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 5 Gnostic influences

Diagram of a Religious experience

Diagram of a Religious experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious and the spiritual person may be looking for certain experiences which can occur at several levels: physical, emotional, cognitive, pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgement, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes, and transcendent. For the religious person there is the groups-feeling which shall be important to give him or her the appropriate feelings. The belonging to a community or parish shall fuse the personal feeling and the feeling of being part of something more than the self. The individual is not as such concerned about his individuality in the universe but more about his unit or union with others in the world. “Belonging to” is the feeding ground for the religious person.

The spiritual person is not so much connected to a reason to belong to a group or being part of a community or parish. The Self and especially the inner-self are the motives underlying his quest and behaviour. His or her search to the inner-self are the grounds for a quality that can infuse experience in a wide variety of settings. Spiritual experience can be both transcendent and immanent: it can be both an experience of transcending worldly concerns and an intense present-moment perception that the ground of all being permeates all things. for the individual it is not a groups matter but a personal and an intense aliveness and deep sense of understanding that one intuitively comprehends as having come from a direct, internal link with that mysterious principle which connects all aspects of the universe. In Christianity and Ecclesiastical Terms the immanence came to be the relation to the pantheistic conception of God, as being present throughout the universe. A person could come to a state where he or she could make himself or herself free from the limitations inherent in matter, becoming Theol (of God) having continuous existence outside the created world in a well-built relationship with the Most High Creator God or with a godly being.

In the 19th century several people became convinced that society and its institutions — particularly organized religion and political parties — ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual.

Among others New England congregationalists, rejected predestination, and they emphasized the unity instead of the trinity of God. The many people who had seen how in Europe the church had corrupted the real Truth of the Bible, the infallible Word of God, were also convinced the dogmatic teaching of a Tri-Une God, three persons coexisting consubstantially as one being or homoousia (consubstantialis), had brought man away form the commandments of God not to worship pictures or sculptures of any heavenly being nor of Him, the God of all things. The Gnostics were the first theologians to use the word “homoousios”, while before the Gnostics there is no trace at all of its existence. Jesus, who was placed by God on this earth, was well aware of his position, being lower than the heavenly beings (the angels) and his Father, without Him he could do nothing and who is the Most High of all.

“You* heard how that I said to you*, I go away and I am coming to you*. If you* loved* me, you* would have rejoiced, because I said, I am going to the Father: because the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 MLV)

“But Jesus answered them, My Father works until now and I work. (18)  Because of this, then the Jews sought even more to kill him, because he did not only break the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(19)  Therefore Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you*, The Son can do nothing from himself, unless he sees what the Father is doing: for* whatever things he does, the Son is also doing these things similarly. (20)  For* the Father loves the Son and shows him all things that himself does and greater works than these he will show him, that* you* may marvel. (21)  For* just-as the Father raises the dead and gives-life to them, even so the Son also gives-life to whom he wills. (22)  For* the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son; (23)  that* all may honor the Son, just-as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. ” (John 5:17-23 MLV)

Already soon after the rabbi Jesus his death, his disciples were confronted with teachers who twisted Jesus his words and his teachings and mixed them with the Greek-Roman culture of that time. Lots of theories of the Greek philosophers did find their way in the faith of many early Christians, though the apostles kept warning for such false teachings. (See the Acts of the apostles and the many letters to the different communities.) Jesus of Nazareth never required his followers, many ordinary craftsman or fisherman, to follow theologian studies. But those who brought in all those studies of philosophers wanted their followers to learn them thoroughly. Therefore they created special institutions where this mix of teachings could be learned. by the years more time was spent on the teachings of the philosophers than on the Words of God. The early church theologians were probably made aware of the Gnostic concept, and thus of the doctrine of emanation, by them. {Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, vol. 1, From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (451) (London: Mowbrays, 1975), p. 109.}

It was what so many spiritual people kept busy, finding substance between generating and generated, getting to the identity of substance between things generated of the same substance that brought several people away from the Biblical Truth, finding the early Gnostic religious teacher Basilides in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117–138 CE.
Basilides believed faith was merely

“an assent of the soul to any of the things which do not excite sensation, because they are not present”.

He also believed faith was a matter of “nature,” not of responsible choice, so that men would

“discover doctrines without demonstration by an intellective apprehension”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book ii. Chapter iii.}

Image of a fiery purgatory in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Because Basilides believed faith was a matter of nature, doubtlessly he pushed election so far as to sever a portion of mankind from the rest, as alone entitled by Divine decree to receive a higher enlightenment. In this sense it must have been that he called “the election a stranger to the world, as being by nature supermundane”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book iv. Chapter xxvi.} It was also this teacher who brought in that Jesus his death was not enough to get liberated of sin. According to such a teaching it denies the value of the sacrifice of Christ by who’s death we can be adopted as a child of God and be reconciled, having paid for our sins by our death. The idea was created that people only could receive ‘reconciliation’ when they belonged to the Roman Catholic Church and had received a sacrament in which repentant sinners are absolved and gained reconciliation with God and the Church. Basilides deprived men of a salutary fear by teaching that transmigrations are the only punishments after death. In later years many churches used purgatory and hell-fire to frighten the people and to get them in their system as angst-ridden followers. Many denomination used it as the big stick to keep people in their flock, also telling them they only could be saved and could come in heaven by being a member of their church. Today we still notice such a preventative measure against going astray or leaving that church still works. The fear of loosing their heavenly life makes that many people do not dare to question those theologian doom teachings. Because Basilides held to a fatalistic view of metempsychosis, he believed the Christian martyrs were being punished not for being Christians, but for sins they had committed in the past. This made that people became afraid to loose their life when they would keep on to the teachings of the apostles and early followers of Jesus, who took him as the son of God and not as god the son. Taking on the symbols and worship methods of the Greece-Roman culture made them one of them and would give them less reasons to be killed.

Lots of religious people took the sign of the god of evil Tamuz, the cross, as the sign of the death of their god. The Only One God can not die and never did have an end to His life which is eternal, meaning ‘with no beginning and no end’. Jesus had a beginning, his birth and an end, his death. The ones from the New World had seen how the European churches not only brought in false doctrines like the trinity, but resisted also many other Christian doctrines which had become considered conventional for the Christian Faith. Searchers for the truth like Joseph Priestley, one of the founders of the Unitarian movement, defined Unitarianism as the belief of primitive Christianity before later corruptions set in. Among these corruptions, lots of people had taken on several pagan rituals and had made them custom actions in their religious life.

Soho House in Handsworth, Birmingham, a regular venue for meetings of the Lunar Society

At Daventry, Priestley was sufficiently grounded in Latin and Greek to hold his own in subsequent disputes with university-trained scholars. He was more generally introduced to a range of subjects in natural philosophy, but more significantly, he was there formally instructed in logic and metaphysics. In Birmingham he became preacher at New Meeting House, one of the most liberal congregations in England, and was soon associated with the Lunar Society, an informal collection of provincial intellectuals, scientists, and industrialists. Taking the Bible as the main guide for his study about God to compare with the historical writings about Jesus and his followers, he became the chief propagandist and protagonist for Unitarian beliefs in England, writing annual defences against attack, and developing in various historical and polemical works (for example, An History of the Corruptions of Christianity [1782] and An History of Early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ [1786]) a rationalist theology that suggests, in some measure, the ideas of textual and “higher criticism” of the New Testament. In the eyes of the church establishment, he came to represent the intolerable encroachments of dissent, and on him was focused their theological and political animus. {Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 2008} when he had to escape from conservative England he emigrated to the United States in 1794 where president John Adams and George Washington were welcoming his teachings and made him to feel at home.

Those people looking to save their life found in the religion preached by those theologians of the Old World could feel ways to feel at ease with the many traditional movements done by the people around them. Instead of abstaining them form those worldly actions they now could take part without hesitation and fear, being part of the world. For many it was quite easy now to be religious, because according to the teaching of the apostles and the non-trinitarians or unitarians, people themselves were responsible and had to make choices themselves to make sure they would be worthy salvation. In the gnostic and Roman Catholic Church and later in several protestant churches they could blame their faults to a devil, called Satan or Lucifer, and always could find penitence even when they kept doing the same bad things. In many cases churches were willing to accept money for pardoning.

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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

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

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Read also:

  1. Idolatry or idol worship
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. God of gods
  4. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  5. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  6. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  7. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  8. Christ Versus the Trinity
  9. Altered to fit a Trinity
  10. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  11. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  12. Through Christ’s death you can be adopted as a child of God
  13. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  14. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  15. Science and God’s existence
  16. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  17. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  18. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  19. What happens when we die?
  20. Fear and protection
  21. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  22. Satan or the devil
  23. Satan the evil within

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Additional reading:

  1. Paradise, the First Sin, the Fiery Sword, and the Path to Rectification
  2. Fear
  3. All trust, no fear
  4. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  5. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  6. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  7. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  8. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity

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  • A New Gnosticism (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    Well, after several months of thought, and being a bit dense, I figured out that Christian Scientism was a new Gnosticism. I suppose other people have known this, but I have beenin discussion with a friend who is a Christian Scientist and it finally dawned on me. She thinks that all reason is empiricism, so that is a confusion immediately seen.To the Catholic, reason and faith are two pillars of our spiritual life.

    For the Gnostic, the material world is evil. God is not part of the material. What the CS does with Genesis, in which we read that God created the world and everything in it and saw that it was good.

    For the Catholic, creation was created good by a good God. For the Catholic, Christ was Incarnated, became Man, became material. The CS does not accept this. To them, God is a principle not a person.

  • Embracing the Body as a Spiritual Path. (elephantjournal.com)
    The belief from many traditions is that we suffer precisely because we identify with our bodies, and that freedom is (somehow) somewhere beyond that mistake. But what I found over the years is that in fact the opposite might be true: we suffer when we do not embrace our bodies, and in fact it is our suffering in the first place that makes us reject, disconnect from and seek to be somewhere other than our bodies.chakrasHealing lies in coming home to the body. Whether it is recovery from trauma, abuse or addiction, learning to manage stress and be present with feelings, or releasing shame and media-conditioning to embrace our bodies as they are.
  • Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Skeletons in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 1) (kosmosys.wordpress.com)
    Gnosticism is known to have correlations with Christianity based on its status of heresy with the Roman Catholic Church. Without going into specifics just yet, one can assume that “correlations”,”similarities” mean concepts, persons, principles, histories, what have you. Another interesting (or troubling?) thing about Gnosticism is that it actually Predates Christianity, meaning that it was in existence Long before Christianity. The understanding of the term “heresy” (and we will officially define it later) is that it is a corruption or perversion of scripture already in existence. How can Gnosticism corrupt or pervert Christianity IF Gnosticism was already in existence? So, if we are supposed to believe that Christianity is “self-existent” (meaning that the events in the Bible Actually happened and the people in the Bible were Real) how is it possible for it to be influenced by a School of Thought older than it? How can Jesus’ teachings exist Before He was supposedly born?
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    Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Bones in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 2)
    What doctrine was the Church trying to silence? So by using Gnosticism, we can then get a new perspective on Christianity. We can look at its behavior, if you will, and understand exactly what, if anything, it is hiding in its closet.
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    According to NewAdvent.org, certain aspects of Gnosticism was in existence before that of Christianity, although at the time it was not called Gnosticism, as you can imagine, because Gnosticism itself was/is a spin off of older doctrines. One of the parent faiths of Gnosticism was the Babylonian Mandean faith, which I won’t even get into here. It is also pretty obvious that Gnosticism was not called such until it reached Greece seeing as the root of Gnosticism is “gnosis” meaning knowledge and is a greek word. So, according to this particular source, NewAdvent.org, “it is beyond doubt that Gnosticism existed independent of and anterior to Christianity.” Which means that there is no way that Gnosticism could come as a perversion of Christianity because it was here first.
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    As Christians have we not been trained to not think? What about the questions wehave been asked thathave been answered with a “don’t test God” or “God’s mysterious ways.” How many times hasCreflo dollar told us “don’t think! Sow!” How many times have we wondered where all our tithes and offerings are going? Who is spending it and on what?It is clear what the Church thinks about people with knowledge, people who think. Was Jesus not the reason for the slaughter of dozens of innocent men, women, and children during the Salem Witch Trials? How many of you knew the TRUE meaning of the terms listed above?
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    All I’m saying is that we need to open our eyes more. Ask questions. Understand things. Obviously there is more to be see than just meets the eye. There is more that needs to be learned. Otherwise, why would the Church cause so much bloodshed to silence the knowledge?
  • My Experience In The Word Of Faith Pt. 7-Watchman Nee,Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis (christianreasons.com)
    Pay careful attention to the reference regarding a deeper spiritual life. That will become important when we discuss the Keswick movement. The main thing I want to demonstrate is the link to Roman Catholic mysticism.Although the “Cross” is emphasized with the Higher Life advocates, the Sanctifying effects of union with Christ is stressed almost to the exclusion of the Justifying effects and the forgiveness of sins. I have a real problem with that. It is also common among Classic Wesleyans and Pentecostals to over-emphasize the more subjective aspects of Sanctification than the objective work of Christ in Justification.
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    The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary). His claims that the conscience is based on one’s intuition opens wide the door for being directed by a supposed inner voice from God rather than taking God’s written Word as the true basis of conscience training. The conscience is only as accurate as the training upon which it is based. development of a rather complicated system, with its own specific terminology, which means that the uninitiated cannot really grasp the “deep teachings” of God. The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary).
    +My Experience In The Word Of Faith Movement Pt. 6-Watchman Nee, Miss Margaret E. Barber, Roman Catholic Mystics
    + Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5.
    It has been in my exposure to the Reformers that I learned the broken ladders that the little theologians of glory in us love to use to get to God.
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    In The Normal Christian Life, (probably one of his more popular titles), Nee writes: “Righteousness, the forgiveness of our sins, and peace with God are all ours by faith, and without faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ none can possess them.” His whole exposition on the Blood of Christ in this book is very orthodox, and insightful. As far as it goes, it’s theologically sound.
  • Is It O.k. for Christians to Do Martial Arts? (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
    Many of the martial arts popular in the West have origins in parts of the world where Buddhist and other forms of religious philosophy are (or were) prevalent. Such philosophy is not essential to discipline and exercise, and indeed we can bring a Christian approach to bear, especially since we strive to focus not only on our own well-being but on selfless charity to others.
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    If it is simply a question of breathing exercises or seeking peace and harmony of soul, without the imposition of Pagan beliefs, then we can take part, though in our own practice we can bring to bear our Christian faith in which Christ is our peace, and the values of self-discipline and care of our physical health are seen in the context of a spiritual life in accord with the teaching of the Gospel.