On the weekend I took a new student to our local ‘Spiritualist church‘. I do not go often, and do not feel that it is necessary in order to maintain a close connection with Spirit, but I do enjoy picking up some inspiration from time to time.
Spiritualist church, in my experience, is not so different from Christian church;
- it takes place on Sunday with additional services mid week
- your seat is taken in a congregational fashion
- hymns are (embarrassingly) sung
- a sermon is given
- more hymns are sung
- the spiritual address is given
- more hymns
- a demonstration of mediumship
- free will tithing
- and finish with another song
And what was my students opinion of her first Spiritualist church experience? Too ‘churchy’, but otherwise inspiring and moving. She enjoyed both messages (sermons, in traditional church) and the reading she was fortunate to received toward the end (that we both felt was appropriate and uncannily accurate). She also shared an opinion I have heard many times;
“I can’t help it, I am offended by the use of the word GOD, it takes me immediately to Christianity, of which I am not a fan.”
It is true that Spiritulism is a non-denominational religion, and accepting of all beliefs, so many of us choose to use familiar (commonly Christian) terms like ‘god’ and ‘angels’. The Reverend on this particular Sunday even gave a disclaimer before she used the designation;
“As Spiritualists we do believe in a higher power – God, but our God is a part of the Great Spirit who is loving and forgiving – not the commonly referred to God who is sitting in his throne above us, judging and looking for a reason to cast us into hell.”
I too have a minor cringe when the word ‘god’ is used, though I am a believer. I have also found myself in a negative position with persons ‘practicing’ Christianity, including members of my own family.
But that isn’t ‘God’s’ fault, is it?
So what’s my God theory?
All major religions are based on messages from the same God. Heard at different times in history, in different regions and cultures and by different people. I believe that Jesus was a messenger – a prophet – a medium – clairvoyant, and I believe the same of other religious prophets. Prophets still exist today, though as always they are few and far between professing charlatans.
The Bible was written at a time when the world was lawless. The Church needed to be the law, and so many – sometimes (often?) redundant – laws are written into the Bible. Of course many lessons of the Bible are timeless, as are the base lessons of every religious book I have personally read.
That list includes the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Kabbalah, the Book of Secrets, various Buddhist texts, the Book of the Dead, (many) New Age and Spiritualist texts, Dianetics and of course the Quran/Koran.
The Koran was written at a time when plague and pestilence were wreaking havoc on the planets population, and so it is full of rules about hygiene and moral conduct that were believed, at the time, to be effective in protecting oneself.
So, I believe (and I share this belief with many Spiritualists, but speak for only myself), that we are all worshipping/praying to/believing in the same God. No one is wrong. Different interpretations, sure – but there are flawed aspects to all of our beliefs. Truly we won’t know if any of us were closer to the truth until we die.
During life we can only have faith, look for our signs, and act like it matters.