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#237960 - 07/13/08 08:37 PM Spirituality versus Religion
Dewey2k Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
All,

It might be worthwhile to define these terms in an effort to bring this forum back to its purpose.

This forum is dedicated to spirituality, not to religion. Let's start by having everyone speak for themselves and themselves only and define what spirituality is and what religion is. Once we do that, we can begin to have a meaningful discussion of how each relates to this forum.


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#237970 - 07/13/08 09:16 PM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: Dewey2k]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
I'll go first.

Religion is easy to define. It is a specific set of rules that are put in place by an authority figure for its congregation to follow. Religion is rigid and very easily abused.

Spirituality is much more difficult to define, but I think the best way to do it is to say that each person's spirituality is different. A person's spirituality is all about creating a guide by which to live one's own life; therefore, any abuse of spirituality would be an abuse of self.

There is a fine line between differentiating between these two ideologies, but I do think Dewey nailed in on the head here. I have utter contempt for religion...no respect whatsoever. However, spirituality is a different beast. Though I would not define my own morality as spiritual, as I do not believe in any kind of afterlife, I do have the utmost of respect for any individual's spiritual ideologies.

A couple of years ago, a co-worker and I were having a political discussion, and the topic of my atheism came into the picture. She asked a very relevant question. "How can you live like that?"

My answer is quite simple. My spiritual belief, if one would call it that, says that since there is nothing left for me after I die, then that means I have a lot more to live for. It makes my life so much more important.

I enjoy life. It is, to me, the most precious commodity ever conceivable in the entire cosmos. To think that I spent 32 years of my life trying to figure out a way to end it painlessly is difficult for me to ponder, but that is a stage of depression I have no control over.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#237994 - 07/13/08 10:57 PM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: BJK]
Still Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6358
Loc: 2 NATO Nations
IMO:

Religion is a defined basis of beliefs. A religion can be formed and recognized by one or more persons.

"isms" can be (and frequently are) religions. e.g.: Catholisism, Consumerism, Materialism, Buddhism, Atheism...


Spirituality is an individual's own personal relationship with, treatment of, employment of, or grasp on an understanding of something beyond themselves.

e.g.: A person could be considered "spiritual" in their contemplation that the earth is of practical insignificance in the size and scope of the universe. Further, that given the size and scope of the universe, said person's own existance is contrasted against these universal contemplations.

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#237995 - 07/13/08 11:08 PM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: Still]
testingWaters Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 508
My spirituality is nothing more or less than finding the ways and places and practices in which I can recognize myself as connected to all other things (living and not) and learn how to align myself with them and with the basic goodness of all that is.


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#238031 - 07/14/08 01:37 AM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: testingWaters]
1islandboy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 856
Loc: washington
Spirituality is knowing I have a higher power and it is not me. Spirituality is tuning into this lifeforce and rightly relating to it so I might live a better life and become a usefull member of society.

religion is spirituality with a label.

_________________________
Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine ~ M.F. Fernandez

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#238895 - 07/19/08 03:56 AM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: 1islandboy]
blueshift Offline
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Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
I tend to think of spirituality as the real deal and religion as just an institution.

That said, however, I don't doubt that at least some here feel differently and see religion (though perhaps only their own chosen religion) and spirituality as inseparable. Out of respect for those people, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea of saying this forum is exclusively for the subject of spirituality and not religion, though admittedly it is titled "spirituality and survivors" and not "religion and survivors".

I suspect that choice of title was intended to keep it as open and inclusive as possible though.

Personally I think the problems that arise in this forum don't have so much to do with the differences between spirituality and religion as they do with the ability of the participants to interact respectfully and to be tolerant of differing viewpoints.

To be frank, I feel the biggest threat to this forums purpose is the dynamics which make it susceptible to domination by one or a few select groups or brands of spirituality wherein other groups with pronounced differences to the dominant one/ones feel that any expression of their spiritual/religious beliefs may come under massive attack or even be censored because of those expressions being viewed as somehow denigrating to the beliefs of the dominant group/groups.

There are two things that come to mind that I think need to be observed by all parties concerned to keep that from happening.

One is being careful of the language used so that our statements pertain to our own subjective feelings rather than declare some absolute..For instance, my saying "I am a Taoist because other belief systems don't make as much sense to me." is preferable to my saying "I am a Taoist because other belief systems are stupid."

But that only goes so far. However careful one may be in the wording of one's statements, there are going to be things said that directly contradict the cherished beliefs of others.

So the other thing that I feel is extremely important in this forum is that all who post here be as tolerant as they possibly can of viewpoints that contradict their own, and be able to respect the other's right to have and express those opinions without being compelled to try to silence them, have them censored, take personal offense simply because the others opinion contradicts their own or militantly defend their own opposing views to the point of disrespect.

There is nothing inherently wrong with having disagreements, and there's nothing wrong with respectfully stating your disagreement and your reasons for it.

But if every viewpoint that contradicts yours is perceived as a threat or an insult that must be neutralized somehow, then it is easy for large groups of people who all agree with each other about most things to create a climate of exclusivity and intolerance in which those with less common views/belief structures must feel as though they have no voice and are not supported in expressing how they feel or what they are going through in their own spiritual journey and that is hurtful.

I'm not saying it's always easy to practice that kind of tolerance. I mean if my revered spiritual leader is the Dali Lama and someone is stating that he is just some posing douche bag, it might be hard to not get overly defensive even if that sentiment is stated in less offensive terms. But if it just happens that the majority of people currently using this forum are devotees of the Dali Lama and feel that anyone talking about Jesus Christ as their lord and savior is, by doing so, disrespecting the Dali Lama, then this forum will have turned into what would be better called the Dali Lama Club instead of the spiritual forum.

We are all survivors here, but we are also different people with different needs. Of course we all most likely feel our own set of beliefs is the right one for everyone, but even if it is, we can't bring others with different ideas to our way of thinking by jamming our own beliefs down their throats or trying to keep them from expressing their own ideas.

Sorry this turned into such a sermon, but these thoughts have been on my mind for a while now and I couldn't resist the opportunity to get them out here. I'll shut up now. \:\)

PS Sorry if I deviated from the intended topic. I just felt it was an important piece to consider as well with regard to the purpose of the forum.







Edited by blueshift (07/19/08 04:04 AM)
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#238896 - 07/19/08 04:40 AM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: blueshift]
blueshift Offline
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Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
Speaking of the Dali Lama, I just learned he has a myspace site! Anyway, while I was looking it over, i saw this poem someone wrote that seemed appropriate. Sorry about the yelling..(It was written in caps.)

ONE GOD
=========

THERE'S ONLY ONE GOD AND ONE HUMAN RACE,
BUT MANY RELIGIONS FOR US TO EMBRACE.
THE JEWS, THE MUSLIMS AND THE CHRISTIAN SCHENE,
THERE'S HIGH CHURCH AND LOW CHURCH AND SOME IN BETWEEN.

WE ALL FIGHT OUR CORNER, WE BELIEVE IN OUR CREED,
BUT DO WE ALL CARE ABOUT PEOPLE IN NEED?
THERE'S ONLY ONE GOD AND THERE'S ONLY ONE ROAD,
TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER IS PART OF THE CODE.

BUT WAY DOWN THAT ROAD, WE HAVE GONE OFF THE TRACK,
THERE'S FIGHTING AND KILLING, IS THERE NO TURNING BACK?
LET'S PRAY TO THE ONE GOD AND ASK FOR HIS GRACE,
OR THAT ROAD WILL RUN OUT FOR THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE.

ITS NOT OUR RELIGION THAT COUNTS IN THE END,
ITS THE LOVE THAT WE GIVE AND THE HAND WE EXTEND.
=============================================

PEACE AND BLESSINGS
GODDERS

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#238900 - 07/19/08 07:35 AM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: blueshift]
hogan_dawg Offline
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Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
Really good read Blueshift. Thanks.

_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#239049 - 07/19/08 10:15 PM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: hogan_dawg]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Spirituality is internal and of the individual; religion is external and of the community.

Spirituality is the individual's desire for and attempt toward communion with the Sacred as he understands it, for the transformation and sanctification of his life.

Religion is the complex of relations, symbols, rituals, and ideologies created by communities of humans in order to cooperatively express their spirituality by providing a common structure and framework. Religion is a tool to facilitate the communion of communities as communities with the Sacred as understood by that community, and for the communion of individuals together into a sacred community.

Because religion is of the community and is externalized spirituality, it can confront the individual as "Other," which means that it is quite possible to have religion without spirituality, which is generally not a good thing. Spirituality without religion, while potentially satisfying to the individual, can potentially entail isolation and lack of direction.

Religions, being communal in nature, need therefore to have rules that specify who is and who is not a member of the community. These rules, like any rules that divide people into groups, can potentially give rise to a sense of superiority among the members of the group over those outside. This is not inherent in religion itself, but is a possibility that can occur simply as a result of human group dynamics.

So, "religion" is not identical with "spirituality." "Spirituality" makes use of religious practices, but group-defining religious doctrines (such as "who is saved and how?") are part of the external communal structure and do not apply to the individual's internal expression of spirituality.

IOW, Spirituality is talking about your own relationship with God and what you do to build that relationship; religion involves other people's relationships and practices. On a spirituality thread on a recovery website, one ought to focus on the individual and the internal.

I hope that makes sense.

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#239084 - 07/19/08 11:22 PM Re: Spirituality versus Religion [Re: VLinvictus]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Spiritualiy is "MY" relationship to GOD as "I" understand him to be.
I understand that there is a GOD and that I am not him.

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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