Spirituality and Religion

Spirituality in practice is directly affected by our human desire to connect and organize.

We like to be connected and accepted, so people who have similar beliefs get together in much the same way that people who have chosen a sports team get together, to share their faith.

But of course groups of people also like to be organized, to have someone lead and protect them. So there are clubs formed, and leaders elected.

This is the same with spirituality.

Spiritual ‘clubs’ are what religion is about. They are people who essentially want to improve meaning and life experience and have come together for that purpose.

“We have, for the first time in history, easy access to all of the world’s great religions. Examine the many great traditions – from Christianity to Buddhism, Islam to Taoism, Paganism to Neoplatonism – and you are struck by two items: there are an enormous number of
differences between them, and a handful of striking similarities. 
When you find a few essential items that all, or virtually all, of the world’s great religions agree on, you have probably found something incredibly important about the human condition.”
Ken Wilber (1949)
Author and Creator of Integral Theory

Unfortunately there will be differences in any group of people, and religious organizations in all recorded history had examples of leaders who claim to have ‘special’ understandings or interpretations that are from the divine God/Higher Power, and use that power to control others.

This use of the religious ‘club’ or organization in order to have ‘power over’ exists in all major religions yet is against the intentions of all enlightened founders of these religions. Despite the minority, most religious organizations are full of truly loving spiritual people, but it only takes one or two religious power brokers to create a religious war and destroy the trust that authentic religion deserves.

So it is important to understand the parallel history of  Spiritual Development and to compare religions for yourself in order to connect and organize in service and worship with those who are in a similar place of growth and healing.

Religious studies scholar, Huston Smith, expressed his View about the origins of religious theology this way: “We can define theology as the systematization of thoughts about the symbols that religious experience gives rise to.

These symbols and stories may vary from tradition to tradition, but the intent (e.g the creation of the world by a benevolent god/force) does not.

Some thoughts regarding the words “Spiritual” and “Religious”…

These graphics contain thoughts about the subject of spirituality and religion. They are not right or wrong, just different views.

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