|... by Chaka Falls
... seems to prove why religion has less to do with spirit and more to do with prestige and superiority. I feel like I'm a very spiritual person, and even if I did nothing to enhance my relationship w/my God/dess, I would still be spiritual. And, why steadfastly do what some invisible God/dess "wants" if s/he doesn't return the favor? Are we (royally) just working on the here-after? Do we not care one iota abt the here-and-now?
Only problem with my response to this is I do not
want to hijack this into a comparative religions/ Judaism 101 discussion. The thread is a huge topic on its own without my own tangents ...
But the problem with your response to me is that your reading of my post came with biases against religion per se and has nothing to do with the particular religion I was basing it on (Judaism). This is shown particularly the last sentences, since they are irrelevant to Judaism, which is not
about living for the hereafter, it is about the here and now.
So you're coming at this discussion with knowledge of specific belief systems and reading into other responses your background, which is not at all relevant to my comments, even antithetical in some ways. It's almost like not talking the same language.
Same with NM's post, a whole different universe. There's nothing I have to do to be saved either. Not a thing. Don't have to light menorahs or avoid cheeseburgers or anything. Don't have to be "saved" at all, it's not a concept in my religion's worldview. Don't have to go through anyone else to get to G-d ... S/He's right here. No prestige involved, even the lowest, even the highest.
And Chaka, you ask how do we know they've come close? They've said so. Again, it's where are you coming from. What do "spiritually independent" people feel when they have an ecstatic moment? No different from what "spiritually obligated" people feel. And they end up in the same place.
In my case, there's a specific way that a specific people has to focus their G-dsearch, or G-dwrestling, as it were. Part of our spiritual tradition. Don't want to do it? Fine. Don't. It's about about elevating ourselves through mindfulness and making the mundane holy. So what if someone says they're close to G-d? How do you know they aren't?
And don't assume that one way is freer than another way because there's "less to do." Or that one way is less ritualized just because there aren't so many edifices around the country for it ...
Most folks who follow New Age or other spiritual paths that are not "organized religion" use rituals, too. (I do know from personal experience; my spiritual path has been rather ... circuitous ...) And many of them come from ancient traditions. One of the biggest trends now in New Age spiritual paths is study of Kabbalah. Which is entirely the heart, center, and soul of my religion's rituals.
Wiccans and Pagans have their own rituals, too, whether they take traditional ones or create their own. Just because they're not written down, that makes them less "ritualized"? No, that just makes them less organized.
It's all a way of understanding and expanding your relationship with the Divine.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other, ladies.
PS - boy that was rambly. It's 3 a.m., so maybe I'll be clearer later further on ...