There is a natural tendency to asociate spirituality with religion, but they are very different. That I did not know before I researched and wrote "Spiritual Clarity." Religion is an organized system of beliefs in and the worship of God or gods. Spirituality is finding your own authentic self. Each individual needs to find their own way to spirituality and if that includes religion, so be it. Some people will be perfectly content to just believe as they are told, others will need more. Nothing is wrong with either path.
There are so many problems in the world today. Religion should help reduce conflict and suffering, not be another source of conflict. God definitely cannot plan everything because of all the horribly cruel events that studying history reveals. Unless God is into cruelty and I do not believe that is the case. I do not picture a man standing in the heavens planning with detail brutal events.
In one of his books, "The Art of Happiness," His Holiness the Dalai Lama, talked about the fact that religious beliefs are good but even without religious beliefs, people get by. In some cases, they even manage better. Beliefs or no beliefs are each person's right. He added that there is another level of spirituality that is what he calls basic spirituality - the basic human qualities of goodness, kindness, caring, and compassion. This kind of spirituality is essential. He considers the second level of spirituality or basic spirituality to be more important than the first. I believe that also. Society would be a mess and no one would be happy without the presence of these basic spiritual values. A church is not necessary to acheive these values for some people, although some do need a little extra guidance.
That makes me wonder if there ever was a person planning to murder someone else. while reading the Bible he or she decided against it because of the commandments?
Did you know Stalin was headed for the priesthood before politics sidetracked him? Pol Pot was a monk?
Does it make sense that the creator of the whole world and all that is in the universe is the same God in our own religion, so everyone else is mistaken?
Jackie Wellman, author of Spiritual Clarity