Can You Connect to God Without Religion?

Written by Karen Schenk

soulcravingsfindreligionIs there a difference between God and Religion? There is definitely a difference between God and religion.  God is someone I have a relationship with.  My view on God can be altered by many factors in my life.  It can be affected by my relationship with my own father or even by my culture and the people I spend time with.

I see religion is a set of beliefs that have guidelines for behavior associated with them.    There are many religions with many differing beliefs and rules.   I don’t  think God needs religion.  He wants to have a relationship with me.   It is so easy for me to get confused and think that my relationship with him has rules of engagement.    I love knowing that God cares about me and that my relationship with him does not need a lot of order and structure.  I want to participate in religion or church to celebrate his holiness, but it’s not a condition of knowing God.  Do you believe you can you connect to God without religion?

If you have questions, we’d love to hear from you. Use this form to  be matched with one of our mentors. Mentors are trained volunteers with real life experience.  They can answer questions, point you to other resources or just listen when you have something to say.

Your mentor will email you using our secure system, The Mentor Center (TMC).  TMC ensures your privacy by protecting your information.  If you want to keep talking, just hit reply.  The conversation is free, confidential and non-judgmental.   You can keep talking to your mentor as long as you like and there is never a fee.   If you’re curious, start a conversation.  We’re ready when you are.

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328 Responses to “Can You Connect to God Without Religion?”

  • Tom Tom says:

    Jack, your continued silence on my questions speaks volumes–or am I, as you suggest in your last post, too “irrational” for you to respond to?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Jack, I have never once disputed with you that an archeological find has been made that conclusively proves the Bible’s account of the Exodus. What I have said is that our inability to find the evidence does not mean that the event never happened. You have also been unsuccessful in producing an archeological study that conclusively establishes that the Hebrew people came to rule over the land of Canaan in any way other than the Exodus. Obviously there was a nation of Israel and we do have archeological evidence of King David. There are just missing pieces of evidence that have not yet been found.

    You choose to focus on the Exodus event as your ultimate litmus test of the authenticity of the Bible. What about all the other people, places and events that have been established as a historic certainty? The life of Jesus is a much more accessible event because of its relative proximity to our time and the greater amount of historic evidence that we have. There are few serious scholars that suggest that Jesus never existed. There is consensus on the major components of Jesus life, death and impact. The eyewitness accounts that we have collected in the Bible have a high degree of reliability due to the time of their authorship, the existence of copies of those documents that date very closely to the originals, and the vast amount of copies that have survived. Even though these New Testament documents were written 500+ years after the Old Testament documents there is a consistent theme throughout that points to the personal involvement of God in the history of humankind.

    Does your God involve Himself in the affairs of humanity, Jack?

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:
    I have produced far more studies than you or Tome have,Why is that?.Can you produce one archeological study that proves conclusively that the Exodus occurred . Produced one conclusive study that establishes that the Battle of Jericho occurred. I enjoy the company of rational men and women who understand what you and Tom cannot. Your Bible is the only way both of you are able to find GOD. You reject any objective study that disagrees with your limited points of view. Both of you are in a minority that grows smaller every year. The Bible abounds in inconsistencies which have been noted by the majority of Biblical scholars. GOD did not inspire a work that is so flawed.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Actually Jack, I have read each and every word you have posted and have on multiple posts asked you to give the reasons you believe the things you pose to be true. I am still awaiting even one specific evidence for your beliefs. You obviously are passionate about your beliefs and yet you have been unable to give the basis for those beliefs. Honestly, Jack, are they just things you find appealing to your own senses and things that make you somehow feel comfortable with yourself and the world? I’d really like to know.

    At the same time that you seemingly cannot give any tangible reasons for what you believe, you have spent most of your posts trying to convince Jamie and me that what we believe is untrue. Your stated reasons for denying our beliefs are not solid, not factual, and cannot be proven. At the same time, our thorough and complete responses to you have given a multitude of solid, reasonable, and factual reasons for why we believe what we do. So, just what are you looking for or trying to achieve?

    Although you have yet to answer any question posed you, I will try once again–
    Is there any evidence whatsoever that you would accept to believe in the God of the Bible or for Jesus Christ being the one God sent to be the savior for your sins? Even a simple “yes” or “no” would be appreciated.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Jack, I disagree with the author of the article you linked us to. Archeology is absolutely used to verify the accuracy of historical documents. Perhaps not exclusively but it does play a big part in that. When a find is made that corroborates the testimony of an historical document it gives more credibility to the authenticity of that document. The author of your article goes to great lengths trying to prove that the story of David and Goliath contains contradictions that undermine the believability that it is an accurate historical account. Yet at the same time he points to statements that explain his supposed ‘contradictions’ and says that they are later editorial additions. His argument is weak and is poorly crafted. I am not sure that he is your best source for establishing a argument against the historical accuracy of the Bible.

    The Bible’s authenticity is not just based on it’s historical accuracy but on its ability to describe the human condition. All world views recognize that there is something wrong with humanity. All religions set up some way of fixing those problems. Even material humanism sees that humanity needs to improve from its current state. The Bible’s explanation of that fits our reality most clearly, and gives the most logical resolution of all. The source of humanity’s problem is that we are living without the guiding relationship with God. Our quest for self-determination only continues our separation from God and magnifies our problems. It is only when we come to God in surrender to His authority and live as He leads us that we see transformation of our hearts.

    All other worldviews/religions seek to ‘fix’ the problem through our own effort. Even your explanation of having multiple lives to ‘get it right’ is based on our ability to deal with the problem on our own. Jesus is the only one who tells us the truth that we need Him to heal us and to guide us. As we put our trust in Him we are made whole because we are living as we were created to: in a submissive relationship with God. It is then that we can be a testimony of His great love and His great power.

    Have I understood your view of the human condition accurately? In what ways do you see your worldview deal with the ‘problem’ of humanity?

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Tom:

    With respect you have not read all of my posts. Tom the Bible that you hold so dear is a suspect historical document. I invite you to look at this web site. Indeed, I invite you to courageously do the research that deals with lack of extrinsic proof for important matters in the Bible. Begin if you wish with this web site.

    http://www.awitness.org/essays/archhist.html

  • Tom Tom says:

    Interesting that you should write this Jack: “To test a theory, you require irrefutable objective evidence to establish whether it is true or not. Your theory unfortunately is completely subjective It rests completely on what you want to believe.” I have yet to see one shred of this type of evidence to substantiate even ONE of the things you have proposed over dozens of posts. What does that tell you?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I think the prophets are a major piece of confirming the validity of the Bible. Part of the reason that God revealed future events through the prophets was to confirm that they were indeed speaking for Him. Knowing the future before it happens is the domain of the divine. Especially with the specificity of some Bible prophecy it can only be understood to come from someone who is outside of the natural world. God set the test for the a prophet to be 100% accurate 100% of the time. Those were the prophets that you could have confidence that they were speaking on behalf of God.

    Now look at Daniel’s prophecy of the the Greek Empire (Daniel 8) where it describes the conquest over the Medeo-Persian Empire by Alexander the Great, his death and the rise of his four generals. It is astounding that this is written about 200 years before the events took place.

    Look at the prophecies in Isaiah about the life of Jesus (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). These were written over 700 years before Jesus and we have copies of this from the 2nd century BC. So we know these existed before Jesus lived and yet they describe His death for the sins of humanity of clearly.

    I don’t see anything irrational about that. In fact, the opposite is true; ignoring this evidence seems the irrational path.

    Just because the majority of the world’s population rejects this does not make it false. A teacher does not mark a test based on what the majority of students answer. The correct answers are correct even if no one acknowledges it.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    The Bible most certainly is not as factual as you say it is. If it were it would be incorporated into the History Curriculum at all major Universities. You cannot use the prophets in the Bible as proof of the validity of the Bible. As a matter of simple logic that is irrational. To test a theory, you require irrefutable objective evidence to establish whether it is true or not. Your theory unfortunately is completely subjective It rests completely on what you want to believe. I repeat the majority of the world population rejects what you hold to be true. Do not separate yourself from the world. Try to understand your error.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Jack, we have eye witness testimonies of the work of God in the history of the world. Those documents include prophetic material that only someone with supernatural insight could have. Much of those documents are grounded in actual verifiable historical events, people and places. Those documents reflect an oral tradition that goes back to the very beginning of time itself. The Bible lays out the way that humanity turned away from the truth of God and how God continually involved Himself in our history in order that we could know Him as He is. It is not as if Moses began a new understanding of God but that he received what had been passed down through the generations before and through his relationship with God received the truth of what all that meant for us.

    You say that you need proof; I ask, how much more do you need? It seems to me that you interpret things to fit into your purposes. You reject the written testimony of God because you want to be able to control who God is and how you relate to Him. You pick and choose what things you will put your trust in so that you don’t have to submit to God’s authority. You talk about scientific proof but then speak about the infinite nature of the multiverse and reincarnation, ideas that have no connection with the scientific laws that we do know for certain. The idea of a multiverse is a weak straw to grasp at in order to avoid the need for a supernatural Creator who has fine-tuned our Universe for life. There is absolutely no basis for that according to the known laws of physics and there is absolutely no evidence for it except that this Universe exists.

    You want a scientific explanation for the beginning of the Universe you must acknowledge that this Universe has a finite beginning. The laws of thermodynamics – proven, testable, observed and repeatable – say that a universe with an infinite past would be an equal spread of energy at a constant temperature of zero kelvin. Obviously our Universe has not reached that therefore our universe had a beginning. That means at some point in the past there was nothing and then there was something. In order for that to happen something that is not subject to the same laws of thermodynamics must have initiated that beginning. There is no other explanation. If you try to find a natural explanation for the existence of our Universe you are bound by the natural laws that govern our Universe. Even the Multiverse must have a finite beginning. An infinite expansion and and contraction of natural universes over an infinite amount of time would still have reached equilibrium at some point in the infinite past and we would not exist. Just take Newton’s Cradle and add as many balls as you like to it: eventually all the energy of movement stops. Therefore the only explanation for the existence of our Universe is a Supernatural Creator.

    With that starting point you can then begin to evaluate the nature of that Supernatural Creator by looking at His Creation. He is obviously super-intelligent because the necessary fine-tuning to create this universe is staggering. A Creator with that intelligence who created this Universe to have life must have had a purpose in mind for that. A being with that level of intellect acts with purpose and His Creation reveals that very clearly. There is order and predictability, not random chaos. So a Creator that creates with purpose and created humanity with the ability and curiosity to explore must have desired to be known by His Creation. The unique place of the Earth, our solar system, and our galaxy gives us a prime means of exploring our universe; again this all shows purpose and intent. So a Creator that wants to be known, who has gone to such great lengths to be known would not leave our knowledge of Him to chance or the whim of our imagination. He would reveal Himself so that we could be sure of who He is. No better way to do that then to provide a written revelation of Himself to us. And then He went one better and actually became one of us.

    I could go on and on here, but you can see how perfectly the Bible describes what we see of our Creator. There is no religion that better fits what we see in what God has made. You combine that with the amazingly accurate nature of the documents of the Bible and I ask you, “How much more proof do you need?”

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    What it comes down to is this. If you do not need much proof so be it. I and i suspect the majority of people need scientific proof. What bothers me most is that if the Bible holds some essential truth than why was it kept from us for most of hour history on this earth? Why has book based faith caused so much death for non believers in this world. Today people still war over territory because they believe in a different religious story, I said before these seemingly benign stories can be lethal to others. I know that a scientific search for GOD is a unifying approach for mankind. Atheists use science to disprove any caring creative force in the universe.
    To them I say if it leads you there so be it. That very same science proves
    to me better than any book that there most certainly a caring unifying force that is cause of everything, From the evidence there is no question but that we inhabit an eternal universe. That knowledge alone should unite us but it does not,

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    It is true that a number of second burials are described in the Bible but that does not mean those are the only second burials that took place. Many others could have been. As far as a record of those, we know that the Hebrew people had other documents that kept records as well. 1&2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles both refer to other historical records that we no longer have accessible to us. Just because those records were not kept as a part of sacred texts does not mean that they didn’t exist. It could be that a record was made of other relocated bones as well. I appreciate, Jack, that you do acknowledge that there is other possible explanations of why the remains of the bodies from the Exodus have not yet been found.

  • Tom Tom says:

    “The DNA shows an unexpected hereditary link to the Denisovans, Neandertals’ genetic cousins . . .) Good reason for that–they’re all human beings!One human being turned into . . . . . . . . . . .another human being! Pretty cool!

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    The relocation of bones is the Bible is matter that is not taken lightly. The reason for this is that Biblical Hebrews felt that GOD would flesh on these bones at time of the Feast of Leviathans. Orthodox Jews today demonstrate this concern by using tweezers to pick up the flesh of dead Israeli’s who were blown apart by a terrorist bomb. For the buried bones of the wandering of Exodus not to be accounted for in light of this very great concern, makes one question the veracity of the story, That is not to say that an insignificant Exodus occurred for which there will be very little proof existing today. We are left at best with an exaggeration of the truth and nothing in the Bible needs to be taken literally to enjoy it as wonderful story about all of us.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks for the link Jack. I wasn’t able to get to the whole article because I don’t have a subscription to the Nature journal. What exactly were you wanting to say about this in the context of our conversation?

    I am also unsure of your point in your last post to Tom about the movement of Joseph’s bones. Could I get you to clarify that for us please?

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Tom;

    The miracle of the Exodus story is diminished significantly by reason of the absence of bones. With respect to Biblical bones, there removal would be noted as a matter of significance. The Bible speaks by way of how and where bones are relocated. The story of Joseph’s bones is but one illustration of this specificity. Logic would tell us that to not mention it would mean the author lived long after the story occurred, Such such are not reliable by the passage of time. This is simply unreliable history, To constantly search for excuses is to demonstrate an irrational need to believe.

    19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    Go this site for the purpose of continuing our reasoned discussion.

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ancient-hominid-bone-serves-dna-stunner

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    You know that not all bones are fossilized right Jack? Given the right conditions some bones do last for thousands of years but many don’t. All I am saying is that just because those bones have not been located does not conclude the Bible is a false record. There are some who have suggested other theories of how the Hebrews came to the land of Canaan but there is far less proof of that. Keep in mind that the parts if the Bible that describe the Children of Israel coming to the Promised Land is told as an eye witness account. There are literary critics who try to suggest that the authorship of these documents was as late as 400 BC but that theory has been shown to be very weak. There is too much evidence that the documents were written by someone who was very familiar with Egyptian culture, language, and names of the time to be a later authorship. So we have an eyewitness account that was used throughout the history of the nation of Israel and Judah as a foundation for their beliefs and culture. Discounting that testimony because of missing bones is reckless. There is archeological finds that helps substantiate the biblical accounts. Have a look at http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm and let me know what you think.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    You can find the intact bones of dinosaurs which died millions of years ago. Why is it so hard for you accept that the bones and indeed other human tissue would have been preserved in dry desert for 10’s of thousands of years. Christian Biblical Archaeologists long ago despaired of locating the bones of the ancient Hebrew wanderers. They concluded that the bones had been swept up to heaven above. The bones over time would have been more deeply buried in the sand. Predation cannot account for the disappearance of so much bone material. Most believing archaeologist are not as dismissive as you are about the absence of bones. The Exodus story has been dismissed as myth or pure exaggeration of a much smaller smaller Exodus. Modern archaeology has determine that the ancient Hebrew people had once been part of the people of Canaan. When they became monotheistic they broke with their pagan brothers. Long before these monotheists an Egyptian pharaoh turned Egypt into a monotheistic nation that only existed as such during his rule.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    So you are saying that it is impossible for the bones of the Hebrews to have deteriorated over the thousands of years? That they could not have decayed like so many other human remains do? That scavengers could not have destroyed the evidence of those bones in the intervening time? That the Bedouin people who travel in those areas would not have used those bones to fuel their fires? Or any other myriad of reasons for those bones to have been destroyed? Is that your position Jack?

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    Wrong, wrong and wrong. We are talking about 600,000 corpses. Broken up into pieces of bone would create a literal mountain of bones. The desert preserves corpses for a very long time. The desert is in fact the wilderness. The story of the Exodus is untrue and at best it is such an exaggeration of the truth that it begins to approach deceit. To make the story true, we should know with certainty if and where the ancient Hebrews reburied the bones. But it makes no mention of it. I suppose the writer became too tired to write anything more.Where is the battle of Jericho proven? Why did GOD authorize a genocide against the pagan Canaanites? Why didn’t he make them too dizzy to fight back?. Why is there no stella in Egypt describing their victimization by GOD. . Why was Mary not accused of being a common fornicator for having birthed Jesus in mysterious circumstances, Why does one Book that was edited out of the bible, speak of a married Jesus? Who invented the concept of Virgin Birth? The writers of the Bible did not. Virgin birth is a pagan concept because pagans considered sexual intercourse dirty. The ancient Hebrews went to great lengths in describing how a man and woman should mate to ensure their union was holy. The other irrefutable criticism of the Bible, it that women play a far less significant role than men. Yet today we know that women are smarter than men. There are now more women taking post graduate work than men, There are now more women taking professional courses than men, Why does the Bile not have them play a far more significant role? Simply because the writers of the Bible did not respect them very much. They may have in fact hated them by making Eve communicate with a serpent and eating from the tree of knowledge and thereby damning humankind.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Archeologists are always discovering new things, such as:
    http://fresherglobe.com/2014/12/19/mass-grave-found-egypt-1-million-mummies-estimated

    Imagine–a million mummies missing for what, 3000 to 4000 years? No telling what we haven’t found yet!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    You have such confidence in the ability of archeologists to find those remains Jack. I can think of many different reasons why those remains have not been found. 1) There are a number of instances in the Genesis and Exodus accounts where a ‘second burial’ is described. Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. Jacob requested being buried in Canaan. Joseph’s bones were carried from Egypt for the entire 40 years of Wilderness Wanderings and buried with his father at Shechem. It is possible that all the Hebrew families gathered their family members to be buried in the Promised Land. 2) there are a number of places in the Bible where it says that the ‘dead bodies were scattered in the wilderness’. Some have suggested that there was no burial for those bodies which would result in the elements deteriorating all of their remains. We are talking about thousands of years ago. It is absolutely possible that all the remains have deteriorated in that time period.

    The lack of evidence does not prove the point. If that be the case, where is the evidence that the Hebrew people got from Egypt to Canaan some other way? Why do you ignore all the evidence that does exist of the accuracy of the Bible’s records?

  • Canadian Jack says:

    If the Exodus story was true, archaeologists would definitely have found evidence of it in well over 100 years of searching. It has been concluded without question, that there are absolutely no bones of the buried former slaves in the desert during a forty year wandering, It has been determined that there should be 600,000 such dead Hebrews and at least one should have been discovered by the time the search ended. Fundamentalist Christians who financed part of the search have stated that the bones were clearly spirited up to heaven, Christians will never admit that they have reached a dead end. Jamie site one peer reviewed archaeological paper that explains away the absence of empirical evidence,

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I am interested in knowing Jack, if the God you believe in acts in the world? You seem to discount the miraculous. Does your God just sit back and observe or does He involve Himself in the affairs of humanity?

    That is one of the key features of the God of the Bible: He is active in the lives of men and women on Earth. It is one of the ways that He shows HIs love for us and His desire to have a relationship with us. I have seen things that cannot be explained except by miracles. I know a girl born with only one functioning ear. A birth defect meant that her right ear was only on the outside with none of the inner pieces like the ear drum and things. When she was in college a group of students prayed for her and suddenly she was able to hear out of that ear. Right there in the college chapel a new inner ear was formed. There is no natural explanation for that and must be attributed to the supernatural. That is the God that I know and follow.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    There are many different genres of literature in the Bible like poetry, narrative, didactic, apocalyptic, etc. and so it would be wrong to say that the Bible as a whole is meant to be historical. But there are parts that are intended as historical revealing how God has interacted with His Creation. Luke begins his Gospel with, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:3-4) So his intent was to give an historical account of the life and ministry of Jesus to help affirm the things being taught about Jesus. Many other parts of the Bible also have that purpose; yes they are giving a spiritual teaching but it is in the context of the acts of God in human history. One of the best ways of knowing someone is seeing how they respond in situations. It is God’s desire that we know Him so it makes sense that He gives us a written account of His actions.

    My great-grandfather died when my grandfather was a young boy, and then my great-grandmother just a few years later. My grandfather was taken in by his mother’s family but we have almost no information about my great grandfather’s family even after much researching. That doesn’t mean he didn’t exist but that the ravages of war and cultural upheaval has left no historical record of his existence. And that is just four generations away. To say that there is no historical proof of the Exodus or other events described in the Bible does not mean that those events never happened, but that we have yet to find evidence of them. Nether has there been any evidence that disproves those events. No one has found any conclusive evidence how the Hebrew people came to be in the land of Israel. There is evidence of Semitic people in Egypt in the right time frame. There is evidence that King David did reign over the area in the time the Bible describes. The pieces seem to fit even though there are missing steps.

    I know you see Hell as a threat to force one to follow Jesus but that misses the point entirely. Do you see a sign about a closed road as some kind of coercion to get you to go on a different road? Is a poison label on a cleaning product a threat to your personal freedom? These are warnings of danger. God did not create us for Hell nor Hell for us. He made us to have relationship with Him and to be witnesses of His great love and power. The Bible says that God does not want anyone to perish and so He has told us what lies down our path if we continue to follow our own path. He is the source of everything good and if we reject Him we are turning our back on everything good; that path will lead to suffering unimaginable. God is rescuing us from that. If you choose to refuse His rescue you are condemning yourself.

  • Canadian Jack says:

    Jamie:

    The Bible is a spiritual book. It was never intended to be an historical document. There is much in the bible for which no historical proof exists. The Exodus for one. The collapse of the walls of Jericho another, If the story of the ten commandments is not historical what possible relevancy is a book which has been so undermined. The vast majority of people now or whoever lived do not accept the bible as true. Christians are a minority on this planet after so many thousands of years. Of the Seven billions of souls on this planet how many will not be saved according to your understanding of scripture. Most people do not like to be threatened. I guess you don’t mind Jamie.

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