Denial of spirit is denial of self.
Now, getting back to religion, there are a few points I would like to raise
and I am presenting them purely as things to consider. These things are
completely separate from God, Love and Spirituality.
Many people have found God through religion and many people have
been led to religion through finding God. However, in the past few
decades more and more people are leaving religion and I'm sure that
most churches will acknowledge there has been an awful lot of exposure
given to some rather ugly incidents involving religions.
The fact that religions operate in the name of God and the fact that God
has indirectly been blamed or at least confused by such things, I think it
only fair, that we do at the very least consider the role of the church as
an institution rather than as the sole representative of God.
Firstly, the church as such, is a man made institution and its main role is
in the academic study of the bible (again I include all religions and
doctrines). Churches are run by men: mortal, human, flesh and blood
kinds of men.
There are political, social and financial influences in running these
Many churches exist or are maintained by elements of entertainment and
marketing. To run a church and keep it financially viable, the
priest/pastor/vicar etc. needs to engage and maintain the audience.
Guilt, fear and shame are dynamic motivators and are often over
emphasised within church sermons.
Churches can be run without paying taxes and it is assumed that
churches distribute most of that income to help people in need. It seems
perfectly reasonable to wonder why people are starving to death when
churches are withholding billions and billions of dollars. Just this one
issue alone, has many people questioning the moral and ethical values
It seems to me that these days the churches will quite blatantly request a
ten percent tithe and you wouldn’t need to be a mathematician to wonder
why just one percent of this money could not completely wipe out
Many churches are listed as the richest organizations in the world today.
Although most churches appeal to your financial generosity, by
promoting themselves as charitable distributors, it is true that an
enormous amount of funds are simply directed to property,
administration, art works and antiques. We only need to look at some of
the real estate owned by the churches to get an idea of the vast amount
of wealth generated and apparently withheld.
All religions agree that God is a source of love and Gods message to us
is to love one and other. My belief is that loving one and other is
unconditional and my understanding is that love is not just an action and
reaction but ultimately a state of being.
Sadly, many religions do regard love as conditional and make no
allowance for ‘love outside the tribe’. Many people have been forced out
or at least shamed out of churches due to the fact that they have loved
the wrong person or perhaps loved in the wrong way. When two people
from ‘rival’ religions fall in love and want to marry, many religions will
excommunicate their member or at the very least they will refuse to bless
Sexuality is also another area in which religion has created much
confusion and shame. Sex is the ultimate expression of love and yet, so
many people are ashamed of their desires and confused by mixed
messages, restrictions or implications made by their church. Being in love
and wanting to express that love in a sexual way, is another reason why
people have turned away from religion.
I can only wonder why God would design a male and female body in such
a perfect and detailed way if it were not intended for men and women to
love each other this way. What would be the purpose of having such
strong, natural sexual desire and pleasure if not as encouragement to
engage in sex?
Sin and Punishment
Religion has for such a long time prospered and flourished by the
subliminal messages of sin, fear, shame and punishment. In contradiction
to this we learn that Jesus Christ did not claim “My father is going to
punish you for this” as they prepared him for the cross. He said, “Forgive
them; they know not what they do.” Most of his recorded utterances were
along these lines, including “Let he who is without sin cast the first
stone.” He did not come to earth to give sermons about Armageddon, his
message was always simple and his message was more by example than
Whether you are religious or not, your own common sense may
acknowledge that the Ten Commandments do not need to be anything
other than sound ethical principles to live by. Some religions imply that
sinning is a shameful act against God and that he keeps a ledger of all
our sins with the intention of sending us to burn in hell. This would
suggest that God is unforgiving and vengeful.
It’s not about ‘going to hell’ or ‘ensuring a ticket to heaven’ it’s just good
advice about human behaviour. It’s about actions creating
consequences, cause and effect. Living ethically, fairly and generously
will obviously create more love, light and spirituality within us all.
Regardless of religious interpretation, a sin is simply behaviour with a
probable and predictable negative or hurtful outcome. Greed, adultery,
jealousy, disrespect and dishonesty do usually result in some form of
grief. Judgement may well be our own; punishment may not be by Gods
hand at all.
Sin is also subjective, stealing is considered a sin and in terms of religion
its definition is black and white. In my opinion, stealing motivated by
greed is a sin. But surely if one man has so much food available that his
body has become morbidly obese and at the same time another man
may be stealing food because he is starving, then who is the real sinner
and what exactly is the real sin.
When someone preaches that murder is a sin and then turns away while
someone else starves to death, then I can only wonder if that apathy is
not also murder by default.
For centuries, churches have managed to hide many of their nasty little
secrets, but in the past few decades so much has been uncovered. So
much more will be exposed and in the end churches will either need to
change or they will cease to exist.
This may not be such a bad thing though, as I believe people today are
becoming more and more aware of their own spirituality. The non-
believers and the disillusioned may have issues with religion, but that
does not mean they will continue to hold God accountable. People have
always sensed and longed for spiritual connection. People have not
stopped pondering life’s big questions they are simply looking for
answers in different ways and different places.
Jesus as an example
This new age of spirituality may focus more on the examples lived by
Jesus Christ rather than the interpretation of a book not even written by
Jesus Christ. His example, of course, was a message of love and
compassion and healing.
Surely, Jesus would have written the bible himself if it were intended that
we should find our answers within a book. Why send Jesus at all? God
could have issued us all with an instruction manual. Could it have been
because he had already created an inbuilt system of direct
communication within us all?
The one thing that all religions seem to agree on is that prayer is the
direct line of communication with God. Prayer is meditation: quiet,
focused and open communication, received and transmitted by the mind.
A cry for help or a joyful sense of gratitude, a request for guidance or
clarity of wisdom. Most of all, an open and generous heart and a desire
to walk in love. This is where Spirituality begins and probably ends.
Copyright Sonya Green 2006
|Spirituality without Religion
Sin and punishment
Unconditional love. Hypocrisy.
Part 2 ~sonya green
Download Healing Meditation CD from Itunes
Insightful and thought provoking articles
on personal growth and healing
~ SONYA GREEN
Ebooks also available for download from Amazon Barnes and Noble and most download
sites. Click the link top left or the book cover for more info.