My battle with Christianity and Spirituality
November 14, 2018 | Spirituality
spirituality is a touchy subject. well, sometimes…
Think about it. By the time we are adults, we have usually developed deep set, personal beliefs around the subject. These beliefs are generally identifiers of the spiritual religion we practice. So, if something is said that is beyond our religious boundaries… things can go haywire! Very quickly.
The crazy part is that most of us are born into a spiritual way of thinking. So, we are literally taught to develop a belief system based upon our families or caregivers. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that. Now, what I will say is this: Why are we so closed-minded or offended when it comes to exploring Spirituality?
We learn and talk about everything else. What’s so different about religion and spirituality?
This post is not intended to educate or persuade any spiritual or religious beliefs. I’m simply sharing a piece of my journey with you. If you can resonate with my story… great! If not, then that’s ok 2. It’s just an experience. Let’s grow!
religion vs. spirituality
I learned long ago that there is a difference between spirituality and religion. In fact, I did not identify with any particular religion for a period time. It was just me and God… I’ve sense adopted a religion, but there was a time when confusion and uncertainty lead me down a path of indecision.
My belief is that all religions follow the same set of spiritual ideas. Basically, all religions lead to God, or a higher being. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian or Buddhist, your religion is most likely framed around these same spiritual concepts:
Higher being | You believe in something bigger than yourself... you may refer to this as God, Energy, the Universe, etc…
Faith | You learn to develop complete trust in the positive outcome of a situation... those who practice LOA would refer to this as the second step in the creative process: belief
Prayer or Meditation | You use these methods as spiritual communication between you and the higher being
Good Intentions | You strive to be a good person or put out good energy into the universe... you may refer to this as Karma, the Commandments, the golden rule, the law of cause and effect etc…
Giving & Receiving | you may refer to this as tithing, fasting, charity, etc… essentially the more you give from a pure heart, the more you will receive.
The only difference between the religions are the structure, rules and guidelines. So, it really all comes down to which path you want to take to get to God.
Is it necessary to follow a religion, if you’re already connected to God?
That was my struggle! I felt so connected Spiritually, that I began to discard religion altogether. It was as if my religion was just a middle man to God. I really struggled with its relevance.
This was also in part due to some of my personal discrepancies within my religion. I’ve listed a few below just so you can have an idea of my state of mind.
You have to pray in the name of Jesus… or God won’t hear your prayers.
I was taught the “proper way to pray” during one of my Sunday school experiences. I found it to be a little weird and off putting. I had always thought prayer was simply a conversation with God. I thought you could just talk to God… whenever, wherever and however. It comforted me to know that God was always there if I needed to talk.
Now, imagine how I felt when I learned that you had to follow rules while praying. So, what about all of my other prayers before? Did God not hear them? Who was I talking to? Myself? Then I thought about my friend T, who was Jewish. I felt so bad and confused. She had no idea that God would not hear her prayers. “Why would God exclude people like that”, I thought. It didn’t make any sense.
You’re going to hell
I once had a co-worker who felt it was OK to condemn people to hell. She obviously had her own set of personal religious beliefs. If someone failed to follow those guidelines, then they just earned themselves a one way ticket to hell. The sad part is that I’d heard this rhetoric from many Christians before, not just her.
I remember thinking to myself, “Who are you supposed to be, God”? or “What are you supposed to be, perfect”? I just could not understand how people felt so qualified to give out this eternal sentence. It was beyond me. It also turned me off.
I always thought of God as loving… almost like a parent in a sense. If a parent loves their child unconditionally, they would not throw the child away. The parent would discipline, teach and watch for improvement.
If God loves us unconditionally, why would God send us to an eternal hell? Why would God leave you and give up on you? Wouldn’t God help us instead?
Sick. Sad. Broke & Depressed!
One thing I could never quite grasp was the STATE of the Christians I observed. If you’re protected under God, then why are you always sick. If you’re blessed, then why are you always complaining and sad. If you pay your tithes, then why are you always broke? If God is more powerful than your problems, then why are you always worried and depressed. It just didn’t make any sense to me.
I thought that being connected to God was supposed to be a good thing. I thought knowing God was supposed to be a blessing. If you’re supposed to be covered under God, then why are so many Christians sick, sad, broke and depressed?
Shouldn’t Christians be healed, happy, abundant and filled with faith? It just didn’t add up to me. I understand that every season is not your season, but you should have at least SOME good seasons.
My time away from Christianity...
I couldn’t just go along with Christianity because that’s what I was told. I had to feel it for myself. At the time, I wasn’t convinced. There were too many discrepancies and I didn’t believe. So, I backed away.
During that time, I doubted my religion… but never God. For me, God has shown up way too many times for me to ever doubt. My religion on the other hand had left me feeling discouraged and confused.
It was definitely and experience, to say the least. I felt connected to God, but it was lonely. I remembered loving church and the feeling of togetherness I received while there. I didn’t have that anymore.
I remembered how I would look forward to Sunday morning service to help me through the week ahead. It was like a weekly reminder to pray, trust God and live a spiritual life. Without it, I seemed to forget God’s power sometimes.
Maybe I wasn’t as connected as I thought. Maybe I needed my religion.
Other people and outside opinions...
During my time away from religion, I had a close family member tell people that I didn’t believe in God! That could not have been any further from the truth. It hurt me that someone so close would spread a nasty rumor like that, but sometimes you have to excuse other people’s ignorance.
I also had people who were completely against Christianity. They felt it was a man made way to manipulate control the masses. I agreed to a certain extent. However, there was also a lot of good that came from religion. Well, when it’s taught correctly.
I didn’t feel religion was necessary at the time, but I also didn’t want to bash it. I didn’t agree with everything I was taught and I wasn’t fully against everything. It was a confusing state.
I had to find my own way. I had to walk my own path.
3. What brought me back...