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Is Religion and Spirituality Compatible?

Religion and Spirituality are they Compatible?

I have decided to write this blog as a precursor to a possible group chat I plan to have in the near future.  Two years ago I attended a 3 day Pastoral Care course held by the Anglicare Centre for Pastoral Development.

One of the topics we spent time on was spirituality. We discussed what it means for some people and what it means for Christians.  The church in a sense is attempting to understand why some people still believe they are spiritual and loved by God despite not honouring Gods commands in the Bible.

Is There a One Size Fits all Definition for who Qualifies as a Spiritual Person? 

Spirituality is quite a broad term and has a hazy definition depending on who you ask.

A spiritual person who does not attend a church but participates in secular charitable works and expresses love for others will claim he or she feels close to God and is loved by God.

The modern day spiritual person wants to be free from conforming to the rules set out by religious institutions. This then begs the question.  Is religion and spirituality compatible?

These are the main differences I see between the two, viz:

  1. Spiritual people wish to be free of rules and doctrines whilst religious people see doctrines and obediance and carrying out Gods will  as the foundation for salvation.  Matthew 7 v 21 ‘‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” 
  2. Spiritual people follow their hearts and in a sense become creators of their own lives and destinies. Religion says no to following your heart . “the heart is treacherous and who can know it? “(Jeremiah 17 v9).
  3. Spiritual people say you should live your life connected to the universal spirit honouring what you feel is divine. Religion says you must strive to have a personal relationship with God and His Son. Religion also insists that you should worship the Father as He is worthy of worship and praise. Luke 4 v8  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
  4. Spiritual people strive to connect with their highest self. Religion wants you to connect with God.
  5. Spiritual people say I AM LOVE. Religion says GOD IS LOVE ( 1 John 4 v16 ).
  6.  Spiritual people say its ok to believe in your own truth. Religion says Jesus is the Truth. (John 14 v 16).

I am sure that you will agree that at this point and after reading the above differences it is clear that spirituality and religion are not compatible.

Being spiritual and being aware of ones spirituality does however offer a far healthier way to live your life.

Learning to love others and to express  love, compassion and empathy for others is very often a bridge to finding the true God. But please note what I have said here.

In the process of being spiritual and loving towards others it is still necessary for us to search for the true God.

Why have Spiritual People Moved Away From Religion?

In my experience many Christians struggle to express love for others as they are too focused on rules and doctrines of the church.

They are quick to judge others who don’t agree with their views and they have an air of superiority similar to the pharisees in Jesus’ day.

It is no surprise then that many people who want to be masters of their own destinies have found other pathways to enlightenment.

Christians and Secular Spiritual People have Similar Health and Wealth Gospels

The problem I have with spiritual people who claim to be able to manifest health and wealth in their lives by merely meditating on it and sending out positive vibes to the universe is that it is just another belief system bordering on false religion.

Christians in certain circles also preach a health and wealth (prosperity) gospel which is a false gospel.

Similarly when prayer is replaced with incantations and meditation relying on magnectic fields and frequencies and quantam dynamics it becomes ‘Pseudoscience’.

This can be quite dangerous particularily when it makes highly exaggerated claims of cures of deadly diseases like cancer through the simple process of positive thought.

Is it Possible to Manifest a Cure for Every Disease?

If you have ever had a simple illness like a runny stomach you know that you cannot manifest a cure through positive thinking.

You either take medicine for it or you let the bug work its way through your system.

Whilst positive thought is beneficial for our overall well being we have to be careful not to rely on mans theories and instead we must frame our thoughts according to Gods word.  Romans 12 v 2 ” Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

False Optimism 

Spiritually minded people claim to benefit from optimistic thoughts and magnetic frequencies but at the end of the day it gives a person a sense of false optimism and unfortunately the tiny shreds of truth it offers sucks you into a bigger belief system which ultimatley pulls you away from God.

Instead of becoming obediant to God, a spiritual persons hope is in the universe and their own will to create miracles in their lives.

So where to from here? Is it ok to be spiritual and the master of your own destiny or should we turn to the Bible to guide us?

In my opinion spiritual people define their relationship with God as something that is personal and divine. By doing this it  allows them to circumvent the code of ethics and laws written in the Bible and it allows them to cheery pick scriptures that suit their personal beliefs.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, even though I am of the opinion that new age spirituality and religion are not compatible,  it is nevertheless encumbent on us to build a bridge between the two belief systems but ultimately the bridge must take  us on a path to God.

We don’t have to rely on sending out the right energy into the universe in order to manifest things in our lives. The Bible tells us that God wants us to rely on Him, and He will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).

God is our salvation. Jesus spoke of a time which i believe is now  “when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”  John 4:23.  Together we should strive to find the truth and we must be careful not to fall for mans interpretations as to how we can find true happiness.



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