"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves."

Book: If the Devil Wrote a Bible

Chapter 17:
Be Spiritual Not Religious

Strive to be spiritual, not religious. Value true spirituality, but abhor organized religion and its trappings. Those who live in the moment learn that spirit pervades the All, the Universe, which is my abode.

The Devil’s Commentary

True spirituality is free. True spirituality rejects organized religion, which is just a for-profit institution. It is big business run by powerful, authoritarian men who misuse and abuse the trust accorded them. Their only interest is to have the poor, duped fools in the pews do their bidding, give money to their large church denominations and supposed “ministries,” and basically take advantage of every opportunity to exploit those who are ignorant enough to submit to them. The fools who obey them must adhere to all the rituals, forms, and liturgy, say those ridiculous prayers over and over, light candles and incense, and give tithes! So much effort for what? I say it’s all to enrich the fat-cats at the top.

All you have to do is look at the history of the megalomaniacal, so-called “Church,” and you will see that I am speaking the truth. How many of the leaders of YKW’s church preach saintliness from the pulpit but live lives of depravity and self-indulgence? Hypocrites!

A Christian’s response

If one is not religious, then one is not serious, since being religious is nothing more than incorporating one’s faith into all of one’s life. A truly spiritual person will be religious by virtue of seeking and revering the sacred. Someone who jumps on every cool spiritual fad floating by may be little more than a dilettante, someone who is motivated by vain impulses.

The Devil says that religious people who are identified with organized denominations and churches are under suspicion of being phonies. Disturbing stories do hit the press from time to time, and some of the scorn is well-deserved. But the Devil’s slamming of religious people is nothing more than an attempt to attack the message by attacking the messengers.

The Devil is also playing on the idealistic notion that if you are religious then you should be perfect or close to it. If a religious leader gets caught in bad behavior or does something considered stupid, then ipso facto, their whole belief system must be false and should be rejected. If, however, the same thinking were applied to other groups, then every imaginable institution or profession would be tainted at least. Do we condemn the entire fields they represent when we uncover corrupted judges, lawyers, police, doctors, dentists, teachers, politicians, CEOs, merchants, and so on? If one or more of these prove to be less than what they should be, must the whole bunch be considered unworthy or worse?
Again, the distinction between the visible and invisible church is vital. Anyone can be part of or join the visible church, which is comprised of groups and denominations. My family members are Baptists, but we can attest to the fact that not all Baptists are born-again Christians. Any Baptist pastor would likely agree with me. The same goes for any and all named and recognized Christian groups. It should not be shocking when ungodly behaviors occur in the name of God, from the medieval inquisitions to the financial and sexual scandals of church leaders that pop up all too often in today’s headlines. The visible church is much like any institution – legal, political, medical, or financial. They are populated by sinful people in need of salvation. However, the invisible church is made up of those who are truly born again and known only to God. It is much smaller than the visible church.

Spiritual as opposed to religious? There is a significant distortion apparent here. By a vague contemporary definition, spiritual could be anything – meditating on the golf course, painting desert landscapes in New Mexico, casting a spell in a Wicca coven, fly-fishing in Oregon, surfing Hawaii’s north shore, smoking some Maui Wowi, or banging on a war drum in a Native American sweat lodge. The implied understanding is that “natural” is closely related to spiritual, so the nearer one is to the unfettered original state of humanity before the influence of civilized society, the closer you are to being spiritual. The notion is that you can be natural and spiritual while avoiding the supposed trappings of “organized religion.”

But are these things really spiritual? What is truly spiritual is the Holy Spirit of God, who always and only testifies of Jesus, both in terms of who He is and what He did. It is the Spirit who convicts us of our need of a Savior and reveals Jesus, the One who took our sin upon Himself on the cross, shedding His blood, dying, being buried, and then being raised from the dead. That is spiritual.

The people who lived in ancient Corinth, during the first Christian century, were very spiritual people. Paul said this to them: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” The fact is, a person can be natural and spiritual in a worldly sense but not understand anything about God. The Corinthians Paul was addressing were indeed “religious,” but they worshiped all sorts of idols and mythical gods and goddesses.

True spirituality and religiosity are one and the same. When Christ touches your life, forgives your sin, and gives you the gift of eternal life you will be serious, spiritual, and religious.

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Last Update: 2016-09-01 12:11