org)
    New research from psychologists from the New York University suggests that the desire to feel unique can undermine consensus, cohesion, and mobilization—at least in political contexts.
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    Stern, et al found that “liberals underestimated their similarity to other liberals, whereas moderates and conservatives overestimated their similarity to other moderates and conservatives.”Further, the researchers found that liberals “possess a greater dispositional desire to be unique,” which, they suggest, “likely undermines their ability to capitalize on the consensus that actually exists within their ranks and hinders successful group mobilization.” The “desire to conform” among moderates and, to a greater extent, conservatives, likewise, “allows them to perceive consensus that does not actually exist and, in turn, rally their base.”Liberals, that is, emphasize in their beliefs, actions, and self-understanding uniqueness, creativity, and non-conformity even in the face of sameness. Moderates and conservatives, by contrast, focus on similarity and commonality even when little may in fact exist.
  • Atheism Was the First to Show Me Compassion (jessedooley.wordpress.com)
    what is the issue with the idea of God that pushes most atheists to reject religion and to see it as the supreme evil?
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    When the tribal deity is the supreme king, and that deity is interpreted from a fundamentalist, all-or-nothing approach, then nothing can penetrate or alter that worldview, regardless of the reasonableness of the argument.
  • Julian Baggini – Can you be too intelligent? (prn.fm)
    Our brains are incredible things, for sure, but without the motivations, desires and preferences generated by our animal natures, they would have nothing to do. At this time of the year, for example, we celebrate good food, good drink, good friends, and family – good or otherwise. From a purely rational point of view, none of these things would have any value, because reason alone distinguishes only true and false, not good and bad, better or worse.
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Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

Experiences and Interest in philosophy and spirituality

I think it is wrong to think philosophy can not go together with spirituality. I also think it is wrong to assume that when a person is interested in philosophy, he would not be interested in the spiritual or the religious.

Expérience

Expérience (Photo credit: Saturne)

The world itself presents itself in a succession of pure experiences which we should see. We can either ignore what is going on in the world or look at it question the what and why’s and how’s. Often the human beings can not qualify these experiences in a way by which all would agree with.

Should we not recognise that those things which come along our way are always felt and undergone by our own self, which was constructed by previous experiences and learnings. In a way this may give us always the way of the subjective choice and subjective sense or experience. Each is simply a pure impression that is made upon us at some point in our life, where we do have a certain education or development which shall obey the laws of our state at the moment.

Experiences and Impressions

Reality appears to us first as an unqualified multitude of original impressions that cannot be compared or ordered in anyway without our previous learnings. Is our experience not mere juxtaposition in space and succession in time; an aggregate of utterly disconnected particulars?
Living in this world we can not do without seeing what is happening around us. We can not merely observe the things, and not bring them into thought-relationships.

The things which happen in our lives shall give us our experiences. Those experiences will create senses and shall be our best teacher, experience being the mother of wisdom. To take on any qualities or relationships whatsoever thought or reason must act upon them. It is the process of thought that attributes qualities to pure experiences and relates some experiences to others to build an understanding of the world.

Conscious or unconscious direction with second nature

Our way of thinking or the process of thought should proceed through certain ways be it our conscious or unconscious direction. Our brain should go on working, considering what happened and analysing everything. Probably it shall order everything, classify it. This using some organic laws of interconnection. These laws are part of the world of thought itself and not completely within our control. Pure experience presents itself in a spontaneously emerging stream and thoughts grow out of that experience making it distinguishable to us and situating it in relationship to the rest of experience.

Some do consider the process of thinking not a human activity. We may say that thoughts emerge out of pure earlier experiences and are dependent on our upbringing or rearing and the language we learned, both becoming a second nature.

Out of body experience

Out of body experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our religious thinking and being should also become such a second nature. From the Bible we can learn that the ‘soul‘ is not an external element in our being. Many Christians and Muslims imagine there are a good and a bad angel sitting on our shoulders and talking to a soul which can go out of our body when we die. For them this human soul is to be a phantom-like inner being that contains our conscience and moral fibre. It is the element which can let us do good or let us do bad, under influence of other spirits called either angels, for the good ones, and devils, like Satan and Lucifer, for the bad ones.

Breath given by Creator

Those people forget that it was God Who blew his breath in the nostrils of the first man and woman, to bring them to life. The Pneuma or spirit in those first human beings was not something separate from them. It was their breathing, their being itself.

The soul is not a specific element as such but the transcription of the inner being and the thinking which happens by ‘electronic actions’ in our brain and by breathing. Without breathing we shall not be able to give oxygen to our brains by which they will not be able to work, and with a non-working brain we are as good as dead.

You could say that the soul is our “background of our being”. This ‘being’ has to be fed to stay alive. And because it is not a material element it has to find its food in the immaterial. therefore we as human beings should also give food to the immaterial elements of our being, our “body and soul”.

God gave breath to all creation, but the difference between man and the other living organisms is that god has given more power to man. He has received the power to think, to make choices, to make decisions, to give names and to handle like he wishes to do. But all his actions will create experiences, be it nice or bad ones. He shall have the choice to learn from them or to continue his life without learning more from those things that overcame him.

Material and immaterial being and understanding

Like the soul in an immaterial thing, our thinking its coming to understand something is an abstract element. Understanding is “an abstraction which the human mind forms by reflecting on its own thoughts and forms of thinking.” This knowing is a natural product of the process of mind and it is bound up in, and limited by, language. {Coleridge}

Coleridge asserted that it is a process that requires no “self” to enact. It is a natural process of the lawful interaction of mental elements, a simple unfolding of the characteristics of the mind in nature. But I do think we do have a responsibility and we do have the choice and power to have the self to come to understanding.

I believe when we do open our mind to different thoughts we can enable ourselves to learn more. I also believe this is one of the tasks God has given His creation in the Garden of Eden. We can only give the plants and animals name and classify them in groups when we do have the knowledge and skill to do so. This would not require that we all have the same certificate of proficiency or that we may excuse ourselves when it is not in our domain.

Given brains and reason

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, wher...

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, where a homonculus sits in a person’s head seeing and hearing everything that he experiences. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because God has given us brains to use, we should use them. So we should think about matters and question things. This questioning things may fall under philosophy. Today many may say “Reason is a direct product of the reasoning faculty.”, but that is not taking the Creator in mind. He had a reason to place human beings on this earth having a brain to reason. Reason is a direct product of the power of creation, Who Himself is Spirit. God is not a man of flesh and blood, but a Spirit without a beginning and without an end. His breath gave us spirit, making us capable to reason, to become reasonable figures in that Created World.

It is not an “accident” that reason comes to us. Reason is breathed into us by the Creator. Though many may think it is just something what happens accidentally, it is something which is in-breath in our human constitution. It may appear spontaneously without warning or precursor, but it is grounded or part of a growing seed, which can only come into existence when the person is willing to use his brain. It is from all the previous experiences, the teachings a person got, that he or she shall be able to think. Though this would not be possible without the Power of the Most High, the Spirit God. Without Him we are nothing. It is the Holy Spirit Who can give us ‘spirit’ to think about matters and to come to reason. God has implanted ethic thoughts in us. He has created us all in His image, so we all do have certain elements of the Supreme High Being. We do not all have the same elements, but somehow we all received enough elements to become full human being who can think properly and who should be able to find God. The Reason as such becomes Spontaneous Knowing. We all have received the power to get to Knowing. Some may think it is not an understanding that is constructed through any thought process, but they should remember the Creator who build in His creations the possibility to think and to come to conclusions. In our inner being we do have the key to come to understanding. It is the direct and self-authenticating recognition of truth.

Different ways to go giving different opinions

From the beginning of the world mankind questioned the Spirit God and for that reason Jehovah God gave man the possibility to work it out himself. Woman would bear children in pain and would find they all could be different, going their own way or helping each other. All had to make their own decisions and could think their own way. God allowed it to be so.

Because we all went different ways on the paths which lay in front of man, different opinions came into the world, and people could choose between many theses or postulates.

The direct knowing of truth is build in by the Creator and could happen spontaneously and also compulsively. The reasoning faculty is ‘knowing’ itself. It is not a process that leads to knowing. This implies that there is some part of us that simply knows the truth and cannot help but know it. But we are stubborn beings, though we do not want to admit it. We have direct sense impressions – smells, tastes, sensations, sounds and sights – which simply appear in awareness. We don’t call them into being and we cannot alter or avoid the way they present themselves. Ideas and intuitions also – upon their initial appearance – share the same unalterable immediacy of presence.

With this awareness of things, matters and background knowledge, we can hear others and see what others do or create. Seeing what happens in the world we can not ignore the inner language of thought. We can only deny our interpretation of experience, not the fact of having it.

Trying to perceive more knowledge

So we may experience a lot of things in our life, encounter lots of publications and thoughts. By tackling our taste to get more knowledge,we are not going against God His wishes. The opposite I would say. We should learn and we should try to get more knowledge.

With philosophy we may come into the domain of the seekers who search to get more wisdom, knowledge and understanding about reality. Did or do not many philosophers try to get to answers about life and about why and how things are? They do like to offer an explanation of the way things are where spirituality is a description of a position that we as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Trying to become one with self and environment

Experience

Experience (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

In the action of Spirituality a person tries to become One. Bring mind, soul, thinking in unison with his being, material body. By the spiritual action we do want to go to the source from which everything else originates, whilst by the philosophy we want to come to an understanding why and how human being went away from its source and how it can come back to this source again.

While Philosophy is generally in the mental state of consciousness, the mind taking efforts to know, the spiritual would love to come to that Source of knowledge, believing that there exist something more than the material being its consciousness that exist above the mental ranges.

Trying to transcend domain of rationale and intellect

Moral philosophy

Both the philosopher and the spiritualist may be willing to come to knowledge which transcends domain of rationale and intellect. The philosopher not so much concerned by the own individu or individual, person, character, his identity, but preferring to give objective pictures of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. Even in moral philosophy generally what we get is an explanation of why certain things are right and others wrong. What we don’t get is someone telling us that we should do the right thing. What we do with morality is left in our own hands.

Spirituality resides in higher regions and has much more to do with the own subjective personality. From the subjective point of view the spiritualist tries to go deeper into himself, looking for the realm of truth there and not as such by others. He knows that the soul is in each of us and is inseparable joined together with flesh and blood. In that casing of human flesh there is our way of breathing and thinking, spirit and moral judgment.

Trying to Relate things

We may be interested to see how we can relate to things, and therefore we can look what philosophers do have to say about that. Spirituality wants to go a step further than just knowing how things are related with each other. It tells us how we should be in relationship to the way things are. It can show us how we should react and by knowing what actions we do have to take we also shall be able to choose if we are willing to use such a knowledge to take on an attitude and to build up a religious field. Spiritualities always include philosophical explanations of the world, but those philosophical aspects are the backdrop for the main event which is direct instruction about how to live.

Door to transcendence

Understanding, intellect and the mind is one door to transcendence. From philosophers we can learn a lot, and we should take the opportunity to learn from their writings. But they will never be able to give the full answer. They mostly do not look for The Divine Source. In our normal consciousness people are so caught up with their emotions, sensations and thoughts and their own mind, they get full of themselves in the emptiness of the world. They become so active that there is no room for the Divine. There the spiritual person wants to go against. He wants to have his wondering not taking him to put Him in the chains of life.

No reason to be afraid of philosophy

To see clear
Man thinking on a train journey.

Man thinking on a train journey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christians should not be afraid that the philosophy would carry people away from the Divine. When this would happen it is because the person is not prepared to sincerely look for the Divine. Often the person going away from religion is because he does not see clear the difference between philosophy, religion, religiousness and spirituality.

The philosopher may have the love and intellectual search for wisdom. The spiritual minded person knows or believes there is something extra in our life than just the knowledge of the material world. The spiritual person does want to find knowledge to come to wisdom, but understands that wisdom is more that putting all facts together. To come to spirituality there must be more than the willingness to come to understand the own being. Besides the willingness to come to get to know the inner-self there is the love and opening of their hearts for the wisdom and the willingness to have it taking part in the relationship with others.

Sister and brother

We should understand that the religious person may like to look into philosophy and at the same time may look into spirituality. The two approaches can marvelously be like sister (heart) and brother (brain) in the process of coming to the point of Being part of the One on one side and then Becoming part of the big thing on the other side – in being active in life.

Relationship of unity and Oneness

So, I would say, do not mind letting philosophy going hand in hand with spirituality and making a person to become religious in the good sense of the word, finding and loving the Only One Who is One and wants us to be one and worshiping the Right One in a relationship of unity and Oneness.

The only thing a Christian should be careful for is that he does not get carried away with human thinking, but keeps himself concentrated on the sacral and spiritual matters, looking for the Most Important Being making our self being possible to be a being, the Only One God, the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

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Preceding articles:

Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro

Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite

Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit

Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer

Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News

Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up

Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful

How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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Additional reading:

  1. A concrete picture of what is to come in the future
  2. Migrants to the West #7 Religions
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  5. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. Separation from God in death, the antithesis of life
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  9. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  10. Wondering
  11. Believing to understand
  12. Light within
  13. Let tomorrow be sufficient
  14. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  15. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  16. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  17. Know by trying
  18. Knowing where to go to
  19. Think hard before you act today
  20. Disappointed expectations
  21. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  22. Put on the whole armor of God
  23. Weapons of our warfare
  24. A call easy to understand
  25. Getting of at the fence
  26. Hope as long as you live
  27. A goal is a dream with a plan
  28. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  29. Be humble like Christ
  30. The way God sees us
  31. Two forms of Freedom
  32. Altar everything in life
  33. Duty of encouragement
  34. Establish Priorities
  35. Luck
  36. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  37. Nothing noble in the flesh left to itself
  38. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  39. Created to live in relation with God
  40. God’s promises
  41. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  42. A love not exempting us from trials
  43. Call unto God so that He can answer you
  44. Life in gratitude opens glory of God
  45. Do not be so busy adding up your troubles
  46. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Sheol or the grave
  52. Satan the evil within
  53. Soul
  54. Destination of righteous
  55. Destination of the earth
  56. God’s design in the creation of the world
  57. God His reward
  58. Is there an Immortal soul
  59. The Soul not a ghost
  60. The Soul confronted with Death
  61. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  62. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  63. God wants to be gracious to you
  64. Invitation to all who believe

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Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

Today lots of youngsters their understanding of their faith is the faith that was “once for all entrusted.” This makes that often the “spiritual but not religious” group can be the most difficult to work with, primarily because they believe they have found a personalized expression of faith. But their faith was not placed in a seed that could grow in fertilized ground.

This painting is on display at the Kunsthistor...

Religious men and their actions because of their faith- Painting is on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History) in Vienna, Austria (site). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Church should bring in the fertilisation for its members to grow, be it slow but strong.

Much has been made about the growth of “nones” in the past few years, the group who consistently checks “none” on surveys about religious faith. As with all surveys, how questions are shaped determines how good the data is. If a question is multiple choice, the answers must fit within the parameters of the possible responses. For example: What is your faith? a. Christian b. Buddhism c. Islam d. Judaism e. Hindu f. none.

Clearly, that’s a poor question. It assumes the five major faiths are the primary conduits for the transmission of religious frameworks. While I believe that is largely true, there are other factors at work culturally right now. What does none or spiritual but not religious really mean?

writes a teacher of a Teaching World Religions summer term. {Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide}

In such courses about world religions or religion tous-court, you can see that lots of people want to restrict their idea about their god on others. They may say

I just believe in God

But then we should ask which God? Most people do take only a story from the four Gospels, one that is canonized by Church Councils, propagated by ministers and missionaries, and communicated to them through Christian denominational speakers. They are brought up with the religious concepts of their family idea and than they believe that their story is just one wherein they simply believe in God.

Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith

Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The radical individualism and consumerism in our culture makes a personalized faith seem perfectly normal. In Belgium, which is considered to be a Roman Catholic Country (though only 6% of the population still go sometimes to mass whilst 25% of the population visits the mosque very regularly), when you would ask what they believe and whom they think Jesus or God is, you would find very individual interpretations of the person Jesus, which some Catholics say is the son of God and do not believe he is God, though the godhead of Jesus is part of the Trinitarian dogma of the Catholic Church. But most Belgians want to believe their own thing and do not bother what the church may say. Lots call themselves Catholic or Christian (meaning the same for them) but do not follow the rules of the Pope and their church, not bothering to use preservatives or having abortions, having sexual relations than the own ‘regular’ partner, etc. Their religious life is standing far away from a spiritual life and from church life. The church is mostly only used to have a child baptism, a first and second communion, a wedding service and a funeral. That is what church stands for in Belgium, when they are not talking about all the abuses in that church.

According to some

All the new Christian categories — Christ follower, Jesus follower, follower of the Way (hell, just pick one)—are all concepts that are used intentionally to avoid the unhappy conclusion that the follower is really a Christian, but a Christian who doesn’t like the Christian tradition or church or some doctrine. Better to own the word Christian than have me interrogate you only to discover that you are actually a Christian. At that point, I think you’re dishonest, disingenuous, ignorant, narcissistic, or confused. None of those are good. {Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide}

Wherever you may look you shall see that many of your spiritual but not religious acquaintances have no genuine framework for their faith. Lots of the people who say they are religious or spiritual, are mostly enjoying some trend which is popular at the moment, and go from one fling into the other, but never stick to one ‘faith‘ for a long time.

The writer of The Parish believes that it’s a completely self-serving construct that allows them to believe, in the words of Christian Smith,

“God loves me and wants me to be happy.”

What that requires is no commitment to a larger tradition, and a radical internalizing of metaphysical assumptions, all of which are exempt from criticism.

Do you pray? Yes. Do you attend worship services? No. Do you have a sacred text? No. Will you go to heaven? Yes. What will it be like? It will be what I make it. How do you know there is a God? I just do. What’s he or she like? He loves me. He’s kind and forgiving and gracious. Why should he be those things and not angry, vengeful and capricious? He’s not. How can you know this? What tradition taught you this? I have no tradition. I just know this. I’m not a religious person, just spiritual.

Faith

Faith (Photo credit: sspantherss)

Often when you will present students of religion or people on the street and you

talk about all the Saturnalia and pagan syncretism you like, talk about substituting one pagan holiday for a Christian one, talk about borrowed symbols and commercialism, talk all you want about it; at its core, theologically (for Christians), Christmas is the coming of Messiah, and therefore, a religious high, holy day. It’s a celebration day, much like Easter (another holiday about which I’m weary of hearing stories of syncretism. One thing is clear, however it started, the Christian narrative won.), not a fast day like Good Friday. It is, by my estimation, the second most important day on the church calendar, following Easter, of course. {Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?}

The great church institutions by the years have mixed their theology with philosophical and pagan teachings so that that more became  “great pagan institutions” which allegedly “pickle” children’s brains by pouring “paganism” into them. We can see a society in decline where parents do not to set any more good religious examples for their children. It is time they will concern themselves with their offspring’s spiritual state, and again “plead God’s promises” to their children. We should long to do well by our children and grandchildren, striving to raise them well and encouraging other parents to do the same.  Parents should come to teach their children spirituality again. That spirituality must also include empathy, humanity, and critical thinking. Piety without these elements can devolve into fanaticism, with unsettling results.

Lots of people may know that lots of elements in their celebrations are from pagan celebrations, but they do not want to change their similar manner of celebrating what they want to place on that day the heathen use for their celebration. It does not matter for them that Jesus was a Jew who is not born on the 25th of December (Christmas-day); It is just a lovely time for them to be together and have everybody having a good time, giving each other presents and enjoying some nice food. Why should they change the tradition of their forefathers? And why should churches abandon such a festivals when those are the few occasions that they can get some people in their churches and get some more money in the till?

Almost all American and European forms of Christianity are first cultural, traditional and secondly theological. In the capitalist countries the people are more concerned with their material wealth than their spiritual wealth. Europeans like

Americans are largely shaped by consumerism, individualism, and materialism, the three idols of the market that serve to make all of us mini-narcissists. {Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?}

They want to enjoy their life with good food and lovely goods for their enjoyment. Fairy tales and mythical stories, ‘little lies for fun’ seem to be harmless for them and to create the mysterious atmosphere which attracts them and their children. The unknown and mysterious has always been an attraction.

The Knights of Columbus exhibiting their group identity in American society

In the United States some Christians do not want to know about the ‘unknown’ and do think the bible has to be take literally on all fronts. Their creationist and revisionist education might leave children ill-prepared to integrate into American society, and failed to grasp that some children might reject their fundamentalist upbringing altogether. For this reason it is important that God-loving people make it clear how we do have to interpret and follow the Bible. God loving people should be challenging historical revisionism. By remembering that history encompasses many narratives, not just one. By demanding accuracy in home school curricula. By reaching out to current and former home-schoolers and making accurate information available to them. And finally, by educating ourselves on the past and recognizing its impact on the present. Home-schooling and schooling at the church (Sunday school, Bible Study or Children’s Bible class) are powerful, useful tools. It represents a democratic approach to educational progress, innovation, and creativity. It allows a child’s learning environment to be tailored to individual and personal needs. When home-schooling or Sunday-school is done responsibly, it can be amazing. We should oppose irresponsible home-schooling or church training, where the educational method is used to create or hide abuse, isolation, and neglect, and where the child is not educated to go and search, to explore the world and to explore the Bible. They should train the children to read and study the Bible thoroughly and to go deeper into their own soul, learning them to meditate about everything they learn, be it in their daily school or at the church. The trainees at the church should make sure that social contact outside of church, family, and the home-school umbrella group is provided so that children do get to know the outside world and are aware of the world its ideas and way of living. Only by growing up in a church which is open to what is happening in the world the children would not become what we can call socially retarded to use the pedagogical technical term.

In certain developed countries we see a growing tendency to protect church life and to get the children away from what is really happening in the world. The religious sheltering of such a childhood in recent years has come more extreme and miserable by greater institutions and international homeschool conglomerate cults. Those groups not only present childish stories in which all do have to believe and activities everybody has to follow with the right dress-code, otherwise they are considered to be against the group. More attention is given to the outside appearance of the persons gathering than on the inner spirit. Often it is all about the creationist teaching and opposing scientists, not willing to see archaeologist their findings, which are all considered as contra-actions of the evil world.

They often try to drive home to their ‘trainees’ (typically 16-18 years old) that no matter what adversity or difficulty they are facing, either physical, mental, or spiritual, all they need to do is cry out to God and He will get them through it. But they forget that we did have received the responsibility to become resourceful fellows who should try to grow from the understanding of the Scriptural knowledge and use it in their daily life. To be able to stand strong in that daily life there should be a good relationship with the Supreme Being.

Most people are not interested in a good relation with their god, but with themselves. It has become already very difficult to build up a good relationship with one partner in this world which can be seen and touched. So who would try to have a good relationship with somebody who can not be seen nor touched, and who nobody has ever seen, or when it is Jesus who is already long ‘dead and forgotten’?

Dr. Tom Kennedy does find that correct religion, like bones, provides the proper structure for spirituality.  Spirituality grows in distorted ways without religion.

Imagine reaching over and grabbing the child’s head.  Then imagine lifting up the skeleton out of the imaginary child.  What would happen?  Spirituality would collapse to the floor. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

Religion, like bones, also provides much of the immune system for spirituality.

It helps to fight toxic influences that may corrupt one’s spirituality.  Two of the most toxic influences are the individual’s own selfishness and the willingness to let other people control one’s spirituality.  Of course, if religion itself becomes corrupt, one’s spirituality also becomes corrupt. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

Like the religion can be corrupted we should know that spirituality is not always so ‘clean’ as it may seem.

Many people think of spirituality as perfect and incorruptible.  Unfortunately, that is not true.  Non-religious spirituality emphasizes special experiences, something you feel.  If there are no feelings to this kind of spirituality, people would not pursue it. I have heard of many strange experiences that were labeled ‘spiritual’ just because there was a burst of pleasant feeling involved. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

Faith in words from a Book of books (Photo credit: hannahclark)

Religion in the Bible is a catalyst for our relationship with God, to Whom we have to bring a spirit which is pure and not hiding things for God Who sees everything, so that would be useless to hide something for Him. Our state of mind we do have to build ourselves. Others may help us but they can not do it for us or make it work for us. We ourselves our responsible for the way we want to think and the way we want to use the knowledge we receive by the years.

Jesus died on the wooden stake to make God’s religion and spirituality alive, dynamic and interactive with each other. He opened the way for humankind to come directly to the Creator God. Today Jesus sits at the right hand of God to be the mediator between God and man. by the brothers and sisters in the church we should be exhorted therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made not only for ourselves but for all men. We should know we live in a world where there are kings, presidents and members of parliament who have to make decisions for the community. So we better also pray for them that they may make the right decisions. Yes we should have our thoughts also at all that are in high place and pray for them and for that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity.
Each of us should look to find in himself or herself the way to become acceptable in the eyes of God. He that provided the human Saviour, who could understand his fellow man, who wanted that all men should be saved, and will come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,  who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times;  where-unto several people like the apostles and religious men were and are appointed a preacher and a teacher of the Gentiles or those who are not in the faith in Christ Jesus, in faith and truth.

” I Beseech you, therefore, first of all to offer to God, petitions, prayers, supplications, and thanksgiving for all men,  (2)  For kings and for all in authority; that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all purity and Godliness.  (3)  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour:  (4)  Who desires all men to be saved and to return to the knowledge of the truth.  (5)  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  (6)  Who gave himself a ransom for all, a testimony which came in due time.  (7)  For that testimony I was appointed a preacher and an apostle; I tell the truth and I lie not; and I became the teacher of the Gentiles in a true faith.  (8)  I wish, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up their holy hands, without anger and doubting thoughts.” (1Ti 2:1-8 Lamsa NT)

Religion, Catholic Community

Religion, Catholic Community having prayers and meditation together at a meeting (Photo credit: Parker Knight)

Lifting up the hands or going in prayer can be done on our own. But to come to a good prayer we better also do come close to ourselves. Be it also becoming in a more concrete relationship the world can offer. Away from the materialisation of things we can come in a transcendent form.

Where Transcendentalists assert their natural right to an individual relationship with God, defined only by one’s own will and a communing with nature, Puritans “sought both individual and corporate conformity to the teaching of the Bible, with moral purity pursued both down to the smallest detail, as well as ecclesiastical purity to the highest level. They believed that man existed for the glory of God, that his first concern in life was to do God’s Will and so to receive future happiness”. Puritans were largely responsible for amendments that mandated public education inspired by their belief that children could only conform properly to biblical and legal tenants if they could read them for themselves.

To come to the Truth, each person has to make the free choice to study the matter. Without reading the Bible and without the will to think about what is written a person shall not come to the Truth. No matter how he may be active in doing things for his church, how religious he  or she may look for the outsiders, when their is no burning spirit in the soul of that person, no willingness to go deep in him or herself, there shall not come an opening to the real faith Jesus had in front of his eyes.

Jesus was also brought up in a world full of traditions. He was a boy living in a Jewish cult and learned from the Torah, which was his guide. He looked at the different religious groups and dared to question them. He looked at the way they interpreted the Holy Scriptures, how they lived their faith and how they were are were not prepared to go into the mystics of faith.

In most spiritual traditions, mysticism lies at the heart of spirituality. ‘‘Mysticism’’ refers to transcendent, contemplative experiences that enhance spiritual understanding. Mystical experiences can occur during intentional practices designed to create openings for transcendent experiences, such as Christian contemplative prayer, Zen meditation, movement or dance meditation or Sufi dance; or they can occur in the process of living a lifestyle that is conducive to transcendent experiences, as in contemplative gardening. In either case, contemplative or transcendent knowing is associated with spiritual experience.

‘‘Transcendence’’ refers to contemplative knowing that occurs outside the boundaries of verbal thought (Wilber). Although transcendence can refer to increasingly abstract thought, contemplative transcendence involves transcending thought itself. Mystical experiences of transcendence can be brought into thought, but they do not originate in thought or sensory perception.

The spiritual person can become a transcendental person, going into mystical contemplative experiences. He either may become religious with it or stay out of religion. But this kind of spirituality, set apart from religion would be weak and might be directionless, or worse, narcissistic.  Jesus wanted us to have a vibrant faith that focuses on his Father and he wants us to use the teachings of the Bible to shape both our religion and our spiritual interactions with him and God. Our spirit has to become connected intimately with Jesus, God but also with our brethren and sisters in the community, plus feeling a love for the full creation of the Supreme Being, Jehovah God. This includes a good relationship with the animals, plants and all sorts of people, no matter which religion they may belong to. A good Christian should be a good follower of Christ, sharing the same love Jesus had for all people, no matter what they had done or how they felt about him. Jesus loved also his enemies, so we should do likewise.

Our religious and spiritual practices should focus on that relationship with creation. The spiritual practices should not merely be productive in a narrow sense but should be disciplined, creative and committed. The regularity of a spiritual discipline like meditation may give shape to what may otherwise be a fragmented life. as such it can enrich the religious life. Over time meditation may facilitate a growing freedom from destructive energies that inhibit healthy relationships. Such a growth in inner freedom makes us more available and effective as compassionate presences in the world.

As the great traditions emphasise, spirituality is actually concerned with cultivating a “spiritual life” rather than simply with undertaking practices isolated from commitment. It offers a “value-added” factor to personal and professional lives. So, for example, in a variety of social contexts spirituality is believed to add two vital things.

  • First, it saves us from being purely results-orientated. Thus, in health care it offers more than a medicalised, cure-focused model and in education it suggests that a holistic approach to intellectual, moral and social development is as vital as acquiring employable skills.
  • Second, spirituality expands ethical behaviour by moving it beyond right or wrong actions to a question of identity – we are to be ethical people rather than simply to “do” ethical things. Character formation and the cultivation of virtue then become central concerns.

Current evidence suggests a growing diversity of new forms of spirituality as well as creative reinventions of the great traditions. The language of spirituality continues to expand into ever more professional and social worlds – for example urban planning and architecture, the corporate world, sport and law. Most strikingly there are recent signs of its emergence in two contexts that have been especially open to public criticism – commerce and politics. Equally, the Internet is increasingly used to expand access to spiritual wisdom. So, on current evidence, spirituality appears to be less of a fad than an instinctive desire to find a deeper level of values to live by. As such, it seems likely not only to survive but to develop further into many new forms. {Is spirituality a passing trend?}

Church HDR

Church HDR (Photo credit: I_am_Allan)

The church community should not be afraid of those people who also want to be spiritual people. Every religious person in a way should be a spiritual person. Faith without works is dead. Each person believing in Jesus should know he should undertake efforts to understand those teachings, knowing the Torah and following the commandments of Christ and the commandments of God. Each follower of Christ should not only go out in the world on his own, no he should make efforts to meet regularly with other like minded people, considering them as his brothers and sisters in Christ. Gathering together they should ‘make church‘ and be united in the religion of the Body of Christ. In that Body or Church they should undertake actions, like reading the Bible, exhorting each other and Breaking bread with each other. This would mean they are have do do religious actions and to be religious in the tradition of the faith of Christ Jesus. But without their pure heart they would not be honest to the others in that community. So first of all each individual has to purify himself or herself, to which she or he can use meditation or spiritual exercise.

Religion and spirituality are complementary and should go together, uniting each of us in the name of Christ.

Bible School, USA

Christadelphian Bible school meeting.
United brethren and sisters in Christ.

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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

Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

Next: Points to remember of philosophy versus spirituality and religion

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Find also to read:

  1. Human nature
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. Only One God
  4. God’s design in the creation of theworld
  5. God Helper and Deliverer
  6. Gods hope and our hope
  7. God’s Will for Us – Gods Wil voor ons 
  8. Gods hope and our hope
  9. God’s measure not our measure
  10. God’s promises
  11. Gods Salvation
  12. Full authority belongs to God
  13. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  14. Jesus Messiah
  15. Servant of his Father
  16. Incomplete without the mind of God
  17. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  18. Faith
  19. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  20. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  21. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  22. Faith antithesis of rationality
  23. Faith is a pipeline
  24. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  25. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  26. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  27. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  28. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  29. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  30. Fellowship
  31. United people under Christ
  32. Parts of the body of Christ
  33. What part of the Body am I?
  34. Communion and day of worship
  35. Church sent into the world
  36. Pulpit reserved for the pastor
  37. Teach children the Bible
  38. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope
  39. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  40. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  41. Peter Cottontail and a Bunny laying Eastereggs
  42. Fr Paddy Byrne finds First communions and confirmations should be delayed
  43. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  44. The Soul confronted with Death
  45. Is there an Immortal soul
  46. The Soul not a ghost
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Destination of righteous

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Additional reading:

  1. Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide
  2. Is spirituality a passing trend?
  3. Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?
  4. Rewriting History — The History of America Mega-Conference: Part Three, “Religious Liberalism” And Those Magnificent Mathers
  5. Rewriting History — History of America Mega-Conference: Part Eight, Closing Thoughts
  6. Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?
  7. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them About God
  8. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them God’s Word « An Imperfect Life
  9. Let The Children Come ~ Be An Example « An Imperfect Life
  10. Let The Children Come ~ Pray for Them

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  • I am Spiritual but not Religious (passionistpartners.com)
    “I am spiritual but not religious.” This is the mantra voiced by a number of people, Catholics included. It means that such people savor the inner qualities of their faith in Jesus Christ but not the outer framework in which those qualities are contained.

    They respond warmly to the Christmas scene of Mary and Joseph kneeling close to Jesus as a newborn infant. They may resonate with the teaching of Jesus on the beatitudes, describing the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers. They may treasure His words on loving one another as he has loved us.

    But when it comes to graphically depicting these sentiments in ritual, music, art, architecture, vestments, ceremonies, processions, incense—this is a different story. They find such a discrepancy between thoughts and feelings, and the attempt at giving tangible expression to them fails miserably in the opinion of some people. The sermons are boring, the collection is scandalous, the singing is outdated, the prayers formulaic and out of touch with people’s needs and desires.

  • The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest (roguepriest.net)
    Jesus is central in one out of 16 or five out of 43 major religions practiced in the world today. (In the first list I’m excluding “no religion,” “new religions” and “other” for my count, and in the second list I’m pointing to Christianity, Christian Science, Jehova’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Rastafari.) By that count less than 6 – 11% of religions consider Christ important. With nods from Baha’i, Islam and Unitarianism, the figure rises to a max of 25%.
    Likewise, the majority of people in the world today do not follow any branch of Christianity.
    Yet the teachings of Christ loom large.
  • Religions and Spirituality (allowinglove.wordpress.com)
    diverse ethnicities and faiths from Passaic County gathered for one hour at Pa… SPARTA, NJ
  • Picking fights over religion and the separation of church and state (santamariatimes.com)
    how this kind of free-floating rage differs from Bible-beating preachers who blame earthquakes and tornadoes on other people’s sexual sins escapes me. The main characteristic of the fundamentalist mind is an inability to refrain from expressing contempt for beliefs different from one’s own — whether one’s spiritual example is Pat Robertson or Christopher Hitchens.
  • Spiritual Well-Being (casapalmera.com)
    piritual well-being is an integral part of mental, emotional and physical health. It is considered to be a primary coping resource on the journey of recovery and healing. This healing takes place in drug treatment centers, eating disorder residential programs and at trauma recovery. Spiritual well-being can be associated with a specific religion but does not have to be. This practice is merely one’s own journey to discover things of importance in life as well as one’s place among them. It can be practiced in numerous ways, with its main purpose being to find purpose and meaning in life. Spirituality and faith provide an opportunity to detach from circumstances and observe life with clarity and integrity. Spirituality can either be positive or negative. Spiritual well-being is a state is which the positive aspects of spirituality are shown. How the effects of spiritual well-being impact you is greatly determined by each individual.
  • My journey of faith (brynsthoughtsonfaith.wordpress.com)
    What might have happened if I was baptized into the Church of England, for instance? Would my faith have been stronger as a teenager? Would I have still gone down the route to the Catholic Church, given the opportunity?My early upbringing was, as such, not massively religious one way or the other. We did not go to Church (Anglican or Catholic) on Sunday, so as not to sway me one way or the other.
    From what I remember, my Primary School was Church of England in all but name, we had Assembly every morning, sang hymns and when Christmas and Easter came, we would sing in the local Anglican Church, St. Nicholas.
  • Obama Spiritual Advisor: President Very Religious (peacemoonbeam.typepad.com)
    President Obama’s spiritual adviser says the leader of the free world is more religious than most people think.
  • Enriching Your Spirituality: Famous Christian Quotes (quotes.answers.com)
    A poignant quote can have a profound effect. The simple truths contained in only a few lines have the power to inspire, calm, and encourage someone in need. This is especially true for Christian quotes. Whether you are struggling to find God’s purpose in your life or seeking comfort in a time a duress, these famous Christian quotes offer great help in times of need.
  • 10 Religious Quotes to Make You Think (quotes.answers.com)
    It seems that no matter what breakthroughs science makes in explaining the world, people will always have a need for spirituality and religion. Indeed, it seems that the only area with satisfying answers for many tough questions is religion. These religious quotes are collected from thinkers, writers, and lay people from a wide range of religious faiths and creeds. What they all have in common is that they are guaranteed to make you think.
  • Religious Rites: An Overview of Christian Funeral Services (christianity.answers.com)
    Regardless of your religious persuasion, a funeral service is one of the more somber rites that you might attend. In the Christian faith, even though death is seen as a passage to eternal life, saying goodbye to a loved one is very sad. This article details the common elements of most Christian burial services.

 

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).