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SPIRITUAL – BUT NOT RELIGIOUS

By Terry Loving

What does it mean when one claims to be “spiritual – but not religious?”

I get thousands of hits on my web site, http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org, most likely from people searching for “spiritual” – not necessarily “religious” solutions to domestic violence and abuse. The problem with searching for “spirituality” alone, is the danger of embracing beliefs that border on the occult, mysticism, nature worship and the like. Of these things, God condemns – and warns of the penalties for participation in the forbidden.

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It is possible as well that many are not searching for “salvation” as it would seem – but a way to live life on earth in a harmonious manner, while embracing inner peace. People are searching for a relationship with a “Higher Power,” but not necessarily the “God” that Christendom serves. Numerous self-help programs offer the opportunity to acknowledge a “Higher Power” of your choosing, without confessing the one and only True God of Heaven – but as you have come to know Him.

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Given the climate of American churches today, it is understandable that there is a mass exodus from “mainstream religion.” In many cases, people should depart from religious bodies that promote false doctrine, spousal abuse, homosexuality and whatever is contrary to “sound doctrine.” However, too many people depart from God Himself; based on the actions of the “hypocrites” they perceive to be false worshippers of the Almighty, therefore, as the saying goes, they “Throw the baby out with the bath water.” Out go religion, God, Jesus, and anything that appears to be connected with those “crazy” people called “Christians.”

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The Bible speaks of those who are “spiritual” as well as those who are “religious” – or identifying with a “religion.” In our society, many reject the idea of “religion,” especially since it relates to “organized” religion, church attendance, and identifying with a particular group in order to fulfill their “spiritual” needs.

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Of this mindset, there are numerous people who have been hurt by a particular house of worship in some way – emotional or sexual abuse – and they disconnect. On the other hand, we have the spectators. They hear of a church controversy, or read about it in the news and often say, “You see – that’s why I don’t go to church!” No, that is not the reason – you had no interest in the first place, and you were looking for an excuse to fortify your rebellion against God. So there!

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Pulpit Pimps – false preachers of the Gospel are making it very difficult for people to find God. Their desire for greed and power outweighs the salvation of lost souls, and many people can see through the sham, except those that continue to throw money at their feet. This is a classic case of the “blind leading the blind,” and we know a “ditch” awaits them.

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Yet still, is it possible to be a “spiritual” person apart from the Spirit? Is the “Higher Power” as one “comes to know Him” the same as knowing the Creator of life and the world itself? Do the “spiritual – but not religious” have a Savior? A Redeemer – One to seek in times of trouble? Do they have “faith” – if so, in what? Is it dangerous to seek spirituality on your own, making it up as you go along? Are the “spiritual – but not religious” folk just revising the “Burger King” religion – “Have it your way?” Or, are they truly seeking a connection with God, but rejecting mainstream religion?

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“A group of social scientists studied 346 people representing a wide range of religious backgrounds in an attempt to clarify what is implied when individuals describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.” Religiousness, they found, was associated with higher levels of interest in church attendance and commitment to orthodox beliefs. Spirituality, in contrast, was associated with higher levels of interest in mysticism, experimentation with unorthodox beliefs and practices, and negative feelings toward both clergy and churches.” 1

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While I am working towards my own conclusions on the matter – which will be posted at a later date – I would be grateful for any feedback presently. Please weigh in, and let me hear from anyone with an opinion concerning, “spiritual – but not religious.”

Thank you!

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1 http://www.iloveulove.com/spirituality/spiritualnotreligious.htm

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“Are there dangers in being ‘spiritual but not religious’?”

http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

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Posted by on January 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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