How Religion Stole God


BY CAROLE SAWO 

‘So why are ye fearful, oh ye of little faith?’
Matthew 8:26

If we do not attend a building, a church, a man-made structure regularly.  If we do not follow the man, the Father’s representative in the robe.  If we do not believe everything we are told in the Bible.  If we have no faith in ourselves, then we have no place knowing God?  I don’t think so.  No one did more damage to religion, than religion itself.   The place that purports to offer a sacred container in which to experience and explore our spiritual selves, has in many ways also become a place of deception, hypocrisy, arrogance, and charlatanism.  Where one has a right to find a path back to our faith lost in the suffering in this world, there lives too often the faithless.  We are still intuitively smart people.  We might have lost our way in this mortal coil, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to know God, and to speak with Him outside of religion. And that doesn’t mean that we don’t belong.

There is undoubtedly a place for religion in this world.  For the seemingly fallen, the spiritual enquirer, for those seeking a community, especially when they live alone.  But the incorrect use of the term ‘sinner’, the dictated ‘fear’ of God, the threats of spiritual persecution and hellfire and brimstone are long overdue for exposure into the light of Truth.  To sin is an archery term, it just means to fall short of the mark – to err, to error.  No death by one’s own stupidity.  No expulsion from a garden in guilt and shame. 

There are some fundamental differences between religion and spirituality.  Religion is for groups and  Spirituality is for the individual.  In religion, there is a hierarchy, a book, a visible leader, symbolic rituals that most people don’t understand, doctrine, and rules of our expected conduct.  In spirituality, there are none of these things.  The pompous assume everyone in a church is looking for something, and that if we do not behave their way, then we have not understood the scripture, and we are not good enough.  Not God enough.  Not for God, but for a human, who is after all, fallible.  We may not now touch the cloth, we must only look at it, and from the position of the aisle.

For the spiritual enquirer, the word ‘fear’, is archaic.  It means to regard, to look at God with reverence and awe.  Not to run away, nor hide and cower in the shadows of ourselves because we are going to be imminently frazzled for screwing it up so badly, by a staff of electrical judgment sent down to us from the ethers.

The Bible, for those who do not know, wasn’t written by God, nor by just one man.  It is a collection of men’s, and (brace yourselves), women’s ineffable experiences with the Divine, and their difficult attempts to write of it in words.  Over the years, however, much of the essential scripture has, in my view, been ‘unGodly’ taken out, reworded, re-described.  Such as the entire testimony of Mary Magdalene, the person undoubtedly closest to Jesus.  How dare they.  What deceptive misleading on the path of spiritual union with the Divine is at work here? ‘Just do what we tell you’, ‘believe what is written now, not then’, ‘do not look behind that curtain, that veil of Maya’. ‘Do not question, ingest’.

What has gotten lost, understandably in the conscious pursuit of man, is a connection with our spiritual heritage and home.  Our native, sacred origin, where we are understood, known, and loved for who we authentically and spiritually are.  Faith is an awesome phenomenon.  Although even the word faith has now been redefined as purely religious, when in truth, the word faith from its Latin origin ‘fides’, means trust.  Trust in another and that other does not just mean a person, it means a God who we cannot see.  To have faith, in spiritual terms, means to even in the presence of such adverse circumstances, still retain the inner belief, the inner connection with the Divine, that goes before us.  And also, as the good shepherd, walks behind.

Religion, or rather, what it has become, is long overdue for an update.  Fathers, Priests, Vicars – and let us not get the title wrong for we are soon corrected – must now too come to Jesus.  The Sacred Divine lives on in all of us, even should some have lost touch with that golden thread.  God lives in all things, not just in buildings, but in nature, in everything you can see, everything you can feel.  Isn’t that awesome?  Maybe the only thing standing between man and his God, is the misperception that one thinks they can be separate from their spiritual dwelling house.  But our roots of existence are still there in the garden.  We just need to open our eyes, and remember, the light of truth.  Even the smallest spark of hope can reignite the spiritual flame that lives always within us.  Then at once we are home, right here on earth.  And thank God for that.

God belongs to all of us.  Return then.  Where we belong.  Where you belong.  There, to the awesome presence of the Sacred, still living, still loving, in your beautiful spiritual heart.