SEEDS OF RELIGION just add choice

Are you spiritual or religious? Is there a difference? Reading the suggestions for new categories, I was intrigued by the comment, “spiritual as in non-caustic non-religious”. Caustic being defined as “corrosive and bitingly trenchant; cutting” with synonyms found under “sarcastic”. I understood exactly what she was referring to – especially with her talent of expression and having lived abroad. She has learned from the Eastern Philosophies with their beliefs on how to live and be more peaceful – internally focused.

Heated debates on religion fill the airwaves and questions of why people tend to express themselves without concern that their words may cut deeply in the hub by Countrywoman: “What happens when we discuss religion and politics? “ Then others vehemently opposing all religion. Do atheists adamently hold onto their non-belief of a God? Do we all hang on to our beliefs - no matter what they are?

The Forgiveness of Illusions

...let the Holy Spirit relate through you, you will empathize with strength, and will gain in strength and not in weakness.
...let the Holy Spirit relate through you, you will empathize with strength, and will gain in strength and not in weakness.

Many religious discussions seem to be primarily “outward focused”. This has been true since Adam’s message of knowing the difference between good and evil. Many lately however, debate issues that can be interpreted on many different levels (see recent news links and videos on whether or not "Satan" exists near end).

I came to believe that each ‘Manifestation of God’ gave not only philisophical seeds we are now capable of comprehending but also social rules in order to help society live more harmoniously. When taken literally, it would be difficult for society to abide by the rules applicable thousands of years ago.

An example of this is beautifully depicted in a response published years ago to Dr. Laura Schlesinger, a radio personality who dispenses advice. As an observant Orthodox Jew, she said homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The response recites literal interpretations from the Bible’s Old Testament to back his/her conservative position.

“Dear Dr. Laura, Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them: (only a few of them included here)

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging. Your devoted fan,… “

Sarcasm indeed!

Law of Love

"Living in Harmony by Natural Law" - Friends of the Renaissance
"Living in Harmony by Natural Law" - Friends of the Renaissance

Everyday Mind

366 Reflections on the  Buddhist Path
366 Reflections on the Buddhist Path

Taking the social orders literally or attempting to follow the social dictums of bygone years may get us in trouble. Are they what breed conflict or is it our social habits and interpretation of what they ought to be thousands of years later that causes such unrest. Maybe it’s our interpretation of conflict itself that causes strife? As Blake profoundly states in his hub entitled: “Conflict Management - Resolving conflict is an important skill…but it is necessary to understand the root of the conflict before using strategies to fix it. One misconception is that conflict is a negative thing; however, conflict is one of the best opportunities to strengthen relationships.”

OK, if the purpose of the social dictums is to help us live more harmoniously together, why then are they actually the cause of war? Are they stratagems designed to fix the conflicts? Call me crazy but in every war I’ve studied, few seem to be sitting down discussing how to strengthen their relationship.

Now, we hear of certain sects of Islam declaring that destruction and inhumanities are “God’s will”. When we learn how compassionate, tolerant, and advanced Muhammad was in his thinking, how can his “followers” so grossly misinterpret his fighting in a war against inhumanity?

My mother struggled with a bi-polar disorder and when she’d tip heavily on one side she came across as the devil himself – and believed she was. Tipping in the opposite direction, she became Jesus or his direct interpreter. Needless to say, I had deep issues with religion – especially Christianity – when I was young. This, believe it or not, directed me on a spiritual path of determination. I was lost and wanted to understand, to know – if for no other reason than straightening out my own internal relationship.

New calendar to focus on 3 positive aspects daily

I like it! Try using it to focus on the 3 aspects for a couple weeks - you might like it too
I like it! Try using it to focus on the 3 aspects for a couple weeks - you might like it too

William Sears set out to disprove the 2nd coming - instead, he researched - here is the proof

There are those who say everyone should keep to themselves and let bygones be bygones. What then of all the people truly struggling to understand and seeking a better way or clarity for what they’ve seen? I am grateful for everyone who shares their opinion, belief and the seeds they believe to be true from different religious or philosophical leaders. Is that not, after all why we read books and converse?

If everyone kept quiet and I was left to my own devices with only the enormous Bible as a guide, I’d still be lost. And in some ways I wish I was less open minded to all the seeds because Lord knows, the kids in Afghanistan sure need help to find another perspective. Lost must be a trivially surface emotion for those raised to believe that becoming a human bomb is the answer to eternal life.

At 15 I was guided to the Universal Gardens between Canada and the U.S. There, I listened to Ruth Moffet speak for 4 ½ hours as fervently and enthusiastically as I’ve ever been privileged to witness. She had more energy than the next ten 20 year olds put together – at 92 years old.

Can faith energize? Can our beliefs and desire to assist our fellow man help? I think so. Would I like to share all she offered - taking me from a lost soul to a determined compassionate seeker – yes, I would. Instead I'll only share a tiny portion of what she spoke of to give you an idea:

Her talk was about not falling into the pit of superstition by blindly believing in the religious dictums of our forefathers. And not falling into the pit of materialism with only scientific proof as our guide. That seemed logical enough. She shared the belief of universal brotherhood and that it’s our responsibility to exercise our right of independent investigation of the truth. She also took each prophecy in Revelations and showed when it had happened, where etc. and thus, how Jesus had returned as promised. Ruth was Baha’i.

More than her words touched me deeply – her conviction moved my soul to daily prayer, daily seeking of the truth, and daily gratitude for no longer being lost. It wasn’t an answer to end my search. It was the beginning of a joyous journey.

The Power of Kabbalah: Technology for the Soul

Do I shun the Jehovah’s Witnesses that come to my door? No because I believe that anyone pounding the pavement out of love can't hurt me. Are my beliefs different from theirs? Yes - clearly. Sometimes though, if we talk long enough, we'll find common ground. That commonality is always love.

Someone extremely close to me is about to convert to Judaism. Am I running to them saying, “Wait, there’s a better way, a more modern way!” Not a chance. She has studied and found a route that can only guide her to a deeper faith and understanding that we are not alone (which truly helps when facing some of life’s inevitable crisis). Whether you call this a belief in God, or a simple truth that none of us are an island unto ourselves, it can only be a good thing.

Connecting to others, learning from others is what helps us each understand more about ourselves, relationships and the world in general. If faith is your foundation, I belief: “where you are is exactly where you need to be”.

So what level do we take our discussions or learning to? What are the seeds we can water to improve our lives? Is it a belief in God, or that there is no God at all? Is that just surface semantics, or important? Is there a difference between religious beliefs and spirituality? Once we find where we need to be, do we continue learning?

Personally, I relish finding out more. If you’re willing to walk through the door of conflict to connect, find the core of faith and love we all share - it will undoubtedly be an enriching discussion.

Some of the religious and spiritual seeds I like to water are posted. Which ones would you like to see grow?

For example, Kabbalah is said to be the Theory of Everything. Have your read it?

Deepak Chopra gestures during the "Nightline Face-Off" on the existence of Satan. Chopra is seen on stage at the Mars Hill Church in Seattle.(ABC News)
Deepak Chopra gestures during the "Nightline Face-Off" on the existence of Satan. Chopra is seen on stage at the Mars Hill Church in Seattle.(ABC News)

Rationality or justification?

Does your religion give you answers for everything? There are a series of debates currently in the news about the belief in Satan:

"The concept of Satan provokes strong emotions, and sparks a series of fundamental questions about good and evil, about human nature, and about the nature of God.

The question of whether Satan exists is one of the most contentious theological debates possible, and last week four fascinating, polarizing people from around the country convened in Seattle to tackle that topic in the third "Nightline" Face-Off.

According to one poll, 70 percent of Americans believe Satan is real. Some believe he -- and almost all believers say Satan is a "he" -- is a fallen angel. Others believe Satan is a shapeless, malevolent force; the enemy of God. But there are also many people who believe that Satan is a myth, and a dangerous one, because his name is often invoked to justify unspeakable acts of violence. Arguing alongside bishop was Dr. Deepak Chopra, a physician and best-selling author of dozens of books and videos on health and spirituality...

"My position is that we have a huge problem with what people call evil in the world and they need a good rational explanation and not an irrational mythical explanation," he said.

On the other side of the debate was Bishop Carlton Pearson, a former fundamentalist preacher who says he used to cast demons out of his followers..."I was a staunch 'believe it my way or go to hell' kind of preacher for the first half of my life. And I never liked it."

After watching a video of the Rwandan genocide, Pearson said he realized all those people would not be going to hell just because they weren't saved." (abc news - Nightline see link to right)

How do you feel about this satanic discussion?

Are your beliefs applicable to each moment in life?

Do they help you find compassion forgiveness and understanding?

Has religion changed you in any way?

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Comments 6 comments

open-minded profile image

open-minded 7 years ago

Very nice hub, made me think and I like that. Can't say I was a practicing Catholic but I was raised Catholic and looked at all religions as teaching good.  What really changed my opinion is a documentary with Bill Maher "Religilous", now I can't say that religions are good because when you discourage people from thinking for themselves, it can't be good.  How many people have lost their lives in the name of God? I no longer want to dismiss it when someone talks about religion, I want to at least plant a seed of doubt in a persons mind so that hopefully they would reexamine their beliefs.

I used to ignore Jehovah’s Witnesses and just say "no thanks" but now I can't wait for them to knock on my door so I could engage in a discussion with them. 


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 7 years ago from North America Author

Great comment open-minded! Thinking for ourselves is indeed the best choice we can ever make - as free will is our right. Glad you'll engage the next JW in a discussion. I've found them to be about the most knowledgable folks on where something is written in the Bible - like walking indexes/table of contents. Their hearts are normally in the right place too - I like that since I've spent the last many years in the "Baptist Bible Belt" with whom the Bible seems to simply be a way to justify prejudice and stay in judgment.

Concerning Bill Maher though, wasn't he the one who says he hoped New Orleans gets their millions to rebuild a bowl in the middle of the ocean (a ridiculously blind concept in my view) because when California inevitably slips into the ocean, they're going to need millions to billions too? The income of so many in California (including him) put the rest of the country on the poverty list by comparison. Why should we pay out of our tax dollars because we were smart enough to stay away from California? The folks in Kansas aren't saying, "hey, if we experience a tornado you should rebuild our house". They know tornados happen where they live... Alas, another discussion altogether that might better be left at a simple suggestion of "consider the source" lol

The first on the sidebar is from Eckankar. They seem to be the most advanced of all with daily exercises to increase our connection and spirituality. I love it but unfortunately, like most religions when left in the hands of the masses for too long, it too is becoming more of a business than a path to greater enlightenment. I love listening to Joel Osteen - talk about positive! Yet there again, he is now becoming a "celebrity" and thus reaching deep into our pockets has become a priority :(

When it comes right down to it, my belief is that the manifestations of God came to give us a message. Those messages unfolded as we were capable of handling or digesting them. In this age, we can pretty much digest any of them we choose and thus, they are good. Our issue isn't with the "enlightened", nor even with an individual but rather with the whole "mass interpretation" twisted through multiple imperfections and presented as the right and "only" truth. Any time we're stuck believing our present level of awareness is the only way it is or is supposed to be, we're asking for trouble and contention - the opposite to creating an environment of peace and love.

Glad you stopped by - I welcome your comments and enjoy the fact that you are "open minded" :) Through discussion we can find our own contradictions or misinterpretations and thus, reach further on our paths to tranquility


A_Beagle 6 years ago

You asked about Satan, so here's my current understanding. I think only two spiritual forces are in the world: Love and Fear. All that is evil is born of fear, all that is good is born of love. This isn't emotional or instinctual fear for survival, its a harmful fear that brings us stress, anxiety, worry, restlessness, and violence (both within and outside). Satan is the personification of evil (fear), just like certain names and images are personification of God (love). These spiritual forces can be extremely powerful and seem to have a life of its own in certain situations and for certain reasons.

Many religions have self appointed moral mandates. I think that robs us from following the way of love. With love AND the absence of fear (punishment), there is no morality. People free from the enslavement of morality, with it's fear of punishment, are some of the kindest and most loving folks you'd ever want to meet. Some have been crucified for this way of life too.


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 6 years ago from North America Author

Delighted to see you here Alan and thank you for adding a comment. I agree with your simplicity. All is energy. Mythology had a God for every situation that arose in life. Often they even had "evil" Gods, recognizing and perhaps justifying the negative energy as much as the positive that exists here on earth. Its an interesting study. Most wars have been in the name of someone's "righteous" dictums. Learning a broader perspective from this earthly school of duality is a healthy choice.

I think if all Christians/religious folks were able to digest and act upon the seed Jesus offered: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", morality would be addressed. Not out of fear, not even with an aware recognition of the Universal law of karma, but simply because they cared and did not feel so unworthy themselves. Its a catch 22 really. People treat others terribly when they have not yet learned to love themselves.

One of the reasons morality became such a focus I'm sure was because there were too many involved with "free love". Commitment can make Providence move mountains, and offer the greatest gain in having to overcome our own, often selfish needs, or limited viewpoints. I'm not one to speak on that however. I see too many being completely immoral after committing themselves to another - the subject for another discussion perhaps.

Throughout history, people have been crucified for everything but making thousands of others suffer it seems. Strange that, isn't it?


Abarieaccumma 3 years ago

We utilized to get at the top of living nevertheless lately I've truly established a new level of resistance.


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 3 years ago from North America Author

That which we resist, persists...

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