This writing is incomplete as of 11/8/2017. My partial religious history is included only for the reader to see where I have been.

Web Contents


About us




Disasters in the World


Finding the Right Church


Getting Close to the Divine...




Why This Site?


Living Today


Logo Origin




Spirituality& Religon 1


Spirituality& Religion 2 


Spirituality: what is it?


Is There A God?


The Church Service


My Belief



Spirituality and Religion, Part 2; Is There A Difference?

    In order to pursue this, we must briefly examine the difference between spirituality and religion first, beginning with religion:  

    According MS Bookshelf 95, religion is a...
    1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
    2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
    3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
    4. A cause, a principle, or an activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

In other words, it is a system of beliefs normally consisting of rituals along with a series of does and don'ts, all of which combine to promise a way to God and eternal salvation. Some religions, such as Buddhism, say that the religious path you follow is not important; that you are following a specific path is what counts. Other religions, such as Islam and Christianity, assert that you must be an active participant in their religion or you will die or suffer eternally. Most religions promise consequences for deeds, which can either be good or bad. Some religions call it karma, some call it "reaping what you sow." Buddhism and Hinduism say karma will be experienced in a subsequent life. Islam and Christianity promise heaven or hell as a reward for your deeds.

    According to MS Bookshelf 95, the word "Spiritual" means:
   1. Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material.
    2. Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul.
    3. Of, from, or relating to God; deific.
    4. Of or belonging to a church or religion; sacred.
    5. Relating to or having the nature of spirits or a spirit; supernatural.
   And, from the same source, Spirituality means:
    1. The state, quality, manner, or fact of being spiritual.

The state of spirituality means to be aware of the interconnected spirit nature of things. Spirituality is a person's walk with the Divine. Spiritual people tend to be gentler and relate to other people, places and things in a kinder, more loving manner. All religions contain spiritual people and spirituality can be practiced within (as far as I know) all higher religions; in fact, all the religions I'm aware of have spiritual people. Those who practice meditation on a regular basis appear to be more spiritual in nature, regardless of their religion. This is because it is necessary to calm the mind, relax and be still to contact that which is beyond the normal senses.  

    Regardless of the religious path followed, those who meditate regularly tend to see things in remarkably similar ways and are a lot less judgmental of others. On the whole they tend to be kinder, more tolerant and more loving of all of God's creation, which also includes other people.


    Both God and mysticism have always been a lure to me. Though I didn't know the information supplied above, even as a child in the second grade I was drawn to God and, not knowing what else to do, asked my mom if I could become a Catholic.

    She was delighted. Not because I wanted to become a Catholic, but that I had that desire so young. She thought the religion unimportant as long as I wanted to be something.

    So, she made the arrangements with a Catholic priest at Alameda Naval Air Station, and every week I plodded off to study the catechism under Father Kelly. In due time I was baptized and then, almost immediately, confirmed a Catholic. At that time I asked to be able to go to Catholic school and my parents took me out of the public school and enrolled me in parochial school.

    I was a staunch believer in and follower of Catholicism. In my young mind if you weren't a Catholic, you were doomed. Every Sunday I would traipse off to Mass, take communion and go home. This lasted for quite a few years until I joined the navy, where I found other pursuits, such as drinking and carousing. I liked drinking and having fun. But, because I felt guilty, I dropped out of church. Fun was far more important then than God. (Besides, on Sunday mornings I was in no condition to go to church.)

    Eventually I got married and then, six years later, divorced. I was no longer a Catholic due to my divorce. That wasn't all, though: I hadn't been to confession in many years, was married outside the church and there were many other petty little things that should never stand between a person and the Divine, including something that scared me to death...I kept it to myself because I knew it was a mortal sin and that God would never forgive me. As a sixth or seventh grader I had taken communion with out fasting.

    If that didn't send me to hell, I didn't know what would.

    The long and the short of it was that I was wracked with guilt, guilt, guilt. I knew that because of all my other sins that God couldn't possibly love me. What seemed odd about that is that I was still so strongly drawn to God. I just couldn't live under the rules of the Catholic Church—or many other churches, for that matter, such as Southern Baptist, Jehovah Witness or Morman.

    While still in my early twenties I had begun reading books on other religions, most notably Buddhism, but I was also drawn to Hinduism. But, by my late twenties I had become part of a New Age movement and a devotee of witchcraft and all the related hoopla, such as crystal gazing, tarot card reading and divination of all sorts, including astrology. My life became weird at that time; strange and bizarre things happened all around me as I slipped further and further into the dark arts. In my room was an altar used for spells. It wasn't until my son walked into my room, turned around and walked out saying, "Dad, your room gives me the creeps," that I woke up.  

    Those words seemed to snap me out of the fog that I had slipped into. It was as though I could suddenly see clearly again. The only thing I can liken it to is when the temple veil was torn in two at the moment Jesus died on the cross. That afternoon my children and I sat down on the floor and destroyed everything relative to that world, including many books on divination, my crystal ball, tarot cards, etc.

    When I walked away from that world I never looked back. I began praying, "God, show me the truth." At that time I refused to accept anything any human being told me about God or truth because I realized that everyone is just guessing. Though I didn’t know it then, I had become a Gnostic. (From gnosis, meaning "direct knowledge." This is not easy, requiring years of daily meditation.)

    At that time I had been meditating for several years. So, while in meditation—an extreme time of stillness and quiet—I would ask questions of God, all of which I received answers to...well, all but one:

"What religion is the true religion?"

    I still ask that and still get silence.  I thought it strange that that particular question was never answered. Though I wanted to be drawn to Christianity, which I already knew, it was difficult to find a church that I liked. I did begin to read the Bible, however. I had troubles with the Old Testament, but loved the Gospels—especially Matthew at that time.  Now it's the Book of John. All this occurred in my early thirties. I'm now in my seventies. Have I learned anything in the forty or so years?  

1. That some religions are deadly to spirituality, meaning any religion the tells you what to believe.
2. The question above that was never answered is because there is no single true religion—all the higher ones will lead you to the Divine (God).
3. They all have the same root truth: love one another.  This is the one true indication of the 'rightness' of a religion.
4. All the religions are wrong...most especially those that insist on saying, "We have the truth, or, We are the way."
    Does that sound bizarre coming from a Presbyterian pastor?  It's true, though. Both the Divine Essence we call God and ultimate truth are so far beyond anything we can possibly comprehend that, at this stage in our spiritual growth, ultimate truth is not necessary; it's beyond us, anyway.  God and Truth are unimaginable by finite beings of animal origin. What is truly important is that we're on a journey that leads to higher ideals.
    What is the purpose of life?  In our personal journeys and through our every decisions we are growing a soul. The soul is part of God's connection with us through our mind.
    It is impossible to grow spiritually with out being on a spiritual journey and, at the root of all spirit led journeys is prayer. Preferably pray through meditation.
    What religion does do is band believers together in a cohesive group that brings God to life in the community and in the world.  As long as the will of God is sought above all else, the journey to truth will be right, regardless of religion.

1.  "Higher religions" are those religions that worship God rather than demons or other spirits. (Back)