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+  Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum
|-+  SCIENCE, SOCIOLOGY, RELIGION
| |-+  Spirituality (Moderators: Tyehimba, leslie)
| | |-+  What is the difference between spirituality and religion?
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Author Topic: What is the difference between spirituality and religion?  (Read 6439 times)
Historysoul
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« on: October 31, 2016, 02:58:37 AM »

Recently I have become very critical of religion ,however I am not against the idea that a God/s do exist .However,when I tell people my views about religion and spirtuality, they ask me to differentiate between the two .Usually for me I basically see religion as people following a set ideology and who ever does not adhere to it will suffer the "consequences" usually by going to "hell".Whereas spirituality allows you to be free and connect with anything that resonates inside you ,allowing you to be free and who you really are.However,I will like a more in depth explaination about the differences that seperates the two .
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Tyehimba
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2016, 08:49:47 PM »

“Whereas spirituality allows you to be free and connect with anything that resonates inside you, allowing you to be free and who you really are.”

Certainly, this is what both the words ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’ in their original context were about. However, both words as they are typically understood and practiced cannot take one to freedom, although notions of spirituality are certainly usually less connected to systems of domination and control, thus opening the door to wider ideas.

With self development there is a constant search for better meanings of words generally used, and even a move to take back words that have been misused so that they can, in their reinterpreted form, fit into a deeper set of experiences and a emancipatory agenda.

Both the words ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’ have been used and applied in different ways that I cannot be a part of, hence I am very careful with my use of both. Some persons say, for example, I am not religious, I am spiritual; what they usually mean by this is that they not tied to a particular church, but still are bound up in Judeo-Christian belief systems. Other persons may also use the term spiritual to describe their New Age philosophies, Hindu beliefs, hippy-type activities etc. While I would not totally dismiss all of that, it still does not fit my understanding of the word.

There can be no spirituality for me, without that which involves addressing the wide range of social biases that are part of our modern/ colonial/ patriarchal/ Judeo-Christian/ white supremacist system. What mostly blocks persons from experiencing the spiritual part of themselves are all these biases that result in people valuing persons for things other than character and refinement. The context of ancient peoples was different: they did not have to deal with the complex and bogus global and local forms of socialization, (including miseducation systems) that we have today. Therefore, they were freer to engage universal forces. People today are socialized into deep anti-dark skin/kinky hair African biases (among others) which leaves them unable to see or experience much, as it was these people who have the longest history of engaging spirituality. Most forms of spirituality around today contain directly anti-Black racism, or their concepts and ways of doing things don’t address it. This is the reason why, though I recognize some important truths in a variety of spiritual traditions, I cannot take them too seriously, in terms of providing a pathway for persons to experience their SELF.

If we take the word religion, it is understood to come from two latin words, “Re” meaning back or return, and “ligare” meaning to bind or join. Hence the word ligament. My interpretation of this is that the core of religion pointed to persons binding back to the source or essence of all things. Of course, mainstream religions can cannot take you there for reasons that I think you understand. Thus, I think you are quite right to be critical of religion.

Various writers as Yosef Ben Jochannan, Charles Finch and Gerald Massey have explained how much of what is known as modern religions come from indigenous and African values, myths and symbols. The first people to work out essential truths that connected them to universal forces were Africans thousands of years ago . . . before Columbus, before Europe, before Greece, and before Egypt (in Africa). It is some of these truths that have found themselves into modern day religion, however, they are so out of context, allegorized and mixed in with peoples narrow agendas to dominate and control, that it is not empowering.
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Historysoul
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2016, 01:46:42 AM »

Thank you for your insightful response to my question.I have infact heard many people say that they are not religious but they are spiritual and that has always make me wonder what exactly did these people mean.For instance I hear some people who I asscociate with say they are not religious but yet still believe in a God called Jesus ,who is in fact deity of the Christian religions.So that in itself makes me ask why not Allah or Shiva ?The mere fact that they say the God that they believe in is called Jesus somehow seems like those persons are somehow conforming to religion and may be unconscious about it.I personally believe that spirtuality and religion are two concepts that have both been manipulated by persons to fit their agendas and that is what makes me question if one can really say for instance that spirtually is more imporatant than religion or vice versa .An one more thing can you clarify what you mean by Judeo-Christian as I am not really familair with that term.
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Tyehimba
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 04:47:06 PM »

'Judeo-Christian' refers to the body of ethics and worldviews of Judaism and Christianity, given that both of them trace their heritage to Abraham (Islam also traces its heritage to Abraham), and utilize the Old Testament as a source of their beliefs.

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I hear some people who I asscociate with say they are not religious but yet still believe in a God called Jesus ,who is in fact deity of the Christian religions.So that in itself makes me ask why not Allah or Shiva ?The mere fact that they say the God that they believe in is called Jesus somehow seems like those persons are somehow conforming to religion and may be unconscious about it.

Certainly, and why not one of the other thousands of deities that are part of the human experience? I think people underestimate the role of conditioning in how dominant mainstream religions are. This especially relates to Christianity as Christianity was the religion of conquest and colonialism in the new world. People in the Caribbean today are mostly Christians because of this legacy where people were pressured to adopt worldviews through force, torture and genocide.

I am okay with people choosing whatever religions they want... my concern is really on how some religions are viewed as overwhelmingly positive and legitimate, (even when they participate in gross crimes against humanity) while other worldviews as seen as inferior, criminal and deficient. It is Christians who were able to use their military and economic power to dominate concepts of birth, marriage, death, education, morality, success, good, bad, black, white, god, etc etc. Citizens are then asked to subsidize these religions through financial and land grants, and exemptions from tax. In Trinidad and Tobago, religious schools are funded largely by the state yet often are bastions of colonial values and discrimination against those who don't fit their religions ideals and worldviews. Even in  state institutions, which  should be secular, the dominant worldview tends to be Judeo-Christian, resulting in varying levels of exclusions towards those who are different views.

We are far away from having institutions, educational structures, and mainstream or state media that are genuinely inclusive of different worldviews and religious persuasions to allow for proper dialogue and flows of information.
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