Posted by: Lea | June 24, 2008

Do Religions Suffocate Spirituality?

I was reading a blog that created somewhat of a disagreement among some members of that site. Personally, I commend Steve for his honest views. Perhaps my support is in part because of my own beliefs regarding religions and the people who presume authority over truth, knowledge and the masses.

For me a major problem with religious groups is that they lack acceptance of anything or anyone that has different beliefs and practices. Too many religious people seem to think that a person doesn’t have the right to think for themselves and make their own decisions regarding their spirituality or their relationship with God. Where is the unconditional love which God has said we need to practice in our lives and how is conditional love and intolerance Godly?

I also have to agree on the point of religions being limiting, because that was the problem I had. With religion, it’s like your put in this box and you’re told that if you even dare to think outside of that box, you will be considered a sinner and face horrendous punishment. As I wrote in Tolerance Between differing beliefs, there are many paths to God and no one should be prohibited from thinking for themselves or seeking what feels correct and what is truth for themselves. But it’s the practice of religious groups to do just that. Free thinking, taking responsibility for one’s own beliefs and practices are treated as threats instead of being encouraged. How is that beneficial to spiritual development? One size does not fit all. Or in this case, one religion, spiritual belief or practice does not fit every person.

Only a one or two world religions encourage spiritual practices such as meditation. The rest discourage it. Yet, it was through meditation that I made the most progress in my spiritual learning, development and feelings of being connected to God. For me, practicing meditation was and is most helpful with knowing that God is inside me as well as outside of me. With religion, God always seemed to be some place far and remote from me. I wanted a relationship with God that those in the Bible had. But, the Bible really doesn’t give the secrets of how to see the “light.” I saw and felt the light after incorporating my own practices, not that of only one religion. I am convinced that Jesus and other historical spiritual people meditated too.

Being in a religion should not mean that you can not broaden your spiritual growth, knowledge and relationship with God beyond what your religion preaches or practices. To grow means to expand and that is what spiritual growth is about, even if means finding the answers outside any religion. It is your right, as well as a necessity for personal growth, to investigate and discover truth for yourself. You should not be prevented from doing so. Do not blindly take such restrictions and dare to step outside of the box.

Steve Pavlina’s article- 10 Reasons You Should Never Have A Religion



  1. Thank-your for this very thought provoking post! I truly believe that people get so stuck in their ways, be it religion, lifestyle, or work, etc. that they can’t see past that, and stop growing and maturing, because of an unwillingness to see beyond themselves.

  2. Hi K.Fields

    Welcome to Ocean Of Perspectives and thank you for your comment. Yes, it’s so easy to get trapped into a way of thinking or routine and forget that the search for truth is a continuous lifelong necessity for growth of any kind. That’s why taking time for yourself and to be by yourself is so productive.

  3. James Baldwin wrote, “if a concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of him.”
    I’m inclined to think that this would entail getting rid of about 90% of organized religion which,if anything, makes believers smaller, less free, and more judgmental.

    YogaforCynics last blog post..What the hell kinda yogi writes blog posts at three twenty-nine in the morning?

  4. Hello yogaforcynics

    I agree with you completely. Personally that has been my problem with traditional religion since childhood. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to believe and feel connected to God, I feel I wasn’t shown how to achieve it. Prayer is part of it, but there’s a lot more involved and focusing on the “do nots” puts one’s focus on the negative instead of the “dos” which puts the focus on the positives. Then there’s the self righteous attitudes that are counter productive to the path of enlightenment.

  5. Along those lines, this is a favorite poem by William Blake:

    I went to the Garden of Love,
    And saw what I never had seen;
    A Chapel was built in the midst,
    Where I used to play on the green.

    And the gates of this Chapel were shut
    And “Thou shalt not,” writ over the door;
    So I turned to the Garden of Love
    That so many sweet flowers bore.

    And I saw it was filled with graves,
    And tombstones where flowers should be;
    And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
    And binding with briars my joys and desires.

    YogaforCynicss last blog post..What the hell kinda yogi writes blog posts at three twenty-nine in the morning?

  6. Hi yogaforcynics

    Welcome back. That poem pretty much says it all doesn’t it.


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