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Too often the common view on spirituality has to do with religion. When we begin to define what spirituality is and how to apply it in our lives, religion tends to pop up and lead the definition in a single direction. I tend to believe that spirituality is anything or anywhere you find some type of metaphysical bond, a sense of belonging that transcends the usual definition.

Weigh in with your ";Definition" of spirituality...

John asked this
August 17, 2011 at 3:00 PM

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I think you are right.

Spirituality and religion are related but unique. Religion involves a defined set of morals and values and beliefs regarding spirituality, while spirituality itself is simply connection with the spiritual. Religion is sort of guide on HOW to make that connection.

Erin Froehlich answered
August 18, 2011 at 3:01 PM

My Spirituality is my relationship between The Father, The Sun, and The Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit guides my in all truth, thus my spirituality guides me in all things. The Spirit is from God. According to Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. The Spirit is from within, to set me free.

Religion is from man, not God. Religion is a set of rules established by man. Religion is a set of written rules to control. For me spirituality is being guided by God while religion is being led or in some cases controlled by man. Thank you John for this post. If anyone is interested I'd love to discuss a personal and emotional example of Gods love for us.

Beryl answered
August 24, 2011 at 8:50 PM

I am eager to hear an example of a personal or emotional connection to God Beryl. Please be aware, just for the sake of honesty, that this thread was started by an Atheist, albeit a spiritual one. I do look forward to the conversation though.

John answered
August 25, 2011 at 8:34 AM

John, I believe you have a family so this will give you the personal or emotion connection I'm talking about. I may ramble a bit but stay with me to the end. When people read the Bible and read how much God loves us it is hard to truly understand. We don't get the personal or emotional connection even if we are Born Again Christians or are strong believers in the Word of God because, let's face it, it is the written word of another human being.

I firmly believe in the Word of God and I firmly believe He loves us regardless of who we are or what we have done. His love is unconditional. He gives us something to emotionally relate to through the emotional connection with family unit.

Example: Why do I love my grand children more than I love your children? Why do we ache when our children are sick or hurt? Why do you hurt inside when your wife is not feeling well or she has had a difficult day? We love our children unconditionally no matter what they do. We often get upset with them but our love is unconditional. We take pride in what they do and we cherish the time we spend with them. We would do anything for them. Why don't we have the same emotions and feelings for our friends and neighbors and their families?

It is because through the family with all the love, emotion, forgiveness, understanding, etc., God allows us to feel and experience the exact way He feels about us. He loves us unconditionally, He wants us to prosper, He forgives us, He is proud of us. He has His Son lay down His life for us. He has placed in every parent the incredible love for their child just as He loves each of us, His children! Whenever I start to doubt God I think of my family and all is well.

Beryl answered
August 25, 2011 at 9:42 PM

"God allows us to feel and experience the exact way He feels about us."

I admire your love and commitment to your family Beryl, and I'm sure they appreciate it just as equally. Where I do find fault is the "God allows us" part. Since the beginning of written word, the human species has begun to deify any question that had no rational answer. In the beginning the seasonal cycles, pure elements, any natural disaster, was caused by an angry or happy deity that controlled that certain action. As we began to better understand the world that we occupy through science, the definable regions that these deities controlled began to shrink. Now, we arrive and the very small amount of time that the current "God" has occupied our minds and the events that he controls are merely philosophies, nothing quantifiable. No longer do we point at the hurricane heading for the east coast and say, "God must be angry."

My point in all of this is that we use a deity to provide comfort for our fear of the unknown, there is nothing that is allowed us, there is only human ingenuity and the result of that imagining evolving. As much as our current religious spiritualities look down upon the deities of old, they owe all their allegiance to the fear mongering that those deities caused, because humanity has evolved to be prepared for that fear and to look above for the support.

John answered
August 26, 2011 at 8:42 AM

Personally, I think science and religion answer different questions. Science answers the "what" and "how," and religion answers the "who" and "why." I don't think they're in any way incompatible. :)

Laura Hogg answered
August 29, 2011 at 3:09 PM

An interesting take, but when I ask, "Why does it rain?" what would the answer to that be and if there would be a who involved?

John answered
August 29, 2011 at 3:18 PM

That's a good question; I'll give it some more thought. In general, I tend to use the "what/how vs. who/why" principle in terms of the big questions, like the beginnings of the earth, how life arose, etc.

I started to type out a longer response, but it was getting way off topic. I'll back off and let the spirituality discussion continue. :)

Laura Hogg answered
August 29, 2011 at 3:37 PM

The bigger questions are exactly my point though. As I mentioned above, the bigger questions used to be, "Why does it rain?" and since the evolution of science and humanity hadn't made it that far yet, the answer was a deity. We now live in a time where the questions are truly massive, like the origins of the universe and how life arose. I believe that there is a scientific explanation for every question, but I also believe that the explanation may be larger than we anticipate. Lengthy responses are welcome...

John answered
August 29, 2011 at 3:42 PM

"Personally, I think science and religion answer different questions. Science answers the "what" and "how," and religion answers the "who" and "why.""

I agree with you Laura. I have the same sort of take on that. Although, John you make a great point with your question and I will give it some thought too. :)

As for spirituality, I agree with Erin. "Spirituality and religion are related but unique." I'd take that a step further and say, at times spirituality and religion can intersect. But they also can run parallel and never really meet. It just depends on if you associate yourself with a particular religion and what that religion believes.

Bri Luginbill answered
August 29, 2011 at 3:53 PM

It may indeed be that "Why does it rain?" was one of the bigger questions, but that doesn't mean that people weren't asking about the origins of the universe or how life arose. I think those are pretty old questions.

Science can explain a lot (I wouldn't go so far as to say that it explains everything, personally - the scientific method does have its limitations) and I think it's a real shame that many religious people seem to be afraid of it. To take the example of the origins of life: The Bible says that God created life on earth. So if you accept that, who's to say whether or not He did so using, oh, say, evolution? (Clearly there are some metaphorical elements going on in Genesis, because it says that God created the earth in 7 days - but the sun and moon, which dictate the 24-hour day, don't get created until later. I don't take everything metaphorically - but I don't take everything literally, either. I tend to follow what the early church taught, but that's another matter entirely.)

Anyway. In the case of life: evolution could be the "how", but it doesn't provide the answer to the "why," I don't think. Science and religion can go hand in hand. It may well be that we arose from evolution, but that doesn't automatically invalidate the existence of God.

Laura Hogg answered
August 29, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Unfortunately, here marks the end of any type of factual discussion and begins to border on the philosophical end of things. We could get into the randomness, Heisenberg or any number of theoretical physics equations, in the end they are all just theories. While the factual discussion ends here, I do believe that we have all proved the point of the forum. Spirituality lends itself to all who believe deeply in something. While I may choose to find spirituality in the ingenuity of humanity and the ability of science to explain all (eventually), it is heartening to see that it still abounds in all facets of life.

If everyone would like to continue the discussion into philosophies, please feel free to continue to post...

John answered
August 29, 2011 at 4:06 PM

And that's exactly why I didn't post it originally - way too easy for me to get off topic :) Good discussion!

Laura Hogg answered
August 30, 2011 at 7:38 AM

I don't think I would categorize the latest discussion as off topic, just in a different vein of the same topic. The trouble comes when faith is now the definition that both sides use to justify the argument. Scientists have faith that eventually they will discover the answers to some of the greatest questions, while religious members have an established faith that answers those great questions already.

For the sake of further conversation, let me pose this question. Being a scientifically oriented human, I believe that there is life in the universe besides our humble little planet and I believe that first contact will completely restructure the way that we interact as a species, mainly we will see each other as a species and not as different races. How, if you believe, do you think this will shape humanity?

John answered
August 30, 2011 at 8:18 AM

John, I need to pop in on your Friday comment. The “God allows us” comes from the New Covenant God made with man. The Old Covenant was structured out of fear and strict obedience to God. With the New Covenant God put His law in our minds and hearts and promised forgiveness of sins and eternal inheritance. He also created life and good, and death and evil. Additionally He gave us a free will. (The good news is we have a free will. The bad news is we have a free will!) God made the human will free and there is no power or influence either in heaven, earth, or hell that can deprive us of our free volition's.

What do you think the scientific explanation is for the emotions we have, and the fact that a mother and father have a deeper love, feeling, whatever you want to call it, for their own child than they do for a child they don’t know?

Beryl answered
August 30, 2011 at 1:15 PM

In response the old and new covenant idea, both were written by man and there supposed free will. Taking into consideration the amount of power and money that the writings have generated, I would have to say they made a solid career choice. The bible has plenty to teach the average human being, but it is nothing different than what you can find in a Dr. Seuss or Clifford the Big Red Dog series. Each of the teachings is basic respect, love, etc. Because it came first makes the teachings resound more, along with the hefty following that is has gained.

In response to the question on deeper feelings of love, I am going to go with pride on that one. I remember building a volcano for a science fair and a number of other students had built the same model. I obviously loved mine more because I put the time into it, I MADE it, I brought it into this world. Bringing a child into the world couples the amazing amount of love with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Raising that child adds even more to that sentiment.

John answered
August 30, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Wow...I would have to agree with Beryl, and with John's comment about pride instead of a deeper love, that would be two opposites, that is like water and oil, they do not go hand in hand.

Julie answered
August 30, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Pride is not a replacement for love, but it does accent the love and cause it to be that deeper love that you have for your own child as opposed to someone else's child. The obvious issue that will be run into is that pride is considered a mortal sin and that is a big no no for the average christian. To deny that you have pride in your children and that it accents the love that you hold for them could be as equally large a no no.

John answered
August 30, 2011 at 3:40 PM

John, I disagree with your comment about pride in this context. There are Philosophical views and Psychological views regarding pride. Pride is sometimes viewed as excessive or as a vice, sometimes as proper or as a virtue.

I can't agree on the pride thing and I'll give you a very personal example. My brother (now 65) had been in trouble since he was in his early 20's when my dad died. He had stolen from my mom, lied to her, would go years without even letting her know where he was. He basically made her life a living hell. My mom was not proud of my brother and their was no pride involved. But through it all she worried about him and always loved him. One time after he had not talked with my mom for over 3 years he called her one night, said he was dying of cancer and asked her to send him $400 so he could come home. She did and he never talked with her again for over a year. She thought he was dead. Through all that she still prayed for him and loved him. Today, 11 years later my mother is living with my brother, they have a nice little house in Iowa he takes wonderful care of her.

Beryl answered
August 31, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Philosophical and Psychological differences are semantics, both are based on loose theories that catch the attention of the mass public and relatively few are based on any type of fact.

As far as family is concerned, there is always an outcast, a black sheep, the one that didn't turn out the way they were supposed to, yet you always love them because they are family. You love them because they share a blood line that you are proud of, you love them because they share a bond with you through experience, you love them because they understand. I also have a sister that has had some "problems" in her life, but she is and always will be my sister and I will love her and do what I can to make her happy.

I like to call that stubborn Irish pride...

John answered
August 31, 2011 at 10:42 AM
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