God needs this kind of freedom in order to be God. But, if that’s so, then religion and spirit may be incompatible. Jesus taught that God is “Spirit,” like love – or truth, justice or beauty. But isn’t it true that Spirit can never be experienced by insensate institutions – but only by individual human beings?
Each institutional religion provides a “spiritual” foundation for itself by adopting a set of ideas (orthodoxy) and practices (orthopraxy). But if God is absolutely free, then how is it possible for people belonging to such an institution to find God simply by agreeing in advance where God can always be found – both in word and deed? Since God is “like the wind,” always on the move, we also have to be ready to move at any time if we ever hope to stay close to God.
Given that we need to stay on the move in order to be holy, we should resist the temptation to define ourselves in a formal way or to accept any kind of set identity – because, in doing so, we’ll eventually get frozen in place, even though the Spirit will continue enjoying ongoing “play” in the universe. We also shouldn’t try to define God either because that would only be a futile attempt to “stop” God’s movement (even if only in our minds) – which is impossible. If God ever “stopped,” and became a stationary idea, image, or name, then God would no longer be “like the wind which blows wherever it pleases,” as Jesus described the nature of God in John 3:8.
What I’m trying to say is that religion may be antithetical to Spirit, that is, to God. Whenever a person commits himself or herself to a specific religion, they almost immediately abandon (at least for a time) their individual search for God. Religions offer us packaged “Gods,” and broadcast to the world that they have all the answers to life’s most important questions. But, actually, they don’t have these answers because our questions are constantly changing, we are constantly changing, and God is also constantly changing as well. Consequently, many (or most) of our accepted conventional ideas about religion may be wrong. If God is “like the wind,” it makes no sense to dedicate ourselves to religious orthodoxy or orthopraxis, much less to church buildings, holy books, creeds, or academic credentials required to become a religious leader. Unfortunately, we have gotten this all wrong!
The first thing we need is to become as free as possible – in our souls, our spirits, and our lives. Spiritual evolution is contingent upon how much freedom we’re able to attain for ourselves. For human beings, freedom opens the door to attaining everything worth having: the ability to tell the truth – all the time; to love and to be able to actually achieve it; to be as spontaneous as children; to be just – that is, able to do the right thing at the right time; and to end up living lives in “heaven on earth” – experiencing and fully enjoying all the beauty that surrounds us.
With sufficient freedom, even if starting off basically as human animals, we’ll eventually be able to become human beings – just like Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed and many others have done.
In sum isn’t it obvious that it’s largely impracticable for us to reach God by committing our time and energy to an external “social vehicle” like religion?
This is the principal reason why spirituality is becoming ever more popular and institutional religion increasingly less so. Religion, historically, has not been able to resist getting itself mixed up with power, with the consequence that people have not been as successful as they might otherwise have been in tasting the “sweetness of spirit” in their lives – the kind of infinite joy that’s potentially available for all of us.
The incontrovertible proof that religions have been “anti-spiritual” in nature is the fact that, in all of them, asking critical questions is strongly discouraged. But how anyone thinks they can reach God without first asking a lot of questions and making many mistakes is beyond me. Why aren’t all questions valid, at least for the asking, no matter how stupid or naïve they might be?
God, like the wind is always on the move – everywhere and at all times. That’s why some religions refuse to countenance any image of God, or even word for “God”. How can you name or picture “Spirit” that, by its very nature, is unceasingly on the move? Humans have wanted to mold and worship a stationary God who’s “dead in the tracks” so they can believe it might be possible to exercise some form of control over such God. Well, even though the managers of these religions have been able to control the language and images their particular religion uses for God – such people will probably never be able to actually encounter, much less develop a deep relationship with the divine.
So, my question is, is it possible for us to start all over again – even though it would be painful to acknowledge wasting so much energy over millennia on a wrong idea – i.e., the attempt to institutionalize “Spirit” – which by definition can’t work? In fact, isn’t it true that the greater effort we put into institutionalizing Spirit, the farther we’ll eventually end up from God.
Let’s try spiritual freedom – trusting in the spirituality of actual individuals. If this happens, it’ll be alright. No – more than that – it’ll be really good!