Religion Vs True Spirituality
“THE OLD RELIGION AND THE NEW SPIRITUALITY”
“Religion encourages you to explore the thoughts of others and accept them as your own. Spirituality invites you to toss away the thoughts of others and come up with your own.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch, Author, “Conversations With God”
This article on religion and spirituality is important to understand if you wish to grow spiritually. This is not a bashing of religion, as they inspire a lot of people and do a lot of great things for communities, but a re-definition of what many of us have been taught for thousands of years about God and spirituality. This re-definition would carry forth a massive amount of change in the world and would begin to solve many of our ‘problems’. First a few statistics on religion and spirituality:
-There are 4,200 different religions in the world, 24 of which have at least 1 million followers. Christianity alone has over 34,000 different denominations.
-1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has no religion. 77% Americans say religion has less influence on life and the younger generations define themselves more as being ‘spiritual’ rather than ‘religious’.
What does this tell us? There are numerous religions out there. How does one choose a particular religion? Or is it just accepted because that is what you are taught and you learn to accept it? More importantly, how do we know what religion is the ‘right’ one? How do we know if what we believe is ‘wrong’? You can see why there are many people who do not have a religion. So why does religion have less effect on us and why are so many people choosing to be just called spiritual instead? First, it is important to understand the difference between religion and spirituality.
“Do not confuse organized religion (dogma) with spirituality. The ending of a religious life through the exploration of expanded consciousness is usually the beginning of an authentic spiritual life.” ~ Anon I mus, Spiritual Teacher
Religion by definition is a set of strongly held beliefs and values that people live by. Religions exist only on the physical planes, which means that the truth existed prior to both physical bodies and the creation of religion. People gather these beliefs from what they have read in ancient texts and then translate and interpret them into something that they give meaning to. This is how many religions around the world were started, as someone’s interpretation of what was written by another person. We know that Christianity developed many years after the death of Jesus by people who interpreted what was written at the time. Jesus actually practiced Gnosticism and taught the true meaning of God. He never founded any church, but rather formed a community. The church was created later, and redefined several times before getting to what we are taught in modern days. So what you read now in the Bible is by no means a collection of everything that was recorded at the time. There are also many contradictions. We know from the lost Gnostic Gospels, on the Dead Sea Scrolls and those at Nag Hammadi that there are many other recorded accounts of life at that time, many of which differs from what the Christian church teaches today. These texts developed around the same time as the Orthodox texts but were lost. Only the Orthodox texts survived during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine. However, Orthodox religions only hold only very basic understandings about God and life.
No religion is by any means complete, it is just a slice of the truth. The Latin origin is to bind, meaning that they essentially work within a closed system. But in reality, the entire realm of existence is open. All religions, philosophies, and ideas make up a part of the larger picture. For instance, we know that reincarnation is not a part of modern Christianity, although it was practiced by the followers of Jesus at the time. Religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism do teach the concepts of reincarnation and karma but they are by no means a complete understanding. So no singular religion is going to give you the complete picture of life by any means. No book has the final say on anything; it is really just a compilation of separate texts that were written by different people, with much of it being oral traditions. In the case of the Bible, most of the New Testament was written not by the Apostles themselves but many years after the life of Christ. Then it was selected through by other people, translated into different languages and turned into whatever agenda was called upon at that time. Now you could argue that these texts were written by God because every man that put them into words was and is God. But they were also that person’s interpretation of whatever message they were receiving, whether it was from within themselves, another evolved being, extraterrestrial or spirit. So what you read can really be interpreted as any number of meanings.
The main thing to realize about ancient texts is that there are many portions of these texts that are simply archaic and worked only for the average evolution level at the time that it was written. You must consider that no religious book or text is the end all, be all source of morality. There may be a few ideas that can be passed off as moral ways of living, but there are also many ideas that we have evolved from as well. For instance, there are passages in the Bible that tell us to stone our children to death if they mouth off at you or even advise us to take slaves. Now, of course, we would not think of throwing our children in the streets to be stoned to death anymore, as we are aware that this is a barbaric and inhumane way of treating our fellow man. Statistically speaking, in the Bible alone, ‘God’ kills (or commands others to kill) over 2 million people (and this blog estimates 25 million!). The Quran is not much better. The ‘God’ of the Old Testament and The Quran is jealous, angry, requires offerings and punishes many that do not follow his rules. He wipes out entire cities and civilizations. These traits of ‘God’ should be a huge eye-opener. Ask yourself if this is how you want to view ‘God‘. This is the same ‘God’ that commands us not to kill. How does that make sense? Who is this ‘God’ and where did this ‘God’ go? If we are going to pick and choose which sections or passages that we are to try and follow within a religion’s texts based on its application to the society we wish to live in, then we need to be critical of all passages within that religion’s texts. This can be applied to anything from sexuality to how we treat our parents, and this is where religions need to be scrutinized for what is either taught out of love or fear. There is much wisdom to be learned in modern spiritual ideas, as there are a greater number of evolved souls and on average a higher level of spiritual evolution than ever before. Now this doesn’t mean you should accept everything (contemporary or otherwise), which is why it is important to use your intuition and reasoning.
“When they lose their sense of awe, people turn to religion. When they no longer trust themselves, they begin to depend on authority.” ~ Lao Tzu, Spiritual Teacher, Paraphrased from “The Tao Te Ching“
Now of course not everyone who has a religious belief is violent but you can see that religions themselves are conditional and exclusive. That is, they require a belief system in their ideas in order for anyone to be accepted into their church. So it requires you to seek outside of yourself in order to find any of the answers. This, of course, is not true. All answers lie within, as we are all God. So this requires us to seek an intermediary in order to understand God, which we really do not need, as God is not above man and no man has any better access to the knowledge of God than any other. There is no need for an outer authority, as this is an idea of God that is just a projection of the human mind. Religions make you think that you need something in order to obtain salvation, but they really only make you lose faith in yourself, as you are only trusting the authority of another system’s beliefs and ideas. Religions make it seem like they have all the answers and that you do not, which essentially requires you to accept its answers without question. You can see how dangerous this can become and why it causes so much separation on this planet. You could really be drawn into a system of beliefs that take you down a path that could be destructive, as in the case of terrorism. In fact, unwavering religious (or otherwise) beliefs are likely the biggest problem in human existence throughout history. Ponder this carefully before proceeding.
“If you think the Kingdom of God is above you, then birds will find it first. If you think it is in the ocean, then fish will discover it before you do. Look . . . the Kingdom of God is within you and all around you.” ~ Jesus, Spiritual Teacher, Paraphrased from “The Gospel of Thomas“
So have you taken in upon yourself to explore what the other world’s religions and philosophies have taught us, or do you just accept what you were brought up to believe and what others have told you? Have you considered the source of the text that you are reading? Are you even aware of the vast diversity that other spiritual works can offer you? If you really took the time to understand the concept of reincarnation and do some critical research, would you question what you were taught about only having one lifetime on this planet? The real meaning of being critical is observing, researching, studying and then looking within to determine what the truth is for yourself. If you are just accepting what you are being told and only studying what your particular religion has laid out before you, then you are really hampering your spirituality and living within a box. Study other philosophies and ideas. For instance, Buddhism is about dispelling illusions and alleviating suffering. It doesn’t matter whether God exists or not, but whether inner peace does. Hinduism is tolerant of many ideas and faiths. God can be one and many at the same time. Study the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Gnostic Texts, the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita. Be open to modern spiritual ideas. Even occult ideas that seem way against your current belief system like Satanism, Paganism and Atheism can offer some truly important insight into man’s journey on the road of spirituality. These ideas have been hidden for many years and are really just misunderstood by many people. But we are always evolving, and there will come a time when religious messages will change to evolve with the overall consciousness of the planet.
“Religion is a belief in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience.” ~ Deepak Chopra, Spiritual Teacher, Author
Spiritual wisdom is gathered from multiple sources and is used with intuition to discover truth. This is what many evolved souls do. Studying only one religion would be like picking only one way to express God. It’s a one-sided view. Spirituality would be picking all the possible ways. Spirituality is not a belief, but a state of conscious being, an inner knowing. It’s about discerning what is real and what is not, essentially meaning what works for your truth. It is discovered through art, music, nature, writing, reading, meditation and so forth. It operates out of love, not fear. Technically you don’t need any external stimulation to develop your inner self, but we tend to forget and get caught up in our lives. It becomes difficult to be our true selves.
So we are going to redefine spirituality. Throughout the years, we have cast God in our own image, but this image has changed and evolved. The truth is that God does not require or demand anything from us. God does not have any preference or desire as to what we choose to believe, as we are all in the process of rediscovering our own truths. So an idea like being ashamed of our bodies is not required by God in order to love ‘him’, obey ‘him’ or to worship ‘him’. It is a choice that we make based on our beliefs that we are creating, for nothing has any meaning unless we give it meaning. We can choose to believe whatever we want, and God is going to be just fine with that, as true spirituality is about defining your own truth.
The new spirituality is about change. It’s about an evolution of old ideas and old beliefs in order to advance the spirituality of mankind. The idea that God’s wisdom is static is an old way of thinking about things. In reality, nothing in the universe is static. We know from science that even the densest matter is an empty space and is constantly moving, so this means that the universe is always evolving. And since God is the universe, God is evolving as well. So any wisdom that exists out there can evolve, no matter how ‘old’ it is. Religion, like science and philosophy, must evolve in order to continue to exist. This means that its ideas must become more of an open source, with the coming together of the entire world’s wisdom. Religion must change in order to adapt to the gradual conscious awakening that is happening on the planet, or it will continue to lose its followers. The old patriarchal way of thinking, based on command and obey, is making way for the new matriarchal way. This new female consciousness based on universal oneness, love, and compassion. This is what the ‘second coming’ is all about, a saving of ourselves through a higher consciousness. It’s an ongoing awakening about what you are perceiving as your experiences. We don’t need to be saved from anything but the ego that separates us. We should also drop the idea of the person known as the ‘Anti-Christ’. This is just a metaphor for the forgetting our true selves, brought on by the ego. There is no devil, Satan or Anti-Christ. Just less evolved entities who operate from fear. But the Gnostic (knowing) way of being will bring us back to the motherly principles of non-judgment and intuition. This way is older than any religion.
“Yesterdays God cannot serve tomorrow’s world.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch, Author, “Tomorrow’s God”
Let’s take a look at what the ‘new’ God would be like. Then we can take a look at how this could impact the world and change it forever. These perceptions are taken from author and spiritual teacher Neale Donald Walsch. You may have noticed many quotes from his books on this website, which are truly insightful and inspiring, even if you don’t believe that he is actually having a conversation with God (himself). We will use 2 of his books as a reference here for a change in our perceptions of God and life. The first book is “Tomorrow’s God”, which lies out before us what the new spirituality looks like:
1. Tomorrow’s God does not require anyone to believe in God.
2. Tomorrow’s God is without gender, size, shape, color, or any of the characteristics of an individual being.
3. Tomorrow’s God talks with everyone all the time.
4. Tomorrow’s God is separate from nothing, but is everywhere present, the All in All, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Sum Total of Everything that ever was, is now, and ever shall be.
5. Tomorrow’s God is not a singular Super Being, but the extraordinary process called Life.
6. Tomorrow’s God is ever changing.
7. Tomorrow’s God is needless.
8. Tomorrow’s God does not ask to be served but is the servant of all Life.
9. Tomorrow’s God will be unconditionally loving, non-judgmental, non-condemning, and non-punishing.
We can see that ‘Tomorrow’s God’ looks very different from the one we perceive today or have in the past. This is because our perceptions are changing. We will have to redefine what God is in our eyes or the world will continue to go down the destructive path brought on by own illusions of separateness and intolerance. We can bring together all ideas and decide what is going to work for the greatest good, and not for our own particular agendas. This takes a conscious effort and awakening. And it starts with tossing away our perceptions that God is something that we should fear or be judged by. We are slowly moving down this road, and it begins with each of us looking within and seeking out what true spirituality is: that of love and not fear.
This leads into another book, “The New Revelations”, which further defines what we misunderstand about God and life, based on what our religious dogmas have taught us to believe:
5 Fallacies About God:
1) Humans believe that God needs something.
2) Humans believe that God can fail to get what He needs.
3) Humans believe that God has separated them from Him because they have not given Him what He needs.
4) Humans believe that God still needs what He needs so badly that God now requires them, from their separated position, to give it to Him.
5) Humans believe that God will destroy them if they do not meet His requirements.
5 Fallacies About Life:
1) Human beings are separate from each other.
2) There is not enough of what human beings need to be happy.
3) To get the stuff of which there is not enough, human beings must compete with each other.
4) Some human beings are better than other human beings.
5) It is appropriate for human beings to resolve severe differences created by all the other fallacies by killing each other.
So these fallacies bring us back to our perceptions of what God is and what the purpose for life is. The beliefs that we currently hold are not going to bring us any closer to solving our ‘problems’ because we are using the same underlying principles to try and solve the same problems. It starts with our current perceptions of God, which have caused separation, wars, killing, ignorance, greed, and intolerance. This brings us to our perceptions on how we live our lives on this planet, which causes competition, hunger, poverty, control, sorrow, and grief. In order to make some real changes, you must start by taking a close look at your beliefs and asking yourself if they cause you to live a life out of love or fear. This begins with a new way of defining what God is, similar to what was laid out in “Tomorrow’s God”:
The Nine New Revelations:
1) God has never stopped communicating directly with human beings. God has been communicating with and through human beings from the beginning of time. God does so today.
2) Every human being is as special as every other human being who has ever lived, lives now, or ever will live. You are all messengers. Every one of you. You are carrying a message to life about life every day. Every hour. Every moment.
3) No path to God is more direct than any other path. No religion is the “one true religion”, no people are “the chosen people”, and no prophet is the “greatest prophet.”
4) God needs nothing. God requires nothing in order to be happy. God is happiness itself. Therefore, God requires nothing of anyone or anything in the universe.
5) God is not a singular Super Being, living somewhere in the Universe or outside of it, having the same emotional needs and subject to the same emotional turmoil as humans. That Which Is God cannot be hurt or damaged in any way, and so, has no need to seek revenge or impose punishment.
6) All things are One Thing. There is only One Thing, and all things are part of the One Thing That Is.
7) There is no such thing as Right and Wrong. There is only What Works and What Does Not Work, depending upon what it is that you seek to be, do or have.
8) You are not your body. Who you are is limitless and without end.
9) You cannot die, and you will never be condemned to eternal damnation.
The ‘New Revelations’ take our current belief systems apart and make us really examine what true love, tolerance, peace, oneness, and happiness are. Instead of defining things as being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, we need to start looking at what works and what doesn’t work. One does not need a set of rules, laws or morals to define what they choose to create in their lives. Highly evolved beings understand this concept and are teaching us that we need to use our inner essence, that of God, to be our intuitive guide. This is the way forward.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi, Spiritual Teacher
Also laid out in “The New Revelations” are 5 steps to creating peace in the world. You cannot change the world, but you can change how you think and act in order to set an example for others so that the world can change itself:
5 Steps To Peace:
1) You can choose to acknowledge that some of your old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.
2) You can choose to acknowledge that there is something you do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which will change everything.
3) You can choose to be willing for a new understanding of God and Life to now be brought forth, an understanding that could produce a new way of life on the earth.
4) You can choose to be courageous enough to explore and examine this new understanding, and, if it aligns with your inner truth and knowing, to enlarge your belief system to include it.
5) You can choose to live your lives as demonstrations of your highest and grandest beliefs, rather than as denials of them.
Let these words sink in for a while. If they align with you then have the courage to change your beliefs and live from a place of knowing; don’t accept it just because it was taught to you or because you came to that belief under less evolved conditions. This is the only way that this planet is going to move forward in its spiritual evolution and start to solve the many problems that have existed for so many years. The next big stage in our evolution is the realization that we create our own realities and we don’t need any outside influences (God) to help us. So realize that every problem has a solution. But it begins with each individual taking the effort of being critical of what they think they know or what they believe is the ‘right’ way. Do you want to change the world? It only takes one person to start a spiritual revolution, but it starts from within.
“Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, Spiritual Teacher