Spirituality vs. Religion

Imagine yourself in this following situation; or better yet, ponder on which side you seem to find yourself.

For his first sermon in a new parish, the young priest went up to the podium and said, “Instead of giving you a very long speech, I would like to try something new: everyone please each take one item home from the church.”

This caused a bit of a confused murmuring from the congregation. Did the priest just tell everyone to simply get up and take something? Anything?

Some of the local businessmen were the first to get up, and carried away the full collection baskets. But everyone else just stood there, bewildered at this strange experiment.

The following week, the priest said the same thing: “Please take one thing home from the church.” Some local jewelers took the chalice and cruets, some collectors took the paintings and statues. A few polite–but still reluctant–churchgoers quietly picked up the flowers by the altar.

And so on it continued, week after week, with the priest asking each of them …

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Muni Mini-Meditation – San Francisco Alternative Religions

We all know the benefits of meditation — stress reduction, lower blood pressure, peace of mind — it’s an exercise that totally relaxes and refreshes our body, mind and spirit.

And those of us who meditate also know how hard it can be carrying that divine relaxation over into the rest of our lives. We get used to meditating in our quiet place, at a specific time, in a specific way. But that habit can create a weird little vicious cycle — we end up only being able to meditate and relax in that special place, and can feel even more stressed out away from our practice than we did before we ever began to meditate. As a result, our family issues, work issues and transportation issues just seem to get harder and harder to deal with peacefully.

One great way to break the meditation cycle and learn to stay calm and centered regardless of the situation is to meditate “on the fly”; that is, meditate wherever and whenever you have a few minutes. One …

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Traditional Islam

Traditional Islam, like its more modern incarnation, upholds the belief in a single deity, Allah. The root of Islam are the words “salam” and “silm,” which mean peace. And, in fact, Islam is about finding peace with the Creator, which can be achieved through complete submission to His will.

In traditional Islam there is one definitive text, the Koran, which is the precise word of God (or Allah). Any serious practice of Islam demands a full commitment to this text, which was delivered by God to His prophet Mohammed in the year 610. Additionally, traditional Muslims study hadith, which reports on the deeds and sayings of Mohammed, God’s final prophet on Earth.

Misconceptions About Traditional Islam

Since September 11, more misinformation has been spread about Islamic culture than in any other period throughout modern times. As its name indicates, Islam is a peaceful religion that urges tolerance and acceptance. But like any creed, Islam has its radical factions. When these extremists are allowed to set the tenor of the entire religion, a handful of zealots …

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Religion and Respect: What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

This morning once again I have had my blood pressure raised at the site of an article I found on the news sites online. It appears that Christianity is once again under attack and this time the target is Easter. The battleground is Ohio in Munson Township to be exact. The annual tradition of the Easter egg hunt has now been changed to “The Spring Egg Hunt” as per the township trustees. Those in favor of the change have called those against it “too touchy”, but in today’s society where Christianity is attacked on every level why should we be touchy!

Now since the article has been released many Christians, including myself are pretty upset by this, however I have heard the arguments that egg hunt traditions are rooted in ancient pagan fertility rituals surrounding spring and that the name Easter itself is based off of the pagan religious name Ishtar. I will not deny that the early Catholic church did adapt some pagan names and celebrations into the church in order to make the …

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Spirituality vs Religion: Don't Let Problems with Religion Hinder your Spiritual Life & Growth

Spirituality and religion are two different things. Understanding the difference can help you get in touch with and nurture your spiritual consciousness, especially if you have been hurt by religion.

What is the Difference Between Spirituality and Religion?

Spirituality is one facet of our human nature; religion is a group of beliefs and practices, not unlike a “how-to” guide, meant to help people express their spirituality and draw closer to their Creator, God, or the Universal Truth. In short, religion is meant to help you with your personal spiritual growth. It is your spiritual practice.

Definition of Spirituality

So what is the facet of our human nature known as spirituality? It is people’s innate desire, capacity and need to:

  • find meaning in their lives;
  • to feel fultilled, rather than empty;
  • to find purpose beyond today or this world;
  • to rise above the confines of the limited ego and all that is human and imperfect;
  • to connect with their Creator or their true inner selves;
  • to belong to something larger than themselves;
  • to triumph over fear
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An Introduction to Philosophy of Religion: Comparative Religion – Why All Beliefs Have a Common Source

If every creed passes on the same messages, why have different cultures fought against each other throughout history in bloody battles motivated by religious intolerance?

From a philosophical standpoint, there is no religion better than the other, there are only different cultural elements that covers a common message. The differences are a result of a misinterpretation of the original form of each belief system, and intolerance arises when people lose the connection with the essence of the religion and become attached to the shapes and forms.

What is Religion?

There are many different possibilities to define the word “religion,” but one of the most accepted definition is that religion is a tool to connect with divinity, or the highest instances of consciousness.

Religion is a set of rules, rituals, values and concepts that aim to lead people towards their best possibilities as humans, providing the necessary knowledge to make judgments and decisions that will ensure peace of mind, salvation, heaven, nirvana or whatever they name the state of mind that every belief system understands as …

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Religionless Christianity: Accepting Jesus as a Model for Humanity

Some find the trappings of religion to be the very thing that draws us far from the message that Scripture carries. The historical Jesus was a person of reform, challanging the treatment of outcasts in his society, questioning the traditions of the Jewish religion and calling not for the destruction of that religion, but for changes to be made in that society.

A Historical Jesus

This Jesus was historical, political, charismatic and ready and willing to use these traits to take a stand for what he believed in. He carried and promoted those beliefs to his death, indicted for those beliefs. He was a man of honor and witness willing to go the whole mile for what he believed were changes that needed to be made his society. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and the Kennedy brothers are examples of others who made the same choice. While Jesus was murdered by the state and the others by rebels against moral living makes no difference. All died for what they believed in.

Religion and Observance

Can one …

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Religion in the Workplace

I’ve been a Christian for most of my life. This isn’t something that I intend to hide or cover up. While there is a time and a place for everything, I strongly believe that religion shouldn’t be banned or excluded from the workplace as long as you’re not trying to enforce your beliefs on others. The first amendment does protect our right to freedom of religion so as long as we’re not infringing on the freedom of others or abusing that freedom in any other way, we should be able to have it.

I myself plan to become a teacher in the near future. The constitution does have a separation of church and state. However, I do plan on telling my students that I’m a Christian but I’m not going to impose or force my Christianity on any of them. Right now I’m a substitute teachers and I often see a few religious artifacts or paraphernalia in classrooms.

The workplace is a place where you spend around 40 hours a week, which is a lot …

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What Happened to Religion Anyway!?

“Fool’s gold exists because there is real gold.”
– Rumi

Take a deep breath and engage in an exercise of imagination with me for a couple of minutes. First of all, suppose that all religions in the world did originate from a common source, and that all of the prophets had something in common amongst them. Now, take this fantasy one step further, by bundling up smaller cults and sects, no matter how bizarre, with our sanctioned religions. That is to say that Occultism, Alchemy, Witchcraft and maybe even Scientology – in this fantasy of ours – would also be engaged in the search for that common source to whatever degree the’re capable of.

In this fantasy world, it would be terribly clear to all of us that the institution of Church really could not have any direct relation with the dude supposedly on top of the organizational chart: J-man. He wouldn’t even count as a CEO, in fact. He would most likely be like the king of a monarchy, or like the President of …

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What Is Religion Good for Anyway?

There was a time when religion was almost universally recognized as representing virtue and humanities’ most sincere striving for goodness. Not anymore, in 2013, the era when religion was viewed as an unalloyed positive seems so…2000 years ago!

Today, the word itself is more likely to elicit frowns of disapproval than visions of righteousness. You know a tectonic shift has occurred when people who may have previously described themselves as religious now prefer to describe themselves as spiritual instead; as in “I am spiritual; not religious”. Consider also the pejorative connotations associated with the phrase “organized religion”, as in “I don’t believe in organized religion.”

The popularity of so called non denominational churches is a direct byproduct and expression of this suspicion, or disdain, for traditional religious institutions and forms of organization. As one who does in fact subscribe to “organized religion” I’ll be the first to admit that religious folk have not exactly distinguished themselves in the eyes of the world as recent headlines attest; when children are abused by men appointed to oversee …

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