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Religion Or Spirituality

Updated on July 15, 2016

‘The Difference between Religion and Spirituality'

By Tony DeLorger © 2010-11-04

From the beginning of time ‘God’ or ‘a higher power’ has been considered by human beings. Firstly, the need to feel secure, to belong and ‘there is safety in numbers’ gave hope to beings that had harsh, relentless lives. The sun was the first deity, being the bringer of warmth and life to all living things. As societies developed certain animals became the subjects of worship, for their particular characteristics: strength, cunning and the like, characteristics that were to be revered and emulated. As cultures became more complex it was quickly realised by leaders that this adoration and worship was a useful situation as it united the people in common belief. Formal religions were then created by men, so leaders could influence and control the masses to undertake their own agendas: money, power etc.

Thus began what we know today as religions, man-made systems of belief that are steeped in mystery, magic, and intricate traditions and ceremonies that worship deities and provide a structure for right living, morality and a spiritual life. But these man-made concepts have little to do with truth.

Firstly let’s look at ‘God’. The ‘Creator’ is a reasonable concept; we have to have come from somewhere. But to my mind, God cannot be a being as we, sitting on some cloud and watching over us, his children. For God to be human-like is purely our ego trip. If a being had the power and intellect to have created life and the universe, it is unlikely he is remotely within our understanding, let alone able to deliver a son to us, to save us from us.

God or the beginning, to me, is the Divine energy that hold all matter together, that is all positive, that is love and the best of human endeavour. I believe the early pagans had the right idea- if you are going to worship anything, worship nature itself, the expression of God, if you like. The gift of life has been given to us and all we do is fight over who is right or wrong rather than appreciate what we have and celebrate the wonder of it.

Within an infinite universe our minor evolution points to other beings having placed us here and who monitor our slow and frustrating development. The earth may well be a test tube and our grandiose view of ourselves a running joke. We are barking up the wrong tree.

One thing that’s right is the morals and positive behaviour represented in most of the Holy Books can only help human beings become more balanced and contented. Nature once again displays the principle that governs all life- and that is ‘balance’. Proven by science and replicated in all human affairs and thoughts, balance is a necessary understanding.

Spirituality, has nothing to do with religion, but is more about understanding how life works and abiding by the rules of balance and nurturing what I call the ‘Divine Spark’ within. God’s expression is life and our responsibility is to appreciate it and express ourselves through ‘love’ and all that is positive. This is as close as we can become to the divine. I live in Hope.


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      Tony DeLorger 7 years ago

      Thanks for your comments Phyllis. Following a religion and being spiritual are different concepts. Firstly, Religions are man-made concepts used to give comfort and security to the masses and also a means by which leaders could have control. Dieties from the beginning were worshipped to give thanks for life, food, warmth etc. It sounds cold but there is a distinct history. The worship, appreciation of the miracle of life and the abundance sourrounding us to spirituality, a belief that we have a soul and that this living entity does not die and is a part of a a great plan beyond our real comprehension. There is a cross-over with religion of course but spirituality to me is an understanding that life is a gift and that we all share a life force or energy that someone greater than us has created. I guess religion is an attempt to put the unknowable in a box. But man has corrupted the concept by using religion as a tool of the negative. As you said, appreciating nature in all its complexity is as close as we can come to the divine or God if you like. The core morality of most religions are sound for me, but I follow no religious dogma and prefer to remain open and appreciate the life that has been given. Take care.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 7 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Tony. This is a very interesting and well written hub. I often write about spirituality myself and find that I have a strong affinity to the beliefs of Native Americans and Pagans. To quote you:

      "I believe the early pagans had the right idea- if you are going to worship anything, worship nature itself, the expression of God, if you like. The gift of life has been given to us and all we do is fight over who is right or wrong rather than appreciate what we have and celebrate the wonder of it."

      To me, Nature is the epitome of the expression of God. I find more peace in Nature than I ever have in a church.

      I do consider myself a Christian, however, I have grown more spiritually since I turned to respecting and worshiping in Nature -- I do not worship Nature, I simply make it a part of my worship of all Creation. I strive for harmony and balance with all Creation.

      What is your definition of spirituality? Do you think that anyone, even an Atheist or Agnostic, can be spiritual?

      I enjoyed reading your article.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Enjoyed! Voted it 'up'. Several of my hubs are related to spirituality.