I write this in light of brodans post about evolution and his religous fervor.
I classify myself as a spiritual atheist. I do not believe in the big 3 mainstream gods presented by religions today. When it comes to how we got here...I really do not care. I do not believe in the creation account and I will not pretend that I know all about evolution (tho I have been able to resolve some of its concepts with-in myself.)
I write this just to show that there is a difference between being a spiritual person and a religious one. Even tho I do not believe in god, I recognize mans need to look to a higher authority. Its like a left over genetic imprint that causes us to be succeptible to religious manipulations. Charasmatic preachers use the bible (or whatever spiritual book) to guide peoples spiritual gene in various ways.
I feel spirituality is a personal matter and one that should be defined once a person has experienced life, learning and come to a point where he/she can resolve with-in themselves their spiritual nature.
Religion does not allow one to define his own spirituality. It is a list of rules presented as gods path for you take it or leave it. I love it when one can transcend religion and define his own spiritualty and path in life. I think of posters on here like aguest, snowbird, tec and psacremento who have risen above religion to define their own spirituality outside of it.
You would think that most of us, having been ex JW's, would have come to understand the perils of forcing our beliefs on others. I think that is where the line of spirituality and religion is crossed. A good example of this is the contrast of Jesus words and paul.
Jesus preached forgiveness and love he had a message that calmed the INDIVIDUAL heart and spirit. His...rules (for lack of a better term) were easy to follow and beneficial for pagan and xtian alike (think good samaritan parable.)
When paul comes on the scene he took a simple message and added to it, also opening the way for future followers and preachers to add to it. Paul took it upon himself to define aspects of christianity that should have been left to the individual. Sure he tried to cage his words with such expressions like 'not as the christ says but I tho I believe I have the christ spirit.'
Religious leaders since than have been adding on their own interpretations and beliefs. Now today we have this huge chasm between simple spirituality and religions. For too long people have let religions define their spirituality, instead of them finding it with-in themselves.
I believe that all should be allowed to freely explore their spiritual path, if they so wish, and once they find it enjoy it. I do not believe they should push their spirituality onto others. Whats good for you and your spiritual journey, may not be the path that me and my experiences need.
How say you fellow JWN'rs