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Archive for Saturday, December 6, 2008

Faith Forum: Can a person be ‘good’ without also being spiritual?

December 6, 2008

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Goodness akin to spiritual likeness

Marshall Lackrone, pastor, Calvary Temple Assembly of God, 606 W. 29th St.:

This question points to a person who is “concerned with religious values.”

Being good is relative to your own community, but for the most part we associate “good” with another word that has the same root word in its background, “goodness.” This by definition is “Godlike.”

It would seem that by the nature of being good we could not avoid having a spiritual likeness. Paul wrote the following (Ephesians 4:24-27:): “And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, (27) and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Here, Paul shows us that we were created to be like God and we are not to allow the devil to get a “foothold” in our lives. There is no doubt that being good will result in being spiritual. Paul also wrote (Ephesians 6: 11-17): “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

— Send e-mail to Marshall Lackrone at lackrone@sunflower.com.

Kindness without spirituality limited

Zalman Tiechtel, rabbi, Chabad Jewish Community Center, 1203 W. 19th St.

We have all met people of great character who are not religious, and lowlifes who present a pious facade. Some concentrate on having a good relationship with God, while others would rather focus on having good relationships with fellow human beings.

It is not up to us to judge who is better — that is God’s business. But we do have to decide what is right for our own lives. Are rituals meaningful if not accompanied by kind-heartedness? Is goodness missing something if it is humanistic rather than divine-based?

From a Jewish perspective, you can’t really have one without the other. Ritual without human compassion is hollow; and kindness without spirituality is limited.

If someone is able to serve God — pray fervently, observe all the traditions and more — but nevertheless doesn’t act kindly to others, then that is dysfunctional religion. If you really love God, then surely you should also love his children! Such a person’s service is empty.

But by the same token, one who is kind and caring but has no spiritual connection may be a very nice person, but lacks a vital element — the soul element.

From a purely “humanistic” perspective, I am me, you are you; we can love each other, but we will always remain distinct and separate. If I am kind to you, then it is “me” going out of my way to be kind to “you.” But from the soul perspective, we are all one. Our bodies may be separate, but our souls are deeply linked, because we are all part of the one divine source. So the kindness I show you is as natural and innate as the kindness I show myself.

In Judaism, our rituals are means to become more sensitized to this soul-reality that unites us.

Yes, there are religious lowlifes. But imagine how much lower they’d be without religion.

And there are secular saints. But their kindness would be infinitely deeper if they became more aware of the soul dimension, and practiced the actions that make it real in our lives.

— Send e-mail to Zalman Tiechtel at rabbi@ku.edu.

Comments

craigers 5 years, 4 months ago

You certainly can do good things without being spiritual or having a relationship with Christ. Seems like a silly question.

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Connacht 5 years, 4 months ago

"There has to be an internal need or desire to consider others when acting which I consider to be in the realm of spirituality."Why exactly does the consideration of other people fall within the realm of "spirituality", which is one of the most ill-defined terms I've ever encountered? Every person I've ever met who considers themselves "spiritual" is just some know-it-all college kid drinking a latte on Mass street majoring in creative writing. We could really have a serious discussion on what it means to be "good" or "evil" or something in-between. Instead we get a bunch of people who are convinced that they have the final word on the matter, and can't seem to figure out why every other person in the world just can't figure it out.

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Connacht 5 years, 4 months ago

Saying that you are "spiritual" just means that you are making up your own religion. Though that's probably unfair because that's what every religious person does anyway.

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Confrontation 5 years, 4 months ago

Can a person be ‘good’ without also being spiritual?Sure, as long as you keep sending a check to your priest.

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Das_Ubermime 5 years, 4 months ago

R_IPscha, election season is over. I'm talking basketball season!!!! 'Tis the season to be dunking!

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bondmen 5 years, 4 months ago

Defender, are you so sensitive about your religion that we cannot possibly discuss it even in a religious/spiritual venue?Maybe you missed that BuffyloGal mentioned "evolutionary heritage" so I merely responded. Excuse me!Now, show me again how educated you are.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 4 months ago

"Epecially during the time of the year in which acceptance and brotherhood is supposed to be held in such high esteem."- DasThe election season?

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Das_Ubermime 5 years, 4 months ago

Definitions:Good -- value judgment of one's interactions of othersSpiritual -- feeling of connection to something supernaturalReligious -- spirituality with a set structureThere is no logical reason why a lack of interactions with the supernatural would have any role with that which exists in the natural world.It is sad that such a simple concept is so rarely favored over one of condescension and intolerance. Especially during the time of the year in which acceptance and brotherhood is supposed to be held in such high esteem.

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notnowdear 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't equate spirituality to religion.Can a person be good without being spiritual? I don't think so. First of all, there needs to be a really specific definition of "good". No vague definitions like people use with the terms "morals" and "values", which really does leave it up to the reader to define.By my own personal definition of good:A person who is good IS spiritual, for they are able to step outside their own needs and desires to extend concern and respect to others. There has to be an internal need or desire to consider others when acting which I consider to be in the realm of spirituality.And note that I do not denote a religion with this.A person can indeed be good without being religious. And a person who is religious can be "bad" too.

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Paul Decelles 5 years, 4 months ago

Notice how everyone jumps to equating spirituality with religion. I don't think they are the same thing at all. Spirituality to me means that you have a sense of introspection and empathy. My suspicion is that these are critical parts of being good...maybe necessary but not sufficient.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 4 months ago

"Sickening fool, why don't you get an education."Haven't you been paying attention? The public schools are just another liberal conspiracy to preach the fairy tale of Evolution and distract from the Truth of the Bible.

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i_tching 5 years, 4 months ago

Religion is just superstitious nonsense. It contributes nothing useful to serious investigation of ethics, or anything else.

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Defender 5 years, 4 months ago

"I have yet to find a family photo with a monkey in it but there are missing spaces where abortions left a place. It is sad to say."He said nothing about 'monkeys'. Wow, you are so stupid. And of course you have to hijack this story for your idiotic personal agenda. Sickening fool, why don't you get an education.

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Starlight 5 years, 4 months ago

If Paul R is Dr. Paul Getto's son, then he has witnessed the epitome of altruism in his father!

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 4 months ago

Can a person eat 'food' without also being victual?

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alm77 5 years, 4 months ago

the animal is bigger than I thought...

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Satirical 5 years, 4 months ago

The responses from Lackrone and Tiechtel were very well written. I especially like Tiechtel's comments.DonnieDarko....(Assuming for arguments sake the people you listed are bad). If you are suggesting the people you named would miraculously (pun intended) be better people without religion has no basis in logic or reality. People who are bad can use any instrument or tool to achieve their purpose, even religion. The wolf in sheep's clothing are the one's we must be ever vigilant against and are capable of doing the most harm. Religion didn't make these people bad, religion was was the instrument they used to achieve their bad purposes.Your examples would likely fall into the category of someone coming close to God with their lips, but not with their hearts. In other words or spirituality, could make then better if they actually embrace it with their hearts.

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TheStig 5 years, 4 months ago

Can a person be ‘good’ without also being spiritual? Yes and vice versa.

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Mixolydian 5 years, 4 months ago

Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) says… We are biologically programmed for altruism;========================Really? When was that gene discovered? You sure couldn't tell by reading this paper, watching the news, or walking out your door.

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bondmen 5 years, 4 months ago

"Marc Hauser - Harvard - it's all part of our evolutionary heritage and has nothing to do with religion, as much as religion would like to take credit for it. There are people who can be completely open and caring and not believe in superstition."It's your evolutionary heritage sweety. I have yet to find a family photo with a monkey in it but there are missing spaces where abortions left a place. It is sad to say.Shesay. You don't say? You do say! Do see do and buffalo burgers.

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kansasdaughter 5 years, 4 months ago

BuffyloGal-Do you mean what Paul said is heresy (against the church) or "hear say" (overheard but not established as fact)? I'm betting you meant 'hear say'...if that's the right spelling. I'm with you on that. "Are rituals meaningful if not accompanied by kind-heartedness?" (from the rabbi, above) What is kindhearted about cutting off a part of an eight day old baby boy's anatomy?

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 4 months ago

“And Jesus said to him (the rich young ruler) 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good except G_d alone'” Heresay.

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bondmen 5 years, 4 months ago

"And Jesus said to him (the rich young ruler) 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good except G_d alone'" from Luke (the physician) 18:19.The Jew, Paul wrote in Romans 7:18-19 "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want."

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Paul R Getto 5 years, 4 months ago

We are biologically programmed for altruism; spirituality predated religion, which began as explanations of the unknown then evolved into politics and power over the ignorant and powerless. The attempt to separate religion and government represents the genius of our founders.

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yellowhouse 5 years, 4 months ago

What we do for ourselves alone with us diesBut what we have done for others is where our immortality lies!

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yellowhouse 5 years, 4 months ago

One can be good from the heart, and part of that goodness is your love for the Lord.One can be bad and use religion as the shield to hide behind.A true believer with goodness in the heart, is going to put others first, and in so doing would never do anything to hurt the church or others.

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AjiDeGallina 5 years, 4 months ago

Faith Forum: Can a person be ‘good’ without also being spiritual?As a Christian, I have to say this is a very ignorant and stupid question. Of course they can.

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DonnieDarko 5 years, 4 months ago

"Yes, there are religious lowlifes. But imagine how much lower they’d be without religion."Actually, I would say that Ted Haggard, Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps are lowlifes BECAUSE of their religion. They are not elevated in any way because they claim to be Christians. The rabbi's statement suggests that they still aren't as "bad" as an equivalent non-religious person, which is complete bull*&%$.

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canyon_wren 5 years, 4 months ago

The rabbi explained it so well--I totally agree with what he said.

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BrianR 5 years, 4 months ago

"Can a person be ‘good’ without also being spiritual?"Of course, just like a really "religious" person can be bad. These things, for the most part, are mutually exclusive.

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BuffyloGal 5 years, 4 months ago

Marc Hauser - Harvard - it's all part of our evolutionary heritage and has nothing to do with religion, as much as religion would like to take credit for it. There are people who can be completely open and caring and not believe in superstition.

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Donnuts 5 years, 4 months ago

Why don't you read my blog about "Liars always Prosper"?

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Donnuts 5 years, 4 months ago

Really self-righteous garbage. I grew up in a church where the minister had an affair that ruined the other couple's life and his ended in divorce. Meanwhile I was the victim of something else altogether unmentionable. I even asked for help from other members of the congregation and they did not listen to me. I was also counseled by another minister in town whose congregation had a member that was stalking me and he knew it as well. He went on to be convicted of aggravated sodomy against a person without capability of knowing the difference. I have also attended a dozen churches in your community and not gotten anything but scoffed at. So go get your clothes cleaned before you show up for church on Sunday and go through all the motions of being a real person.

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