Sunday Morning Musings: Many times I have heard it said that some people are “spiritual but not religious”. I have also said that I believe that it can and often does mean different things to different people. Earlier this week I shared a post from Facebook that read: A religious person will do what he is told, no matter what is right. A spiritual person will do what is right, no matter what he is told. I shared it because I felt that it contained a certain amount of truth, and I liked the contrasting opinions offered.
There can be a big difference between some who is religious and someone who is spiritual. As I have said before that such is not always the case but certainly this saying shows a significant difference between the two. To acknowledge one’s ties to a religious set of beliefs can and sometimes does lead one to do what they are told to do regardless of its moral, ethical or just plain common sense outcomes. We see much of this thing happening today with political as well as religious matters when it comes to separating families that have entered the USA illegally. It is the law or the Bible has said that such actions are required. If one is told to accept what is being said or done without as much as a question of what it means in the larger picture, then we are in serious trouble.
The sad part of this theory is that both sides will claim that they are right and obviously the other side is wrong. Such is the result when “sides” are chosen. My concern is that if we can stand together on certain issues, what is it then that separates us?
The answer is that we let our own interests or our egos to get in the way, which to me is the difference between being spiritual and being religious. When we can get ourselves and our own needs out of the way; when we care about others first, we can begin to live in a way that is bigger than any religious beliefs. It doesn’t mean that we throw out our beliefs, rather we let those beliefs be guided by a different (I could have said “higher”) set of priorities. We are no longer ruled by the authority of the law, or the authority of our religion, nor religious books or persons. Rather the final authority becomes our sense of providing care and compassion and love first and foremost.
The spiritual person may belong to a religious group, but each one must choose to think beyond oneself. Even sometimes one’s ethical sense is stretched and our actions go beyond the utilitarian sense of what is the good for the nation or even the self. The law or religious beliefs must be put aside in the name of doing what is loving and caring.
This past while there has been much discussion and controversy about the separation of families of illegal immigrants. As mentioned in a previous article, the Bible has been used to support such actions. It is in just such a situation that we have to realize that any interpretation that calls us to support any action that is harmful is wrong. When we let our own needs become such we must decide which is more important to us, our religion or our spirituality.