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What Is Religion: Spirituality vs. Organized Religion

Updated on March 23, 2017
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Mary Ann is a freelance writer and the author of four books. She's also a member of a premier writing community.

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Spirituality vs. Organized Religion

I was raised as a Roman Catholic, growing up with the fear of God in me, thinking I was going to Hell for having premarital sex. You see, because I am older now and have explored so many religious beliefs, I have a beef with man-made rules and the word religion.

To begin with, there’s Emperor Constantine, who was a mass murderer, had a revelation and then created Roman Catholicism. The Council of Nicaea, which consisted of a bunch of elder men locked in a secret room, was appointed by the Emperor himself. Their directive was to decide what should and shouldn't be included in the Bible, which resulted in the formation of the Nicene Creed. In essence, they (humans) determined what knowledge the population should have access, regardless of all the teachings available. The Sacraments were added by; again, human beings. What I do know is that they are all man-made rituals, created by people. The same as you and me. What makes them different from us? Who has the right to create a religion? Why is the Bible interpreted so differently by millions of people? I have too many questions, and I’ll never find the answers. I’ve read some of the Bible, and there are really significant, life-changing quotes, like John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. However, there’s the Old Testament that comes into play, which is the direct opposite of the New Testament. We are taught to live by the New Testament, yet the commandments were revealed in the Old Testament. Do you share my dilemma?

There are many who believe if you truly seek the truth that it will be revealed to you by the power of the Holy Spirit. Hence, these people will be able to comprehend the Truth. I’m Christian, I believe in God and Jesus, yet, apparently, the Holy Spirit feels I’m not worthy of understanding because I truly can't digest most of it. This is just another issue that I have with this whole religion thing.

My daughter did not receive Confirmation and has stopped going to CCD; something I'm not thrilled about. I believe it's due to my upbringing and the lessons that I was taught. Does that mean she’s going to hell because she hasn't received all of the Sacraments? From what I understand and gather from Jesus if you have Him in your life, that’s the most important; and having faith. Spirituality can mean so many different things to individuals. To me, it’s believing in God and keeping Him close to my heart. Am I religious? I don’t know what the word religious means. It’s so confusing to so many, and the more people you ask, the more confusing it becomes.

I do have a hard time understanding those who don’t have God in their lives. I’ve even asked them who they find themselves speaking to when they find themselves in a dire situation. For example, I plead to God or say repeatedly help me, God. These people I’ve asked have never mentioned God, so they say. They don’t pray to anyone or anything. It does disturb me, yet I do wonder what will happen to them after they've passed. It goes back to the question, who is right? The Bible has been translated so many times over the years, and like any story, details always change when that story is told repeatedly. Always.

Then, there’s this whole God and country debacle. People are getting insulted by nativities in certain places. Please. What’s one to do with such a controversial subject? I wish I had the answer, but I will not get one anytime soon. Besides, what’s that saying? - never talk about politics or religion. You will never get anywhere, wind up wasting your breath and, most likely, start an unpleasant conflict.

People have issues with the Islamic religion because of these radicals who think it’s okay to kill thousands of people for God. Whatever method of brainwashing they use, it’s extremely successful. What’s the difference between the Koran and the Bible? What about Jewish people who believe Jesus existed, but he’s not the Messiah? I could ask hundreds of questions and never find the Truth, because, again, I'm not worthy.

Speaking of Islam, from what I understand, Christianity was formed by Isaac, Abraham and Sarah’s son. Abraham’s other son with the handmaiden, Ishmael, branched off and formed Islam. Why is that?

In my humble opinion, too many people do not have God in their lives. This world is a living hell. I went to see The Purge with my daughter, and I was blown away. Why? Because, although it’s just a movie, there are people who would kill human beings without remorse or a second thought. What would happen if our existing government-sanctioned such a night? For those who do not know what The Purge is about, the government allows one night a year where all carnage, killing, raping, pillaging, etc. is allowed without repercussions. It’s a scary thought because it certainly can happen in this day and age.

I don't have any kind of hope for our world. It will not get better; only worse. What was viewed as repulsive has become more commonplace, and people are becoming desensitized to it. The current presidential campaign is a perfect example of how our standards have lowered almost to the point of no return. When did it become okay to be an outright racist and sexual predator, especially when spoken by a presidential candidate? The consequences are less and less these days because we’ve lost morality. How did we get to this place?

As I said in the beginning, I don’t understand “religion” as an institution. Institutions that were created by men. Human beings, no better or worse than you or me. Who gave them the right to implement rituals and restrictions that they’ve made mandatory? Telling another human being (priest) my sins, does not take the place of God. Only God can forgive sins. Speaking to God privately, and being truly sorry for your transgressions, are the only path to forgiveness. Yet, again, I was brought up with venial and mortal sins. If I committed a mortal sin and did not confess traditionally, there would be no place in heaven for me. A stain on my soul would remain for eternity. How does a baby who was not baptized not go to heaven? A baby who is so innocent. How does a mother who believes in baptism, which I do, think that because her child was stillborn, he/she will never go to heaven? How does that even remotely make sense? I’ll never understand, and unfortunately, I will never get anywhere in my quest to finding the Truth.

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© 2017 Mary Ann Sromoski

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