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“There is only one religion, and there are then a thousand forms of it.”

George Bernard Shaw

The word religion comes from the Latin religare ‘to bind’ and is has the inference of obligation, bond, expectation or commitment.

LISN defines religion as personal belief that is lovingly reflected in one’s life actions.There is usually a relational aspect within religion, indicating our relationship with the divine or each other. Some say that the highest form of religion is friendship that accepts a friend as they are.

“If your religion does not transform your consciousness to one of compassion, it is more a part of the problem than any solution.”

Richard Rohr

Religion and tradition both involve each other. Tradition is how things have been done in the past, and religion which is not spirit based may also be limited to tradition.

You can be religious about any moral or ethical stance. Religions conform to a social set of expectations that define that religion.

Each religious tradition is based on one or more of the following :

  • A practice of loving friendship with all life, or to a specific god or gods
  • An inspirational founder, guru or leader
  • A book or books which are considered sacred, and whose interpretation the religions philosophy is based
  • A specific societal belief set that the religion adheres to
  • A set of leaders or interpreters who define and insist on what is correct belief.
  • An attempt to understand the world’s phenomena, the purpose of human existence, the nature of the world, and the place of human beings in that world.

God is trying to sell you something,
but you don’t want to buy.
This is what your suffering is:
Your fantastic haggling, your manic screaming over the price!”


Fundamentalism relates to advocates a strict, literal interpretation of religious texts (scripture) purported to be from God.

A fundamentalist is a person who believes in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture in a religion. Most religious followers consist of a mix of both fundamentalists and progressive realists who acknowledge individual freedom of thought and belief.

However individual belief varies based on the individual’s own understanding of the same text or life experience.

Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, were individuals who had profound mystical experiences, and who were in turn able to influence other people to follow the
truths adapted from their mystical experiences. Over time, these truths became codified as “faith traditions,” and were called religions. In essence, religions are belief systems that give meaning to life.

Spirituality in all religions.

“If I ask the vast majority of my clients if they are religious, they answer: “No”; if I ask them if they are spiritual, the answer is usually: “Yes.”

Yet seldom are they able to give me a statement of clarity as to what spirituality means to them. They talk vaguely about believing in a higher power, and attempt to define an underlying experience of life, not just a belief system. But they do not attribute specific characteristics to this higher power. In
other circumstances, religious concepts have become rigidly dogmatic in recent years.”

Dr Dave MacQuarrie – “Blowing Out the Darkness”

See Also: Spiritual History as the foundation of ReligionSeries About Spirituality

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