"I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god — which you made for yourselves. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty.
Learning a new language skill is never easy and takes lots of time, because there is always no shortcut in its learning path. Learner has to know not only the meaning of word itself but also deep connotations associate with its culture background. Recently, "A Post-Christian Nation", a Newsweek poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, changed my understanding of the word "Religion". According to the definition from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, the word "religion" means "the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship". I always consider that a faithful believer must embrace a vivid spiritual life with meaningful and functional behaviors corresponding with the revelation of God. Thus, in my cognition, a religious man should also be spiritual. To begin the discussion, let us first exam the way in which this poll gives the questions to its participators. Number 24th question of the poll asks, "In general, do you think of yourself as… spiritual but NOT religious, religious but NOT spiritual, religious AND spiritual, or NOT spiritual and NOT religious?” Notice how the researchers paraphrase the question. It seems that the poll's designers think "spiritual" is not something absolutely integrated into the concept of "religious". Here, the "religious" sounds more like ritualistic patterns of devotion. When a religious institution solely uses ritual practices to make God visible, tangible and controllable by human means, it will appear as a particular kind of addiction or hypocrisy to the non-believers. A true religious institution should be engaged in fighting against those who reject the revelation of God. If a group of people allow morality to decay, tolerate corruptions, or even gradually become proud of their indulgences, in this way people make themselves a target of Satan by believing in false teachings. I guess that's why some people consider being "religious" is not always the same with "spiritual". Finally, this kind of belief system would shape certain people's behavior into a pattern so that they can own an identity as a part of religious society. More significantly, within these groups, the fear of social discipline is much greater than that of God. Therefore, we should trace our faith back to its foundational basis and remembering that faith is essentially about transforming oneself into a better person by confessing to the one true God.