**Guest Post by Jacob** My, Non-Religious, Relationship With God

It is not difficult to explain my relationship with God to the general public; however, it is quite difficult to explain my relationship with God to a biblically driven thinker. To me, religion and spirituality are two VERY separate notions. I am well aware that for some, this is a difficult idea to embrace, so I will do my best to express myself as plainly and non-offensively as possible.

Firstly, I would like to explain my take on religion. Simply put, religion is a tool. To me, religion is a tool in which we humans use to develop our spirituality. There are many religions, and many different divine creeds/sacred texts: such as The Christian/Catholic Bible, The Jewish Tanakh, The Muslim Quran, The Buddhist Theravada, The Hindu Śruti, The Chinese Tao Te Ching, The Wicca Book of Shadows, and many, many more. Rephrased, religion is the system in which one is guided into any type of spiritual development.

To explain my views simply, as the average American understands it, the purpose of the religion is to teach the individuals of a society how to live “righteously (or God-like),” through the means of divine creeds/sacred texts. Religion offers us spiritual guidance by helping us understand a “righteousness/divinity” that has come before us → (thus) understand a “righteous” lifestyle → (thus) allow us to apply said understanding to our own lifestyle. As I see it, I do not acknowledge any religion to be the only religion that is viable. As already stated, there are many different religions in the world, and they all serve their purpose, to develop our spirituality. Now of course, the principles of no one religion are going to fully agree with the principles of any other religion, so there will be differences in perceptions of spirituality and morality, but for the sake of this article, the only point I would like to make is this: religion is a tool that humans use to develop their spirituality. Now, Secondly, to explain the word “God.” As it is in common American culture, when one speaks the word “God,” there is a social assumption. Every single time you have read the word “God,” I bet you inadvertently read another word right before it: “biblical.” The word “God” in popular culture has been adjusted into the connotation of the phrase “Biblical God.” When in fact, the notion of “God” was around far, far before the notion of “biblical.”

This is why it is quite difficult to explain my relationship with God to a biblically driven thinker. I, as an individual, do not associate the word “God” with the phrase “Biblical God.” To me, it’s just God. The word God means many things to me. It means life, it means Love, it means art, it means passion, and so much more. To put it purely, the word “God,” is not a religious word; it is a spiritual word (as I perceive it). I acknowledge God as the force of Life that I will never understand, but for some reason, will be drawn to regardless. God is the force of life that has taught me morality, acceptance, loyalty, patience, and much more. Which brings us to: lastly, I would like to explain spirituality. To me, spirituality is our connectedness, or disconnectedness, to life. Which encompasses love, hate, joy, sorrow, ecstasy, pain, and so on. So when I tell somebody about my relationship with God, I am telling them about how I perceive life, and how that perception connects me to my environment and the beings within it. When I tell somebody about my relationship with God, I will not quote a Bible verse, or any other religious scripture; instead, I will explain to them how, when I look at the wings of a butterfly, I see the art-form of life that has created the patterns and the colors. I will explain to them how, when I listen to Mozart’s Requiem, I hear the art-form of life that has instilled wisdom into a musician. I will explain to them how, when I indulge in a mother’s cooking, I taste the art-form of life that has nurtured a vibrant soul. I will explain to them how, when I touch a yard of silk, I feel the art-form of life that has benevolently woven royalty into a fabric. I will explain to them how, when I sniff a rose, I smell the art-form of life that has inspired love within so many people. My relationship with God is not a religious one, it is a spiritual one

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