Religion. Central element of society for most of human history. Worship one God. Worship many gods. There is no God. Do this. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that. Do this more. Do this less. Do this every day, three times a day. Sounds more like a prescription. But is it a prescription for really living?
Are humans really wired to be religious? YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d think so. I mean, look at all the religions in the world. Islam. Hinduism. Christianity. Mormonism. Judaism. Those are just a few. And inside of most of those Ã¢â‚¬Å“ismsÃ¢â‚¬? are more divisions of that sort of belief than can be counted. Atheism is even a religion Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it is a belief system that there is no God Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a religion to deal with the hypothesis that what we see that exists is all there is. Pretty interesting. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s be real Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if there is not a religion for it and someone thinks it viable, then a belief system that attempts to make sense of life and culture and relationships and choices and evil and good and all that stuff can be invented. And I think thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the point Ã¢â‚¬â€œ humans werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t meant to be religious Ã¢â‚¬â€œ itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just something else we have invented to deal with our existence and our discontent herein. Something that has been created by us to explain all the stuff we learn about us and experience in this very up and down ride we call life.
So why are there so many religions? Is it because there are so many people with so many different circumstances and issues and desires and passions and perspectives on life? When we arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t satisfied with one belief system, we invent another. Is it because we want to feel important and valuable, so we create systems that explain our worth and provide regimented actions to prove it? Is it because we are earnestly trying to figure out this life thing, and the best we can do is look around and figure thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a God somewhere and try to practice maybe getting to meet him when the ride is over?
Coming up with the answer to that has led to a lot of religions. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great gig. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s made a lot of people happy, a lot of folks confused, and a few folks rich. Humans are trying their best to come up with their own guess about the meaning of life and the relationship between all of existence. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a weary, never-ending journey. More trails will be blazed in years to come. More confusion. More attempts to figure this out.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a stab at it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ what if we werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t meant to be religious? What if systems and rituals could never explain the supernatural reality that somehow weaves its way throughout what we perceive to be real and cries out from the depths of our hearts? What if it is more? What if we werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t meant to be religious? What we were meant to be spiritual?
Semantics, you say. NoÃ¢â‚¬Â¦I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think so. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take a look at how the 2 words are defined by humanity and you tell me if there is a difference. We have to take the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“religionÃ¢â‚¬? instead of Ã¢â‚¬Å“religiousÃ¢â‚¬? because Webster has this really interesting way of defining words with the word itself. So religion actually has a definition that does not say something like Ã¢â‚¬Å“having to do with religion.Ã¢â‚¬?
Here are the definitions:
reÃ‚Â·liÃ‚Â·gion Ã‚Â Ã‚Â (Ã‚Â PÃ‚Â )Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Pronunciation KeyÃ‚Â Ã‚Â (r-ljn)
- Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
- A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
spirÃ‚Â·iÃ‚Â·tuÃ‚Â·al Ã‚Â Ã‚Â (Ã‚Â PÃ‚Â )Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Pronunciation KeyÃ‚Â Ã‚Â (spr-ch–l)
- Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material. See Synonyms at immaterial.
- Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul.
- Of, from, or relating to God; deific.
- Of or belonging to a church or religion; sacred.
- Relating to or having the nature of spirits or a spirit; supernatural.
Look at the different words in the two definitions. In the former, the words are connected with systems and behavior and manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s teachings. In the latter, the words describe something relational, Ã¢â‚¬Å“not tangible,Ã¢â‚¬? Ã¢â‚¬Å“affecting the soulÃ¢â‚¬? and core of who we are, connecting to the supernatural. Which one is the cry of your heart? Do you long inside for a new system of beliefs? Do you long inside for something that only speaks to behavior? Do you long inside for something that requires the teachings and affirmations of a religiously educated individual? Do you long inside for segmented, prescriptive rituals that we partake of and then get back to the daily where life really happens?
OR, do you think that Ã¢â‚¬Å“systemsÃ¢â‚¬? might possibly be inadequate to really describe the spiritual reality that you just know exists? Do you sense that behavior modification might possibly be an inept attempt to really change the human heart, to change us from the inside out? Do you realize that even the gurus of today and yesterday might not be able to speak to the reality of the supernatural that we were created to connect with. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you know that life is wholistic Ã¢â‚¬â€œ segmented, ritualistic living just does not translate into the need that exists deep within to connect my spiritual core and spiritual wirings with daily living?
The problem is that even the so-called experts have emphasized systematic beliefs and segmented, religious living as the Ã¢â‚¬Å“rightÃ¢â‚¬? way. We have spent so much of our time in human history intellectually debating and attempting to empirically prove spiritual existence based on the material existence we exist in. The problem is the word that I overused in the last sentence. We canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t prove something and really understand something in terms of our existence that actually exists both in and beyond our existence. Reality is that the spiritual exists in a more real way than we know our own material existence. You know this. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s written on your heart. You feel it in the core of who you are. You see it when thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a coincidence that you know was more than coincidence. You hear it when you battle trying to distinguish with those voices that cause speak into the gut-wrenching choices of life. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s there. Some people call it mystical. The bottom line is this Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the supernatural is real and we were made to interact with it and live spiritually.
Are you? DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you want to really live? You can. You were meant to be spiritual, to interact with the spiritual realm. Humans werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t made to be religious. They were wired to be spiritual.