I have come to a conclusion; There is a difference between religion and spirituality. People that are religious say that they are spiritual. Many times the words are thrown about interchangeably. However, there is a difference. Religion is an idealized set of beliefs. With religion everyone has to ascribe to those beliefs or they are not a part of that religion. Spirituality is personal with universal concepts, Universal in that all can ascribe to those beliefs and they work without impartiality to race or condition. Religion is objective, meaning others agree to dogma and rules. Spirituality is subjective; it is subject to the internal beliefs, moods and emotions of the individual.
Jesus was teaching spiritual principles, but man for its own reasons made Christianity about Jesus rather than what he was attempting to teach. Jesus was attempting to teach us to connect to a universal consciousness not some all powerful being that watched over us like a guard dog ready to bite us and punish us when we did some wrong determined by man. Jesus teachings were to lead man into discovering his greater existence in the universe. Man unfortunately for centuries have believed that the world we live in is the entire universe. Man has believed what we experience with our five senses is all there is to the universe. Even thought there is much evidence to the contrary, man persists in his limited view of his existence. Religion is an aid in the persistence of limiting thought.
In the NIV bible, John 4:24 Jesus states, "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
This is one of the scriptures that Jesus makes a statement that is meant to be universal in nature. Man has now defined what a worshiper is and the consequences when he does not fit the definition. Did Jesus intend his teaching to separate man or to unite? Religion says we all have to fit a definition of worshiper. Jesus had principles that taught us HOW to worship.
John 7:16 Jesus answered, "My teaching in not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."
This scripture is spoken figuratively by Jesus. He says … HIM who sent me. Can God be a person, or did Jesus mean a universal force? What is God's will and how do you choose it? Who decides your choice? Who decides where his teachings come from?
Religion believes they have answered those questions and they have answered them for anyone that believes in the ascribed dogma. Jesus was giving us formulas to find out for ourselves. How does one know that the teachings of Jesus come from God? When they search for the meaning for themselves. When that person goes inside and starts to ask the hard questions.
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Religion made this scripture and statement about the man. Figuratively Jesus was saying that he can teach us how to recognize our eternal selves. If we follow his TEACHINGS he can give us the knowledge.
One of the most destructive verses to mankind and his universality is John 14: 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
This one verse man has taken literally from Jesus. He meant that through his teachings man would be enlightened. Religion made it about the MAN Jesus rather than about the universal enlightenment of man. Religion has separated mankind from its understanding of his place in the universe for thousands of years. We have within us a vast reservoir of knowledge. We have to be brave enough to step outside the accepted NORMS of religion to discover that knowledge. That is what the teachings of Jesus was about. Not the dogmatic rants of self proclaimed disciples. Does a teacher TELL you how to think? Or is a teacher to give you a foundation on which to build?
It is time for us to wake up. We have gotten lost in religion. Our purpose is much greater and our knowledge more vast than any religious thought will allow us to perceive. Religion controls through fear and misinformation, giving us concepts of a vengeful God and hell. We should open our minds to the eternal wisdom of our souls. Not to the finite rants of preachers. We all have infinite abilities that Jesus alluded to in the scripture. You have to be brave enough to investigate for yourself and strong enough to stand up to thousands of years of ignorance. Spirituality is personal and liberating. Religion is bastion of fearful and confining thought.
Are you a brave soul?
reginaldc is me
By Reginald Martin
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