A Conversation About Religion And Spirituality

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Communicating about religion, it is argued, creates and sustains social realities. This applies to both interactions with researchers and interactions with other groups and individuals. Although there are important differences between how individuals communicate about their tradition with those who share it and how they communicate with those who don’t, it is suggested that the self-communicative element is significant in both cases.

A Conversation about Religion and Spirituality

Declaring religion

The implicitly religious nature of talking about religion and its impacts. Studying religions and religious behaviors often relies on people’s accounts of their beliefs and practices. Some of these communications are recognized as being explicitly religious, such as scriptures or religious rituals, but often research makes use of less formal forms of communication. Interviews, diaries and conversations during fieldwork are all useful sources of data but they are frequently treated as tools with which to study religion rather than as part of the object of study itself. Drawing on and extending the work of Roy Rappaport, it is suggested that not only are all explicitly religious rituals self-communicative but so are the interactions involving religion in people’s daily lives. Communicating about religion, it is argued, creates and sustains social realities. This applies to both interactions with researchers and interactions with other groups and individuals. Although there are important differences between how individuals communicate about their tradition with those who share it and how they communicate with those who don’t, it is suggested that the self-communicative element is significant in both cases. Psychological mechanisms through which religious beliefs are strengthened by communicating about religion, including narrative models and the principle of cognitive consistency, are discussed. These insights are illustrated with arrange of historical examples and evidence from recent research interviews. It is argued that all communication about religion is an intrinsically, though often implicit, religious act that affirms aspects of the social reality of the communicator. This includes research outputs which unavoidably affirm particular worldviews and challenge others.

Pentecostal Religion

Pentecostal Christians teach that because of Adam’s yielding to temptation in eating of the forbidden fruit. Pentecostal Christians inherited his sinful nature thought descendants teaching that Adam is recognized by having brought death into the world by his disobedience. Because of his sin, his descendants will live a mortal life, which will end in death of their bodies. … all men, born according to nature, are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without confidence towards God and with lust, and that this original disease or flaw is truly a sin, bringing condemnation and also eternal death to those who are not reborn through baptism and the Holy Spirit. (Article II). – Augsburg Confession of Faith (1530)

Pentecostal Christianity in particular believe human nature was once perfect due to God’s image He created us in, which was his own. It later fell to a sin nature after the original sin of our first parents. In short, we are all created in God’s image which was once pure, but fell as a result of original sin. There are many secular beliefs which were created that the Pentecostal believers find to be misleading and not of God.

We will never face the exact issues our ancestors faced. Yet when we go through personal obstacles and difficulties in life today, we can feel they are just as challenging as the past. It may be the birth of a child or the loss of someone that tests our faith. Our relationship with others can be difficult at times. The issue of trusting God and responding by faith is as real for us today as it has been for many of the men and women of God in the past. The issue is whether we will rejoice in God’s plan and accept it without reservation. According to Colossians 3:18-4:1 followers of Christ should be found pleasing God not man or flesh. Wives are to submit themselves to their husbands. Husbands are to love their wives. And children are to obey their parents. If we do these things God will be pleased with us and we will receive the reward of a heavenly inheritance. But if we fail to do these things asked of God then we will be punished with no reward and eternal punishment of Hell.

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Humans are incapable of ‘perfecting’ themselves without divine intervention. Jesus’ main purpose in life was to be obedient to His Father, God. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).” God loved the world and he did not want to destroy it completely. God let Jesus know that the only way to save His people from eternal damnation was through the sacrifice of His body. Though He knew the horror before Him, He spoke His obedient ‘yes’ and submitted to the Father. Though ‘the Father and I are one’ (John 10:30), ‘the Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28). Ultimately submission and obedience seem to be a requirement for Pentecostal Christians in order to receive the favor of God.

Similarly, God is an all-knowing God. He knows everything that is going to happen even before it happens. So my question is why would God make such a beautiful and tempting tree of destruction if he knew that Adam and Eve where going to disobey him and eat of the fruit? According the Pentecostal beliefs God is a God of choices.” Human freedom is required for human responsibility, but yet locates such freedom as emergent from the theological anthropology he proposes (rather than as correlated with any disembodied soul or spirit) (Cortez).” He gives everybody the opportunity to make his or her own decisions, good or bad. Responsibilities seem to be what makes us human. So with that being said God knew Adam and Eve would sin. He did not see it as just one of them sinning. They were equally wrong, but they made their own choice.

For many of us The Age of Information has opened our eyes to the fact that our spiritual philosophy is a hybrid and it is fluid rather than stagnant. We are searchers and for some of us we embrace science rather than cast it aside. Spirituality is also less faith driven than organized religions and that is attractive to some of us. Perhaps another analogy. I think that most of us, believers or not will agree that kids having conversations with imaginary invisible friends is a sign of immaturity, but that is something that will eventually grow out of. I also think that most of us will have good reasons for thinking that adults doing the same thing is a little bit more disconcerting. Yet when hundreds or even thousands of adults are packed in a building praying and singing praise to their invisible friend in the skies, takin orders from “invisible friends” is all of a sudden supposed to be a sign of perfect rationality and sanity?

Let us define the difference between organized religion and spirituality we are speaking to today. Religion is largely a Western term, while spirituality is term used more for Eastern and indigenous peoples. Here are two pointed examples to illustrate this point: we would not say Native Americans practice a religion, but we would say they practice spirituality. Nature is central theme of Native Americans and while there is dogma, it is much less structured than organized religion and more fragmented. When we ask any practicing Hindu about their religion, they will quickly inform us that “Hinduism is not a religion, it is a way of life.” Religion’s objective it to get all on the same page; spirituality correctly recognizes and celebrates the fact that different cultures may share aspects of various forms of spirituality. When we actually do connect and network with our ancestors or feel the benefits of yoga or meditation, many find this more powerful than hearing or reading something faith based like Moses parting the sea or Noah’s ark.

Spirituality is generally free of charge and organized religion almost always costs money to maintain its structure and organization. That being said, we should be able to get the best of both worlds, by correcting both the fundamental and far-reaching mistakes of religion (ignorance of the scientific attitude and methods) and science (ignorance of the spiritual or nonphysical).

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