Religion WITH Spirituality | INFJ Forum

Religion WITH Spirituality


Well-known member
Apr 26, 2009
I was just thinking that some of the most creative, connected, and spiritually alive people I have ever known of (or known) were in people found within religion...and by this I mean within a religious system of some sort. I might speculate that these systems, each with their exoteric peculiarities and problems, do provide frameworks for accessing very real spiritual truth while at the same time requiring adherants to accept certain community uniquenesses that, in the end, help individuals deal with ego issues in a manner that causes even further spiritual connectedness.

Now, I am no fan of bureauracracies or oppressive practices or mindless control systems, and everyone knows the long list of evils caused by the abuse of religious thought...yet I wonder if we haven't gone too far in disregarding these systems altogether. In their inner workings, in the quiet places, these seem (to me) to be not as outdated or archaic as we may make them out to be. There is something else at work.

I admit I am something of an anarchist within my own religion, but believe it or not I have found kindred spirits at it's very highest offices. Seems odd...but this is so. Yet, tempering our independent streak and our egos a bit in the context of community (of some sort) seems to remain a very healthy piece of the puzzle.

Anyway, I surely do respect those who would rather nix religion in favor of personal spirituality...these are legitimately confusing times in this regard, a story that has been going on for many centuries (from my reckoning). I just wonder if the wind will shift one day and we can return to what is good in religion without assuming the weaknesses. I don't like the idea of being impoverished because the myopia of the present skews our thoughts beyond what is rational, as it so often has and does. If this is the case, we may not be any better off than those who came before us in that we are doing the very same thing, just on the other side of the pendulum swing.

Just a random thought on a Friday night...
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How is the institution seen. A big factor in what you've mentioned is whether the spiritual adhearants of the religion in question believe that their religion is based on divine revelation or institution.

For example, the Catholic Church believes that the core of her doctrine, her rituals and her structure was instituted by Jesus Christ, second divine person of the Blessed Trinity. In other words, to be a Catholic, for example includes the contents of faith, the means to sanctity and a connection with other Christians.

(I just use the Catholic Church as an example, because I am familiar with it).

Religions require structure. Given that in some religions there is an aspect of a society of the faithful, there necessarily needs to be some structure. Again, in the Church I am a member of a distinction is made between the spiritual connection between Christians, called THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS, and the visible physical organisation, called THE HIERARCY.

Connection to a religions in isolation from structures. It seems that it is possible to have a connection with the living faithful (the hierarcy) without any actual, visible interaction - but only through a spiritual brotherhood/sisterhood: many Catholic saints were hermits (monks who lived in complete isolation, with very rare contact with others).

The obvious difficulty in any religion seems to be maintaining a consistent connection between the visible structures and the spiritual relationships present in that society.
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As I've observed, the religious institution of which I am a member (a particular Lutheran church) is not perfect, yet there is spiritual value in it's teachings for me. When I was young, I basically separated myself from exposure to my church's moral understanding and sought to objectively construct a moral understanding of my own. After several years, however, I returned to the Lutheran church and found that it's morality was much the same as my own objective one.

I do know that I was as objective as I can be in determining my code of morality/spirituality/etc., and so since my church's morality/spirituality more or less lined up with my views, a fair amount of objectivity and truth must be attributed to my church's theology.