Saturday, April 14, 2018

Spiritual But Not Religious?

I have always said that religion is what others pour into your head about their vision of how it all is and how you should practice it.  Spirituality is an inside job.  I have also found that religion is not fond of spiritual people.  They don' go along to get along. Rigid views are often considered just current opinions that will mellow and change as new information reveals itself.  They don't always show up when and where they are told to and give and support something however they choose or do not choose.  A dog can be trained well.  You can't herd cats.


The Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas, a Gospel that did not make the cut for obvious reasons said:


Nag Hammadi Coptic Text
Oxyrhynchus Greek Fragment

1 [2]. Jesus says: "Let him who seeks cease not to seek until he finds: when he finds he will be astonished; and when he is astonished he will wonder, and will reign over the universe!"

Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."


For the United Church of God rebuttal to the Gospel of Thomas and to understand why it did not make the cut see:

 

Continuing...

"Spiritual but not religious" (SBNR) is a popular phrase and initialism used to self-identify a life stance of spirituality that takes issue with organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth.

"Spirituality begins with a reverence for the ordinary that can lead us to insights and experiences that are anything but ordinary."
Sam Harris


The increasing prestige of the sciences, the insights of modern biblical scholarship, and greater awareness of cultural relativism all made it more difficult for educated American to sustain unqualified loyalty to religious institutions. Many began to associate genuine faith with the "private" realm of personal experience rather than with the "public" realm of institutions, creeds, and rituals. The word spiritual gradually came to be associated with a private realm of thought and experience while the word religious came to be connected with the public realm of membership in religious institutions, participation in formal rituals, and adherence to official denominational doctrines.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/books/2002/07/spiritual-but-not-religious.aspx#bgAJmQqbqGk23lSd.99


The increasing prestige of the sciences, the insights of modern biblical scholarship, and greater awareness of cultural relativism all made it more difficult for educated American to sustain unqualified loyalty to religious institutions. Many began to associate genuine faith with the "private" realm of personal experience rather than with the "public" realm of institutions, creeds, and rituals. The word spiritual gradually came to be associated with a private realm of thought and experience while the word religious came to be connected with the public realm of membership in religious institutions, participation in formal rituals, and adherence to official denominational doctrines.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/books/2002/07/spiritual-but-not-religious.aspx#bgAJmQqbqGk23lS

The increasing prestige of the sciences, the insights of modern biblical scholarship, and greater awareness of cultural relativism all made it more difficult for educated American to sustain unqualified loyalty to religious institutions. Many began to associate genuine faith with the "private" realm of personal experience rather than with the "public" realm of institutions, creeds, and rituals. The word spiritual gradually came to be associated with a private realm of thought and experience while the word religious came to be connected with the public realm of membership in religious institutions, participation in formal rituals, and adherence to official denominational doctrines.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/books/2002/07/spiritual-but-not-religious.aspx#bgAJmQqbqGk23lSd
Mark Vernon author of How To Be an Agnostic notes...
"People associate religious institutions with constraining doctrines, and bad things that are done in the world. That may be outright fundamentalism, the oppression of women or some kind of conflict with liberal values."
Science has replaced God for many today, Vernon suggests.
But while science may be able to explain the world, it doesn't evoke how many people feel about their place in the universe.
Awe and wonder is how spiritual people often describe their relationship with the world. There's a sense that life is more than pounds and pence, of work, childcare and the rest of the daily grind.
A typical Portland sunrise along the Willamette River from the beach where I spend a few minutes each day before work.  
There are moments that seem transcendent in their lives - a beautiful sunset, a football crowd filling a stadium with noise, or a moving piece of music.
Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote, says the phrase "spiritual but not religious" has become a bit of a joke. But the concept is worth defending. "Spirituality I take to refer to things that are not expressible in words. There's an aspect of human experience that is non-conceptual."
It's about more than belief, Burkeman says. Just as for Christians and other religions, it is the practice of worship that is as important as the belief, he argues.

It doesn't mean the nonsense of "3-5, 10 at the most, 20 tops" and the endless game of thinking anyone knows or can know the future.  Prophecy is  the hook and insanity of the Churches of God. Without it, they would have no way of  trying to turn the spiritually minded into religious followers. 
Buyer beware...regrets to follow

"Gaetan Louis de Canonville practices mindfulness meditation in Richmond, south London. "We're not worshipping a God or paying homage to something in the sky. It's about learning to accept things like impermanence and living in the moment. If you get a glimpse of how happy you can be by embracing the moment, all the chattering of your thoughts stops."
Mike Stygal, is a secondary school teacher who practices paganism in his private life. He believes in a divine force in nature. "I believe everything is connected, I feel very in touch with nature and the changing seasons. Awe is a very good word for how I feel. It's a sense of deep respect for nature. I can communicate with the deity."
Bridget McKenzie, a cultural learning consultant, does daily walking meditations. "It's about making time to contemplate the awesomeness of life on earth, the extraordinary luck this planet has in sustaining life."
With trillions of galaxies in the Universe, which may only be one of many universes, the God of the Bible can seem too small, too jealous, too petty and too exclusive and cultic for the spiritually minded
She is not a pagan but for the summer solstice organizes a Garlic Man Parade in south east London to reconnect with ancient traditions. "We all sense changes in the light as the seasons change. It's important to mark the occasion."
Colin Beckley, director of the Meditation Trust, says the only true spiritual experience is silence. "Transcendence is often triggered by nature like being on a mountainside. But by learning to meditate you can bring that mountain experience to your flat in London."
Humanism is about the belief "that human beings find value in the here and now rather than in something above and beyond". "People have social instincts and as a humanist it's about reinforcing those instincts," he explains.
The search for meaning can be exhausting. Philosopher Julian Baggini writes in The Shrink & the Sage that there is a yearning for something more. "My short reply is that you can yearn for higher as much as you like, but what you're yearning for ain't there. But the desire won't go away."
That doesn't make it a bad thing, Vernon says. But it may lead to awkward questions. And that may explain why the research finds that spiritual people have more mental health problems.
"You're going on an interior mental journey. It's risky to go and try and see things from a bigger perspective. The promise is tremendous but the journey can be very painful."


21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even if your own life is short, and there might be no hereafter, many people on the Alt-Right find meaning my investing in the long-term welfare of their people, just as their ancestors worked to build a better world for their descendants. The closest to immortality you might ever get is through your own offspring.

Anonymous said...

Organized religion is a business. Plain and simple.

The "pastor" is actually a CEO of the business. Why? Because the main emphasis of a business to keep it alive is MONEY. So how do you keep a business a business, where you are able to establish things like credit, insurance, and "business" things such as that? You have to keep a consistent source of income. How is it that a church can keep a consistent source of income so that they can obtain business things?

Can you do it if you don't have a really set income level? No, you can't.

Evidence A: The WCG when it collapsed abolished tithing. Income tanked. The income fell below expenditures. The business became unsustainable.

So what is a business to do? If you are an organized business, you can't just say what the Bible says - to give as you are able, what your heart says - no, that would be too unstable. Who's going to work with you to loan you money for important things like big, wooden, halogen-lit, solid oak podiums and Peavey audio systems if you can't prove a stable income? Nope.

So, despite the clear teachings of Jesus Christ - you can't sustain an organized business on a "give what you can when you can" model. Nope. You HAVE to - and a mainstream pastor once verified this to me - go against some things that he had in his heart - to follow the rules of business. In the case of organized religion - the HAVE to - is to maintain a set, constant income that is hopefully increasing. This way, as a BUSINESS, you can make your church grow.

THIS IS WHY TITHING HAS BEEN SO ENFORCED IN ORGANIZED RELIGION. Is it all about the money? You bet your cushioned tush it is!!!!!!! They are BUSINESSES, where the tenets of spirituality always take second to the rules of organized religion.

Dennis makes some excellent points about spirituality vs. organized religion. In the Bible - Jesus constantly spoke of spirituality in everything you do. Let this mind be in you, we've read. Visit the sick, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned. Act in love. Let your light shine - and so on and so forth. And when Jesus encountered "organized" religion, what did He say? He said, in a nutshell, Don't be like them.

And yet the COG's have been doing nothing but trying to make themselves into big businesses of organized religion by oppression for financial gain, following the example of their late business executive and Chief Executive Officer of the multi-million dollar BUSINESS of the Worldwide Church of God - who put their BUSINESS ahead of the Sabbath in a 1975 Worldwide News article where volunteers ran the WATS line on the Sabbath with NO DIFFERENCE from any business day EXCEPT - they didn't get paid. The WCG got free labor and the volunteers broke the Sabbath at the same time. And you think it's not all about the money?

Being spiritual is Christ in you - being spiritual is a relationship with Christ all the time. Being spiritual is God with us, and responding to God's leading ALL THE TIME. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This is why the Sabbath Rest is fulfilled IN Jesus because Jesus is IN you. It's the air you breathe, and the way you act.

Sometimes, when I read Dennis' musings, being aware of his doctrinal positions and assertions that can be quite anti-established-organized-thinking, I think Dennis portrays more about how Jesus ministers then some of the COG pastors who say they are ministers of Jesus actually portray Jesus. It's the difference between organized religion and money and one who has acted in the best interests in love toward people. If I was to ever ask advice, I'd expect a more Jesus-y answer from Dennis who COG's would cast to hellfire, then from COG ministers who would think they're casting me to hellfire for the simple task of asking a disagreeing question. Just an honest insight.

James said...

"With trillions of galaxies in the Universe, which may only be one of many universes, the God of the Bible can seem too small, too jealous, too petty and too exclusive and cultic for the spiritually minded"

Yep. The bible god is a man made one.

Byker Bob said...

If everybody had the same version of the same Holy book, and if everybody got exactly the same thing from reading that Holy book, and if everybody processed that same thing through the same filters, and if those who taught it all spoke in a unified voice and did not make “mistakes”, then perhaps the word “truth” could be accurately used. That assumes that this “truth” stood up to hardball challenges. The conditions outlined above would be tantamount to spiritual “lab conditions”, only able to exist in the lab and not in real life.

Therefore, the best any of us can do is to glean the highest spiritual principles from our Holy book, and to do the best we can to practice those principles in our individual lives, knowing full well that all humans are imperfect, misunderstand, and are driven by human emotions, as well as what we often hear from other humans.

It is not possible for there to be one true church, with one set of known, rock-solid legalities that all practice, and therefore for one to become enlightened with perfect understanding. It is ridiculous that any group would hold its members in constant jeopardy over minor failures or lapses, as if that group were the gatekeepers for salvation. Church members should become very suspicious of their leaders in direct proportion to the amount of control that those leaders attempt to exert, and the damage that that ham-fisted control directly causes in members’ lives. Sound like any groups we know?

BB

Near_Earth_Object said...

This is a topic that requires common definitions for discussion. SBNR may mean many things depending on how the terms "religious" and "spiritual" are defined. Dennis seems to be saying that "religious" is like smarmy denominationalism and "spiritual" is like a kind of Nature focused contemplation. And the former may be tribal and the latter is solitary.

For me, spiritual means a more profound relationship with God - maybe involving contemplative prayer. Or finding God in his creation - a kind of joining of natural history and natural theology. Obviously this would not fit into the life of an agnostic or atheist.

In any case, the ability to connect to life "spiritually" is not a product of evolution. There is no reason why natural selection, focused on survival, would cause the flourishing of a spiritual awareness. This is why some schools of philosophical thought do not regard materialism as an adequate explanation for the existence of the modern human mind.

Anonymous said...

Religion forces us to accept black and white answers to the biggest questions in life. Life is much more complex then that. There are questions we may never know the answer to. But that is alright if we just learn to live life well and learn to enjoy the short period of time we have on this earth. Religion hinders us from having a realistic view of life and from actually enjoying life.

Also, in many ways, religion hinders us from treating each other with respect and kindness.

Anonymous said...

I think there are some who are religious but not spiritual. Like the people who said to Jesus, "Didn't we see this in the person who said to Jesus, "Didn't we prophecy in your name, didn't we preach in your name?" Jesus said, "depart from me (nice way of saying "Go to hell")?, I never knew you."
Aren't all true Christians "spiritual", in that they have the Holy Spirit? Why are they not also also religious? Walter Martin, author of the Kingdom of the Cults, said that the cults are the unpaid bills of the church. The spiritual who want nothing to do with the institutional church are also the unpaid bills of the church. Many find that the churches of today are religious, but not spiritual, more concerned with l maintaining the institution and focused on traditions than being a real church. The people who are leaving the churches have been described as "dones." These are people who are "spiritual" and religious who find that there is nothing for them in the churches. They are done with religion, but still spiritual. Perhaps the dones are those who have matured beyond being religious only.

Anonymous said...

"spiritual" simply means "I'm religious but I'm doing it my way, no one is going to tell me what to do."

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
Religion forces us to accept black and white answers to the biggest questions in life. Life is much more complex then that. There are questions we may never know the answer to. But that is alright if we just learn to live life well and learn to enjoy the short period of time we have on this earth. Religion hinders us from having a realistic view of life and from actually enjoying life.

Also, in many ways, religion hinders us from treating each other with respect and kindness."

Nicely said, Religion also hinders seeking more information, better understanding and more accurate perspectives. It is rigid and prides itself in not changing its views even when overwhelming evidence would demand it. After all it did take the Catholic Church 450 years to "apologize" for their treatment of Galileo.

A truly spiritually minded person is not saying "no one is going to tell me what to do" 602. It might be more closely stated that no one is going to tell me how it all is based on their authoritarian views and position without one having the right and common sense to evaluate the view and act or believe accordingly without retribution.

....and good science done well is not because scientists want to sin and don't want to obey the laws of the gods.

Anonymous said...

UCG wants us to believe that the Kingdom of God is a future world-ruling government, and that today's UCG members are today practicing that government "in embryo" learning how to be that Kingdom's kings and priests. LCG, RCG and PCG teach the same.

So, we should be able to judge these churches' idea of eternity by how they treat the least of their members today. No church, ACOG or otherwise, is perfect, as it is made up of imperfect human beings. The ACOGs, however, seem on the whole far LESS healthy as communities than are most other churches. That should be a pretty strong hint to STAY AWAY.

Percy Q. Ted said...

Anon6:02AM wrote:

"'spiritual' simply means 'I'm religious but I'm doing it my way, no one is going to tell me what to do.'"

I'm neither spiritual nor religious anymore, but...

You have to realize that starting your own church like HWA through Doubly Blessed Bob means "
I'm religious but I'm doing it my way, no one is going to tell me what to do
."

It also means, "I wanna stroke my ego by telling everyone else what to do. And the second thing I'm gonna do is tell I'm some kind of apostle or prophe, right after I tell 'em to hand over their money to me."

Between "spiritual" people and religious "leaders," I'll take the spiritual ones who make their own damn living, and mind their own damn business.

You should mind your own damn business too.

If a person has no use for corrupt, egotistical, freeloading, bigoted authoritarians, nobody should be trying to guilt-trip them into following or supporting such reprehensible people.

I advocate that everyone should have the freedom to think for themselves, make their own choices, and do it their own way. Religious fascists can go to hell.

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered what those of Bible times would think of the world we, 21st century residents of the Space-Time Continuum, live in. Would they think of the world?

Would they judge our world as "spiritual" in a good sense, or a bad sense? What would they think of our technology? Our gadgets? the control we have over things we take for granted? Would they ponder our spirituality as good or bad? as black or white? Would they think we've all gone nuts?

Dennis points out that it took the Catholic Church 450 years to "apologize" for their treatment of Galileo. Religion kept them stuck in paradigms that it took over 400 years to admit were not exactly the way they thought it was. I don't see much has changed, and I'm fairly sure religion is still stuck in paradigms that will take 400 more years to change what they are thinking now to what really is the case. I'm talking about things such as the space-time continuum, alternate realities and realms, quantum physics, other dimensions and realities, other worlds, other types of life forms, the nature of matter and antimatter, and the list could go on to infinity. The bottom line is: Religion seeks to say they know everything, but history proves and continues to prove religion knows next to nothing. Spirituality, however, is awe, wonder, and openness to learn, to understand, to comprehend, to see, to hear, to find, to knock. Religion closes doors and places everything into a box. Spirituality asks, seeks, knocks, and finds.

Jesus himself said ask, seek, and knock. He also said pure religion isn't what those of his day thought it was. He challenged the thoughts of the day to the point where he was accused of heresy, blasphemy, being possessed,violating the law, and etc. - why? Because Jesus did not conform to the black and white RELIGION of the day. And to this very day, religion wants to keep people stuck to the black and the white where people are blind to grey.

Well, a lot of "grey" has been discovered over the past 100 years. You can either bury your head in the sand and dismiss it, or you can accept that those who wrote scripture 2000 years ago only knew what they knew in the most basic and elementary terms. Science doesn't have to invalidate black and white. It simply brings color, depth, sound, and vibrance to the crudest form of videography. Sadly, most "religious" people hide their heads in the pillows because they can't handle the light, and instead of being awestruck in wonder, they yell in mad raves how untrue the truth is. There's so much more to the story than so many stuck in black and white will ever care to admit, and they will probably spend their whole lives stuck in the colorless world of ignorance.

Near_Earth_Object said...

We really have a category problem in discussing this issue. Some would say religion is bad but being spiritual is good. Others, would say the opposite that being spiritual could be bad but being religious is good. And there is no accepted definition of either one.

Human beings can use anything in a negative and destructive way whether it be religion or non-religious spirituality. Nothing is guaranteed to escape human corruption. This makes inducing generalities about this topic very prone to bias.

Byker Bob said...

Time has done that,10:15, ever since man developed the capability to record, accumulate, and share his thoughts and knowledge. As time passes, new discoveries and knowledge enable us to fill in blank areas. It is an evolutionary process that would even be confusing to Josephus, who praised certain deceased notables by stating that they “made no innovations”. One of the basic teachings of Armstrongism was that mankind is degenerating, and certainly not evolving. In our classes at Ambassador College, they depicted the Millennium as being a return to an agrarian society, robes and sandals as the perfect attire, everyone returning to their ancestral homelands (but looking to Jerusalem as a basic pattern for existence), and all keeping the same oracles of the Old Covenant (even people on the Southern Hemisphere where the holydays and seasons are 180 degrees out of sync).

What do you do when mankind has changed so radically that the people from 1200 BC almost seem to be a completely different species (except for the fact that some humans with no self-control skills are still frequently driven by their appetites and emotions)?

I would submit that there are certain constant values involving the ways in which we watch out for and treat one another (and the planet!) that are just as timeless by nature as gravity, the speed of light, and the laws conservation of matter and energy. It is always mystifying when people imagine that they can become religious or spiritual by adhering to a set of legalism to the exclusion of properly, lovingly, morally, and ethically treating others.
This is the primary reason why Armstrongism is a defective product, and produces toxic fruit, no matter how often or in how many places or under whatever leaders it is attempted. People qualify to be managers or rulers based on developed skills relating to the treatment of those whom they manage. Not through zero tolerance legalism, picked and chosen from a code 3,500 years ago

BB

Anonymous said...

BB said:

" In our classes at Ambassador College, they depicted the Millennium as being a return to an agrarian society, robes and sandals as the perfect attire, everyone returning to their ancestral homelands (but looking to Jerusalem as a basic pattern for existence),"

I always had questions concerning the Millennium, no matter how hard the suits tried to sell it. Besides thinking the YA films were a foretaste of the Millennium (hahahaaha, it was a Lawrence Welk-ish lame copy), If you took the Millennium literally, like we did, where (as I was taught) you could have a pet lion or a pet tiger and they would never hurt you - well, we obviously never studied the biology of feline carnivores. Somehow, it would "just happen" that carnivores would somehow become herbivores, and become domesticated all at the same time. Well, we reasoned, "God would just make it that way". And we said we didn't believe in evolution? ;)

I think tigers and lions transforming into tame herbivores with the temperaments of golden retrievers and little kitty cats is quite the evolution to me! ;) I remember thinking to myself what kind of exotic animal I would want as my own in "The World Tomorrow" (think the YA song "Talk to the Animals") . Kind of like everyone gets their own zoo on their own private farm in the land of milk and honey! But that's what happens when you read a scripture and take it absolutely literally as "The Truth".

I must have thought that I wouldn't become a Spirit Being when everyone else was transformed in the First Resurrection, 'cause it was only to be in two to three years! To be honest, our whole Millennium doctrine would be an absolutely fascinating science fiction novel. If I remember right, someone tried to make a newspaper once Post-Millennium. I wish I could re-read that, knowing what I know now!

But the Millennium is probably another topic in itself for discussion I guess.








Anonymous said...

So true. Also, some are not open to defining this topic other than the ways in which it was presented by Armtrongism. For them, being a spiritual person involves adhering to legalism to demonstrate love for God, and how this legalism affects fellow man is inconsequential. Therefore, one’s supposed love for God becomes a selfish save your own ass form of Christianity. I believe such ones are missing the greater principle.

Anonymous said...

If the kingdom of God is some world ruling government, then why not just call it the Government of God?

What some posters seen to ignore is that many political parties and ideologies are religions as well. Observe the almost, if not demonic rage of some political protesters.
It's a religious spirit.

Anonymous said...

Well written article Dennis,
I agree religion is an education being taught by and individual perception (Ego) of God. Spirituality, meditation is calming the mind so we can listen to what the spirit has to say to us.

Funny thing, I am building a Hookha Hut in my back 40. It is a place for me and others to meditate.

The bible, properly read will lead us to spirit. We have taking the bible and turned it into a test book. wwcg's correspondence course. PT magazine and sermon's are a perfect example of indoctrinating. Religion only adds to our confusion and thoughts.

Meditation is something we need to learn to slow our busy minds down so the spirits can talk to us. Yes I used the word spirits. They are eager and excited to speak to us. They have always been with us and will never forsake us. EVER!

RSK said...

I dunno, in the mid to late 90s "I'm not religious but VERY spiritualllll!" seemed to be everyone's line, and I thought it was a dumb rework of the same old "no true Scotsman" routine.

Percy Q. Ted said...

Anon6:38PM wrote:

"If the kingdom of God is some world ruling government, then why not just call it the Government of God? What some posters seen to ignore is that many political parties and ideologies are religions as well. Observe the almost, if not demonic rage of some political protesters. It's a religious spirit."

We already have enough authoritarian despotism in the world as it is, so thankfully there aren't any kingdoms of any gods, world ruling or otherwise. I don't think it's any secret that the American conservatism is a religious ideology, that the GOP is a religious party, and that they'd like to quietly scuttle democracy and the constitution and set up a fascist christian sharia state in the ashes of democracy, predicated upon delusions from classical times. It's the modern world now. Time to leave behind the childish fantasies of yester-millennia.

Everyone "observes" "unjustifiable rage" on the part of those whom they're biased against, so nothing objective about that. You have to be pretty loud if you expect to be heard, no matter which side you're on. "Demonic," lulz.

However, just like in the lead-up to the civil war, there's two sides growing increasingly polarized, and one side has a dwindling power base, yet is using every underhanded trick in the book to white-knuckle half the political power. I hope that christian fascists are not successful in bringing down democracy and ending our heritage of freedom, but also, that when they finally do lose power, we don't have another civil war.

Anonymous said...

10.19 AM
You sound like a white washer for the Milo Yiannopoulos protesters.
Is it Milo and his audience or is it the demonstrators that are the 'Demonics?'