Note: Life has a funny way of taking over. I started writing this post in December and am just now finishing it. Thank you so much for your patience.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate. Happy New Year! I am writing this post because I no longer consider myself a religious person even though I still believe in Jesus. However, my belief is no longer the traditional religious belief that mainstream Christianity makes Him out to be. I am incorporating other spiritual beliefs in my belief system and I am open to everything. Feel free to read Why I Am No Longer An Evangelical Christian. Plus, Drag Queens And Kings Are Cool!
I recently shared this meme on my professional Facebook page and I got one nice lady who ended up being a joy to talk to because she tried to use Non-Violent Communication principles. We both admitted to being not perfect and struggling with it. We’re both open to learning. I love people like that because another “Christian” called me a “hypocrite” for sharing this meme and then wishing my Jewish friends a “Happy Hanukkah.” She was swiftly blocked and banned because I have been called so many names that I absolutely will not tolerate it. But her comment proves that this is right in many instances. Then there are people that just want to argue just to argue.
Here’s the meme:
I agree with this because religion does brainwash people of every age, makes people angry (How many wars have been fought over religion?), and promotes a “better than thou” attitude. Believe me, I was a part of this for a decade and a half and used to gasp with disgust or surprise when a fellow believer would do something against the religious teachings of the church. We’re supposed to be humble but instead we look down on people who don’t believe what we do. It’s disgusting and sad, really.
Not all religious people are like this. But some just blindly follow whatever the established organized religion teaches. Much of the Christian church doctrine is toxic with a bit of love and compassion occasionally sprinkled in. For children, more of the doctrine is spiritual abuse because even though I still believe that children are created to believe in Jesus and/or a Higher Power, when they are allowed to freely explore, they can create a positive belief system. Unfortunately, many children aren’t given that freedom and are taught that they are inherently evil (which I rejected after much research) and are told to obey or else they’ll get spanked or go to Hell.
Telling children the above is spiritual and emotional abuse. It’s not ok. One of my best friends experienced this as a child and now rejects religion but is still a spiritual person.
I, too, cannot support religious doctrine. I consider myself a spiritual person even though I still believe in Jesus. I am using other spiritual beliefs to create a positive spiritual belief system because when we open our consciousness, we see that there’s so much we don’t know and that doctrine often doesn’t add up to what we experience. Plus, trying to have enough faith to be approved by whatever God you’re trying to please isn’t easy and makes one feel like a failure. Also, fear is often a huge part of many religions instead of love! After all, many religious sects and cults tell us that we’re going to go to Hell for not being a part of their religious group.
Merriam-Webster defines religion as:
1a: the state of a religious
A nun in her 20th year of religion
b(1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural
(2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices3archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion#synonyms).
“Spirituality: This is more of an individual practice, and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose” (https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-spirituality).
Now many religious people can be spiritual but it seems like they value the rules and man-made doctrines over truly seeking Truth and God or Whomever one wishes to call Him/Her. I hear all the religious people gasping after reading this sentence. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have gasped as well. However, the more one gets away from church doctrine and actually begins to seek the Truth, the less judgmental he/she becomes because we’re all one. Unless someone practices evil, we really are connected in so many ways with love being our main priority!
Spiritual people are usually more positive, accepting, open, and loving. They wish to be able to get along with everyone. Even if they don’t “believe” in Jesus, they are ok with people that do as long as those people respect their beliefs.
And yes, spiritual people do participate in rituals and even some religious ceremonies to help them grow spiritually and they are always learning. They just don’t subscribe to an exact doctrine, or if they do, they don’t try to push it on others.
Even Jesus Christ was against religious people and hung out with everyday people. Look at what Jesus said to the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law:
“Matthew 23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called [b]leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Jesus preached LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE! Yet, “Christians” can be some of the most hateful people I’ve ever encountered along with Muslim extremists. You don’t say that someone should die because they are homosexual and you disagree with them. People shouldn’t blow people away because they want their religion to take over the world. I believe that religion creates a form of narcissism. “My church is right and yours is wrong.” I used to be like that, but there’s much grace and freedom in “agreeing to disagree.” Yet, I have always hated how children are treated in many religious sects. They shouldn’t be taught how “bad” they are and shouldn’t be taught to remember every sin so they can repent for them to avoid going to Hell. And they should NEVER BE TAUGHT THAT GOD WANTS THEM TO BE SPANKED/HIT!
Healthy spirituality is what we all need to aim for. There’s a Light in all of us. I believe that satan wants to blind us to this and think that we have to do special prayers and other things to be closer to God/Goddess but we can learn to listen for Them ourselves. Certain natural medicines are also helpful for some adults to gain more awareness of the spiritual world that is completely and always surrounding us.
After all, love is the greatest of ALL!