Are you Spiritual or Religious?
By A.F.Kenton - Sept. 9, 2003
I had the privilege of attending a wedding this weekend and was extremely pleased with the ceremonies conducted to wed the couple. They wrote their own vows and the ceremonies were conducted by an interfaith Jewish minister. She conducted a brief but moving tribute to the couple. This all took place outside on a lawn, within a time frame of 15 to 20 minutes, before a group of maybe 30 people. It was a plain but beautiful event.
Like all related large or social events, new people gathered together to find out more about each other through their likes, dislikes and/or their beliefs. This event was no exception. What stands out as more interesting than anything else is the question the husband of the minister asked a number of people and the replies. He first asked me, the father of the groom, and then he asked the same question of the father of the bride the same question some time later at a different group setting not related to the other environment and surprisingly he got the same answer.
First of all being in an interfaith type of crowd or liberal thinkers, you might expect somewhat more radical thoughts and beliefs than the norm. But also you are asking some older senior citizens of 80 and 62 years old who have never met before and have never spoken to each other and you get the same answer. Now, the question was this. Are you a religious person? And the answers were exact: "I don't consider myself religious as much as I consider myself spiritual".
Apparently these people feel there is a difference. The big difference is that the word religion connotes an organization that has identical beliefs; whereas, the word spiritual accepts all variations or the lack of beliefs. Both believe strongly in God. Both connote the loving, caring, and sharing of self with others. The difference is the lack of structure on the part to someone who is spiritual and there are no limitations or structure for thought. It is unity in its purest form.
Is one better than the other. Not necessarily. So why should these two people hesitate to accept to be religious and see any difference at all. Perhaps, it is a question of free will. Meaning, one who is spiritual will or can accept or do anything for anyone. Whereas, someone who is religious, can also do the exact same thing, but more often than not there is a method, procedure, or organizational pattern that slightly removes the individual directly from the contact or equation.
I guess you can say that someone who is spiritual or spirituality is like walking through a forest of trees choosing where you want to go versus religion is like walking down the side walk of a large town or city and having to follow the sidewalks. You might also compare it with the concept of native American beliefs versus western religious beliefs.
The bottom line here is that the belief in God is good and the concept of unity is all powerful. Therefore, it really matters little what your thoughts are as long as they are pure, free, and non-judgmental. In a world based upon physical reality, there is a separation of unity to create both the physical and spiritual world. Both exist side by side; however, one is tangible and the other intangible. Both are real. Both will effect your well being and growth in a learning type process of consciousness. How you use this information is the question. If you use this knowledge for self gain or control, it is not pure or true. Without this consciousness, ones actions maybe considered negative instead of a positive form or relationship with his fellow man.
The intangible world of communication thought is very real. Communicating the thought of spirituality or unity creates a common union or communion. It is like building a bridge. The strength of the bridge is created and formed from its parts working in union. Spirituality and religion give you that intangible knowledge. However, how you cross that bridge to get to the other side maybe just as important as getting there. Meaning that communications with god is a two way street. There is the active and passive means to communicate unity or unconditional love. Whereas, prayer is the intangible talking to god, meditation is the listening to god. Both are needed to balance one's life. So, are you spiritual or religious and does it matter? Think about that.