We need as many people as possible to be spiritual-minded for a better world. The conversation of spirituality should not be any more taboo than pursuing physical or mental health. One does not have to be religious in order to be spiritual. Jesus, whose message started the Christian movement, was more concerned with the religious not being spiritual. Jesus never referred to followers as Christians or insisted on certain beliefs. Jesus simply spoke about the importance of spirituality by striving to love others like we want to be loved. Are you spiritual?
The truth is most religions have one message – loving your neighbor as yourself – so relationships can better heal and thrive. Some may join a certain religion to be encouraged in such a pursuit. People don’t need to be converted or attend a church if that is not their preference. Few reject the importance of loving others like you want to be loved. I am not suggesting such conversations be forced or friends have any hidden agenda. We need relationships though where we can discuss becoming the type of person we deep desire want to be.
It is suspect that a loving God insists all believe in the Christian God when the majority of people born have lived and died without any knowledge of the Bible or who Jesus was. A loving God is neither going to judge people who have a distorted belief of God which may lead to misbelief. We may only have important spiritual conversations when accepting more of a relational view of a loving God in a pluralistic world: “Consider the belief that there is an ultimate transcendent Reality which is the source and ground of everything; that this Reality is benign in relation to human life; that the universal presence of this Reality is humanly reflected (‘incarnated’) in the lives of the world’s great spiritual leaders; and that among these we have found Jesus to be our principal revelation of the Real and our principal guide for living (John Hick, The Metaphor of God incarnate, 187).
Some may not pursue spirituality because it is insisted one must believe in God to be spiritual. The first chapter of Romans in the Bible is used to suggest that all people that don’t believe in God are simply suppressing what God has clearly revealed to them. The passage is referring to those who believed in a God but ignored, so they could continue in their wicked ways. There are many rational reasons why one may find it hard to believe in an invisible God. Let’s not accuse those who believe as needing a crutch and those that don’t believe of being wicked and not knowing their feelings. If it is a sin to doubt God exists, then Christians sin if they doubt God in troubled times. Not believing in God doesn’t have to be a reason for not pursuing spirituality.
Many believe the way they do because of the family they were born into. If born in a Muslim family we are most likely to become a Muslim; if born in a Christian family we are more likely to become a Christian. Some have had poor role models and is understandable they want nothing to do with a God who is portrayed as a parent. Being religious is not the same as being spiritual. One may join any religious group or non-religious group. All that matters is that we find relationships to be encourages to pursuit loving others like we want to be loved.
Some may equate spirituality with believing in certain portrayals of God that don’t make moral or relational sense of a loving God. It can be too much for some to stomach a God who supposedly burns people forever if they don’t believe in God. Who doesn’t know unending suffering is pointless as it doesn’t produce any good. Some religious suggested God is gender bias by insisting men have authority over women. Individual interpretations of the God of the Bible are not infallible. We can though know what a loving God is like similar to knowing right from wrong. Views of God must be discussed gracefully so each may work out their own convictions. We best focus on the message of how we can we love others in a troubled world with the help of one another and God if we believe in a God.
I am not suggesting being spiritual and being a law-abiding citizen are the same. Laws protect the innocent and it is reasonable to expect we all obey such laws. But, the Law can’t legislate matters of the heart to address the realities of our world. The Law can tell us amends are necessary when wronged, but the Law can’t tell you to forgive that which can never be returned such as one’s reputation. The Law can require we not speed excessively by a car, but the law can’t tell us what to do when one is stranded in their car. People hurt and often need to be shown mercy. Treating others like you want to be treated means when you are suffering, you want your friends to not always respond alike. Striving to be good just isn’t enough in a broken world.
I am discouraged but what seems to be a lot of spiritual passivity in this world. Let’s remove reasons for such behaviors because we are arguing over certain beliefs. It is difficult to argue that the motivation to love your neighbor is wrong-minded. We must all be in pursuit of being the person deep down we desire to be. I do not wish to undermine those who believe in a Creator. I am bias in what a relationship with God can do. Loving parents, as God, can be an inspiration to their children in being the person they desire to be deep down. God’s love and forgiveness can be our necessary nourishment that leads to life transformations. God’s support can help us not grow weary of doing going and shunning evil.