People are very frozen in their individual experiences. Because I am 32 years old and have spent all but 13 years as a Christian, I can only respond to an article that asks the question “do you have to be religious to be spiritual” in the manner of a Christian. Please bear with me as I promise not to preach.
What is spirituality? The dictionary definition has three parts and two of these parts directly relate to organized religion. The first meaning is the state, quality, and manner of being spiritual. The second meaning is the clergy. The third meaning is property or revenue belonging to a church or cleric. This definition makes it sound as though you do need religion to have spirituality so let us take a look at what the word spirit itself means.
Spirit is not defined as something invisible inside of a person that teaches them morality. It isn’t defined as church teachings inside of someone’s mind either. A spirit is the vital principle or animating force between living beings. Several other definitions are given on the link I have provided but I want to look at this one.
Everyone who has life has a spirit. To those who are Christian, whether or not you attend church does not indicate spirituality. Many people have negative experiences with churches and I am no exception. My parents, for example, are Christians but do not attend church. They did attend church at one time. I am not advocating staying at home. I am saying it does not take attending church to gain that spirit. It does not disappear in time. I went without attending church from age 13 to age 23 and was a Christian as much during that time as now. Licing life in accordance with understanding others’ needs and having sympathy is what being spiritual is about. It is what being a Christian is about. It may be what other religions are about as well but I am not well versed in them.
It is the spirit inside people that seeks to find meaning in life and a connection to others. With our church it is a collection of spirits helping each other out when they are down that helps increase our faith during difficult times. A human being is not simply a collection of nerve impulses and learned behaviors. A human being is a mixture between that description and the deeper desire to find meaning-the spirit. We all have it. Sometimes religions become too radical and forget this fact but it’s always there. Christ didn’t come just to take care of those who have it all figured out. From what I know of other religions, most teach love of their fellow man and of helping those who are down. The human condition is wanting to help others and deep down I believe we all have that desire.