Freedom of religion

In today’s world it is all about the self. It is something like a quest to become to ultimate person that you can be. An adventure to become the perfect version of yourself through mindfulness and spiritual living. And something about that bothers me.

Spirituality probably means something different for me than for you. For me, spirituality is the fear of naming exactly what you believe in. In other words, one believes there is something but what that something is, is a bit unclear, however, it is centered inside yourself. To me, spirituality is something vague. Something I cannot grasp. Like a thick fog that you try to materialize. And it focuses only on the self. The self is you as a person. You focus on yourself and what is inside yourself and you try to make that perfect.
Now there is a fine line between religion and spirituality to me. Where a religious person is more or less spiritual, a spiritual person is not religious. It is a confusing matter that I will most likely never truly understand.

Personally I believe in God the Father – Creator of Heaven and earth, God of Israel – Jesus Christ – Son of God, Savior of the world – and the Holy Spirit. Because I believe in this, I call myself a christian and therefore I am religious. I believe that God is always with me and lives in my heart, so inside of me, as the Holy Spirit. Because I believe this, I am Spiritual. I believe in something inside myself. However I can name what I believe in so I am not spiritual but religious.
Spiritual people believe there is something…a God…something they call the universe, but what exactly it is remains a bit vague. It is not like they believe in the planets or the solar systems but they don’t believe in God as in Jesus either. No wait, that is not entirely true because they believe Jesus was a great teacher. But not the Son of God. This universe is inside of themselves like an energy. An energy you can influence with a bit of work. (This is what I understand so far with the information that I found!)

First of all, I have absolutely nothing against spiritual people. I believe we have all been given a choice in life and it is not op to me to judge your choice. Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2) So it is better not to judge at all. Besides Jesus also said, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 3:34-35). Jesus did not exclude certain groups of people from His love. With Jesus everyone is welcome. The same should be with us (christians), we should love regardless of who it is, standing in front of you. This is exactly what I try to do each day. And I will be honest enough to say that I do not always succeed in that.

So why bring this up?

Well the reason I start about the fine line between religious and spiritual people is, because in recent years I noticed a lot of “hate” against religious people. Every single time there was a terrorist attack, the blame was given to religious people, because somehow all religious people are bad. Read Facebook only. Just scroll down to the comment section underneath a news message and there are enough people claiming that it is the fault of religion. If religions would not exist, we would live in a world of peace, they say (at least in Holland they do). Because of this, I have noticed a shift. People are turning towards spirituality to believe in something. Spiritualism is on the rise. I cannot say with 100% confidence that this is out of fear, but the blame towards religions has something to do with it, I believe.

But why is a religion so bad? Not every person on this earth is the same! People act from the heart and every heart is sinful. There is not one person on this planet that has never made one mistake. We all do. We all screw up at times. This is not because we are religious but because we are human. It is the same with people who commit terroristic attacks. They act, not out of religion, but because their heart is evil. Religion has nothing to do with it.

So why is there such a negative outlook on religions. It is an answer I cannot give. It is a matter that I don’t understand either. But one thing I do know! I am not going to stop believing in whatever I want to believe. It is my choice to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. Just as I respect people who do not believe in Jesus, I expect the same respect back!

It is the same with Jewish people. Just look at how much they are persecuted because of being Jewish! It is outrageous! Not all Jewish people are the same! Yes some may make very poor choices in life, but many are friendly and kind. Strong people who try to live their faith/religion in peace. And yet they have to pay the price for it daily.

Why can we not accept and respect people regardless of what they believe? Why do we all have to become afraid of our religion? I believe in a freedom of religion. In a freedom to believe the way you want to believe. But that can only happen if we learn to treat people with dignity and respect. I also believe in a freedom of religion for the entire world. In Holland I am not so much bothered with being a christian but in so many other countries there are christians who have to meet in secret. If they get caught, they can either face jail or death. And the law in that country often states death.

Let us fight for peace! Let us fight for freedom of religion or spirituality or whatever it is you believe in. In order to establish peace, we first have to learn to love, because only love creates peace. Treat people with love regardless of what they look like or believe in. Everybody deserves to be loved. But that love starts with ourselves. We cannot make other people behave differently, but through our behavior and deeds we can make a difference.

Like I said, I have nothing against spirituality but I hope that in the future, we do not have to turn to spirituality in order to believe in something. I hope it will not become a mask of fear. Spirituality is a beautiful thing but so is religion. And whether we understand each other or not, let us always meet each other with love and kindness.

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