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Spirituality and the Christian Difference

Spirituality and the Christian Difference

Paganism throughout history was primarily the worship of deity exercised by the strict adherence to particular rituals and ceremonies. These ceremonies of course had various purposes, in the Ancient Near East the religious cults of the egyptians and the babylonians generally held to a worldview in which the gods were the driving force behind the cosmos. The rituals then were designed to serve the gods through sacrifice by offering food for the gods, and alleviate some of there needs to better assist in the order and maintenance of the cosmic order. 

There has always existed an aspect of spiritual practice that emphasized a give and take relationship between humans and the divine. The worshiper assists in the functionality of the cosmos and serves the deity, while in return blessing protection and prosperity would be awarded. Further there have always been certain rituals and practices that seek to merit favor, blessing, and favorable outcomes by performing certain rites and rituals. Certain incantations, and offerings could be made that would sway the heart of a deity and thus provoke them to extend some supernatural intervention. 

While Spirituality has evolved over the years and things like mysticism and the occult have become more of a way of self-actualization rather than worship of a particular deity, there still exists the rites, rituals, and certain offerings or practices that can in some way provoke the universe, or whatever one calls the general divine energy, to extend special favors and privileges to an individual. 

Now there is a stark contrast in the Christian view of God and Spirituality that needs be noted here. The Christian needs not perform any activity, incantation, ritual, or specific rite to receive honor, blessing, or favor. The staggering reality found in the Christian faith is that God has already loved, embraced, and favored them. The death of Jesus is the physical expression of the love and favor that God already has for mankind. Christianity focuses not on what the worshiper can bring to the table, but rather God invites the worshiper to His table to feast on what He has provided. 

Thus Christians have no need to perform in anyway to receive from God. For God has made us His children and as a loving Father He takes care of us. Providing for us, nurturing us, and carrying us through on the basis of His love for us, and not anything we do or fail to do. In contemporary views on Spirituality the emphasis still remains on what the individual achieves and does, but the Christian faith invites us to see things very differently. We are invited to lean the whole of our confidence in the reliability and faithfulness of another. One who was willing to bleed and die for us. One who has made us His children and heirs in His kingdom. God grants us favor, blessing, gifts and so on out of love and not based on our deeds or actions. We are accepted and welcomed because He Himself is indeed the Acceptor and Welcomer. 

This is the major difference between Christianity and Spirituality at large. I find the fact of this contrast to be evidence of divine inspiration in the Christian belief system. For what man would ever think that God would be so gracious to mere mortals? Indeed it seems intuitive to believe that one must merit favor from a god or gods by demonstrating their worth. Yet Christianity tells us when we were yet unlovable, lost, and sinful, Christ died for us to demonstrate His great affection for us.

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