What is Religion? What is Spirituality?
Everyone knows the term/colloquialism: “if you’re not careful, too much of a good thing can become bad.” People say it all the time to children as a way of making them think twice before recklessly indulging in something that seems good but in actuality may not good for them when consumed recklessly, -but is it also a warning we should give to ourselves, when it comes to inviting religion, and certain religious beliefs, traditions and/or practices in our lives?
This post takes a glimpse at both religion, and spirituality – the dangers, pros, and consequences of both. But first we’ll start by answering the question:
Exactly, what is religion?
According to Webster, Religion has several interpretations (all listed here ) But for the context of this post I’d like to focus on the definition of religion stated in examples 2 and 4:
– An organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods and 4: the service and worship of God or the supernatural: commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.-Webster
More specifically I’d like to focus on the institutionalized, systemic beliefs, attitudes, rules, and practices in the Christian community, and Christian churches that has allowed it to become a weapon and a tool of: hate, manipulation, greed, segregation, power, control, and destruction of others.
God provided us the bible; inclusive of scriptures, manuscripts, and inscriptions of others who came before us, as a means of guidance, lessons, morals, and guidelines, that we as human beings should follow, learn from, emulate and imitate. It was written so that we may not only lead good, Christian lives, but to also be a living breathing reflection of God, and witness of the holy spirit to others.
Yet somehow it’s words has become a tool of manipulation and evil. There are many examples throughout history, both past and present of how the bible has been used to justify the revolting actions, thoughts, and ideas of leaders, authorities, and rulers of power, including but not limited to the justification of slavery, the mistreatment and sexual abuse of women, and children of the faith, etc..
From my personal experience, I can attest to the dangerous destruction, and harmful impact that unsolicited, and rampant religion has had on my family- the suffering, loss, humiliation, separation, psychological damage and dissonance, but the huge gaping rift it has torn in my family.
Rampant religious beliefs, thoughts, and ideologies in most instances have been more harmful, oppressing, belittling, and unpleasant to say the least.
Before we assume I hate religion or that I am a nonbeliever that is simply not the case. I love God and I’m thankful for all the lessons and experiences he’s taught and shown me, and the things he does for me every single day. I know I need God to be in my life both now, in the past, and in the future.
The problem with certain religious ideology is that many believe you have to sustain a certain appearance, always behave in a certain manner, or relentlessly follow a set of rules, in order to be accepted and loved by God, which our bible states is simply not the case.
There is nothing we can do on our own to make ourselves more pure, or more right, or more “perfect”, with God than any human being on this planet. God himself says he sees us as all the same, but yet there are some excited to condemn others based on faulty beliefs, and then use these same beliefs as excuse to hurt, manipulate, control, and cause harm to others.
My sincerest question is; whether they believe these things or not?
I’m writing this because it’s imperative to know that while religion and it rules and practices can be beneficial, it can also be detrimental to oneself or masses when used incorrectly. When used incorrectly Religion can become both a dangerous tool and weapon, that can cause harmful and irreversible damage. It’s important to use discernment, and prioritize having your own personal relationship with God.
Example: You are on trial, for a crime you didn’t commit. While it may be beneficial for an attorney to speak on our behalf, would you suggest a stranger who doesn’t know you, or why you’re on trial plead your case on your behalf? -No right, me either. The point is; there’s nothing like being able to speak to God directly; for yourself.
And that leads to our next point, which is:
What Is Spirituality & why is it Important?
The act of being spiritual which Webster defines in several ways here But for the context of this post I will refer to definition 4; being related and or joined in spirit.
God created us, gave us breath, and a part of his spirit. We were made to have a connection with him because essentially; we are him. We are born of him, and when we die we return unto him.
Just as you would speak to your own mother and father, we were meant to talk to God, to ask for guidance, and help.
We come into the world knowing nothing, and it is our parents duty to show us the way. Our parents nurture, provide, and protect, and should we have our own children, this cycle continues on.
God our heavenly father is the one who oversees us all. he is the source of our light, our hope, and our life, and when humans fail you, leave you, or let you down, God is there to nurture, guide and protect you.
That is why it’s so important for you to have a direct line of communication with Elohim. How can you receive if you don’t ask, and how can you receive something from someone you don’t know or never talk to?
God is a provider, and even though he doesn’t always provide us with what we want – (because he knows better) he provides us with what we need, if we trust in him.
When you start walking in the spirit and stepping out on faith you start becoming exactly who and what you’re supposed to be.
So, start nurturing YOUR spiritual relationship and connection with God. He does not just belong to the “righteous” all are his children and he esteems none above the other.
Stop living under bondage and oppression. You have been called to live by a higher standard according to the law, but following God’s laws is not what saves you. It is God alone.
The Bible speaks extensively on the subject of all for one and one for all. For by one man we are/were condemned for sin, and by one man we are saved.
God sent the son of man to cleanse us of our sins and give us life by the spirit which we are called to live by. Therefore we are not saved by our own “righteousness” but by God’s loving grace, mercy and kindness. And his gift and love is free. It’s not something you have to work for, but rather by believing. (Galations 5:1-5 Romans 4:5 – 14-16 Romans 7:6 Romans 9:31-33)
WHY Corruption happens in Religion.
Humans flawed perception of self righteousness (right or wrong, whose better, whose not, whose good, whose evil…) self promoting profiting agendas, learned habits and behaviors passed down from generation to generation. Having a fixed Mindset or being unable to accept/adapt, change or grow- are all reasons why corruption is able to infiltrate religion where it should not.
The bible teaches that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, freedom and self control. Will we always feel or be happy, joyful, loving, and free, of course not– but we know when we are in alignment when we have these things and MOST IMPORTANTLY are able to share them with others, not just with those we love or who we know, but with anyone and everyone.
God’s greatest commandment is to love one another. The scriptures state that the gift of loving Is the greatest gift of all and trumps any other spiritual talent or gift…. (1st Corinthians 13 1-13)
God in his spirit and essence is love. Creation is love, God’s creation, YOUR creation and the creation’s you birth are/is Love – especially when done for the good and benefit of others! You glorify God when you take care of what you’ve been given, nourish it and grow it into something bigger and better, something fruitful that creates more life, true life which is love and light.
Final Thoughts: Message Takeaways
Like trees we start off seeds planted and when watered become sprouts. Over time we should mature and strive to produce more fruit. If you think of it in Earthly terms, you might consider wealth and riches to be good fruit which is true indeed! But the silver lining or the best fruit (spiritual fruit) is grown in heaven! Not just saving it all for yourself either, but also Sharing it too, (sharing the things of the spirit: love, peace etc)
What good is having a tree full of fruit just for you? Give some of that fruit and give some of that love away!
We (my family and I) were cleaning out our old house recently and came across a decorative item of my mother who passed 15 years ago. It had a short verse that read like this:
“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it, A song’s not a song ’til you sing it, Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!”Oscar Hammerstein II
Essentially that is the whole duty of man, fear God and Keep his commandments. Live your life, do the things you were called to do, respect God, Love one another.
All life stems and grows from love and care. Whatever seeds you plant and nourish daily are the ones that grow. So plant seeds of love, and seeds of hope and seeds of faith (1st Corinthians 13:13 now these 3 things will last forever: faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love.
Step into who you need to be go in peace and be free!
Check out this blog post and other related thought provoking articles of the “THE GOD SERIES” HERE
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— The Faith Mentor🕊 (@marleana_bryant) October 20, 2021