Growing up we were made to dress up every Sunday and go to church, more from the side of my grandparents than my parents, so my relationship with religion and spirituality, in general, was more of a forced one than that which developed out of choice. I’d really love to say that one day I “saw the light” and was touched by some “grace” or something of the sort, but I’m sure you can imagine just how conflicted I must have been reading in religious texts just how wrong the way I was born is.
I hold no grudges against our community church pastor or against my grandparents though, but I truly believe that the old ways of the world in terms of spirituality and religion are open to interpretation and should be up for scrutiny. I also hold nothing against anybody who considers themselves a staunch believer in their religious teachings, but all I ask is that the most extreme of these people at least be open to accepting that there are other people in the world who simply cannot be aligned with those beliefs, no matter how badly each of them wants to be.
I’ve always known that it was going to be a serious challenge teaching my own kids about religion and spirituality, a topic I personally prefer to refer to as spirituality instead of including religion because I believe religion is a form of spirituality. I believe that religion is organised spirituality, so to say.
Either way, while I do believe spirituality definitely still has a place in the modern world, I think that a lot what the essence of it is about is lost in the process itself. The hypocritical neighbour (I’m not referring to any of my own neighbours personally) who goes to church every Sunday and also attends the Tuesday prayers really shouldn’t be giving everybody else in their neighbourhood “the eyes” just because they’re personally clearly adhering to all the set out protocols associated with their religious beliefs and practices. Your beliefs are not everybody’s beliefs.
I have already started touching on this rather touchy subject with my daughters, but I’m in no hurry to get to where I want us all to be, which is at a place where regardless of what the next person says or believes, what’s important is that each of us always chooses to do good over evil, both of which choices present themselves in a number of different ways. We have our whole lives ahead of us and hey – if somehow I experience a miracle and I’m personally convinced that it’s a real miracle, then I’ll be convinced that I’m on the right path with regards to my own spirituality.
Otherwise, I truly believe that in the modern world our approach to religion and spirituality needs to be more of an open-minded one where we keep our focus firmly placed on the essence of what it’s all about. If you’re going to enforce any beliefs you have, ask yourself if that brings about more good into the world or if it does the complete opposite.