~~April 8, 2014~~
What is religion? What is spirituality?
Those are questions that frequently come to mind. Some may agree, others will disagree. I believe that all opinions have value and all human beings’ beliefs should be respected and none push on anyone else.
Religion is a set of rules set forth by an “organization”.
Spirituality is the feeling of knowing there’s something bigger and higher governing our reality. It’s a “knowing” of inter-connectedness.
Religion refers to a set of variously organized beliefs about the relationship between natural and supernatural aspects of reality, and about the role of humans in this relationship. While religion is difficult to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who simply called it a “cultural system” (Clifford Geertz, Religion as a Cultural System, 1973). A critique of Geertz’s model by Talal Asad categorized religion as “an anthropological category.” (Talal Asad, The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category, 1982). Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle.
According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.
Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration of a deity, gods or goddesses, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith, belief system or sometimes set of duties; however, in the words of Émile Durkheim, religion differs from private belief in that it is “something eminently social”. A global 2012 poll reports that 59% of the world’s population is religious, and 36% are not religious, including 13% who are atheists, with a 9 percent decrease in religious belief from 2005. On average, women are more religious than men. Some people follow multiple religions or multiple religious principles at the same time, regardless of whether or not the religious principles they follow traditionally allow for syncretism.
The term “spirituality” lacks a definitive definition, although social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for “the sacred,” where “the sacred” is broadly defined as that which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration.
The use of the term “spirituality” has changed throughout the ages. In modern times, spirituality is often separated from Abrahamic religions, and connotes a blend of humanistic psychology with mystical and esoteric traditions and eastern religions aimed at personal well-being and personal development. The notion of “spiritual experience” plays an important role in modern spirituality, but has a relatively recent origin.
There is no single, widely-agreed definition of spirituality. Social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for the sacred, for that which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration, “a transcendent dimension within human experience … discovered in moments in which the individual questions the meaning of personal existence and attempts to place the self within a broader ontological context.”
According to Waaijman, the traditional meaning of spirituality is a process of re-formation which “aims to recover the original shape of man, the image of God. To accomplish this, the re-formation is oriented at a mold, which represents the original shape: in Judaism the Torah, in Christianity Christ, in Buddhism Buddha, in the Islam Muhammad.”
In modern times spirituality has come to mean the internal experience of the individual. It still denotes a process of transformation, but in a context separate from organized religious institutions: “spiritual but not religious.”Houtman and Aupers suggest that modern spirituality is a blend of humanistic psychology, mystical and esoteric traditions and eastern religions.
Waaijman points out that “spirituality” is only one term of a range of words which denote the praxis of spirituality. Some other terms are “Hasidism, contemplation, kabbala, asceticism, mysticism, perfection, devotion and piety”.
Spirituality can be sought not only through traditional organized religions, but also through movements such as liberalism, feminist theology, and green politics. Spirituality is also now associated with mental health, managing substance abuse, marital functioning, parenting, and coping.
It has been suggested that spirituality also leads to finding purpose and meaning in life.
Where is the truth? Who has the answer? What is right? What is wrong?
The truth is inside the individual. We all have the answer. There is no right or wrong.
Everyone has a set of core values and beliefs that serve as a compass to guide our travels in this life. All of us have the answers within.
Stop and listen to what your spirit is telling you.
That’s where the answer lies. There’s no need for outside rules.
~~From a very good friend who is an Anglican Bishop~~
“ I had a talk one day with a dear brother. One of the topics discussed was religion. With me being a leader of a faith group I’m in a bit of a rock and a hard place. Religion is what man says about God (collectively) … and I do not like organized religion because God always seems to be left out (I know my own cross to bare) … I keep God and Christ in my heart and do from there what needs to be done. So I do agree with the statement at the top of this post.
(Bows and leaves the pulpit).
Sometimes as I surf the web, I find many things that make me think, make me question what I believe. I found this video that expresses almost what my internal, core believes are to a “T”. This is articulating so clearly what I believe too!
I would like to share it with you.
~~What I Believe: Spiritual Living~~
~~Uploaded on Jun 3, 2010~~
This video is to help open the doorway of understanding about Spiritual Living. It doesn’t say it all … not even close … but if you are someone who considers themselves a member of Religious Science, Science of Mind, Agape or New Thought of some kind, this video is a great way to open the doorway or discussion.
Please feel free to use this video, if you agree with it and are moved to do so, to explain to others how you feel about your spirituality. I hope this video allows people who would normally avoid the conversation to open it instead.
Rev. Brian Akers
We ALL are connected through SPIRITUALITY!!
We ALL are ONE!!