Why is it important to distinguish religion and spirituality?
God does not need spirituality, consciousness, rituals, prayers, mindfulness, or meditations; God needs our obedience and good deeds
Spirituality, consciousness, Meditations, rituals, prayers, or faith without works are useless if there are no fruits of good deeds.
Prayers and spirituality will not be accepted without good deeds.
Meditations are about thoughts, not about sitting down, controlling your breathing, or closing your eyes.
The practical purpose of consciousness and meditation is to recognize that there is a great creator to the universe.
Practical meditation means to contemplate about the creation of humans, birds, animals, mountains, trees, stars, seas, wind, rains, etc. There are many scripture verses about how God created everything to make it easy for humans and that we should think and thank God for all the gifts
That will urge us to search for the message of that great creator, what did he reveal to the prophets?
Then to identify the common ground wisdom and consistent teachings to follow.
Also to warn people of the false teachings that have been added by the scribes for boasting and for explaining religion to their benefits.
Proverbs 21: 13 teaches that whoever does not answer the poor, God will not answer him:
“Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered”
James 2: 14 and 2: 17 teach that faith without works is dead
Micah 3:4 also explains the reasons for not answering our prayers
“Then they will cry to God, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil”
Isaiah 48: 18 “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea”
God has empowered each of us to be happy and blessed.
God does not predetermine plans for us.
God has delegated that task to us, it is up to us to be blessed or to be cursed.
The message that God has revealed to all prophets is:
‘Blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience’
All prophets taught that we can earn salvation by obedience, repentance, and good deeds to help others.
“In obedience and repentance is your salvation” Isaiah 30: 15
Based on the above, the obedient believer should be blessed in this life and should be saved in the afterlife.
That is the truth which should set you free.
Buddha did not ask people to worship statues, he did not ask them to make statues for him; it is a profitable business to those who make and market the statuses (they advise people to look at the statuses for effective meditation; that is how they promote their business based on false teachings)
We are here for testing; test environment necessitates struggle between good and evil.
Testing missions are not supposed to be easy and comfortable.
The test questions are not supposed to be known in advance.
The wealthy father has the right to test his sons before distributing the wealth
The wise father disciplines his children and prepares them for a better life
The obedient son who takes care of others should be rewarded better than the disobedient son who persecutes others.
Psalm 66: 10 teaches ‘For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined’
Proverbs 17:3 teaches ‘The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but God tests the hearts’
Isaiah 48: 10 teaches ‘I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.
Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering’
Job 23: 10 teaches ‘when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold’
Regardless of how successful we are with our personal objectives; we cannot have inner peace without addressing the high-level objective; the purpose of our existence.
It is wrong to say ‘let us enjoy the journey and forget about the destination’
If you find yourself in a train, you should not enjoy the beautiful scenes before first ask:
why am I here? Where is the destination?
We should first ask ‘what is the purpose of life?’
What is the value of life if we do not know the purpose of that life?
It is the greatest good for an individual to discuss virtue every day… for the un-examined life is not worth living – Socrates
Our life on earth is a very short period compared to the universe time scale; It could be a temporary test period.
There are hundreds of verses and teachings about that as mentioned in the following answer:
We have been asked to believe in God and Heaven but we have not seen God or heaven.
Our fate will be determined based on that belief and on our good deeds.
Why did God make it a difficult test for us?
Although God knows what’s in our hearts and what each of us might do, he tests us and wants us to witness our own test results in order to admit that we have been fairly rewarded according to our achievements as recorded in the test results
Before the wealthy father distributes his wealth, he may want to record which son is obedient, the records are not for the father who knows, but as a testimony for people who might question the justice of their father
Although the wise teacher knows the hard-working student and the lazy student, he prepares regular exams as testimonies so that the students would not say that the teacher had favored some students over the others. Exams also urge students to get prepared in order to succeed
The student is not supposed to rejoice and enjoy himself during the exam hours
Students should not wonder about the intention of the teacher; they are supposed to focus on what the teacher asked them to do
If God wants to set up the testing environment to test people, then we are not supposed to advise God on how to set up the terms and conditions of the testing. The students are not supposed to advise the teacher on how to prepare the exams. God has created us, and he knows how to test us.
The testing questions and answers are not supposed to be disclosed before the exam; testing environment necessitates some doubts and enables different choices and different decisions.
The test does not depend on the level of education, a child may say ‘I do not see the plane any more, it is going far away, it is still there but my sight does not reach it; God must be there but my sight does not reach him’, but a scientist might conclude that, ‘I do not see God, then there is no God’.
The test does not depend on the level of religion education, maybe someone who never heard of the religion teachings could pass the test based on the natural original gifts of conscience and reason ‘What I do not want done to myself, I will not do to others.
We may find some scholars who know the religion teachings but they accept to persecute and torture others, those are the bad trees which the prophets have warned us of them and of their bad fruits.
The wise teacher sets different evaluation criteria for different grades; the students in the first grade are not evaluated as the students in the advanced degrees. We expect that the fair and wise God would evaluate people according to what they have been provided. The person who never heard of Prophets would have an easier test based on the gift of intelligence and conscience; he might get rewards for his good works and he might not be punished if not wicked.
For those who have doubts, they can ask God.
All prophets have urged us to ask God and taught that God would answer us.
Do not worry about how you will receive and understand the answer; God has created us and he knows how to convey his message to us.
The following answers include the details: