I came across a Facebook post of an old acquaintance of mine that I wanted to respond to. They’ll likely never read this, so this is more of just me expressing my own thoughts on what they have to say in this post, and my own perception as someone who falls into the “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual” crowd.
Unpacking: “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.”+ + + + + +Having taught many courses at UPEI in religious studies and ethics as an adjunct professor over a span of more than 20 years, it both amuses and really irks me when I read full-page pagan propaganda like the attached piece in the Guardian the other day: like the chap in a crowded elevator passing gas just as the doors slam shut on floor 1 on a non-stop lift to a penthouse awards ceremony (floor 46) …..it’s just WRONG…. on sooooo many levels!I can’t bring myself to sacrifice any time correcting the misuse of terms having long histories of accepted meaning, use and actual “dictionary” definition, the respect and adherence of which seems completely absent and of no concern to the self-proclaimed “experts” quoted in the article.They redefine those terms with words and concepts that suit their “I’ll-decide-what-words-mean” woke and non-rational worldview.
I’m writing this to those who already understand that when a person says they’re ‘spiritual’ but not religious, what they’re really saying is that they don’t believe in an intelligent, personal, loving God to whom we owe respect and obedience as our Creator and Father.Or if they do claim such a belief, in some vague fashion, it comes with an “I will not serve!” attitude.Whether they realize it or not, their flippant declaration against being religious is, by definition, a declaration of either “non-recognition” of God, or of “defiance, distancing, and disobedience” toward God.
I suppose this is as good a place to start as any. For my own perspective, as someone who says I am spiritual but not religious – I do not share the same perception of God as you. Many Christians have a very externalized view of what God is; that he is a big man somewhere up in the sky, who judges harshly and throws all who do not lead the stereotypical Christian lifestyle/belief system into hell. My perception of what God is, is more internalized. I do not see God as an externalized force or being, but something far deeper within every person, present within the heart, the subconscious mind, the spirit, and the energy that is everything and within everything; and at the very core, real unconditional love is the driving force. I believe the Kingdom of God is within us, not somewhere up in the sky that is only reachable in the afterlife. I believe it is an evolutionary process, that the more we go inward, exploring ourselves, our own nature, heal ourselves, face our shadows, become at peace within ourselves, evolve ourselves, we come to know and experience the Kingdom of God within. As we ourselves grow and evolve on our inward journey, we become a mirror and reflect that outward. I think if enough of us go through that kind of internalized transformation, that is also how we can create Heaven on Earth. I don’t believe Heaven and Hell are real physical places. I believe we experience both and create them ourselves, that both are an inward expression of what we create through our inward evolutionary journey.
God, to me, is a force that encompasses everything inward and outward. You are right though, there is a “will not serve” attitude in the spiritual community, because we do not perceive God in the same way Christians do at all. Coming from that perspective, God isn’t a ‘someone’ to ‘serve’ and ‘obey’. God, in a lot of ways, I believe is more of a consciousness stream that is a guiding force that evolves our spirit into higher consciousness. So no, not being religious is not at all a declaration of “non-recognition”, “defiance, distancing, and disobedience” toward God. It is very much a recognition of God and following God, but it is just a very different perception of what God is.
I will ask though, if God is a personified higher power as you believe it is, why does he need his own creations to serve him, obey him, and do his will for him? Surely a God of such might and power to create the Earth and everything in it does not need his creations to be a servant to him. Surely, he is more than capable to do whatever he needs to do himself, unless you’re suggesting he somehow isn’t. I never consented to being a servant to anyone in exchange for simply existing here on this Earth. Truth be told, if there is a personified man in the sky dictating to the humans of the Earth to obey him or else be damned to hell, that’s not the kind of guy I’d ever want to serve anyways and I’m more than happy to take my chances. To me that sounds like nothing more than an abusive relationship, always living in fear that if my life isn’t a certain way, that I won’t be good or worthy enough, and that if I don’t comply with a specific set of beliefs that I’ll be tortured in hell for all eternity. That ultimatum does not create love, it creates fear and compliance out of fear. It is a funny irony though, as I know you were one of the folks who attended rallies fighting for freedom the past few years, yet, you express support for spiritual dictatorship in the name of religion. It’s contradicting, to say the least, to fight to break free from one form of shackles to then criticize those who have broken free from another form of shackles. At the end of the day though, you are welcome to believe in whatever you want to believe in – for you. I’ve been down the Christian path, I see it for what it is now, and it is not my cup of tea. Christians do not get to dictate for other people what their spiritual path is to be. Not everyone perceives the Christian perception of God in a positive light for a vast variety of reasons. If the rest of us are content with the possibility of going to hell if we don’t comply with being “obedient servants” to a spiritual dictator, then please, stop trying to save us. That’s not love or salvation to us, it’s just another form of slavery.
Merriam-webster defines being religious as, “the SERVICE and WORSHIP of God or the supernatural.”Believers in a loving, personal God would be wise to keep themselves and their children far, far, far from this pagan poison, as St. Paul told the Corinthian Christians dabbling in debauchery from strong pagan cultural influences and practices in his day, just as we are experiecing now:“The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.” [1 Corinthians 1020-21].These witches, wiccan and pagans – and the ‘Guardian’ (give me a break!) – present this material as benign, “educational” stuff, exactly like the queer and trans movement leaders did a few years ago.And of course, no one wanted to be a “transphobe” when that hapened, so an incredible amount of power to shape social norms was given over to people who have yet to be able (or willing) to answer the simple question: “what is a woman?”
A “loving, personal God” would not throw his children in to a burning pit of hell and torture for all eternity for simply choosing to live their lives independent from him. This is such a distorted view of love. I have to ask, what if your own children decided to leave and go forge their own paths that were different from the one you chose for yourself? Choosing different careers, beliefs, lifestyles, or perhaps moving to a different country where they can not easily visit you or don’t communicate with you. Ultimately, if they chose to not follow the specific path you’d hoped they’d follow, would that be reason enough to warrant you thinking that they are deserving to rot in a pit of hell and brutally tortured for all eternity? Or does that seem like a very extreme reaction to have for your offspring whom you supposedly love, whom just wanted to forge their own path in this world? Would you truly hate your children so much for simply choosing to live a different life of their own free will? If you’re going to personify God in this way, shift your perspective for a moment if a human parent were to do that to their child, to someone they supposedly love “unconditionally”. If that kind of mentality and hatred is unacceptable and considered abusive when it comes to human beings treating other humans this way, what makes it okay and acceptable because it is God? At what point is that double standard created? In my own perception, if those actions are clearly not that of unconditional love between a human parent and a child, then those actions are also not that of unconditional love if it is between God and man. It’s very conditional, very distorted way of looking at love, and one of the many double standards present in the Christian religion that people often look past because religion is a box that does not allow for people to really think about or consider these things. It keeps people in a box, to only think about and consider what is approved by the religion, and it keeps a firm hold on people to not ask questions through their fear; fear that if they do not comply with the conditions of the religion (no matter how questionable and contradicting some of it might be) that they will be damned to an eternity of pain and suffering. The fear runs so deep that it blocks out any voice of reason to make you question. How do I know this fear exists? Because I was once a Christian, and that fear once made me not allow myself to ask these questions and consider these things, because I did not want to risk being lead astray and potentially going to hell. Being a Christian for me was blind faith because of fear, accepting things I didn’t understand and that couldn’t be explained (often times, contradicting), and just following what I was told without really thinking about it or asking questions. Since I have broken free of religion, I do not stop asking questions, and I have no desire to follow a religion that in part preaches love but practices hate.
I don’t consider myself a Pagan, or a Wiccan. Perhaps occasionally witchy but for the most part, I’m just someone following my spirit within, as many whom consider themselves “spiritual, not religious” do. Not all Witches and Wiccans worship a higher being. Witches do not have a defined path. Not all Witches are Wiccans or Pagans. Some are neither. Witch/Witchcraft is not a religion, it is actually an umbrella term for a very vast variety of paths. Some unfortunately do work with darkness and demons, but there are also Witches who are polar opposite from that who work with light and angels. And then there are some that are in-between, more morally grey. Which is why Witchcraft can not be defined as automatically being good or bad – because it all depends on the individual person, their intentions, and what they put into practice with their own moral compass. Witchcraft is better defined as a vast variety of practices that work with energy and the pineal gland (which is a body part all humans possess, a body part God has given us). Believe it or not, there are many Witches who consider themselves Christians as well, as conflicting and controversial as those two things are together, I have come across many and even entire communities of them on my own spiritual exploration. Wiccans are also not bound to any particular deity/God. All Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccans, because like I said earlier, Witch and Witchcraft are umbrella terms which encompass a very vast variety of paths that work with energy and the pineal gland. Wicca, on the other hand, is a religion, and it is just one of the many paths that fall under the Witchcraft umbrella. Pagan is also an umbrella term which may or may not include Witchcraft. “The term “Pagan” (derived from the Latin paganus, which translates roughly to “hick from the sticks”) was originally used to describe people who lived in rural areas. As time progressed and Christianity spread, those same country folk were often the last holdouts clinging to their old religions. Thus, “Pagan” came to mean people who didn’t worship the god of Abraham.” (Source) Paganism is mostly about reverence for nature and Mother Earth, and the path is not necessarily bound to one specific God either.
Anyhow, the definitions between the three can be quite confusing for folks who haven’t explored these topics more in depth, but they are really quite different. I am explaining all of this to say that not everyone who follows any of these paths or practices work with demons of evil forces. Some do, yes, but they are a fraction and are in no way close to being a representation of the whole. Just as the stereotype of folks who are conservative or more “right” minded in their political views should not be automatically deemed as “racist” or whatever other negative label because racism has nothing to do with someone’s political leaning. Anyone of any political leaning can be racist and it’s no more common on the right than it is on the left. Politics aside, Witchcraft encompasses many very diverse paths, very personalized to the individual, and is really impossible to lump them all together and stereotype them to all being involved in a specific thing as Christianity is. They are not one very specific path with a strict rule book as Christianity is. That is why clarifying the definitions matters. They are not all the same thing, they don’t all believe in or do the same things, and lumping them all together as working with demons and forces of evil is not the reality and it is a very deep misunderstanding of those things.
Similarly, ask 100 witches, wiccan and pagan practicioners to define ‘spiritual’ and you’ll get 100 answers! They say it’s all very personal. Indeed… narcissistically so!Now it’s all about normalizing the occult as the preferred modern alternate to religion, which appeals to our innate longing for God, so it is attractive and seems innocent enough on the surface.And when your friends and neighbours are “coming out” proudly as seance readers or witches, or whatever […always with the ‘pride’ eh?]…well, who wants to be a “witchphobe” or “paganphobe”, especially when they’re putting on public markets in the community selling stuff just like normal people?It’s all about getting ‘personal’ power with this kind of being spiritual though, always talking about self.That’s why you won’t read words in articles like the Guardian’s such as “God,” or “holy,” or “morals” even… things integral to forms and expressions of ‘spirituality’ in the past.
This ‘spirituality’ is just thinly-disguised pseudo-religious dabbling in the occult which opens people to being influenced by the demonic, with or without their awareness. They’ll get some power for sure, but at what a cost!In the case of those interviewed in this article, they’re “unaware,” since they explicitly say they are NOT followers of Satan, the “parent” of the “I-seek-power-and will not serve” anti-religious philosophy and way of life they espouse. Hmmm.
You are right about this, it is dabbling in the occult. The occult, by definition, means mystical, supernatural, magical powers, practices, or phenomena – and none of these things mean evil or working with the devil. The occult is not inherently evil. Just as many groups are not inherently evil, but the rotten egg minorities of a group often scream the loudest, painting the picture that they are a representation of the majority, when they aren’t. They just draw the most attention to themselves which creates that perception.
The occult can be very esoteric and for many it is a journey of going inward, connecting with God within us and exploring our human potential. Jesus had the ability to walk on water, heal the sick, calm storms; by the very definition of what “occult” is, he was a participant of it. As much as Christians do not want to believe that. Those kinds of works fall under the definition of the occult. They were very supernatural, and supernatural by definition is defined as being attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature. I don’t see Christians out here calming storms as Jesus did, fighting back on “climate change”, be it man made or not, or the chem trails. Where were the Christians welcoming people who were sick with “covid” into their churches during the height of the plandemic? Many churches enforced masks, and some wouldn’t even allow attendance unless folks were vaccinated. Why weren’t Christians doing as Jesus did and actively healing the sick during that time period? Why aren’t Christians performing these same miracles on a day to day basis? Surely that alone is a revelation that something is amiss within the Christian religion, as Jesus told others they could do those things too, yet, the very vast majority of Christians, if any, are actually doing those things. It goes to show how little of an understanding Christians really have in how Jesus did what he did, or what the occult even is, and I have no doubt those things have been intentionally kept from us. The truth in our own history books have been twisted and manipulated by our governments to paint themselves in the most favorable light, yet, there’s this belief that the Bible would never be intentionally manipulated by forces of malevolence. Why is that? Humans, in general, have a very thin understanding of what the occult is. But I can confidently say, it is not about working with demons and Satan, just as it is not about working with God, angels, or other entities. Sure, people may work with beings of higher or lower power, but that’s not a requirement at all when exploring the occult. The occult would be more of an umbrella term, that encompasses a very vast variety of things most humans do not understand, both good, neutral and evil. It is not strictly one or the other, it encompasses all. It is self development, exploring and manifesting one’s own innate abilities and potential, and a lot of that can be with or without help from beings or external forces.
With Halloween on the horizon, expect to see lots more such efforts to engage people in these “fun” activities in a bid to normalize forgetting God!!A “one-world government” needs a ‘religion’ that offends no one, and that’s why the Holy name of Jesus will soon bring rage and violence against those daring to repeat His words!Being ‘pagan,’ however, will increasingly grant acceptance and access to more and more of what we call culture and society through (1) the powerful dynamics of social conformity, coupled with (2) pushy, unrelenting propaganda establishing the pagan culture of Babylon…. in which we must NOT participate, but must “flee”… expeditiously!
No one is forcing you to participate in anything. Just life your life how you want to. If that means following the Christian path, sure, go for it. The only reason people have come to dislike Christianity so much over the years (to warrant the response you’re describing) is because of how hateful it is as a religion, how forceful it is upon people who just want to live their lives independent of it, and people are finally realizing it and just don’t want to be involved. People don’t take kindly to others threatening they’ll be damned to hell if they don’t comply and fall in line with someone else’s belief system. So much of Christianity preaches hatred at anyone who doesn’t believe like them, degrades people’s self worth, and preys on people who are in vulnerable states of mind. It is not the unconditional love Christians think they’re preaching about, and people are just tired of it. Real unconditional love wouldn’t have an agenda to convert. Unconditional love would show love for others, whether they live a lifestyle you agree with or not. You wouldn’t need to convince anyone to convert or follow your God “or else”. If you were truly living a lifestyle that promotes unconditional love you’re trying to convey, you should be striving to be a living example of that and those actions would speak for themselves. This post certainly wasn’t very loving of those who hold spiritual beliefs that are different from your own. If you are truly happy living the Christian lifestyle and following that religion, all the power to you. Do it, but do it for you and your own personal growth and happiness, not from a place of only doing it because you have an agenda to convert everyone you can like you’re the top sales person of a giant MLM scheme. That’s where the issues arise, is when you push your belief system, threaten, and degrade folks who are not interested in following the same path as you. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are or if you truly believe in your mind that you need to save people, you need to respect other people who do not feel the same way as you and just let them live their own lives, no matter what you believe the consequences of them doing that will be. If you don’t want to participate in Halloween, don’t participate in Halloween. If you’re that offended by Pagan culture, I suggest also not putting up a Christmas tree going forward, as that is also a tradition that originated from Paganism.
Anyways, those are my thoughts on the topic of Christianity and spirituality outside of religion. It’s been about 15 years since I left the Christian religion. I was raised in it, and have seen what it has done to my father. I don’t really have a real relationship with him, because he doesn’t have a life outside of his religion. I can’t have a conversation with him without it becoming about religion. His faith turned his heart very cold. There were many things he did in the name of his religion as I was growing up that deeply hurt me. Religious trauma is very real, and is something I’ve finally worked through only recently. It still saddens me that I will likely never be close to him, or be able to talk to him about things and share my heart. My parents are getting older now and you just never know how much time you have with your loved ones, and I don’t see him changing anytime soon. I just wish things could be different and his religion hadn’t totally consumed him. I feel thankful I left Christianity all those years ago. When I left, I didn’t have a defined path. I didn’t involve myself in anything spiritual for a long time. Since I found spirituality outside of religion, I feel like I’ve experienced more internal development and growth than I ever have under religion. But that is my path, and my path is not for everybody. My path won’t work for everybody, and not everybody is like me. I don’t believe Christianity is a healthy spiritual path, but despite expressing my feelings on it in this post, I do respect the choices other folks make to follow it and just wish the same respect was returned.
This post is not intended to offend or hurt my Christian loved ones who may stumble across this post. This was a post I came across from an acquaintance that painted my own spiritual beliefs in a very negative light and felt quite insulting to say the least. Coming from a Christian background, I do have very strong opinions on the religion, but I do not believe all Christians are like this, nor do I see every aspect of Christianity in a negative light. I still listen to many Christian songs and many of the deeper messages resonate with my spirit, although I don’t agree with the Christian perception. The Christian path is not the path for me, but I understand that it is the path for some people and others will have different perceptions from my own. Everyone deserves the freedom to explore the spiritual path that resonates with their spirit, because one size shoe does not fit all. At the end of the day, we don’t all have to agree on other people’s chosen spiritual paths. We just gotta live and let live.