Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Religious Philosophy

The Spirituality of Religion

 It is not enough to talk about Peace. It is not enough to Pray about Peace. We must go out and make Peace.

  In the continuing study of Religious Philosophy many interesting topics and beliefs have been discussed. None have inspired more than the thought of Spirituality in religion. The thought that a human being can have one without the other, but cannot achieve one without the other. Man cannot be religious without being spiritual, but can be Spiritual without being religious. My son has said it best that he believes in something bigger, but not necessarily a God. Having suffered a lot of loss in his short life, he questions the being of a God. A Merciful God would not bestow so much grief on one family in a short moment in time.

  Interpretation is often how religion differs from one group to another. How each member of that groups feels spiritually towards the beliefs of the group overall. This makes up the basis of the faith, no matter which faith we discuss. To rise above this plain into the next level of understanding, we cross over to spirituality.

  Spirituality is the major difference in religions of the world today. Organized religions follow a specific order of events during the celebrations of faith. In the Catholic religion members go through periods of kneeling, standing and sitting through the course of a Mass. Various other religions follow in similar but different acts during the course of there services. These traditions have been going on for many years, and so much can be lost in the actions, without the thought process that brought the actions into the faith to begin with. Organized religions also have a set code of conduct, ethics that each member is expected to follow during the course of events in a celebration. We see many of the young people going through the motions. Not being sure why they have to kneel at this part of the service or why the would need to stand during the next part. It is what has been passed unto them by their parents and on again by their parents. Clearly a deeper understanding of why these traditional acts are followed is needed for deeper understanding of the faith.

   Having been filled with the spirit frees an individual on these tradition filled parameters. Being spiritual gives a person the religions freedom to believe in something bigger and have the organized base of religion in place. There once was a poet who wrote “ Some celebrate the Sabbath by going to church” The poet chose to explore nature and the world around him as the celebration of his faith. Not the closed in surroundings of a church or temple. For his belief was in the doing other than the repetitive acts of an organized faith. By opening himself up to the nature and world around him, gained a better understanding of his own faith and belief system. By exploring the religion in a faithless form some are able to achieve a higher peace. An understanding that other people treat the way people can pay dividend far greater then exploring the Sabbath on Sunday morning. It is the spirit within each of us that pushes a greater peace and us to greater understanding. By channeling this into a free form without the confines of what Faith we belong brings even more faith and peace into the realm of true faith.
  Once we are free of that which has bond us for so long to we start to see the stars pointed out in front of us instead of the finger doing the pointing. This has nothing to do with religion but to do with focus. We channel our brains to be fixated on which is tradition other than what truly moves us. Religion can be the basis of what drives us; But Spirituality is the driving force behind the faith. To do that which is right becomes even more important when we realize that it is the differences that bring us together rather than tear us apart. Regardless of which faith we decide to follow in the long run it comes down to two people trying to get along. Those two people try to get along with two other people and so on and so forth until we achieve peace.

  Sinners and saints, haters and pretenders that is what makes up the population of the world. Not white or Black or yellow. Not Catholic or Muslims. We are just people trying to survive to the next day with whatever grace is bestowed upon us. When the wars of the world are complete and people are reduced to the least common denominator we will find out what it is that moves us. Without War, without religion we will still have faith. Faith based on the belief that the good of mankind will survive and the spiritual man will have the grace and good sense to carry on the faith of the day. That Spirituality will carry us through.

  Having given this course a deep thought from beginning to this point, Many different themes and ideas rush through the mind. Being educated on not only the different type of faith that exists in the world but the faith system of each belief is monumentally important. To educate ourselves on these various traditions and practices can we gain a better understand of what shapes the various parts of the world. What has the potential to bring people together and what can further drive a wedge. We can common and contrast the many different angles and justify many of the world’s questions and quests for knowledge and peace. It is not enough to be inspired by the words of the author of the course; it is not enough to draw a better understanding of the worlds different religious groups. We must take the next step. To go out into the world and preach of the goodness of life, Peace and happiness.

   When the apostles were out preaching on the plains of lands that they had hardly seen or had an understanding, they carried the faith with them. Bringing peace to parts of the world that had no concept of the word. They had no formal training and we the basis of the new Church. These men took the word and delivered the message across vast lands. The did not follow a certain ritual or practice. They didn’t have a formed system All they had was the word. These men ordained others to preach and follow the Word. It was many years later that organized religions were formed. These men were filled with the Spirit and through this spirituality the Word of God Spread throughout he world. By doing that which is right and having the grace of spirituality we took can carry the word, regardless of faith to many more people.


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