This morning, I posted my daily quote as a status update. Today it was from Deepak Chopra:
" Religion is belief in someone else's experience. Spirituality is having your own experience."
A friend of mine responded: "Careful with Deepak. He does not accept Jesus as his personal Saviour, or acknowledge His true Divinity as the only way to salvation. Just lookin out 4 a sista. :-)"
Do not attack him...He was sincere in letting me know about Deepak's teaching and belief system since it is contradictory to Biblical Christianity. He believe that someone might read his quote and think I am endorsing his teaching and start to read his writings innocently and end up following him. To the person that wrote this to me, I am not offended. I love discussing topics and thoughts such as these, and I do get what you are saying. I just wonder why people don't check the religion of every person we quote on a regular basis. From Maya Angelou to Oprah to Dr. Phil to Ben Franklin. I just think that to look at a quote and consider it an endorsement would be quite a stretch. We quote African proverbs, Aesop's morals, and Confusian sayings...do we look at it as an affiliation with the country or religion? I just think that it's a bit much to look at one quote and tell me "Be careful because he isn't Christian."
As I stated before, we do not check the religion of all of the people who say prolific things in our history. Many preachers will present inspirational quotes in their sermons wherever they find it from. To quote Ghandi, wouldn't mean I follow him. I just think that sometimes as Christians, we can be a little too hypersensitive when it comes to things and people that don't think as we do. To say I can't quote the man, even though he said something very true just because of his religion, does exude feelings of separatism and exclusion. While I do understand where folk are coming from, do understand where I am coming from as well. Responses like this contribute to the reason it's hard to witness to others because many Christians feel like we are the only ones who can speak the truth. We may have more truth than others but if a weedhead or a prostitute says, "Religion is following someone's beliefs, Spirituality is having your own experience," I'd quote them regardless of their accepted lifestyle. It's true and it makes me question my own religion vs. My relationship.
It's one thing if someone said "True that. I wish Deepak's other teachings were as agreeable with what we believe in." That's fine. But when you warn me about his beliefs disregarding the true statement he made, it seems like I'm being told to run away from the man. John 10:16 says, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold." Jesus said that they will hear His voice and He will bring them. It is not our job to ignore them till they are brought over. A Christian writer once said, "There are many people who are one step away from being saved." Deepak Chopra may not be a Christian, but his beliefs focus on the nature of the mind, human relationships, and bringing about positive change in society- all things that I embrace and study myself. I cannot negate a valid statement regardless of who said it.
While I do not embrace all of Deepak Chopra's teachings, yes, there are many people who follow RELIGION which is defined as a "system of beliefs." They follow what the rules are as outlined by a Bible or as outlined by the folk around them. They listen to the preacher or priest, don't question what is told to them, and PRACTICE religion. Religion is defined as following a pattern or behavior. It's focused on actions and deeds, kind of like the Pharisees of the Bible. Being a person connected to the Spirit, having Spirituality, means you are connected to the source. It requires a relationship, a level of personal intimacy that many people do not have. Someone wrote that Deepak was trying to diss religion on the low. If you want to take it that way, fine. But honestly, I am tired of RELIGION especially because religion can't get me into Heaven. Following patterns and rules and doctrine does not mean I have Jesus. If that was all we needed, Jesus would not have died on the cross for me. He would have just gave us advice on following rules. I am seeking a Spiritual connection with God. I hope that this quote helped someone analyze their own beliefs. That's why I posted it.