Opinion, z303
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Mikhaila Peterson: Spiritual or Religious?

Are you worried, or stressed, or maybe afraid? For me, the problem is stress. We have COVID, and problems with the economy, and political arguments, and what did I miss. There is an old saying “It is a curse to live in interesting times.”

So, how do we cope with interesting times? What is the best medicine?

Are you spiritual? Are you religious?

It is popular now, to say ‘I am spiritual, but I am not religious.’ I think that was more popular a few years ago. Possibly people were trying to dodge the pressure to join a religion, like something you could tell your mother.

So, what does it mean, and should we all join in?

Spiritual: In the Bible, Jesus told us “But the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4: 23 and 24)

That seems clear. He was having a conversation about the best religion, with someone who belonged to a different religion from him. One caution is that a spiritual force is not good, just because it is spiritual. We should discriminate; but God is good, and God is a spirit.

Religious: Criticizing someone’s religion is almost like racism, these days. For example, Muslims have a term ‘Islamophobia’ for people who criticize them, and other religious groups also resent criticism. At the same time, organized religion is losing members, and it looks like the younger generation is losing interest.

There are some religions that no good person could support. One of the worst examples is Pastor Jim Jones, who directed his followers to commit suicide together:

If we are honest, we should have a balanced view because we know there are also many good things done in the name of some religions, Jim Jones was an extremist.

So, we are not as religious as we used to be, but are we spiritual? If we are spiritual, is that a good thing?

You probably know the name Jordan Peterson. He is famous, and popular or unpopular, respected or disrespected, and his name is recognized around the world. Apparently, his wife is a practicing Roman Catholic, which would make her religious. His daughter Mikhaila Peterson is also well known, as a video blogger. Recently, she had a spiritual experience that changed her life. She claims to be a changed person now, and people will probably consider her to be spiritual:

It is interesting that Mikhaila Peterson was stressed by life, and now she has peace. That seems to be a spiritual change, of the good kind. The right kind of ‘spiritual’ can fix a problem in our lives, and nothing else can do that.

The model of ‘religion is bad – spiritual is good’ is not correct. Some religion is good, some spiritual things are not good for us. I remember when the movie “The Exorcist” played in theatres. All of my friends talked about it, for days. They were fascinated by spiritual things that were dark and evil, and they were not religious people. Everybody loved watching the little girl who spun her head around, and attacked a priest.

If we are honest, two things are true; we need a spiritual source of peace, and there are spiritual forces that are not good for us. We need to find spiritual truth.

The truth is easy to see in Mikhaila Peterson’s story. The division is not good-bad, it is what comes first, and what follows. We have the story of someone who became spiritually alive, and people like that could later join together to form a group. People would call that spiritual home a religious group, but it grows from spiritual birth, finding God.

A group of people who are now alive spiritually, and at peace, can do a lot of good. Life will generate more life. I hope Mikhaila Peterson finds all the peace that she is looking for, and I hope all of us can find the same truth. Not spiritual or religious, one or the other, but first and following, one before the other.

If we are spiritual first, we will probably become religious. If we are religious first, we might belong to a private club without a golf course. That kind of community makes people decide that they want to be spiritual but not religious.

Jesus talked about his father, the God who is a spirit, and he called us all to a good spiritual life:

I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. … Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:25 to 30)

And welcome sister, to your spiritual family:

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