Spirituality versus Religion


There was a song by Aaron Tippin called, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” I was thinking of these lyrics the other day when I heard about the study done just recently in England. The study was done on people who readily identified themselves as “Spiritual” as opposed to those affiliated with an established “Religious framework.” This one concluding statement encapsulates the results of their findings:

“People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.”

I usually take studies with a grain of salt. I think we take too many studies that mean nothing. We waste money we don’t have on studies that most people will never know about. However, this one I found interesting because in the last 10 or 20 years I have noticed that “spiritual” demographic growing. I couldn’t count the many times I have heard it in conversation. It is somehow okay and permissible to be “spiritual” but not okay to be “religious” and especially not Christian. That stirs all kinds of moral and ethical questions we would rather not deal with. So being spiritual is for many a good alternative.

But there is a problem with being just “spiritual.” There is no one definition or set of values associated with it. Or is there? I have noticed some things about people who embrace spirituality but not any form of organized religion or belief system. They usually say that all religions are the same. Or they reject it altogether.

They also say that there are many paths to God and that all religions lead there. And if they are not religious at all, they will say that as long as they follow what they define as right they will be okay in the end. So if they follow some golden rule of ethics and rules of conduct they will measure up to God’s standards. But they are not really sure who God is either. They reject the idea of the God of the Bible, because what they have heard or read about that God seems mean, vengeful and outdated.

Their God is better. He is more manageable, more palatable. He doesn’t expect them to do anything except be themselves. He is a big, fluffy fuzzball of love. And being Spiritual doesn’t cost them a thing. And the thing is, I can understand why they have arrived there.

I am afraid for this group. I know some people in it. Too many people. And far too many of our young people. Sorry to say, many of them have watched their parents who have been lifelong churchgoers. They have seen a cheap and easy grace and a faith that makes little or no impact on how they live their lives.

Yesterday sitting in church, I felt just a little bit like Paul felt. My heart ached for those without roots. Those who think they are so solid in their belief system they convince others to go down the same shaky path. They are seeking the peace and rest that only Jesus can provide. I want to tell them their desire to be spiritual is right. It has been grafted into all of our hearts like a seed, planted by none other than God himself.

But Jesus is the only one who can make it grow.

I want to tell them how incredibly good it is to love God. And how nothing in this world compares to the joy of knowing He loves me and there is nothing He wouldn’t do to reach them……. just like He has reached me.

I want to tell them not to hang their whole eternal destination on a false definition of Christianity, on what they perceive about Christians.

Because one glimpse of Jesus is all they need.  One glimpse of God on a cross silences any argument we could ever have about whether or not God loves us.

The roots of the cross go deeper than anything this world has to offer.

Meet me today at the foot of it with Jesus.

We can heal together.

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