According to google, there are 4,200 known religions in the world. In Hinduism alone, there are 320,000,000 gods, or at least one god with 320 million personalities.
Religion varies all over the world and although one may come from a specific country, with all of the world’s modern technology and means of communication, neighboring households could easily each practice different belief systems. That is especially true here in NYC. I have a cousin who says if she had the time and money, she would study religion full-time. My cousin and I agree on many things, but this one we do not. While the study of various religions may be a good read, or a documentary worth watching, when real people get involved, so does politics. That is a major reason why over the years, I have become less and less interested in religious beliefs and practices. From my experience, though religion often promotes faith and a sense of peace, they often also come with guidelines one should listen to and live by. As a child I didn’t like being told what to do, as an adult, I am still the same way. No I’m not a narcissist who can’t take instruction or believe I am always right. However, I believe in live and let live. A religion that often comes with limitations, damnation, hypocrisy and judgment when people get involved is Christianity. Disclaimer: I do still maintain many of the beliefs of Christianity, possibly out of habit, I do however, believe this religion like many others have been used to mislead and control its believers by those claiming to be ordained to teach it.
I grew up in the Christian faith. I was taught to accept that Jesus died for my sins and is my lord and savor in order to get into heaven. I welcomed him into my heart many years ago and many times over the course of those years. As I entered adulthood, I began to recognize things that didn’t make me feel good. Every church I went had its own share of drama and secrets that were far from “acceptable” Christian behavior. how the pastors made examples of his/her congregation from the pulpit many times. Different from the sermons taught in children’s Sunday school, By 18 I was seated with the elder adults, being taught about damnation. I was told I needed to repent for the sins I committed on a daily basis in order to escape the firey gates of hell. I also needed to fast and to study the Bible, attend church on Sundays, not have sex, not be gay, not mastrubate, tithe 10% of my earnings, and a seemingly never ending list of other things to be in good standing with the man upstairs. If I did any of these things, I would again, need to repent. I couldn’t keep up. Nor could I manage to stay awake in church 90% of the time, even in my 20’s. There was a serious sense of disconnect in the church for me, and to be honest, the feel good of attending church never lasted longer than a day. I felt much better when I just had an honest talk with God. Not when I came to him/her with my head hung low as a sinner, but just as a person. It began to occur to me that I just wasn’t a person who was big on religion. More so, I began to think that unlike the church’s teachings, the lowly and unfortunate didn’t have a special place in heaven as opposed to the rich. Being a person who naturally strived for better than average, I believed that God wanted better for me and all of us. I couldn’t shake the feeling that if God dwells in us and if we are made to his/her likeness, then aren’t we all gods and goddesses? I stopped going to church initially because I couldn’t stop imagining the real lives of the people I was surrounded by beyond the phony smiles and the generic “god bless you.” The hypocrisy of my fellow christians sealed the deal. I decided to read the Bible and study the religion I grew up with, without the external influence of other people re-wording and revamping the words and the teachings. Once I actually tried to denounce my faith in Jesus all together after watching a film on Netflix, but for about the 2-3 days following, I didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel free or liberated. I knew internally that there just has to be a being greater than the typical human. Whether his/her name is Jesus, Jehovah, Mary, Buddha or whoever. So instead, I decided to denounce my title of being a Christian. I do not think being a Christian inheritanly makes you a hypocrite or judgemental. It is a taught and learned behavior that is unfortunately wide spread in this faith. I didn’t want to claim the same title as the overwhelming anount of judgmental hypocrites. It was here I began to embark on my spirituality. I stopped relying so heavily on my bible and more so on how I felt in relation to this being responsible for this thing called life. So what’s the difference between religion and spirituality?
Spirituality is about believing in a higher being, and its correlation to people, animals and nature in general. There may not be a specific name for this being. Spiritual people may partake in different methods to gain higher awareness. Methods that Christians may consider “pagan” such as metaphysics: essential oils, crystals, tarot cards, astrology, numerology, meditation, spending time in nature, etc. Spiritual people may very well have the same morals as religious people but often come with much less judgment. Since focusing on my spirituality, I am in so much more alignment with myself, my purpose, my intuition and the higher being that I still refer to as God/Jesus. I still maintain the beliefs of a Christian just without the condemnation and denomination they often come with. If you’ve read my blog post: Summer 2016 Changed My Life or 5 Self-Help Books You Need To Read Asap, you may have noted that I am still new to spirituality and every year, I learn a new way to discover more about myself and my divine purpose. I am happy with my choice of spiritualism over religion.
Life and Love
Blogged by Renae Yvonne
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