Spirituality Not Religion

Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell; spirituality is for those who have been there.

Ross V., Member of Alcoholics Anonymous

In Christian circles, I have heard people remark that my generation tends to be “spiritual, not religious” and they see this as a bad thing.  What does it mean to be religious?  What does it mean to be spiritual? Yesterday I read the quote above from a book titled The Spirituality of Imperfection and it really stuck with me. The essence of this quote to me is that spirituality is forged in the fires of tough experiences where as religion is sugar coated selfishness.  I ask students to explain Christianity without sounding selfish and it’s tough.  The message of Christianity is not ask Jesus into your heart and become a Christian so you don’t have to go to hell.  If that is the message, then it is selfishness and therefore, wrong.

If spirituality comes though tough experiences and tough experiences will happen, how do we set up our children to weather these storms? How do we fight our desire to keep our kids safe because safety actually works against spirituality? Why is it that people believe in God, go through a rough experience and then come out of the experience denying God?  Today I just have more questions than answers.

What do you think?


About joelnewton

I am a husband to Hillary, a father to Anna and Norah

Posted on October 25, 2010, in Family Strategies, Personal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It's just a Web site man!

    I am one of those Christians sorry. You are entitled to your beliefs, but I have chosen another path. One of our pastors said the following…

    “Religion is how man explains God. Christianity is how God reveals himself to man.”

    Yeah ok, I know you may disagree. That’s ok. I respect your opinion, even if I disagree. 🙂

    • I am a Christian as well. The point wasn’t to rule out the historic Christian faith. It is just to say that if we are Christians just to escape hell then we have missed the point. I would argue that the historic Christian faith is much more of a relationship than a religion. To me religion is about what we have to do to obtain salvation. The focus is on our works. Christianity is about realizing we can’t do it on our own and that we need a savior. Then we get to join the mission of God in drawing others to himself. The focus is on relationship over ritual.

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