It’s been a while since I’ve gone to church, and by a while I mean half a decade or so. But I decided to go again. Different church, different city, different people, and different atmosphere. It’s livelier than my previous church. It has a big city feel to it. The church is full of welcoming people. They appear happy and genuine and I’m sure that most of them are. Being part of something bigger than yourself usually promotes happiness.
The music starts. People raise their hands. You can see the emotion on their face. Some are happy. Some have tears. There is an overwhelming amount of emotion.
Emotion is what churches strive for. The music they sing, the piano that plays while the preacher ends his sermon, the pictures on the PowerPoint, it’s all designed to bring about an emotional response. That’s what churches strive for. They want to make you feel.
Emotion isn’t a bad thing. Emotion is one of the core aspects of being human.
However, emotion is not synonymous with spirituality. Spirituality is deeper.
Spirituality tends to lead people to search for the truth, while emotional people are swayed by confirmation bias. They interpret evidence and events in such a way that ensures that their beliefs persevere.
One thing that I have discovered that all churches share is that they are all emotion based. They don’t care about science, reason or philosophy. They only care about promoting their view point. They almost never evaluate their views and theology. And if theological discussions do arise, they never end with the congregation reasonably reaching a conclusion, but instead with one group of members breaking off and starting their own church.
This is the problem with the church’s emotional based approach. This isn’t spirituality. It’s not logic based. Churches don’t mention science. They don’t draw from the patterns and wonders of nature.
Even when using the Bible as their source of knowledge, churches rarely base their opinions on it. Instead they use the Bible to reinforce their preexisting notions. This just isn’t an issue with churches though. The majority of people do this. It is people’s emotional approach to religion that’s the reason why out of the thousands of religions in the world, people are most likely to believe in the one they were exposed to as a child.
God gave us logic and reason. He expects us to use them. Logic, reason, and common sense should be what guides our spiritual journey. Not emotion. An emotion-based approach forgoes using our greatest strengths.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel. But it shouldn’t be what defines your spirituality. Instead of following emotion, and blindly accepting what is preached from the pulpit, or written down in books, you should experience God for yourself.
What is your most direct connection to God? Some would say the Bible; others would say prayer. But I have a different answer.
If you want to experience God, then why not examine what he has created? God is an artist, and nature is his masterpiece.
Instead of trying to find out who God is through other means, the first and primary place you should look to gain knowledge about God should be in his handiworks.
While the Bible, and other spiritual books may teach you about God. The problem with them is that you haven’t experienced anything for yourself. When you read the Bible, or go to church, you spend your time talking about God, not to God.
If you walk outside, look up at the stars you can literally experience the things that God has created. You can see God’s example that he left for us to follow. This is his masterpiece. Nature is to God as the Mona Lisa is to DaVinci.
You can learn a lot about an artist from his works and we are literally living in God’s art gallery.
He is the master architect of everything, from molecules and atoms, to solar systems and galaxies.
Just look at the universe and the various shapes, patterns and colors found in wild forests. What could possibly be a better example of who God is than these works that he created?
Not only is nature the example God left behind for us, but it also promotes spirituality. There is a reason why “nature bathing” and “grounding with the Earth” are becoming increasingly popular. Spending time in nature is considered to have physical and mental healing properties.
There is an old Lakota proverb that says “when a man moves away from nature, his heart becomes hard.” Perhaps this is why you will almost never see an unhappy person while gardening.
God can be experienced through nature. He can be felt through nature.
God is found in the quite places. In the gentle breeze, or while hearing the waves crash into the shore, or while watching the sun set.
After all, even the Psalms say “be still and know that I am God.” For when you are still and take time to experiencing nature is when God seems the most real.