1 in 5 Americans identify as being spiritual, but not religious. I guess it is similar to believing in a power greater than ourselves, and not quite the religious type, disenchantment to institutions or organized religion, or for that matter God? Or maybe those whom are spiritual feel as if they don't have the time or energy to delve into a religion. It seems as though Spirituality is an emotion, religion is an obligation. Spirituality soothes, religion mobilizes. Spirituality is satisfied with itself. Seems somewhat egotistical to me.
Then I got to thinking, what is it that keeps those who state that they are spiritual from going that one step further to a belief in God and Jesus as that higher power? After all, how can you believe in a higher power and not even be sure what it is? Is it for one of the following reasons or another?
#1 You were hurt by religion and those that state they are Christian?
#2 You don't want to believe in a God that is wrathful?, or
#3 You don't want to believe that you should obey the rules of the God/Jesus as related in the Bible?
I will try to touch on my friends comment as well as the three questions above based on my personal belief. Since this is my blog. I think I have that right.
Please let me be very clear before going any further. I am not passing judgement on anyone at all or whatsoever, and everyone is free to believe what they may. I am most certainly not one to have the right to judge. This is just my place to write what is on my mind, in my heart at the moment and trying to understand. But of course this is also a place for me to relate my journey with an ALL LOVING God, for others to read and understand my belief as well...
To answer the comment to my friend as to my belief and that of the 2,000,000,000 + Christians and growing of this world today. Salvation is the belief and full faith that God does exist and created the earth and everything on it. That he came to this earth as a separate and living human being. Being born of a virgin and was named Jesus. That he was crucified on a cross to shed his blood for the sins of humanity, and was raised from the dead and thereby, you make a life decision to follow the work and teachings of Christ... I know what your thinking.. seriously? Can you prove that? Follow this link to what I think is some great evidence of the Resurrection.
Pertaining to Question #1... You were hurt by religion and those that state they are Christian?
I am right there with you. Hence my 25 years struggling with Religion, being gay and God. And let me say this, "I am so very sorry for the way that religion has treated you and I. Unfortunately religions of all genres haven't done too well at some of the laws that God gave us. To love your neighbor, to forgive others, and to reach out. That is why Jesus had to die for us, because not one of us is perfect and we are all sinners. If you are honest with yourself, it is hard not to judge others by the way others look, dress or act. It is just a part of life.
The most common misconception about religion is that Christianity is just another religion like Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Sadly, many who claim to be followers of Christianity do practice Christianity as if it were a religion. To many, Christianity is nothing more than a set of rules and rituals that a person has to observe in order to go to heaven after death. That is not true Christianity. True Christianity is not a religion; rather, it is having a right relationship with God by receiving Jesus Christ as the Savior-Messiah, by grace through faith. Yes, Christianity does have “rituals” to observe (baptism & communion). Yes, Christianity does have “rules” to follow (do not murder, love one another, etc.). However, these rituals & rules are not the essence of Christianity. The rituals and rules of Christianity are the result of salvation. When we receive salvation through Jesus Christ, we are baptized as a proclamation of that faith. We observe communion in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. We follow a list of do’s and dont's out of love for God and gratitude for what He has done.
Pertaining to Question #2... You don't want to believe in a God that is wrathful?
I used to struggle with this as well, but let me put it this way. First of all, you were created by God. But let's put this in the perspective of your parents when you were a child. Your parent's basically gave birth to you. Therefore, they have the right to make rules for you and how they wish for your life to move forward. When you break those rules, they have the right to scold you or judge you as they feel is necessary to correct you, in order to make you live a life that is righteous and fullfilled to the best that it can be.
So based on that perspective, don't you think that God, who created you and everything around us, has the right to give us laws to live by and thereby ask us to believe in him and the sacrifice that was made for us and to follow him? Otherwise, there would be no salvation and the right to spend eternity with him? I think that is fair. Just as your parents asked of you, he wishes for you to believe in him and know that he has your best interest at heart. It's not always easy, and he never promised that. Life on this earth will still be a struggle, but if you think about it, this life is so short. After all, how fast has your life gone by? But imagine eternity in one of two places.. Eternity will never ever end.. so what is the choice that you would like to make? I know mine.
Pertaining to Question #3.... You don't want to believe that you should obey the rules of the God/Jesus as related in the Bible?
This goes back to Question #2 pertaining to your parents. His greatest commandments were:
- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
If you think about the other commandments of not to steal, murder. not to bear witness against your neighbor, not to covet your neighbors house/wife/etc... Honor your father and your mother. Does this sound like the laws that are set by the government? Laws keep us in check and help us live a more fulfilled life.
We are all sinners, and not one of us is perfect or can be. But thru the grace and mercy of Jesus dying on the cross for us, we all can be forgiven. Does that mean that you can go on sinning? Most certainly not!!! We are to turn away from sin and try to fight it off, win the victory over ourselves, our flesh, our egos and be the best of people that we can and were created to be.
Pertaining to sin. God isn't offended if we are struggling with sin, he is more offended if we put on a front. If we act as though we are not struggling and how we behave when nobody is looking.
As I heard in a sermon from the Pastor of the North Phoenix Vineyard Church:
"If Jesus didn't rise from the dead then god did not conquer his own suffering and God didn't beat death or sin. He came down to this earth as Jesus and suffered with us. If Jesus didn't beat death and rise again then he suffered with us and proved he was loving and compassionate but not very powerful, and Christianity, which is the largest religion is just a sham. (There were just too many witnesses for this to be true). If Jesus Didn't conquer his own suffering then he didn't conquer ours either."
The good news is that the all powerful god loves us and is for us. He is not wrathful. Being filled with the love of God is one of the most wonderful and awe powering things I have experienced. I never knew that I as a Gay person, I could ever know this kind of love, or be forgiven. But I am. You can be. We all can be.
Getting saved is admitting that you need to be saved. If your willing to be forgiven you are in. Not believing is condemnation. If you don't think you need forgiveness, if you don't think you need to be saved from anything, fine, your welcome to believe what you want, but that means that Jesus doesn't really have anything to offer you. Eternal life is offered to you. If you don't want it, that's a choice you have to make.
One of the biggest breakthroughs for me this week was hearing that I am forgiven without repenting, but we should repent to show the love we have for Jesus having sacrificed himself for us. This opened me up during the middle of the week to a total open heart. My job of trying to satisfy my sinful self to God is finished, completed and been paid for. To stop trying to do more to earn forgiveness. At the end of church service today. I was asked by a good friend if she could pray for me, as she had received a feeling and an image and it spoke to exactly that moment for me this week. It was God speaking to me yet again thru someone else' praying with and for me.
If you are not a believer in Christ, I hope this little diddy either changed your mind or made you think hard about it. I would hope that everyone would accept Christ and his forgiveness, so that we all could enjoy eternity together where there will be no more sin, no more tears, depression or hatred. No more wars, no more anger, no more poverty, none of the crap that just gets in the way. It will be an eternity just filled with pure love and pure joy for one another and everything on a new earth that will be renewed, regenerated and will be more beautiful then our pitiful little brains can even imagine.
Now that is a place that I want to be, and I hope to see you there right next to me...