Religion And Spirituality: Belief And The Inconsistencies Of Words V.S. Action
I am not one to speak on religion or spirituality most of the time, but recently I have noticed a…trend in people saying one thing about religion or spirituality and then never following through with their actions. This has come to irritate me, some times more than others. But I also find it rather…perplexing I guess is a good word.
What Is Spirituality And What Is Religion?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, spirituality is defined as:
- something that in ecclesiastical law belongs to the church or to a cleric as such
- sensitivity or attachment to religious values
- the quality or state of being spiritual
And religion is defined as:
- a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion>
b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
- a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
- archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
- a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
I find it very interesting that they are such similar definitions and yet people seem to hold the belief that they, these two concepts of belief, are completely opposed to each other. Many people say they are spiritual but not religious. Here is Merriam-Webster’s definition of spiritual:
- of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit :incorporeal <spiritual needs>
- a : of or relating to sacred matters <spiritual songs>
b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal <spiritualauthority> <lords spiritual>
- concerned with religious values
- related or joined in spirit <our spiritual home> <his spiritualheir>
- a : of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena
b : of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : spiritualistic
I would say this leaves a lot of gray area to cause misunderstanding. Maybe this is the cause of why the topic of spirituality or religion is one that no one, even those of the same faith, can agree on.
Do you feel you truly live your beliefs?
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
As I mentioned above, I have noticed than there are a great many people out there that may “talk a good game” but that rarely, if ever, follow through with what they talk about and actually DO it. There are also many that I know who “walk the walk” but don’t “talk the talk,” meaning that they live their lives according to what they believe and don’t constantly broadcast those beliefs to everyone else regardless of whether those people want to listen or not. And when I say DO it I don't mean constantly volunteering or giving money to others or causes, I mean they treat others the way they want to be treated. It's living their beliefs as an example of those beliefs and giving that same respect and option to everyone else. It also seems that those people who live their beliefs are the most open minded, loving, and generous. They just accept what others believe without judgment or disbelief. They may ask “why” to better understand, but they don’t say that something doesn't exist or is impossible.
All of this makes me wonder how many people actually look within themselves. How many FEEL and acknowledge what is within them; good, bad, or indifferent? How many look to sources outside of themselves to tell them what to do and how to live rather than listening to and feeling that which resides within the very core of their being? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that people are coming up with more and more “diseases” and “disorders” all the time to avoid taking responsibility for what is within them or to have something outside of themselves control their lives. They look to pills, or other things like that, to “control” what is within them rather than looking within to find out what is really going on. It has also shocked me over the years at how “conditions” tend to get labeled as something simply because doctors, or others, don’t know what something is or they can’t explain it. If most of the prophets from the Bible (including Jesus), as one example, were alive today they would probably be called schizophrenic or delusional or a whole host of other “classifications” because they heard voices in their heads or were told things by beings no one else could see. How many of our children would have amazing gifts, maybe even be able to “perform miracles”, if they were supported and believed in rather than being treated like there is something wrong with them and medicated? That’s not to say that there aren’t those who truly are sick, still it makes me wonder how many really are. What happened to taking responsibility for yourself, your actions, or your lack of action?
How often have you had someone be disrespectful to you because of your beliefs or toward your beliefs in general?
The Law of Belief
What is the Law of Belief? It is quite simply “that which one believes is their Truth”. To me this means that all these arguments over religion and whatnot are moot because no one way is the “right way” for all people. Each person walks a different path in life, one that is uniquely their own. So I ask, how can “one way” be the “right way” if everyone is living their own unique path in life? How can anything be “the right thing to do” when our lives are all so very different? Why do so many people try to fit into boxes that are not their own? I think that comes back to people looking outside for something or someone to dictate what they are supposed to do in life. I don’t believe that any religion or belief system was truly meant to tell us how we have to live. I think they were meant as guides. Much like giving a picture to a million artists and telling them to paint it would result in a million unique and distinctly individual paintings. The picture is just a guide, nothing more. Because of that guide each of those paintings will be similar, but none will ever be exactly the same. And each painting will be amazing because of those differences, large or small, from each other and from the guide that they followed. I see our lives like those paintings; while each one starts with the same guide, they all are uniquely different and beautiful because of the choices that we, the artists, make in the creation of that painting that is our life. Another way to look at it would be giving hundreds of writers a message and telling them to write stories that incorporate that message. All the stories would have the same basic message, just told in different ways. If you really look at them, this is what all of the religious texts we have seem to be. They are stories with a message, nothing more and nothing less. They are a means to guide us and teach us, not to rule us or dictate anything. Everything, whether we consciously remember it or not, that has come before influences that painting, or story, and it makes an impact (large or small, good or bad) on all who see or hear or come into contact with it.
Back To "Why"
All of this brings me back to the question of why people are so disconnected. Why are so many looking for the answers to who and what they are and what their purpose is outside of themselves? Why do so many think that their way is the “right” way or the only way? Why do so many people let the little things cause huge rifts between them and others? Why do so many act like or feel that they are somehow “better” than everyone else? We live, we love, we hate, we feel joy and sorrow and pain, we are born and we live and we die; so how can we really be all that different. It reminds me of something my mom once said, “We all came into this world the same way, naked and squalling, so no one is better than anyone else”. I think if more people realized that simple fact this world would be a whole lot better off. I don’t think it will ever be “perfect” because it was never meant to be. Our world, our realm, is one of Balance. Without Darkness there can be no Light, without evil there can be no good, without death there is not life, and without war there can be no peace. Everything here is determined by the Balance for without it we would not exist. Do you have balance in your life?
Do you think people use "religion" as an excuse to not take responsibility for their own choices and actions?
© 2013 Jody Cope