What is a Spiritual Belief System

Thinking, behavior, religion and church

More and more people in the developed world consider themselves spiritual without belonging to any religion. Some of the dominant world religions believe that there is no spiritual life outside of their limits. Now let's take some time to explore the differences between spirituality and religion. Both on the spiritual and on the religious level there is a central level about our relationship with God, the divine, the mystery or the absolute truth, by whatever name. From my point of view, the similarities end here. Spirituality as I see it is an innate dimension of our existence and our relationship to the mystery of life. Religions are man-made structures that try to define and control our spiritual nature. Religion was once a culture that is a unity for all spirituality and for many parts of the world. Spirituality is personal, fluid, and evolving. Religions are constructed with rigid and moralized belief systems. Religion is based on belief and accepted beliefs that define the parameters of what one can believe. Ideas and beliefs that go beyond these limits are often viewed as heresy and, in one way or another, are even punishable by death. Religion has strict rules for what is right and wrong and applicable penalties both in this life and beyond. This polarized moralizing of human behavior is a system of control based on fear. Neitzsche sharpened this cannon of religious dogma when he said: “There are no moral phenomena, only the moral interpretation of phenomena”.

It is amazing that despite everything, there are people who can find authentic spirituality within the confines of their accepted religion. Spirituality is independent of religious doctrine and belief systems, although most people who consider themselves spiritual rather than religious construct a belief system that they are comfortable with. When this personal spiritual belief system becomes inflexible and rigid, it can be as restrictive to spiritual development as that of religion, although it is less likely to fill fear, guilt and shame. The human mind creates belief systems one way or another. The majority of these beliefs are received as conditioning from the culture in which we grow up. Spiritual development can be seen as a process of liberation from the conditioned state of mind and therefore limited self-awareness. Because beyond the conditioned state of mind we experience the mystery of the divine. In the depths of this experience of the self beyond consciousness, the boundaries of separation dissolve and the self is experienced as one with the divine. This process of spiritual evolution towards awakening is the very nature of life itself. Religion that is created by man, made in the consciousness of separation, places the divine outside of ourselves. This is true even when the source of religion is spiritual truth who taught oneness with God. Christianity is a great example. Jesus clearly stated in his teaching that the kingdom of heaven is within us all. Then how did it become a place where God lives and we go where we go after we are dead, when we have been good and lived by the prescribed rules? One answer is that spiritual teachers like Jesus spoke from a more advanced state of consciousness and those who came after them and put religion in their name were from a less developed level of consciousness, interpreting and distorting the teachings from that lower level of consciousness. Another interpretation is that religion has been identified as a means of controlling an entire population of people, and its teachings have been skewed for that purpose. Taking Christianity as an example, it seems very obvious to me that these two interpretations are aspects of how Christianity became what it is today. Do not you think? Now how is it that hundreds of years of war and countless atrocities have been committed in the name of religion when pretty much all religions have a core tenant of you who you don't kill and do to others as you would do them to you, or similar?
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Spirituality in its nature requires the questioning of beliefs that tend to conflict with religion. Labeling ourselves spiritual does not necessarily mean that we question our beliefs, but freed from the boundaries of religious dogma, life will inevitably make circumstances easier for us to do so. Accepting this possibility to step beyond the boundaries of identity that we have is the means of living spirituality. Spirituality then requires forging your own unique path of awakening to our true nature. Religion requires conformity, discourages independent thinking, self-inquiry, requires followers. That anyone finds spirituality in religion is amazing to me, that they make the power of truth shine. So is religion bad? No, because obviously many thousands of people are inspired to serve their fellow human beings through their religious beliefs. And when religion inspires to see beyond the appearances of difference and to be a vessel from which one expands faith and seeks direct experience of the mystery that manifests and enlivens life, then it still serves its spiritual purpose and unites spirituality and Religion.

Ray Baskerville is a healer, meditation teacher, certified hypnotherapist, yogi and proud father. He has worked as a healer, teaching meditation and yoga worldwide. Ray is also the creator and editor of lifedivine.net, an online magazine for yoga, meditation, spirituality, and personal development. For more free quality articles, please visit as follows.