This weekend I had a very interesting conversation with a few of my friends. It lasted almost 3 hours. The topics ranged from God to religion to spirituality to ultimate reality to science to time travel to happiness to drugs to Las Vegas. Notice how we started off at God and ended up at Vegas. (My life in a nutshell) Then I came home, ate about 2000 calories worth of Mexican food at midnight and went to sleep. (Or at least tried to sleep) So here I am an hour later. Wide awake and feeling the need to write...hopefully this burns off some of the calories.
This article is not about any specific religious beliefs or trying to convince anyone about what I believe or don't believe in. To be honest, I myself don't know what I believe. I cannot truthfully convince myself that all of the religious beliefs I grew up with and have been told/taught are 100% true (or false). But I do have some observations that I would like share. Whether you believe in God/religion/spirituality or don't...I think most reasonably thinking people would agree that these observations are pretty accurate...
1st Observation: MANY people are proud to claim "I am not religious but I am spiritual." But NOT MANY people are willing to admit, "I am religious but I am not spiritual."
Here is what I mean. I think the whole "not religious but spiritual" thing has become a cliche. It is the cool, hip, trendy thing to say. I am sure there are a few people out there who really mean it, but I don't think that most people who say this are very religious OR spiritual. They just say this either 1) to be cool and hip 2) they heard it before and it sounds wise and thoughtful 3) they don't know what else to say because they have never given this topic any thought or 4) they think people will think bad about them if they admit that this aspect of their life is completely absent, so they need to say something that will justify that absence.
Conversely, I have never heard anyone claim that they are not very spiritual but are religious. This is funny because there so many people I know who fall under the "religious but not spiritual" category. Religion without spirituality is pointless. Here are a few analogies in the form of mathematical equations to make this point a little easier/harder to understand.
(Religion - Spirituality) = (Sex - Ejaculation) = (Pointless, No fun, All the hard work without any payoff)
(Religion - Spirituality) = (Mexican food - Hot sauce) = (Bland, Incomplete, A feeling of something missing)
(Religion - Spirituality) = (Indian wedding - Good food) = (Boring, Uneventful, Easily forgotten)
(Religion - Spirituality) = (The Indian dish of Pau Bhaji - Onions) = (Unsatisfying, Lacking, Mediocre)
(Religion - Spirituality) = (Spending time and money behind women - Trying to have sex with them) = (I mean seriously, what is the point?)
Ok so you get the point...hopefully. Just in case you are a complete retard, let me spell it out for you one more time... Religion without spirituality is pointless and a waste of time. Yet, there are so many people out there who spend an endless amount of time/money/manpower/energy behind their religion without really understanding their own spirituality. They blindly follow the masses and go through all of the religious motions without thinking about their own salvation or what exactly they are supposed to be doing or working on their character and truly becoming better people. That is where spirituality comes in. I think it's just funny how many people are religious but not spiritual. Unfortunately, most of them are either clueless or not willing to admit to it...maybe even myself included.
2nd Observation: Religion is tough because unlike the real world, the consequences of religion are not readily presented to us.
Think about this. Let's say your girlfriend/fiance/wife wants you to stay up all night and talk to her. Whether you decide to follow her wish or not...you will experience the consequences in a fairly short term basis. If you say yes and stay up all night, she will appreciate you for it and tell you she loves you or do something for you or whatever... If you say screw that I am tired and I am going to sleep, then she will call you names, be mad, and argue with you whenever she finally does talk to you. In either case, the consequences of your decision will happen within a few days. Because the results will happen in the short term, you are able to comprehend the consequences of both decisions and then hopefully that will help you make the right decision before those consequences happen... (I don't know about you but for me the right decision is always...SLEEP AT ALL COST!)
You can take this scenario and basically apply to any relationship or field in life. If you do what your bosses tell you, you will keep your job and maybe get promoted or get a raise. If you don't you may be punished in some way or get fired. Either way, we can see the consequences because they will happen relatively quickly. But in religion? Most religions don't have consequences in the short term. Whether it is "Judgement Day" where consequences come at the end of your life/world, or "Karma" where consequences can come at any time, even in a different life time...it is very hard to judge the consequences of your actions. That makes the religious decisions all the more harder. If all of the religious rules had consequences the very next day (rewards if you follow them and punishment if you don't), I think many more people would follow the rules of their religions than they do now. Just an observation and opinion. Too bad it doesn't work like that.
I don't have any conclusions to draw from these observations. If you are reading this then you can draw your own conclusions based on your own beliefs. Personally, at this point in my life, there are four words that perfectly describe my current religious/spiritual status: "I just don't know..." To put it another way...I am in a relationship with God...and our Facebook relationship status reads..."It's complicated..."
Thanks for reading!
The King of Nothing