God? Yes. Religion? No. - The modern Idea of Spirituality - 12 Feb 13

12 Feb 2013  Vrindavan, India

Category: God

Landscape in Rajasthan

Yesterday I wrote that some people claim to be ‘religious but not superstitious’. I told you that this seems to be only a step on the way towards leaving religion and, in fact, belief altogether. Another very common stage is when people say ‘I believe in god but not in any religion’. Let me tell you my thoughts about this belief or mindset.

Let’s first have a look at where the idea of ‘God’ actually comes from. I don’t think that in the beginning of the natural evolution of humans, our ancestors were actually thinking about God. They were figuring out how to hunt and what they could eat, at some point they learned how to make tools and discovered fire. Much later in evolution, when they knew a lot but could not explain just a few things, they attributed these things to a supernatural power, to beings, to nature or to God. God’s names are so many because all over the world the development happened in a similar way.

Religion was founded when people started creating rules around that phenomenon, that power called ‘God’. They wrote down the stories that people had been telling each other and those who wanted to have power added bits and pieces with which they could make people afraid and manipulate them. They defined ‘their god’ and split the population of the world in different groups.

A lot of people now see all the bad that happens due to religion, often after having been religious themselves for many years. They realized the wrong, they see the dark side, they understand how religion has created fear, anger, pain, war and hatred among people. They leave everything that is in any way called religion or organized religion. They don’t go to temples, churches, mosques or other houses of God anymore, stay away from preachers and priests and give away the scriptures that they had in their homes.

They do not however want to give up everything. They need something to hang on, something that tells them what they had believed in for so long was not all wrong. They decide to keep their belief in God. For them, God remains an anchor in their lives even though this God may look very different from the God that religion describes.

I honestly have no problem with this concept. I can understand that you have the wish for at least some kind of supernatural power in your life. Something that soothes your mind when you think of all your responsibility, when you worry about the future or afraid of death. That God can be a form of heavenly power but it can be also just nature. It can be another person – a Guru or even your partner or children. It can be just a feeling, your inner voice that you want to follow. I don’t believe in it but as long as you keep your belief in God to yourself, as long as you don’t want to impose it on others and don’t harm others nor yourself, I can fully accept it and won’t say a word against it.

I do oppose anything however that harms you or others. Don’t manipulate others and don’t let anybody else manipulate you. Don’t do anything against your nature and what you really wish and don’t let others lure you into another religious sect under the pretense that they are only serving God, not any religion.

There are a lot of sects that have realized the common trend away from religion, the opposition that is being brought up against organized religion. They react – by hiding religion. Just make an experiment and bring up a few questions about Hinduism and religion in front of a ISKCON devotee or priest! You will be told that they don’t do anything for religion, they do everything only for God. They claim to have nothing to do with religion – and that they are only devoted to Krishna. But who is Krishna? Krishna is a Hindu God! Without religion, without Hinduism, there would be no Krishna!

So don’t fall prey to such pretentious and brainwashing attempts to have you join another religious cult. If you want to believe in something, fine, do it. Believe in it for yourself and let it help you personally but take care of yourself and don’t impose it on others.

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Tags:: Religion, Sects, God, Spiritual

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Posted By Swami Balendu

Swami Balendu

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I enjoyed this blog entry immensely and almost agreed entirely but felt moved to write a small rebuttal over at monkeygotpants as I have used phrases similar to this but not in regard to the definition of God assumed here. As always eloquent and truthful Swami Ji, I thank you for your love for humanity

Reply By Peter on February 12, 2013 05:46


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