I was posting on another board and I realized why I hate the term “I’m a religious person”. To me it implies that the person who is saying it is more concerned with the forms of their faith than with the actual faith itself.
I’m going to use a few terms here, and before I get started I wanted to define them somewhat.
Faith: The internal connection to whatever. It is the acknowledgment that there is a spirit and that many different and various things can and do happen to that spirit after death. In this case, I am using spirit interchangably with “intellect”.
Spirituality: The internal and personal relationship with whatever deities or spirits there are in the world around you. It is possible to be spiritual and not have any worship of invisible beings.
Religion: The forms of that honoring and worship.
The religion is the institutional and ritualized form of spirituality.
This is getting scattered. I find it possible to be intensely spiritual and not be religious at all. One can have a day to day interaction with the unseen world and never do a ritual honoring that world.
I don’t understand why this concept is hard for people to understand. One can have a connection to the divine, a knowledge of what will come after death, a belief that the soul is immortal and that what I am will be eternal. One can speak to the Gods (or God) or spirits and one can recieve instruction from Them. One can revel in the knowledge that there is more than just what we can see, smell, taste, touch and hear, and one can understand that individually a person is a small cog, but en masse, there is little that can stop us.
One does not have to be religious. One doesn’t have to go to the little red church down the street, pray on bended knee at the chancel or speak the prayers out of the book. One does not need to know the symbolism of the purpah or know what it does. One doesn’t have to understand the mythology of a deity to be able to relate to them.
This is the kind of dichotomy that is responsible for a lot of grief over the years. Practitioners of a religion are constantly attacking those with a true spiritual connection and understanding. Those with a spirituality flit from one religion to another, never really committing to a religion since they can’t define what they are looking for. So the two come into conflict constantly and there is hatred on all sides.
I also want to acknowledge that there are those who have a very deep spiritual connection without there being any deity or spirit in the makeup of their spirituality. The Agnostics and Athiests have, in their own way, a very deep and rich spiritual existance while rejecting many mystical things. But they can do it even though there is no religious framework to hang their faith off of to display it. Just a point.
So, in thinking about your spirituality, don’t let your religion get in the way of someone else’s spirituality or tramble over it. It is never a good thing to impose your rules on another.