Religion is a watered-down version of spirituality for lazy, childish, and cowardly people. Now this statement might sound shocking, so let me explain the points one-by-one. Religion is based on beliefs, on glorified hero stories, on ideas and philosophies served to you on a silver plate. No need to do anything on your own, there’s no place for critical thinking in religions. You simply need blind faith, and you can be religious without any effort.
In contrast, spirituality is based on direct experience, and to gain experience, you have to act, think and feel, in one word: live. Religion itself is dead, thus it’s against life, while spirituality is very much alive, and can be experienced only through living it. Founders of religions were never religious themselves, but they were always spiritual.
But their followers were too lazy to go through the same experiences themselves, so they adopted the founders’ philosophies, ideas and rules trying to reach the same goal. But all they achieved was an imitation of the real thing. It’s just like watching football from the comfort of your couch versus rolling up your sleeves and playing football yourself.
Now, onto the second point: why is religion childish? Because all religious people have the unconscious motivation to revert back to their childhoods. The realities of life scare them, and they wish they never became adults with responsibilities. They want a strong father and a loving mother figure again in their lives, and in the image of God, they get both at once. They throw away their independence for the sake of the illusion of protection and meaning.
Contrarily, spiritual people want to be self-reliant, independent, responsible and free from all fear, neediness and bondage. They want to grow instead of shrinking back to a childish state. They want to face life on their own, instead of relying on others. They don’t want to put their faith in the hands of an illusory God, because they know they are responsible for everything in their lives.
And finally, why did I say that religion is for cowardly people? Because all religious people have the hidden motivation to deny death. All gods were born from the fear of death, and the stairway to heaven is paved with the craving for eternal life. Since the dawn of time, humans have created stories to explain to themselves the meaning of death and the meaning of life.
Religions were created to symbolically transcend death, to give a made-up meaning to an intolerably meaningless life. But all these ideas are superficial by nature, because they don’t want to penetrate deep into the subject of death because of the fear. Thus religions remain in the realm of wishful thinking and childish naivety, that serve no purpose when one is truly faced with death.
In contrast, true spiritual people are not afraid to look deep into the abyss of death. They may have fear also, but their curiosity and thirst for truth is stronger. This way, true spirituality is just the opposite of denying death: it’s facing it with great courage, accepting it with dignity, and even using it for motivation and growth.
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