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Why Do People Embrace Religion Instead Of Only Spirituality?

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posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 12:24 AM
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My motive is not to offend anyone nor to debate which religion is right or wrong. I ask that anyone who replies try to maintain that mentality as well.

I am writing this after several years of being an ex-Christian, watching my wife enjoy the freedom of being able to research aspects of her Christian faith without worrying about me thinking less of her, and having several conversations with a Christian pastor which proved to be quite enlightening. So, while my background is primarily focused on Christianity, I am going to attempt to remain neutral in terms of how I lay out my question and the points I'd like to make.

As I wrote in the subject line, my question is this: Why do people embrace religion instead of only spirituality?

I struggled to write my own definition of spirituality, so after looking around the internet briefly, I found one here which sums up what I was attempting to write:



Spirituality is, in the most basic sense, matters pertaining to the spirit and is based on the idea that there exists something, be it a state of mind, a being, or a place, that is outside the experience of our five limited senses. Spirituality is the personal relationship of the individual to this state of mind, being or place and often emphasizes the notion of a path, that spirituality is a goal in achieving understanding, or an improved relationship with the sacred.


In other words, spirituality is personal, free of influence from other people. A person can define their own spiritual journey, exploration, growth, and desires however they see fit. There is no need to worry about the consequences of asking questions, having doubts, or dealing with guilt. Rather, it is meant to be satisfying, enlightening, and fulfilling.

Anyone can enjoy a rich spiritual life. Yes, there are those who choose to take the path which does not include spirituality, and that's perfectly fine and deserves to be respected, as does every person's choice of spiritual beliefs.

But then there are those who wish to pursue spiritual enlightenment as well as religion. Well, what is religion? On this page it is defined in several ways, however here is the first definition:



a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.


A set of beliefs...devotional and ritual observances...and a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs - these are all things which are influenced by men and women. Not only that, religion, even in it's most simple form, dictates a person's spirituality.

I used to go to church every Sunday, of my own free will, even after my parents no longer made me go with them. I stood up, sat down, stood up, sat down, sang the songs, gave my offerings, prayed, listened to the sermons, and so on. As I was doing all of that, only occasionally did I feel like I was growing spiritually. Instead, rather than being free to embrace a fully free spiritual journey, I was in a routine. I was so focused on doing what the church expected of me, that I neglected to understand that I could indulge in a much more satisfying spiritual life on my own.

Eventually I stopped going to church. There were several reasons for that decision. The first was that I was bored and wanted something more fulfilling. So what did I do? I tried to find another church! The problem was that the church I'd been attending was about as contemporary and fun as a person could ask for in this geographical area. Needless to say, I never found one that suited my needs. Another reason for my decision to stop attending church was that I began to see beyond the altar. What I mean by that is that the political and bureaucratic side of things had become apparent to me. At one point many long time members left the church due to some things that went on which had nothing to do with spirituality! That saga instilled in me a great deal of negativity towards the manner in which many churches operate. Unfortunately, most churches cannot avoid those kinds of complications as they grow in size.

Anyway, getting back to my original point. After freeing myself from the church environment, and eventually getting past the resulting guilt and negative implications (many people let me know that they didn't think too highly of my decision), I realized that I didn't need religion in order to embrace spirituality. Ever since then I have been completely happy, at ease, and content with being agnostic and exploring all of the different aspects of others do on their spiritual paths while I try to determine my own. I no longer need to worry about what others will think or say when I have questions and look for answers. Nor do I feel obligated to participate in a dictated routine just to make others happy or to satisfy a mental need which was created by the routine itself! I am free! I am free to do whatever I wish with my spirituality!

Here is the meat and potatoes of what I am getting at. Using my own past as an example, let's go back to the time shortly after I stopped going to church. I would often spend time, alone in my apartment, practicing my own form of worship by singing, reading, and praying. It was personal. It was just me and God. That is what spirituality should be - something you do on your own terms, of your own free will, and without the need to be dictated by an outside influence.

So, back to my question. Why do people feel the need to participate in religion when their own personal spiritual journey can be traveled without it?

I realize that no one can give an answer that lays it out and will apply to everyone. But I would like to learn what others feel about that question, and perhaps why they do involve themselves with religion.

And again, I am not out to start any debates or upset anyone.




posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:14 AM
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because people are easily manipulated, thats why

religion only exists because it causes profit for a lot of organizations and as a collateral effect it makes people not to think

if everyone was smart, religions would be extincted by now, but because of some reason we dont know, it may be genetic, some people are just slower than others



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:22 AM
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Spirituality requires self exploration and bravery. Religion does not. Everything is just laid out on a plate for you with a big glass of kool-aid to wash it down.

IRM



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:23 AM
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I cannot say for sure.

I think MANY people go to organised religion services because they simply do not know how to find their own spirituality, where to begin, what to do.

I don't think many people who attend organised religion have any concept of spirituality and they attend for a variety of reasons;

Because their parents did,

because it is the accepted practice in their community

feeling of guilt for actions committed in the past

a fear of death and its possible finality

social contact with peers

etc



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:39 AM
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reply to post by Faiol
 


But not everyone is "smart".
And as much as I am opposed to organised religion due to the manipulation and control it exercises it can serve as a useful community to some.

I have known family friends who would have committed suicide had they not found organised religion.

Better 'not smart' and not dead in my opinion.
If everyone was smart gucci wouldn't exist either.....

[edit on 13-8-2010 by mumma in pyjamas]



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:45 AM
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Real reason? you want to know the truth? Because for many people its the same thing. Most people dont even know the difference. Many people believe that being religious you are being spiritual. and vice versa.



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:46 AM
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Originally posted by InfaRedMan
Spirituality requires self exploration and bravery. Religion does not. Everything is just laid out on a plate for you with a big glass of kool-aid to wash it down.

IRM


The 1st and only time I think we'll ever agree!


Great question OP!


zoom!



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:47 AM
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Adults practice religion

Children practice spirituality.



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:51 AM
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reply to post by John_Q_Llama
 

To me, the difference between what is called "religion" and what is called "sprituality" is;
Religion is like a conversation with another person.
Spirituality is like talking to yourself.

People embrace religion because they believe that the "other person" is there and that the conversation is happening.



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:52 AM
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I think it depends upon where one searches for their spirituality.

When we feel the beginnings of spirituality we, logically, begin to seek out information about it. Usually we will turn to what we know for information, such as friends, family, or even just something like "Google". We get our quick "link", as it where, to whatever answer is provided and we are off.

And this is the point where we begin to run the risk of indoctrination.

If our trusted source said "Ask a Priest" then, in all likelyhood, we are apt to be indoctrinated into that theological school of thought. Likewise with any other possibility, including all religions and psuedo-religions. We might reject one or a few until we find something to latch onto. But, eventually, we end up allowing some level of indoctrination. And this is where spirituality and religion become separate entities within us.

Personally I have yet to finish my journey through this process. In fact I'm not even close to feeling as though I understand more than the most basic precepts of religion...

But I do feel that I have learned to well serve my spirituality.

Hope this helps!



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:54 AM
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Originally posted by mumma in pyjamas
reply to post by Faiol
 


But not everyone is "smart".
And as much as I am opposed to organised religion due to the manipulation and control it exercises it can serve as a useful community to some.

I have known family friends who would have committed suicide had they not found organised religion.

Better 'not smart' and not dead in my opinion.
If everyone was smart gucci wouldn't exist either.....

[edit on 13-8-2010 by mumma in pyjamas]


I agree with you, a lot of people would kill themselves without these organized religion, but thats not because religion is good, thats because the community as general doesnt offer enough support for these people

reply to post by Nofoolishness
 


I think the difference is that, in one side you have an organized religion, that you have like duties to it, its a business, and in the other its just your life


reply to post by monkcaw
 


wise people practice free thinking



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 01:58 AM
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Its because were a consumer society and were happy to be told what to believe in any one of 10 000 equally clueless denominations,its a consumer choice for convenience to fulfil the social level of Maslows heirarchy of needs.



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 02:06 AM
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I think religion is mostly Fear based.

How many times have you heard a god believer say to an Atheist: "What if you are wrong?"

Once you let go of that fear - - you become independent of thought - - and your perspective changes.

YOU are now in charge of what you believe or don't believe. YOU are now in charge of your journey.



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 02:13 AM
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It'd be very cool if people would embrace 'The Way of Keeping it to Themselves' as a spiritual path.

It seems like so much of the negativity arise from the 'sharing' and the 'my path's better than yours' or 'I have the answer.'



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 02:14 AM
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reply to post by Annee
 


the problem is not fear, its the knowledge

when you start to study the universe and all we know ... you start thinking for yourself and you can actually decide



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 02:15 AM
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reply to post by watchZEITGEISTnow
 


LOL! I was going to say the exact same thing to Annee!

PMSL!

IRM



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 02:21 AM
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reply to post by John_Q_Llama
 




Why do people feel the need to participate in religion when
their own personal spiritual journey can be traveled without it?


You say you left your church because you weren't getting fulfillment from it.

Maybe they do?



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 02:24 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 
That's an excellent point and clearly expressed.



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 02:49 AM
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The day that religion is nonexistant on earth, will be a great day.
I couldn't say the same for spirituality.

I believe in a creator of humans, but I dont think Jesus was the son of god anymore than I am. What religion would I be?

Lets start a new belief system. Maybe that's exactly what's been going on post 2000 milenium.

Thanks for the OP, I enjoyed readnig it. My life was completely opposite, but ended up at a similar viewpoint


[edit on 13-8-2010 by sticky]



posted on Aug, 13 2010 @ 02:51 AM
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Originally posted by Faiol
reply to post by Annee
 


the problem is not fear, its the knowledge

when you start to study the universe and all we know ... you start thinking for yourself and you can actually decide


I wouldn't exactly say Spirituality is based on knowledge.

But Fear is control. You have to let go first - before you can move forward.



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