Skip to content

Spiritual But Not Religious (Part 2)

So after more thought, I’m beginning to think that people are afraid to say they aren’t spiritual. It’s like it is uncool.

Most people acknowledge that there is this other dimension of life that we just don’t understand — another aspect of life that we cannot explain with science. And that other aspect is the spiritual realm. So for someone to say they aren’t spiritual, would be to claim ignorance.

So while many young people these days are fed up with organized religion and the baggage that comes with it, they are hesitant to throw away the label of spirituality.

Ideally, religion bridges the realms of the physical and spiritual. It helps us to understand the things that cannot be explained through science or empirical evidence.

Then there’s the whole New Age thing. That’s a whole lot of spirituality rolled up into some disorganized clump of ideas. I don’t really buy into the whole new age thing. I’ll admit, however, that my bias stems from the fact I was raised in Christianity.

Still, on a personal level, Christianity makes more sense to me than the new age spiritualism.

Advertisements

Spiritual But Not Religious

Recently I’ve been perusing online personal ads. I am surprised at how many people list themselves as spiritual but not religious. I’m curious as to what leads these people in their spiritual journey? Is it intuition? Is it dreams? Is it believing everything a Religious person does without participating in any of the religious traditions/ceremonies?

Seems like categorizing one’s self as spiritual but not religious is all the fad these days. Maybe because so many people are disillusioned with traditional churches and religion. I blame this on the so-called Christians — not the real ones. But the ones that call themselves so, but act totally opposite. Yeah, I guess I’m referring to those hypocrites.

Anyways, how does one become spiritual yet avoid being religious? I’ve always thought the two go hand-in-hand. Is this spirituality part of the new-age mumbo jumbo?

It probably has to do with the negative connotations religion carries. People are tired of judgmental, hypocritical people who are always telling them what to do. We live in an age of moral relativism. And I don’t know if I like that.

Everyone, these days, likes to think that everyone should do what they feel is right. Maybe I prefer the idea of there being a right and wrong. Black and white is nice because you know exactly where you are. Gray is not so fun.

The “Old” Man

In the book of Romans, Paul writes about sin and struggling with sin (Romans 6 and 7). He writes about the “old” man in chapter six. In chapter seven he writes about struggling with sin.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (Romans 7:15 NIV)

And another:

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not what to do — this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:18-19 NIV)

I wonder if Paul struggled with an addiction.

I certainly resonate with the passages above. I feel like a wretched man that cannot get my act together. And that sucks. It’s depressing and discouraging.

At the end of each day, before I go to bed, I feel like I have failed. I feel that I have screwed up. I haven’t lived up to the standard. It feels like this has become a nightly ritual.

I’ve heard it said that if we are lost, we would never feel any guilt. The guilt, they say, is good. It means we haven’t lost our conscience. We still know something is wrong.

But I suspect guilt can be bad. If I am plagued by my own guilt, I think that guilt can become a wedge between God and I. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve heard how much God loves me. If I don’t feel I’m good enough… will I stay away from God?

I often hear talk of this unconditional grace. And there are times where I feel overwhelmed by it — that nothing I do can separate me from God’s love (Romans 8:38,39). But other times I feel like I’m about to run out of it.

How can God keep accepting me back like nothing happened? Because I feel like the “old” man in me is not dying. He might even be getting stronger — and that’s a terrifying thought. A war rages on and the part of me that seeks to do good keeps losing. Each time, the tattered and defeated self crawls back to God to say “sorry.”

Seemingly instantly, though, the “old” man drags me back.

Paul writes that it is sin in him that does evil.

Then why can’t I get this sin in me out???

I’ve heard the promises…

  • God will deliver us.
  • God doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle.
  • God will gives us strength to overcome.

They’re good promises. And they’re promises I need fulfilled!

Sports Church

Just found this video today. Is it all just a game?

Agnosticism

I’ve been thinking about Agnosticism. Its a little scary for me to realize that the idea has any appeal at all. 

I don’t think I could ever become an atheist. That’s not the problem. The problem is that recently I have felt a great disconnect between God and me. I’ve been raised to believe that this is my fault — that God never leaves us and that we are the one that leaves Him.

But isn’t God supposed to be the Good Shepherd that goes and searches out the lost sheep? I feel lost. I feel confused. Those two feelings are foreign to me — at least in the spiritual sense. As a child I felt so sure and confident about God and spiritual things. It’s easy for children. It’s even easier for children born into the church and educated in private church schools.  

And maybe that’s why Agnosticism is now sounding appealing. I used to think I knew about who God is. I even used to feel I knew God. But with the disconnect, comes doubt. And now I send up a prayer asking God to show Himself to me. “Make yourself real to me,” I plead. 

When silence is the answer I wonder if we can ever know anything about God. Maybe humanity is so screwed up that no one knows the truth anymore.

I’m inclined to use the Bible as truth. But as I’ve grown older, the line between “Christians” and non-Christians have blurred. It’s hard to see any distinction between the two groups at Church or at school.

I see non-Christians who are just as kind, loving, and compassionate. And I see self-professed Christians preach a lifestyle, but choose to follow another. Hypocritical? I’m hesitant to use that word. Maybe because it cuts too close. 

Am I a hypocrite? I’ve lived my life as a self-professed, confidant Christian. And now my writing is filled with doubt. I don’t feel like a good person. But believe me, I can walk into Church and play the part perfectly. I’ll shake  hands, smile, greet church members, hug the old ladies, and answer Bible trivia. 

But it’s not the same anymore. I wish I were 5 again. Kids have an enormous capacity for faith.