Spirituality Without Organized Religion

The terms “spirituality,” “religion,” “organized religion,” and “faith,” have become mistakenly intertwined and synonymous in ways that fuel misinterpretation and miscommunication. When we talk about “religion,” we are generally referring to organized religion, with its institutional agenda and setup. We cannot say Jesus instituted a religion because Christianity, though supposedly following Jesus’ teachings, is formed of sects preaching different approaches to the same premise. From Jesus guiding to compassion and love, many profiting tangents have sprouted. Organizations emerge as religions, upholding values such as homosexuals should be slain!


To understanding the difference between a spiritual message and the message of an organized religion, we must first remove any assignment of equivalence of the spiritual message to organized religion. Throughout history, organized religions have promoted and justified immoral behavior such as defending God’s empire through wars, restricting scientific discovery, and oppressing the masses. Religion, when the term is used to define the body of an organized religion, is generally not purposed to advancing a harmonious world.


There are Islamic sects that promote violence while Quranic verses guide toward the de-escalation of violence. The Catholic Church inflicted mass genocide on the indigenous people of Canada while Jesus aimed to embrace all, regardless of religious membership. There are myriad examples of the inhumanity of corporations that profit by selling their distinctly branded forms of faith—all of which prioritize self-preservation.


Secular or nonreligious spirituality is a meditative path towards a harmonious future. Secular spirituality is defined as having a set of morals, guidelines, and tenets that essentially determine our faith, influence, and consequential behavior—behavior that leads us to attain purpose.


At this point, the separation of religious or nonreligious spirituality becomes redundant because insofar as we have selected to unfollow the organized religion model, we commit to a spiritual outlook that prioritizes compassion, love, and harmony. This essentially becomes the abidance by Jesus’ guidance without having to adhere to Catholicism through its criminal leadership and constitution. With religious spirituality, we refuse the values of an organized membership or cult to find purpose in life. Generally, just like a cult, organized religion will enforce mandates essential to membership. These include certain values of racism, classism, or perhaps discrimination and prejudice against LGBTQ+ members.


If we recall an instance of nonreligious spirituality, Jesus protected a woman from being stoned for adultery. Mohammad praised a woman of ill repute for offering water to an animal. If these women were found in the same state in the year 1500 AD in areas governed by Islam or Christianity, surely they would have met a much harsher fate than forgiveness and protection.


In effect, the spiritual greats such as Jesus and Mohammad shared beneficial guidance leading toward a harmonious future. This should not go unheard. We should not revolt against these messages of compassion and love. We must not judge individuals according to the institutions of organized religions that hijack their original content to illegally brand themselves and stamp rude ownership on piety. Imagine Jesus being branded by the Vatican. Jesus, as depicted throughout history, would never agree to rape and murder children. If Jesus was alive today he would never sell his image and content rights to the Vatican!


When we view “religion” through the lens of organized religion, we can safely say it is devoid of compassion. The proof is in our history; the Inquisition, for example, was purposed to ensure the self-preservation and power of the Catholic Church. Genocides, holocausts, prejudices, gender violence, rapes, castes, and ethnic slaughter are too often consequences of religious maintenance. There is no end to the inhumane acts we suffer for organized religion’s goal of profit through world dominance as entities compete in the capitalist religion industry.


But we should not tarnish the spiritual and pious value of original thinkers. Whether we call them philosophers, prophets, or by any other name, they all share a passion to guide to compassion and love. The reason we are capable of compassionate acts so readily is that we can choose to activate the innate emotion of love. Organized religion imposes restriction on shared love; organized religion rejects equality and inclusivity, which are essential prerequisites to unconditional love, the only way love exists in the spiritual realm. When we exclude connected parts of the universe made whole through the energy of pure love, we begin to manipulate the truth of our purpose in love. Organized religion is a restrictive organization. Spirituality, religious or secular, is the meditative act of universal connection.