Today was grocery shopping. I listened to the liberal talk radio station on XM. The topic under discussion was the impact of conservative beliefs on the current bid for Republican nomination for presidential candidacy. Recently, the United States is moving to a more conservative standpoint. For example, the debate about whether or not birth control should be required to be covered on employer’s health care plans. I do not recall the specific comments, but the discussion started me thinking about religion and spirituality and what their roles are in life.
It seems the representation of Christianity in the media focuses on the beliefs and actions of the very conservative believers. Often, there is a scandal associated with their comments or actions. This is not an accurate portrayal of the entire Christian community. Sadly, the actions of the right-wing gives Christianity a bad reputation. Fair or not, religions are judged by the actions of the believers. This is also reflected in the view of Islam. To many people, Islam is a religion of violent fanatics. Yet, the majority of Muslims are not terrorists.
Spirituality and faith are about much more than religions. Spirituality is the connection with Deity/ Deities. It is highly individual. Spirituality is reflected in the actions and choices of the individual. Faith is belief. Religion contains the rules, dogma, and belief of a specific faith. Religion should be a tool to build a deeper sense of spirituality.
Healthy spiritual and religious practices should help the believer to develop into a better person. The beliefs of a person should impact their actions. Healthy spirituality leads to a sense of balance and peace. The individual grows more compassionate, more loving, and understanding. It is not based in fear of Hell or a vengeful God. Fear leads to anger and judgemental behavior. Spirituality that is healthy is based in love. Spirituality and religious practice should impact the world in a positive manner. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what religion a person chooses to practice. What matters is the impact it has on the person, the community, and world.