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PostSubject: Religion vs. Spirituality   Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:59 am


Religion vs. Spirituality


It is fashionable today to disdain “religion” but praise “spirituality.” Religion is oppressive, they say, but spirituality is liberating. Spirituality is about being in touch with your inner self and the life-force that animates the universe. It’s about “values” and “reflection.” The New Age Movement is a manifestation of a thirst for such a “spirituality.” So is the Da Vinci code and the Gnostic brand of Christianity that lay behind it.



Speaking of the Da Vinci code, some wonder why the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas was not accepted by the early leaders of the Catholic Church. The answer is simple. The gospel of Thomas present Jesus as a teacher of “spirituality.” He utters mysterious sayings that awe his followers. But he does not lay his life down for the flock. There is no cross in the Gospel of Thomas. No sacrifice. No redemptive suffering. In Gnosticism, we’re saved through esoteric, mysterious knowledge that we gain through hearing.

That’s why there will always be DaVinci Codes, New Agers and other refried versions of the ancient Gnosticism. The idea of spirituality and redemption without suffering has perennial appeal.

The word “religion,” on the other hand, should cause us to pause for a minute. It comes from the Latin word meaning to bind oneself, to commit oneself. Religion involves taking on the yoke of duty to God and others. Forget duty! We’d rather have rights and privileges.

True, Christianity is a religion of grace. And grace is a great privilege. Salvation comes to us as a free gift which we could never earn on our own. But many Christians misunderstand this to mean that grace comes cheap, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, once pointed out...

On the contrary, grace is very costly indeed. To purchase this gift for us cost Jesus everything he had. The price of our redemption was his blood, sweat, and tears.

But receiving the grace of salvation is a costly thing too. To accept Jesus as Savior means accepting Him as Lord. That means that we must surrender our own will, pick up our cross, and follow him. His yoke may be easy, and his burden light. But keep in mind “Disciple” means one who comes under the “discipline” of a master. And discipline is usually not comfortable.

Jesus is quite up-front about this. Truth in advertising, you might say. It would be reasonable to expect that the closest companions of God would get extra privileges and great honors for their trouble. Like Mohammed, who said he got special permission from Allah to have more wives than allowed by Islamic law (14 in all, with one being 9 years old).

But Jesus was hated, not honored. He was betrayed by one closest to him and delivered up to torture by his own countrymen. And he warned his disciples that they could expect the very same thing (Lk 21:5-19).

“Spirituality” connotes to many quiet, tranquil meditation. An unhurried, restful, low-stress lifestyle. A philosophical life spent discussing spiritual things, like when Jesus might be coming back. Yet Paul tells us otherwise. Though in justice he was owed financial support from the Christian community for his preaching, he chose to accept nothing. Rather he preached for free by day and did manual labor by night to earn his keep. Why? So that he would be a burden on no one, have something to give to those in need, and offer an example to all (2 Thes 3:7-12). Some would say Paul was a workaholic. He admits that he worked day and night, laboring to the point of exhaustion. Others have called this attitude “the Protestant work ethic.” I think a better name for it would be love.

This is really what religion and true spirituality are about. The divine sort of love called agape or charity, that is not a matter of feeling good, but of giving of oneself even if it doesn’t feel good, even if it draws taunts rather than applause.

Of course, we couldn’t ever live out this divine love if it were not poured out into our hearts as a free gift of grace. But this grace is costly, not cheap.
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"He who fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." - Nietzche
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PostSubject: Indeed how you explained 'religion' is a simple understanding of it...   Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:06 pm

The attributes of a spiritual person: open-minded, open-heart, desiring a bit more 'things' that are not visible, seeking things that are mysterious in the physical world, felt and understood from within a person..deep. Though there is much that can be added in describing a spiritual person, these are strong fundamentals, or the elementary of spirituality. It can be very profitable for one to be spiritual, for ignorance is less frequent.

Yet if you go into detail regarding spirituality and religion, they seem to be more and more different by definition. Though if you generalize and see them from a further distance, they seem to mesh well. Another thing that can be linked with these two things can be philosophy. Though all three CAN be together, and work very well when blended. It can quickly separate from religion.

Regarding religion. I personally dont like the word, for it has truly created much controversy between many beliefs. I believe that religion is but a word that groups a belief along with other beliefs, yet separating them, and labels them as one. That is truly the big picture. We can talk about mormonism, catholicism, hinduism, buddhism, naturalsim, atheism, christianity, though many beliefs found within these groups, all relate a higher power, a supernatural. Linked to spirituality.

Now I believe that out of all the 'religions' listed above....ONE is indeed a true way. Containing nothing but the truth, true answers to life, the world, and much more. UNFORTUNATELY, it has been degraded by some due to the simple fact that it is now called religion. Something many people dread and rebuke. For it makes almost everyone uncomfortable if you speak of religion, or A religion. Its like a truly morally good and innocent guy, that has been sent to jail, not yet convicted of the crime that has been claimed against him. He resides with those who are indeed guilty of something, so many treat him the same way as a criminal. From the guards, to the judge. From the inmates, to the family members. All assuming he is indeed a criminal/guilty, but not. Making others turn their heads away from him, treating him disrespectfully. There is a truly TRUE way incarcirated in the jail of religion.

So many refrain from 'religion' and make there own empty beliefs and principles. Decieving not only others, but themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion vs. Spirituality   Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:01 am


20 years ago many predicted that a new consciousness is going to come and explode on the earth lifting the planet into a new golden age of enlightenment. It just so happens that spirituality is on the rise and religion is on the downturn…coincidence I think not lol. Spirituality resonates so well with people because they remember this is the way it is, it has been proven that our subconscious mind keeps track of all of our past lives so maybe our subconscious minds remember what it’s like in the spirit world so when were told of spiritual ideas something tells us inside that this is the way. A lot of people are turning away from religion because religion limits people and makes humans beings seen as second class, a being of poor quality who needs outside forces to take care of them and save them. Spirituality sees us as spiritual beings living a human experience and that this spiritual force inside of all of us (god, source) enables us with the capabilities to achieve anything our heats desire and gives us the power to believe that anything is possible examples are the law of attraction, people who can heal others, people who can heal themselves, people who can have out of body experiences… all of these people can do because they are aligned with the source or god in them. This is why jesus said when he performed miracles that it wasn’t him but god inside of him that performed the miracle and I believe god is inside all of us not just jesus and once we realize this our life will change for the better.


Regarding the gospel of Thomas, just because it talks about Jesus as being a spiritual teacher not a savior we should discard it. Maybe he was just a spiritual teacher and this gospel is the truth and those other gospels who claim he is the one and only true savior and god are wrong. The only thing backing up Christianity is the bible itself so lets just say hypothetically that one day that it was proven that the bible was false than Christianity would come down like a house of cards yet there are many spiritual texts that talk about jesus being a spiritual teacher not the savior who came to earth to die for our sins.

To me it seems that in Christianity it is more important to accept jesus as our lord and savior than it is to be Christ-like, to me this does not make sense.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion vs. Spirituality   Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:17 pm

Matt wrote:

20 years ago many predicted that a new consciousness is going to come and explode on the earth lifting the planet into a new golden age of enlightenment. It just so happens that spirituality is on the rise and religion is on the downturn…coincidence I think not lol.

**I am curious to who predicted? It reminds me of a childrens book about dinosaurs. "Millions years ago..." Where on earth did you copy and paste this from? I am not trying to refute against you, I am but curious to know. Though i do go against that a 'spirituality' plague hit the world around twenty years ago. The whole spirituality thing had ALWAYS existed, though it surely changed throughout the years. As you stated that 'religion' is beginning to fall is very true. Like I had said above that people are turning their heads away from 'religion', though I am referring to 'christianity' now. Its like having one cup with a ball under it, and knowing that under that cup is indeed a ball. NOW, since there are so many cups(religions/beliefs), people cant tell which truly has the ball. Seeing that all of those cups look exactly alike, but many do not know that a cup has a ball. So they go their way, and create a belief for themselves. Though I call the person a postmodern.

Spirituality resonates so well with people because they remember this is the way it is, it has been proven that our subconscious mind keeps track of all of our past lives so maybe our subconscious minds remember what it’s like in the spirit world so when were told of spiritual ideas something tells us inside that this is the way.


**FIRST, you have both 'proves' and 'maybe'. Nothing can prove that we had a 'past life', though why would that be important? For we now live a second life, and we must live in the NOW. Our subconcious is a wonderful gift, no doubt about that. It can also do some damage with the way you think. Fear, anger, procrastination, etc. Yet it deals with the dreams we have. It works when we are not concious, sorting, storing, and creating the way you are 'inside' like the way you think....conciousely. It plays a great role in your life, believe it or not. There is a child inside conducting all the thoughts and feelings. Once there is discipline threatening the child, it will use many tools to avoid anything that goes against it. Now I dont know much about other ways your subconcious affects you, but I am familiar with the whole discipline areas that it attempts to avoid-IF you do not have the skill. Though our concious can help us with deciding whats right and wrong-IF your subconcious isnt postmodernized already.

A lot of people are turning away from religion because religion limits people and makes humans beings seen as second class, a being of poor quality who needs outside forces to take care of them and save them. Spirituality sees us as spiritual beings living a human experience and that this spiritual force inside of all of us (god, source) enables us with the capabilities to achieve anything our heats desire and gives us the power to believe that anything is possible examples are the law of attraction, people who can heal others, people who can heal themselves, people who can have out of body experiences… all of these people can do because they are aligned with the source or god in them. This is why jesus said when he performed miracles that it wasn’t him but god inside of him that performed the miracle and I believe god is inside all of us not just jesus and once we realize this our life will change for the better.



Regarding the gospel of Thomas, just because it talks about Jesus as being a spiritual teacher not a savior we should discard it. Maybe he was just a spiritual teacher and this gospel is the truth and those other gospels who claim he is the one and only true savior and god are wrong. The only thing backing up Christianity is the bible itself so lets just say hypothetically that one day that it was proven that the bible was false than Christianity would come down like a house of cards yet there are many spiritual texts that talk about jesus being a spiritual teacher not the savior who came to earth to die for our sins.

To me it seems that in Christianity it is more important to accept jesus as our lord and savior than it is to be Christ-like, to me this does not make sense.

**Though it seems that you have now changed the subject, in an attacking manner against christianity...hmmm. Well, the bible has NOT been proven false/fiction, so if its not been proven false then it means that all signs point to TRUE???? Well, that is indeed the case. Though, there is no way to dispove the tens of thousands of manuscript evidence that has been written in the past. It is true that christianity exists because of Jesus Christ, and the bible does contain that. So i guess you could say that IF the bible was not true then christianity would crumble. BUT.....what is spirituality built on??? Mere thought??? UH, I believe so. Wait! no proof against proof? um, ok.

Im sorry to say that the last sentence has been created because of a slight confusion. To be Christ-like has to do with many things. Though we can never be 'like' Jesus Christ, we can surely follow Him.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' (matt16:24) Then again Jesus DID take OUR punishment, He paid our fines. So we should thank Him, for He practically bought us to a whole other level. For Jesus will provide the way, so that we may live a more righteous life, the way He wants us to.
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