Religion, religious, spiritual, and philosophy

“Bible philosophy is not an abstract monologue but a Dialogue with God” (anonymous).

            Several terms are associated with religious topics in discussions and some terms overlap and some offer a distinct difference. Only the differences in meanings will be discussed here: religion, spirituality, religious, and philosophy.

            Religion is defined as the belief and worship of a superhuman with controlling powers, especially a personal God or gods. It involves a relationship with God; and further defined as a system of faith. In the worldly sense, it is a pursuit or interest which someone ascribes supreme importance such as “Consumerism is the new religion;” or “I religiously brush my teeth every morning.” The Dali Lama expresses his stance as “My religion is kindness.” Generally speaking, the consensus of most scholars is that to be a true religion, there must be a god. Belief in God is what determines a religion. Buddhists do not believe in a god, but instead, they believe that people can become godlike.

            Some people claim to be spiritualbut not religious; this stance is also known as “spiritual but not affiliated.” The basis for this terminology describes a group of people who take issue with organized religion’s claim to be the only or most important means of furthering spiritual growth. Being spiritual means that a person does not need a brick-and-mortar building or community. Furthermore, they do not believe they have to be involved with an organized church to live a life of faith.

            How many times have you heard someone say that they feel closer to God in the woods or other places in nature where they can find peace and meditate on Godly thoughts?  I have heard many testimonies about leaving a church. Some were about false teachings, the pastor acted like a dictator, women not respected, dogmatic doctrine was shoved down their throats that claimed that if you did not believe their way, you would go to hell and the worst of all the sexual harassment from clergy. Having suffered some of those experiences, I believe it’s no wonder that people embrace spirituality. However, not everyone having bad experiences abandons churches entirely. They try to find denominations that seriously and unbiased offer them fellowship and Bible teachings, not someone else’s made-up doctrine.

            Philosophyat its core questions the nature of the universe and existence that do not necessarily presume the reality of God. Generally, it is a rational investigation whereas religion often makes the same kind of truth claims but does not claim to base it on reason or rationality, but instead it is based on other things like faith. Philosophy of Religion is the branch of philosophy that is concerned with the philosophical study of religion, including arguments over the nature and existence of God, religious language, miracles, prayer, the problem of evil, and the relationship between religion and other value-systems such as science and ethics.

            In conclusion, each stance on religion, being religious, spiritual, or philosophical can overlap with each other to some extent, but they each can stand alone. Your personal experiences will determine your stance on a belief system. 

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