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Religion, Spirituality, Faith. What Is The Difference? 
Started by eKIM
24 Feb 2021, 4:53 PM

I would like to start an “open discussion” regarding Religion/Spirituality/Faith. 

I hope that:

  • ©     It will be "reflective" rather than "instructive". 
  • ©     It will be a place for people to share how religion/spirituality/faith helps them on their Journey of Healing.
  • ©     I hope it will be a "sharing circle" type of discussion, where people can contribute their thoughts and feelings.
  • ©     And then simply take what they need to help them on their Journey of Healing, and simply "leave the rest".
  • ©     I hope that it will be a place where people can feel safe to share freely in an accepting manner that is free from judgment, contention and proselytizing.   

Decades ago I met an ordained person who became a friend.  I asked him this once, “You have very firm religious convictions and beliefs.  How do you respond when someone makes a statement that conflicts your beliefs?” 

He replied, “I simply smile, nod my head and say, ‘That’s interesting.’  Then, as soon as I can, I change the topic to a neutral area.  I never argue or proselytize.  Everyone seems to like me because of that.”  And everybody did.  Regardless of their faith (or lack of), he was good company.

I have always tried to follow his advice.  And you know what?  You sure learn a lot with your mouth closed and your ears open.



Religion, Spirituality, Faith.  What Is The Difference? 

Religion – is an adherence to - or the practice of - one or more aspects of a system of beliefs, values, and relationships, within which identifiable rites, rituals, ceremonies, religious leaders, sacred objects, and sacred literature, etc., may be held more or less in common with others.

(CASC - How Spiritual Care Practitioners Provide Care In Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Settings: Recommended Advanced Practice Guidelines and Commentary, 2013)

Spirituality - is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals make and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and the significant or sacred.

(Puchaski C, Ferrell B, Virani R et al. Improving the quality of spiritual care as a dimension of palliative care: the report of the Consensus Conference. J Palliative Med 2009; 16: 296- 300)

Faith – This term I am going to leave open to individual interpretation.  People can have faith in anything that is important to them.  It could be an infinite number of things including:

©     A belief that there is no God or Creator.

©     A belief in the theory of biological evolution by natural selection.

©     A belief in a specific Religion that they adhere to.

©     A belief in the validity of some or all Religions.

©     A belief in God but not in Organized Religion.

©     A belief in their existence (in some form) after their time on Earth is over.

©     A belief in Spirituality - as it is defined by themselves or by others.

©     And many, many other beliefs.

Faith is what ensues from a person’s belief system. 

If their belief system is strong enough, they will have faith.  They will have faith that (no matter what) that they will ultimately find peace.

What is your belief system? 

How important is it to you to have a strong faith?

Is your faith strong enough to sustain you as you walk along your Journey of Healing?

Please feel free to share your thoughts so that we may all learn.

- eKim


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Reply by MargMarie
24 Feb 2021, 11:15 PM

Thank you EKim for starting this conversation. My husband took his life in October, he was a wonderful man, fantastic father, and it was a shock to all who knew him. The support that has surrounded me has been tremendous. My belief in a loving God has been a rock that I cling to daily, sometimes hourly. I believe that He could have stopped my husband...but didn't...so I have to have hope that He has a plan for me and our 20 year old daughter ( who was the apple in my husbands eye). I find so much comfort in seeing the beauty of a cardinal at just the moment when I need confirmation that God is near. Does anyone else experience this?
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Reply by eKIM
25 Feb 2021, 3:16 PM

You know, MargMarie, I have tremendous admiration for you.  You have experienced a great tragedy, but your faith remains strong.  Some people would lose their faith completely if the same happened to them. 

I am a very simple person.  My personal faith is very simple.  If I were asked to describe my faith, I probably could do so in a few sentences.

I think that there is strength in simplicity.  With strength comes peace.

Would you say that your faith is simple, MargeMarie?  Or has it been complicated by the loss of your husband?  It is very common for people to

©     wonder why bad things happen to good people.

©     doubt the existence of God.

©     doubt their faith.

©     be angry with God.

©     doubt the goodness of God.

©     etc.

Have you had any of the above (or other) doubts?  If so how have you dealt with them?  If not, what has prevented you from having such doubts?


Ps, I’m not being “nosey”.  I hope that this to be an opportunity for you to explore your faith and for others to learn from the experiences of others.

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Reply by MargMarie
25 Feb 2021, 10:29 PM

Dear eKim
My belief that God is sovereign is unshakable, my concept of a loving, just, forgiving God is also my foundation. Having said that, though, there are days when I don't want to get out of bed, where I can cry non stop, and can worry about my future, and the loneliness that can encompass me is very painful. But I have hope! Hope that tomorrow may be better than today, and that today was slightly easier than yesterday. I lost my biological father and my step father both to suicide, my mother was killed in a car accident, my nephew died in a motorcycle accident and my oldest brother was found asphyxiated. I haven't lost anyone to illness, so I can only imagine how hard it is to watch someone die slowly. My faith has got me through all these years, the hurt is deep, but I have to believe that God ( who I believe loves me very much), knows the beginning to the end and in that I must trust. I kind of compare my relationship with God, like my relationship with my daughter, sometimes I have to watch her make mistakes, as hard as that is, in order for her to grow and learn. I shield her when I can, as I am sure that God has kept me safe when I made harmful decisions earlier in life. I want to help others, sharing my grief, because I believe that when God allows hurt to come into our lives, ultimately He wants us to come alongside others during their time of need.  I haven't contacted anyone professionally yet, other than this website, but I have been open and honest with all my friends and family, and they have been amazing!
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Reply by eKIM
27 Feb 2021, 2:43 AM

I really like what you said about hope, MargMarie:  “But I have hope! Hope that tomorrow may be better than today, and that today was slightly easier than yesterday.”

Hope is fundamental to healing.  I am so happy to see that you have hope.

I am sure that you will find more and more peace on your Journey of Healing.

I wrote this poem a few years ago.  I share it with you as I wish you peace.


Hope is not lost forever if Hope is re-defined

What can Hope for your future be?

Hope that your next breath comes without a shudder of sadness.

Hope that the next hour will be easier than the last one.

Hope that tomorrow your spirits will rise as the sun rises.

Hope that the next day will bring a wee respite of happiness.

Hope that the next month will see you engage more fully with the world.

Hope that the next year will see you in a new role of re-defined Hopes and dreams.

Hope for a new future even as it unfolds without the familiar presence of your loved one.

Hope to feel their loving presence with you, always.


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Reply by MargMarie
27 Feb 2021, 2:57 AM

Lovely poem eKim! I agree with you on the importance of hope, it's essential...thank you!
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Reply by Storybook
02 Mar 2021, 5:06 AM

Thanks for starting this thread eKim.

I've always had a foundation of faith which has helped me through some challenging times. It's been harder in some ways since my husband died though. I find it hard to read the bible and my prayers have been simple, "hold me" or "guide me" or "give me energy for today".

A friend sent me this link for a Blessing Prayer for Your Home on YouTube which I listen to. It's like someone is praying for me and my home. Here's the link if anyone wants to listen to it. https://youtu.be/3orZrYPCJpQ

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Reply by MargMarie
02 Mar 2021, 10:33 AM

Storybook, I LOVE this! What a strong, peaceful reminder of how much God loves us!
Thank you for sharing this!

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Reply by McRalph
17 Mar 2021, 5:35 PM

Hello everyone, I am new here and saw this interesting thread.  My husband died suddenly of cardiac arrest in January.  I have two kids aged 8 & 11.  My husband and I shared a deep belief in spirituality.  We are Catholic by religion and practice that faith but we feel there was more to it.  we believed that thoughts can manifest things and experiences.  Having faith that the universe or God is inherently good and that things are always working out for you means you will have a blessed life.  I'm not sure if people are familiar with Abraham Hicks but those were the concepts we believed in.  

Well I felt truly blessed before my husband died.  So I am left with some confusion as to what it all means and how my thoughts or his own thoughts might have manifested this experience.  Maybe all of our beliefs are hogwash.  I dont know anymore.  It has really shaken my belief system to a certain extent.  At the same time my faith is what is pulling me through all of it.  I am doing ok.  My faith that God is taking care of me comforts me.  I try to see the good in every day and am so grateful for my children.  I turn my worries over to God and let them go as much as possible.  

thanks for listening and so grateful for this forum! 
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Reply by eKIM
18 Mar 2021, 12:45 AM

Hello McRalph

I too am Catholic (although) I was raised protestant.  No matter what religion, faith or “spirituality” someone subscribes to, faith can be a great source of support when grieving.

What I am about to say, I hope doesn’t come across as proselytizing, I am simply trying to support your existing belief system.

Like you, I believe that the universe/God is inherently good and that we will have a blessed life. 

A few thoughts: 

1)  I have chosen to believe in the goodness of the Creator of All, the universe and humankind – despite much earthly evidence to the contrary.  This belief keeps me happy/joyful and at peace.

2)  I have often wondered if the price we pay for “free will” is the randomness of events and circumstances.  And that perhaps (contrary to common belief) EVERYTHING does NOT happen for a reason.  For instance:  If 50% of people get cancer in their lifetime, and it happens to me, shouldn’t I say “Why not me?” instead of “Why me?”

3)  I do believe that – eventually – good things happen to good people.  But I have begun to think that “eventually” might mean after we leave this earth.  This thought gives me comfort and peace when “bad” things befall me.

4)  And perhaps the “blessed life” that you speak of really is our eventual Eternal Life that our faith teaches. 

5)  The doubts that you are feeling are a normal response after a loss such as yours.  The fact that your faith comforts you (despite your doubts) says a lot about you.  I am happy that you are comforted. 

6)  Your children are your gift from God and a gift from your husband.  I can hear the gratitude in your words.

7)  That you can show gratitude in the midst of pain also says a lot about your strength of character. 

8)  I also am reminded of the saying “Let Go and Let God”.  When we are adrift in a sea of uncertainty, it is comforting to know that God has the rudder.  We can concentrate on comforting our children while we bask in the warmth of God’s love as God comforts us. 

My God, I hope this hasn’t come across as too ‘preachy’.  Lucky this “posting thread” is about faith, so maybe I’m doing the right thing.  I hope so.  In my defence, my “intuition” called me to reach out and try to comfort you.

May peace be with you, now and always.

- Ekim

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