Saturday, December 11, 2004

I'm very spiritual but not religious

I couldn't tell you how many times I've heard or read people say that, and its really starting to give me the irrates. It just seems like such a cool, post-modern thing to say, which I know many of the people who would say that, would actually have no idea what that means.

Its just become such a cliche, but what does it really mean.

Sure religion (and unfortunately deservedly so) has got a pretty bad rap over the years, but personally I still totally believe it has something to offer. I once heard the definition-your religion is whatever shapes your thoughts, morals and beliefs and helps determine your actions. Thats a defintion I really like. I reckon that whether or not people would outwardly recognise or express it as such, everybody has a religion. Whether that be their friends, movies, the radio, Jesus or John Edward.

The song "Personal Jesus" recently covered by Marilyn Manson says quite a lot to me. Heaps of people beilive in a God, some sort of 'other' the divine or whatever, but people just don't like being told what form that deity takes. Hence the explosion of the New Age and alternative spiritualities where you can basically pick whatever suits you. Far too consumeristic for my liking.

I guess at the end of the day we live in an age where taking up your cross, living for others and following a God that makes demands of us just isn't popular.


Christop said...

I think it proabbly depends what you mean by 'spiritual' and what you mean by 'religious'.
I think Christians tend to see religion as being a belief system that is stable and somewhat rational, whereas most other people see it as a belief system where you are discouraged from thinking about what you beleiev or asking questions about it. I generally don't think of myself as a very religious person, but that probably says more about what I see as religion than what I actually believe.

Digger said...

You're right, it does depend on your definitions of the words. I guess thats partly what I'm so annoyed about, people jumping on these bandwagons they don't really have much of a clue about.

I'm still unsure what I think about that whole evangelical Christian cliche, 'its not a religion, its a relationship' I dunno what, but there's just something about that sounds too easy answerish for me-but I do believe in the idea;if that makes any sense!

Garth said...

You have a few interesting trains of thought here. I would comment on the idea that everyone has a religion. Its something I mull over a bit too. From my experience with people some have a 'personal religion' that changes with circumstance but they stay true to that circumstance, while others 'believe' in moments of honesty. Something that frustrates me a little though is that they don't commit to their belief, just return to it in those moments of honesty. This is a little bit akin to what I had mused on recently on my page "They don't often come". I just wonder why those moments of truth don't seem to lead anywhere.

Gareth Williams said...

Maybe it's time to reclaim religion. To show people that being religious isn't about rules (that seems to be the sticking point for many non-churchies) but about a transformed lifestyle that brings life.

blondzila said...

It's just my opinion, and as such has the value of my nose, which is also mine, meaning it's no good to anyone really but me, HOWEVER:

I believe that religion stems from a belief in a higher power and the value system that stems from such belief. I believe that if you don't believe in a higher power, you are therefore not religious.

And I agree that the word spirituality is bandied about far too much by people who are afraid to come out and say they are or are not truly believers.

I myself, other than believing the aforementioned beliefs in non-believing, do not believe.

I live my life as honestly as I can, and that's about that. *nods*

Digger said...

Yeah Gaz I often wonder how we can get past the whole rules perception. A good start I suppose is to just live more gracious lives...

Digger said...

Hey Blondzila, thanks for the comments-very insightful. I really like your definition of a religion being about the belief in a higher power. I might sit with it for a bit, modify it and make it mine!

Maybe theres a better word than religion to describe the set of values that determine our actions? Whatever that word is, I still totally reckon we all have something that determines who we are and how we act-whether we realise it or not.

A good mate once said that our actions always fall short of the values that preceded them...

blondzila said...

Digger - I'm glad you saw past my goofy phraseology to the meat of my post.

I think that it's sad to think that religion (small r) is tainted with the same brush as Religion (capital R). I think that is the source of a lot of hesitation for people to be more forthright in their stances. Organized Christian Religion has been seen as a corrupt entity for hundreds of years (Martin Luther hated those damned indulgences). But that same religion gives solace to the mother over her dying child, gives strength to the father who can barely provide for his family, gives a child the backbone to turn away from taunting. Those are the true leaders of Christianity, the daily believers. The politics of the Religion obscure and mislead.

Digger said...

I think the bad name that religion has given the people of Jesus is one of the most annoying things for me as a minister.

People look at the wrongs of the church and us, which there have been and are far too many of, and so disregard the hope it can provide.

BTW-I too would have cracked it at the indulgences! They're so stupid I can only laugh!

Christop said...

I think the phrase 'it's not a religion, it's a relationship' is an example of what most of my friends see as religion - hearing something someone says and believing it without first analysing it.
Phrases like that are often picked up as instant answers, 'Sunday school answers'. I expect that phrase became so popular bercause a preacher or writer used it somewhere, people thought it sounded cool and was easy to remember, so they used it too. The thing is, because it's so easy to remember maybe (much easier than scripture) that makes it easy to think that you've learnt it (as in applied it)? People memorise the phrase, but don't put it into action, and might not even have thought much about what it means.

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