Acta non Verba Wrote:I see these two concepts separated out as two things that cannot co-exist a lot. I never understood why that is. I usually see peopel state that religion tends to have rules which defies the nature of spirituality, or something along those lines.
My question is...who says? And, isn't stating that any given set of religious rules CAN'T be spiritual just another way of assigning rules to spirituality?
Religion sets forth a structure in which one approaches the spiritual side of life. That structure, as interpreted by the religion's authorities or by the majority opinion in a faith community, cannot be violated without repercussions.
From the start, most modern religions directly punish access to the spiritual in ways that they do not approve and directly punish actions that break taboos not (seemingly) directly related to the spiritual. Often, for crimes seen as especially severe, the individual is shunned by the entire faith community and/or told that zie has earned some sort of damnation (whether the eternal damnation of Hell or being reborn as a banana slug). This is spiritual abuse.
Some religious dogma is also used (or misused) to harm those who are already suffering from great difficulties by telling them that they should not grieve because the divine intended the death, catastrophic injury, natural disaster, or other catastrophe to happen, or because it was their karma and they therefore brought it on themselves, which may imply to the grieving person that zie does not deserve
to grieve. This is also spiritual abuse.
Even if a religious community takes the more enlightened path and says that their dogma is what they believe to be the ideal belief, violating the dogma results in cognitive dissonance. An individual can worry long, as we've worried, over the question of whether zir choices are acceptable, whether they really fit a label that probably means a lot to zir. Religious identity is an important thing for some people and the fear of stepping outside of that identity can stunt spiritual growth.
Spirituality is having a personal relationship with Spirit: one or more deities, demigods, landspirits, other non-godly spirits such as angels and elementals, the force underlying the universe itself...any or all of the above. Because it is personal, forcing
it to develop along a specific, pre-approved channel is just as abusive as if a parent dictates a child's profession at birth and never allows that child to develop any unrelated talents or explore other choices. We've said before that our baptism was like our parents signing a mortgage in our name for a piece of land that didn't suit who we would eventually be, but which we weren't allowed to exchange for another that would be a proper home for us. By our birth religion's teachings about baptism, this is exactly accurate: The Roman Catholic Church will always consider us lapsed and Hellbound Roman Catholics, no matter what we say, believe, or do (unless that's going back to them and we will not, even if we somehow resume belief in the Abrahamic deity as the only true god). The word "religion" comes from a root meaning "to bind" and that is what it does. It limits one's lawful choices in spiritual development, just as marriage limits one's lawful choices in sexual activity. (Some religions and some legal jurisdictions are, of course, more forgiving than others.)
If one chooses to belong to a religion and one's spiritual development is not catastrophically marred by it, then religion and spirituality can co-exist. (Giving up magic would, for us, be giving up part of our spiritual development. But if we all committed to a deity who asked us to do so, in free will and in love, expecting to grow as a result, we would not consider that catastrophic.) Unfortunately, the majority of the world's population is at least nominally bound to religions whose authorities have placed themselves above the idea that spiritual development can take a path they don't expect or like.
-mainly Val with some co-fronting