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Looking for God, without religion as your glasses.

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Mickiel

Registered Member
The common view of God, or search for God, begins with religion. Its the traditional way, and it always has traditional results. But I have experienced a search for God without religion, and it has produced the most profound results than I have ever imagined. Who would think that one could better understand God, without religion, after all, religion represents God, does it not?

To my surprise, it simply does not.

And I want to discuss that contridiction.

Peace.
 

EllyDicious

made of AMBIGUITY
V.I.P.
Religion doesn't represent God. God exists regardless of religion. Religion is an attempt to explain God but it's not His representative.
Different religions have different Gods so this is the first reason to make the think that religion may not be related to the real God, at all.
 

Bjarki

Registered Member
The common view of God, or search for God, begins with religion. Its the traditional way, and it always has traditional results. But I have experienced a search for God without religion, and it has produced the most profound results than I have ever imagined. Who would think that one could better understand God, without religion, after all, religion represents God, does it not?
Elaborate please. What 'way' are you talking about, the one that has such profound results and doesn't include religion?

Science?
 

Mickiel

Registered Member
Elaborate please. What 'way' are you talking about, the one that has such profound results and doesn't include religion?

Science?

Any way that exist in any orginized religion is what I am talking about. Pick out any of them you wish to choose, I think all of them are steeped in tradition. None excluded. But we have been trained to seek God with religion as our compass, and its ministers and leaders as our guide. I have stepped outside of that bubble and found more truth. I have not found God, but I am closer walking on my own.

Getting rid of the weight of religion has intesified my search.

Peace.
 

Unity

Living in Ikoria
Staff member
I really like what Fr. James Martin, S.J. says in his book "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything." He speaks about the popular term of 'Spiritual but not Religious.'

This will be fairly long, and keep in mind that it's written by a Catholic Priest's point of view...please give it a chance, though. I think it can apply to a lot of faiths and ideas of religious community out there. It really resonated with me, and this is coming from a guy that isn't going through the easiest time with is faith right now.

-----

"The thinking goes like this: being religious means abiding by the arcane rules and hidebound dogmas, and being the tool of an oppressive institution that doesn't allow you to think for yourself (which would have surprised many thinking believers, like St. Thomas Aquinas, Moses Maimonides, Dorothy Day, and Reinhold Niebuhr). Religion is narrow-minded and prejudicial - so goes the thinking - stifling the growth of the human spirit (which would have surprised St. Francis of Assisi, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, St. Teresa of Avila, Rumi, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).

Or worse, as several contemporary authors contend, religion is the most despicable of social evils, responsible for all the wars and conflicts around the world.

Sadly, religion is responsible for many ills in the modern world and evils throughout history: among them, the persecution of Jews, endless wars of religion, the Inquisition, not to mention the religious intolerance and zealotry that leads to terrorism.

You can add to this list smaller things: your judgmental neighbor who loudly tells you how often he helps out at church, your holier-than-thou relative who trumpets how often she reads the Bible, or that annoying guy at work who keeps telling you that belief in Jesus is sure to bring you amazing financial success.

There is a human and sinful side to religion since religions are human organization, and therefore prone to sin. And, frankly, people within religious organizations know this better than those outside of them.
Some say that on balance religion is found wanting. Still, I would stack up against the negatives the positive aspects: traditions of love, forgiveness, and charity as well as the more tangible outgrowths of thousands of faith-based organizations that care for the poor, like Catholic Charities or the vast network of Catholic hospitals and schools that care for the poor and immigrant populations. Think too of generous men and women like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, Mother Teresa, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speaking of Dr. King, you might add abolition, women's suffrage, and the civil rights movements, all of which were founded on explicitly religious principles. Add to that list the billions of believers who have found in their own religious traditions not only comfort but also a moral voice urging them to live selfless lives and to challenge the status quo....

...But there's a problem. While "spiritual" is obviously healthy, "not religious" may be another way of saying that faith is something between you and God. And while faith is a question of you and God, it's not just a question of you and God. Because this would mean that you, alone, are related to God. And that means there's no one to suggest when you might be off track.

We all tend to think we're correct about most things, and spiritual matters are no exception. Not belonging to a religious community means less of a chance of being challenged by a tradition of belief and experience. It also means less chance to see that you are misguided, seeing only part of the picture or even that you are wrong...

...Despite our best efforts to be spiritual, we make mistakes. And when we do, it's helpful to have the wisdom of a religious tradtion.

This reminds me of a passage from a book called Habits of the Heart, written by Robert Bellah, a sociologist of religion,, and other colleagues, in which they interviewed a woman named Sheila about her religious beliefs. 'I believe in God,' she said. 'I'm not a religious fanatic. I can't remember the last time I went to church. My faith has carried me a long way. It's Sheilaism. Just my own little voice."
More problematic than Sheilaism are spiritualities entirely focused on the self, with no place for humility, self-critique, or a sense of responsibility for the community...

...Religion can provide a check to my tendency to think that I am the center of the universe, that I have all the answers, that I know better than anyone about God, and that God speaks most clearly through me.

By the same token, religious institutions need themselves to be called to account. And here the prophets among us, who are able to see the failures, weaknesses, and plain old sinfulness of institutional religion, play a critical role. Like individuals who are never challenged, religious communities can often get things tragically wrong, convinced that they are doing "God's will." (Think of the Salem witch trials, among other examples.) They might even encourage us to become complacent in our judgments. Unreflective religion can sometimes incite people to make even worse mistakes than they would on their own. Thus, those prophetic voices calling their communities to continual self-critique are always difficult for the institution to hear, but nonetheless necessary...

...It's a healthy tension: the wisdom of our religious traditions provides us with a corrective for our propensity to think that we have all the answers; and prophetic individuals moderate the natural propensity of institutions to resist change and growth. As with many aspects of the spiritual life, you need to find life in the tension...

...Religion can lead people to do terrible tings. At its best, though, religion modifies our natural tendency to believe that we have all the answers. So despite what many detractors say, and despite the arrogance that sometimes infects religious groups, religion at its best introduces humility into your life.

Religion also reflects the social dimension of human nature. Human beings naturally desire to be with one another, and that desire extends to worship. It's natural to want to worship together, to gather with other people who share your desire for God, and to work with others to fulfill the dreams of your community...

...Finally, religion means that your understanding of God and the spiritual life can more easily transcend your individual understanding and imagination. Do you imagine God as a judge? That's fine - if it helps you become a more moral and loving person. But a religious tradition can enrich your spiritual imagination in ways that you might not be able to discover by yourself."
 
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MenInTights

not a plastic bag
The common view of God, or search for God, begins with religion. Its the traditional way, and it always has traditional results. But I have experienced a search for God without religion, and it has produced the most profound results than I have ever imagined. Who would think that one could better understand God, without religion, after all, religion represents God, does it not?

To my surprise, it simply does not.

And I want to discuss that contridiction.

Peace.
I don't entirely understand what you're saying here, but it sounds to me like you turned off the tv evangelist and put down the writings about God and picked up a Bible and hit go. Maybe? If so, I applaud your decision to cut through the clutter of religion and go directly to the source.
 

Mickiel

Registered Member
Well thank you, that is exactly what I have done. I would rather walk alone in my search for God and have nobody between me and him.

Peace.
 

Mickiel

Registered Member
I don't use religion in my search for God, I walk alone, and will trust only him, when I meet him. Humans are too gullible to all kinds of deception, I trust only my own consciousness. God has not revealed much to me, but what he has is enough to relax my consciousness in knowing that he is real.

As he continues to build the evidence of him in me, I am literally shocked at the amount of religious deception that exist out there. So I am done with religion, all of them, and I search for God outside of religion.

Peace.
 

EllyDicious

made of AMBIGUITY
V.I.P.
Didn't you say you were a Christian Mickiel?
You used to defend this religion and you said it was the only truth.
What made you change your mind?
 

Mickiel

Registered Member
Didn't you say you were a Christian Mickiel?
You used to defend this religion and you said it was the only truth.
What made you change your mind?

I am not christian and I do not defend it. It or any other religion. Religion is just mans effort to reach God, thats all it is. I grew out of religion years ago, it is no longer for me. I just grew away from it, like a child growing up to maturity and putting away childish things.

Peace.
 
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