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We hear a lot of conversation about spirituality and religion these days. Aren’t they the same thing just using different terms? I say no! They are as different as “Chalk and Cheese”, as my British friends would say.
Religion is an attempt by humanity to rationalize and codify the experience of the Divine that all humans are capable of. My post a few months ago, “The Faith Chip”, discusses this human proclivity for religion and the Divine in more detail. You will find it in the archives or podcasts section on the home page.
Religion can be a force for good when it serves as a moral floor under a culture and as a device for deepening thought and bringing meaning to life; making every day a sacred experience. This is noble and good. We understand that we must have some code of morality in any human culture; else we may revert quickly to barbarism. Religion is effective at providing this code because there are rewards for adherence to the code and sanctions for breaking it.
Too often religion (Buddhism is an exception) ends up believing that its revelations of the Divine are the only right and true ones. The result is the “my God is bigger and better than your God” syndrome. Religion often insists that its founder, guru or saint had the one true revelation sent special delivery straight from the mouth of God. (Christianity and Islam, in particular, suffer from this attitude of exceptionalism).
When a God-revealed religion believes that it should be the only interpretation of The Divine it may become a scourge rather than a boon to humankind. I have often likened religion to ice cream because most of us like it, it tastes wonderful but too much can make us very sick. Like ice cream there are many, many flavors and it is all a matter of personal taste. Find the spiritual experience that resonates with your unique heart, mind and soul. That is the one for you. Arguing about religion is about like arguing the merits of butter pecan over rocky road! Its good if you like that flavor and not so good if you don’t.
There is no “one size fits all” where God and religion is concerned. What would the world be like with only vanilla ice cream? Boring and stale! Before long ice cream would cease to exist because it would no longer satisfy. So it is with religion.
It has been said that to kill a religion simply make it the State Church and you will kill it in 3 to 4 generations. The Anglican Church is a perfect case in point. It is the established by law Church of England and as a result England is perhaps the most secular country I have ever experienced. To even mention God in public is to invite stares and dark looks!
Religion that is institutionalized and mandated is no religion at all. Religion and spirituality are matters of the heart and soul. They are matters of choice at the deepest emotional level and cannot be mandated by the State.
Each human vibrates to his or her own frequency so there can never be one religion for all. We have needs that rise from deep in our emotional and psychological makeup that must be fulfilled and many use religion to fill the “hole” in their spirit and soul. Who and what we are usually leads us to the religion that best suits our energetic signature.
Stern, judgmental people are attracted to stern, judgmental religions such as Calvinism in Christianity and Wahabism in Islam.
Live and let live, loving people are attracted to a positive Jesus centered Christianity that emphasizes the teaching of love and tolerance. Many are attracted to B’hai or Buddhism for the same reason. Religion is an expression of who we are from the inside out. You need only look at the faith that fulfills a person and you have a snapshot of the personality of this person.
I am sure that is why God had nothing to do with establishing religions. He or She wrote no Scriptures, Bibles or Korans. These are the works of human beings having a deep religious experience. That experience was filtered through their minds, hearts, culture and thought. Religion is man made but Love is Divine; indeed its the essence of God.
If God made religion He or She would have written one book and made one religion for all humankind. However one size fits all does not square with God’s gift of free will. One religion would have negated our God- given gift of choice. We are always at choice every moment of our lives.
Without free will we would be automatons all marching to one tune; thereby defeating the entire purpose of humanity. We are here as living, breathing expressions of the Godhead, providing a physical expression of life for the Infinite Mind of God. God is fulfilled though us and we through Her.
This is why Religious Scientists say that we are co-creators of our life experience. We use the God given power of the physical, mental and spiritual faculties that we were given; conversely by the exercise of that power God can therefore experience the physical world of His or Her creations.
Imagine the thrill of God experiencing the taste of a ripe peach or the explosive ecstasy of a human orgasm! God gives us sentience, imagination and life and we give God a very good time!
This view of the Divine is why I am a Religious Scientist. I am a part and parcel of God, there is no separation. I am God expressing as I write this post. I am God expressing when I go to work. I am God expressing when I kiss my dear wife or hold one of my grandchildren. When you understand who you are….a living expression of God… even taking out the trash as I did an hour ago is a spiritual act.
Religion is the rules, myths and legends about God . Spirituality is God in each of us and God in action in the world working through us. Religion is parochial while Spirituality is universal.
Religion tends to separate humanity into often warring camps, each sure that its flavor of religion is correct and therefore the only true one. Spirituality unites all humanity in the knowledge that there is a power greater than us, a Creator Spirit that is the ground of all being, the Great I Am, the Alpha and the Omega that it is in us and we in it. Oneness then becomes a vibrant reality rather than a mere theological concept.
We are all one regardless what flavor of the “ice cream for the soul” we prefer.
Until we are together again, this is Rev. Dore’ knowing perfection in you and in your life.
Rev. Dore’ Jacques Patlian, Sarasota, FL YouTube.com/revdore