02 April 2010

On Religion and Spirituality

Religion and Spirituality are two different approaches to God. It is hard to talk about religion. It is so much of a sensitive topic that it is impossible to talk about it publicly and not offend others at the same time. But since today is Good Friday, (Jesus supposedly died for us today) the panda will try to share his take on religion and spirituality. The goal of course is nothing more than epistemic gain to help us seek our path to God.

In John 4:19-24, a Samaritan woman was asking Jesus where should people worship. She is confused because apparently, Jews insist that it should be Jerusalem, on the other hand, Samaritans claim that Mt. Gerizim is the proper place of worship.

19“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

21Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Jesus' reply to the Samaritan woman was very revealing. In this verse, we can observe that Jesus is giving more importance to spirituality rather than religious dogma. Jesus tells the woman it does not matter where God is worshiped, what is more important is the kind of spiritual worship. "For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."

Here are some of the difference between Religion and Spirituality:

Religion gives too much importance to ancient religious dogma in its goal to achieve salvation.

Spirituality, on the other hand, is NOT so much concerned with the past, but instead is more concerned with the eternal now. For the spiritual, peace of mind is achieved by living in the present, it is not the past nor the  future that gives us liberation.

Fear is often the approach taken by religion. Religion reminds us that we must do the right thing if we do not wish to suffer in the future. On the other hand, the spiritual approach to God is through the path of love. Spirituality tells us that instead of fearing God, we approach him through the path of love.

Religion finds God being in the heavens. At times God can seem far from the reach of the aspiring humanity. Spirituality believes, on the other hand, that God can be felt as a living presence in our own heart. For the spiritual, God is reachable through the attainment of inner realization.

Extreme religiosity seems to be not very tolerant of other religions. For the religious, only one path can lead to salvation - their path. Their overwhelming faith in their own religion makes them feel that other religions are very wrong. This leads to their feeling of necessity to convert others to their faith. Sometimes this attitude leads to fanaticism and fundamentalism.

In short, there are sharp differences in every one's path or approach towards God. Some are more religious, some are more spiritual.

The beauty of knowing the limits of both is the sense of understanding, balance, and tolerance over the faith of others. The panda is, of course,  leaning towards the point that spirituality is more beautiful than religious dogmatism.

I still maintain the possibility that Jesus didn't really die.
 Saturday, someone sent me a message asking, "Did Jesus really live?"
- I don't want to go  into that topic... I reserve my opinions on that :)
Sunday, Christ has risen. But the day was gloomy. Lady panda and I ate 13 pieces of chicken wings.

Published by Tejvan Pettinger 10/01/2007 http://www.biographyonline.net/spiritual/articles/religion_vs_spirituality.html
Katherine Lehman. Is it all right to be spiritual without being religious. http://www.explorefaith.org/spiritual.html


Kaitee said...

Well said Mr. Panda..

Rah said...

Thank you kaitee, nice panda hat. Whish I had one, too.

Michael Jay Mesa said...

well..it's spirituality that saves us , not religion

Rah said...

@michael yup, i agree. Assuming that there's a God, I believe that he will give more value to spirituality. The problem is, some religions, don't think so. They are so dogmatic, they think they are the only sons and daughters of God, wtf.

Stone-Cold Angel said...

I definitely agree... =)

gege said...


its our relationship with Him that counts!!!

hello panda!

^ - ^

Rah said...

@gege roger that. So people should stop giving tooooooo much emphasis on dogma, and start their spiritual relationship with god, assuming he believe in god. hahaha

John said...

This just made my day much brighter. Thanks a lot. Something else I across was this Ministerial Seminary .Take a look!