Friday, 13 September 2013

Can Spirituality be Non-Denominational?

This is a prominent question in today's life with all the different things going on in the world at the moment. So many people would love to know if the troubles that we as one people face, such as the threats of Libya, North Korea and Al Quaeda, might be easier and perhaps non-existent if the human sense of spirituality was totally non-denominational. That is to say that all faith was not centered around a religion but an individual core belief. 

But is it possible for human nature to drop ties with religious denominations and follow their own faith? And how similar would people's core beliefs be in comparison with each other?

In theory, yes. Spirituality can be non-denominational. After all, these denominations and religions are man-made, and are created through spirituality. They cannot trap spirituality in a inescapable bond, or they themselves would be bound in return. Spirituality is the very essence of religion, faith, belief. And people experience this in different ways. 

However, the question must be asked whether humanity as a whole is able to forget about the man-made denominations and work individually each to his own belief. Why did man create denominations to begin with? Denominational laws divide the masses between good and bad behavior according to a perceived identical faith, and to begin with this seems simple enough. But what about when you reach further within and find anomalies within a denomination? 

For example, the Catholic Church is against gay marriage, saying the act of sodomy is against the will of God. Therefore any gay Roman Catholics must remain chaste their entire lives if they are to follow their denomination of choice. One might argue that those people would simply leave the Catholic Church and follow a different denomination of Christianity which is more accepting of their sexual orientation. This leads me on to another point which I have to hold for a second. 

What about those who have no choice to be in a religion, those who are born within some fundamental denomination who cannot leave it? They may not agree with the rules upheld by other members of their denomination but there is nothing they can do to change it. Therefore these anomalies in a denomination show that the identical faith spoken of cannot be real. Everyone's ideal of spirituality is different and shows that under the right circumstances spirituality can and possibly needs to be non-denominational. 

And I can now return to my point. Why should the gay Catholic go to follow a different Christian denomination if they feel that overall they are more in tune with the traditional teachings of the catholic church? Why must they follow any denomination at all if they understand which moral rules and teachings they believe in? It should be simple for people to march alone following their own unique concept of spirituality, but for some reason most people just cannot.

Let's take a closer look at human behavior then. School is the perfect example. When a student arrives at a school they are categorized into a group according to their interests, fashion sense, looks, and intelligence. Therefore a pretty, sporty, sociable girl will quickly be shoved into the popular group. Her main topics of conversation with her friends will likely be fashion, films and boys. But what if she secretly loves watching Battlestar Galactica? If her friends knew, she would be tossed from the group because after all a sci-fi loving nerd doesn't belong with the popular kids. So what does the girl do? What would most insecure teenagers do? Keep it a secret. She would rather be in a group of people who share other similar interests with her rather than brave it and take on High School on her own, free to follow all of her interests without judgement. 

Do you see the pattern here? 

Spirituality can be and sometimes is non-denominational for people. But the majority of people just aren't brave enough to follow their own instincts with their faith. They're just too insecure that without denominational guidelines they'll stray from their spiritual path and get lost in a tangle of incorrect beliefs. However, in my opinion you just have to risk it. I understand completely that people feel more comfortable part of a community where they share most beliefs or interests with the rest of the denomination, but I have also grown up believing that everyone is unique. Therefore they should not categorize themselves within a group where their whole personality cannot be expressed. 

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