In What Ways Is It
Spirituality Versus Religion?

...Spirituality Versus Religion follows on from Spirituality And Religion

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Over-Forceful Religious Teachings Can Lead Away From Spirituality

Ironically, the area in which spirituality versus religion most clearly is in some of the evangelical churches.

I say it is ironic because in my experience the people in these churches have such genuine spiritual experiences. They have a true relationship with Jesus.

But some of these churches teach in incredibly forceful ways that do not encourage one to allow God's guidance to be received personally.

The following factors make it easy for beliefs to be imposed:

  • the fear of being left out of God's will or of being punished by God
  • the presence of peer pressure
  • a place where someone experiences a sense of belonging and is frightened to lose it by holding different views
  • an interpretation of the Bible, as defined by the pastor or priest,and where he or she is not sufficiently guided by the Holy Spirit in their teachings
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  • the idea that every word of the Bible is literal truth which can only be taken one way
  • the power of the spiritual experience, so that when certain beliefs are attached to it, it becomes very easy to believe them without question.

This, for me, is an area where sometimes spirituality versus religion. But it is just one face of religion. Unfortunately it is one of the most vocal and so we hear it a lot.

Please know that I love the word "evangelical". Many evangelicals are truly messengers of light.

I have learned a huge amount from evangelical churches, especially in terms of how to receive my healing. I now attend two churches. One of them is an evangelical church with a great tolerance for questioning.

In my experience, it is also possible for someone to say that there is only one way to God - something I disagree with, and yet emanate such a loving energy that I am happy to sit and listen. This is their opinion and they are entitled to it.

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We Are One

To summarise then, how can it be simply spirituality versus religion when I meet people whose eyes shine with faith in both spiritual and religious groups? And, for that matter, in people who don't think of themselves as being in either group.

The spiritual and the religious clearly share many values and receive many of the same benefits through their spiritual practice.

Do you know what? We are all spiritual beings. We have no choice about it. We are Thoughts in the mind of God:

"And what He knows exists forever, changelessly.
For thoughts endure as long as does the mind that thought of them.
And in the Mind of God there is no ending, nor a time in which His Thoughts were absent or could suffer change.

Thoughts are not born and cannot die.
They share the attributes of their creator, nor have they a separate life apart from his.

The thoughts you think are in your mind, as you are in the Mind which thought of you."

(T-30.III.6, A Course In Miracles)

Equally, we all have our religions. We need structure. We need beliefs whilst we commit to spending more and more time in a place of knowing and experiencing Unity. As we do this, the beliefs fall away.

I would love it if spiritual people, could practise forgiveness towards the religious. We need to recognise that in any group there will be those who misunderstand and hit others over the head with their beliefs.

Is the answer to exclude them?

Is the answer to automatically leave any group within which someone behaves badly?

Isn't the answer to practise forgiveness and be willing to see ourselves as shining with the One Light?

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