Claiming Back Religion

I grew up in a religious family – not what I would call devoutly so but with the focus of attending church each Sunday and having a faith in something; let’s say ‘godly.’ This was a faith that meant little to me at the time as the God that was talked of felt un-relatable – it just didn’t resonate in my body so the teachings had little to no impact on my life.

As a small child I was very loving and caring for others, but I would not attribute my values or my actions to having been influenced in any way by attending church, I would attribute them as being naturally religious. 

I knew that the gentle caring boy I was had nothing to do with church, it was just me.  Just as I knew that the attributes of love and care for their fellow man that I saw in others who attended church were qualities equally held within them, and that their attendance was really about connecting with others in community.

Observe young children and their innate acceptance, care and trust in others will become evident. Could this be a version of being religious we should all seek to master? A religion seen as a connection to our divine qualities and not an outer measure of faith and obedience?

Throughout time, people have been divided and diminished by religion, and violence has often been used to control and to conquer. Therefore I often ask myself, what does this form of religion bring us and why would we need to have faith in something that is external to the everything we already are. This feels like it comes from a lack of trust we have allowed in and a straying from the deep wisdom we all have within, but constantly choose to block – often by giving our power to institutions who claim to have the answer.

I now know without a doubt that religion truly is something that comes from our own connection to ourselves and to God.

Religion for me stems from within and is about acting with integrity, considering everyone in our actions and taking responsibility for our life. If one’s own life blossoms through how we live, then the opportunity to support others by nature becomes that much greater.

If a five-year-old child appreciates their friend, has complete love, care and compassion inbuilt, then what could possibly be a deeper, more meaningful religious experience than this? If we want to thank God for life, what better way than through our connection and acceptance of our self and others as equal ‘Sons of God.’ This acceptance is not found in reading a script and believing it means this or that, but is drawn from a connection to a wisdom that cares deeply and respects the feelings of everyone, whether seemingly the same or vastly different.

Our religious experiences must do more than tolerate other faiths: at the heart of true religion is a deep acceptance firstly of ourselves and from that love a deep acceptance of everyone, no matter what they believe or how they act.

Misinterpretations of age-old teachings may not consider everyone equally, but it is within us each to feel what the truth is and how we wish to be in this world. There need be no clinging to a faith if it does not resonate with the vibration of love we know the world needs.

The Way of the Livingness was gently and slowly introduced by Serge Benhayon as a religion, knowing as he did the negative association many have with that word. But it is far removed from other religions I have seen or experienced; it is in fact a re-claiming of this word that represents us as we truly are, in full technicolour, free of comparison, control, judgement, jealousy and all the other emotional currencies we exchange with in everyday life.

This is religion that stems from within – it is impulsed and drawn out by our own experiences. It is neither from an external concept, nor is it housed in an imposing building or encased by dogma: this makes sense to me – it puts me at ease and it puts us all at the heart of our religion.

I can place trust in something that suggests that I act with more purposeful care, decency and respect for others, more understanding, more commitment to people and to situations. To be more connected and aware of my inner knowing, how to handle situations using deep wisdom I have lived before but disconnected from. This way of living does not have rules and boundaries, just a knowing that we all hold something magical that is there to reignite; an ever-evolving relationship with religion, through oneself, with others, with life itself. This is religion as we can all know it… grounded in intuitive common sense.

By Stephen Gammack

Further Reading:
The Way of The Livingness is my Religion
Are We All Born Religious?
Religion – a separative force or a healing power?

299 thoughts on “Claiming Back Religion

  1. Stephen I can relate to so much of what you say. I was taught about the ecumenical movement and tolerance yet at the same time was taught if someone did not believe in God or had a different faith (which was a sin) then they were going to be sent to hell – so it was not stacking up. I always knew there was a God but began to test his love for me because of what I saw going on around me that was not love. We are all deeply sensitive and The Way of The Livingness, honours this within us all – not asking us to be anything rather to return to the love that we all are.

  2. I know when Serge first started mentioning the word religion there was a lot of tension and some resistance within me. My experiences with the world religions did not leave me with an openness to what religion truly is about. The care, understanding and love with which Serge allowed the healing of the bastardisations and belief and the acceptance of true religion to unfold is a perfect example of how true religion brings one back to the deep connection to God from within.

  3. So true – we do know how to be loving and caring without church telling us how to do it, it is something we already are. Claiming back the word religion and living its true way is so empowering, and its meaning keeps on deepening as we keep on surrendering to who we truly are.

  4. I came from a very religious family and perhaps that is why I grew up so confused. The religion that we were part of made little sense to me and when we find out the truth of its origins and the atrocities throughout history caused by this institution, it is the most refreshing thing to find true religion and find out that I was not odd in what I would think or feel.

  5. “This is religion that stems from within – it is impulsed and drawn out by our own experiences.” How very true it doesn’t come from what we are told or what we read it comes from a natural way of being, when we are young, when we feel everything that is going on around us and haven’t yet come to depend on what others tell have told us. We trust what we feel, not having been influenced into trying to fit in with other peoples traditions, cultures, ideals and beliefs. We innately know the truth and when we don’t live it it causes disturbances in the body, for example we begin to doubt the inner wisdom we all naturally have. Imagine if we weren’t taught to see other people as different, as less or better, with no judgement or comparison, simply accepting and respecting our fellow human beings.

  6. There is a beautiful simplicity in The Way of The Livingness, no dogma or beliefs that build walls or create division amongst us, just a livingness of what we know from our inner-most, something that we can continually unfold and learn more about.

  7. My religious upbringing was a box-ticking exercise. Learn to tie your shoes, clean up your room, learn to read and write, go to church to get confirmed and learn how to drive a car. These were on the list. As I ventured into the world, religions and their dogmas felt wrong and confining. Why would you willingly join a group that if you were not good, you would go to hell, that’s a bit hard! The Way of The Livingness is what is contained within everyone and has no walls only openness.

  8. I love how bringing true understanding of what religion is makes it so simple. It is a movement we express from our bodies in every moment and the quality in which we move can be one of love or one of drive and or push. Showing us just how simple it is to connect to our inner divine in any movement we make everyday.

  9. “Throughout time, people have been divided and diminished by religion, and violence has often been used to control and to conquer”. Given this its no wonder there is much reaction against religion, including my own. The question I have as a result of this is does our current thinking on religion work? What has it brought us as communities living together?

  10. Thank you Stephen. As a child I used to go to church, and if I am honest, I could feel then that many people lived a very different life, yet were seen to be good people because they were regular church goers. For me Religion is something we hold from within and we don’t need to go anywhere to worship, because if we allow it, God’s work is being done through every exchange we have in life and everything we do.

  11. I grew up in Religion and the endless searching to find God, thank Heaven for Serge presenting to us The Way of the Livingness which I have come to understand and know is true Religion. No more outward searching but and inward connection, a returning to the light of my Soul.

  12. I was thinking about how God has been presented to me when I was young and grew up in a family that would go to church every weekend. I remember I was trying to pray to God when I was lying in my bed, but it did not resonate in myself or feel real, but what I do know is when at school we were told about Jesus, something did resonate, a deep love within myself and for all people.

  13. I agree that there is something deeply beautiful about many people coming together under the one unified purpose of embracing divinity. However, I do find myself asking if this is what happens in church, and if in fact it were possible to live in this embrace instead, so that every moment with every person is under this intent, making life one massive congregation?

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