Yes, I believe religion is different, separate, from spirituality. Religion is a great divider. Our religion purports this, yours does not, therefore our religion is superior to yours-we understand God better than you do! Catholics against Baptists, Baptists against Catholics, Jews against Christianity, religions against Atheists or Agnostics, or Muslims, or Buddhists, and so on. Yet, in the heart of all of the organized religions is one, ONE God or belief in some higher power or none at all, or philosophical practices that should humble us enough to at least consider another's way may have worth. Yet, I believe we need, as logical and rationale humans, to heed the Ten Commandments, they make sense, they're good rules to live by. Why? break one (a commandment) and see what suffering or serious trouble transpires. The principles that Buddhism conveys are also practical ways to think about day to day living. Yet, organized religion makes stuff up as it goes along, interpreting biblical scripture as they view it; when any critical thinker knows that any piece of literature is subjective and worthy of a completely different interpretation which may also be a valid possibility. Religious leaders convey messages to their practioners beyond the ten commandments and wise philosophy making religion subject to flawed human ideas and practices. Therefore, I see all religious practice which incorporates man made ideas and rigid biblical interpretations as absurd.
The ultimate irony is that more misery and death has happened in the name of religion than any feuding factor in history. To name a few bloody battles: the Crusades; the Inquisition; Irelands persecution of Protestants; the Romans killing Christians, literally feeding them to the lions; and now, radical Muslims against western religions and beliefs. Also, Hitler and his "Christian" Germans, which led to the persecution and annilation of millions the Jews. I think Jesus was a pacifist; a believer of love not war, acceptance and forgiveness. So how do these [above named] horrific, abominable, actions honor or represent Jesus and how he expected a true "Christian" to behave?
Let's get down to it, Spirituality emmanates from ones actions. People who are spiritual strive to be gentle. I am not saying that some people who attend church or synagogue are not living spiritual lives; same goes for those who do not attend any organized group. If they are spiritual, they sow peace by being peaceful; they are tolerant; and strive to be non-judgemental. They are, at the core, inclusive and helpful and supportive. Yes, spiritual people would support gays rights, standing up so the gay population can have all the rights of anyone else in this world. Spiritual people hold their religious beliefs quietly. Being a spiritual person requires one not to shove what they believe down someone else's throat. Spiritual people lead other people to love by living their life as an example so people might evaluate seeking God or Christ or Buddha or Allah in their lives. Spiritual people draw others to the possibility that their lives could be affected positively by a belief in acceptance and not-judgment and then one may see that spirituality has affected the life of that [spiritual] person and the lives of others, positively. Let's face it not one of us, not even I, know which belief is absolutely RIGHT until the day we die--and maybe not even then! Perhaps none of us have it "right." We all need to have humility enough to consider that we may not be right. Yet, I feel one thing is certain: being plain old mean and rotten, excluding others and behaving self-righteously while we are here can't be right, not here in the realm of our earthly existence where we are all flawed; yet all need love. We all know that love is the message of Christmas and we should strive to remember that love should be the message we convey every day of our lives.
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