The idea that being within a religion is participating in a spiritual life has faded. No doubt some people still use religion for its true intention but for the most part it is lost to history. The goal these days, it seems, is not to connect more with our spiritual nature but rather with the idea of being apart of a specific religion.
I believe religions were initially invented as a way to hold on and share real truth. Spread the wealth as it were. These were spiritual people connected to god through metaphoric stories and deep inner work. Masters and teachers were seen as guides rather than authorities. Real communion involved groups of people coming together to grow with one another. It is also known that religions were used as ways to control groups of people.
These days you have a number of religious participants ready to bang on your door and get you to come join them. This is not participating in a spiritual life, this is participating in what it means to be religious. Religions are full of people who have identified who they are with their religion. When you question their religion you are picking a fight with their self identity and sleeping people tend to lash out intensely in those cases. Ask yourself if a spiritual person would feel the need to lash out. Though spiritual people also find themselves identified with something in life, they know it is their duty to let go and grow. They may even find themselves identified with the idea of being more spiritual than others.
There is another rift in the human species at the moment. Its the idea that provades much, if not most, of society today. Its the idea that you are either spiritual or not. This is what I think keeps most people asleep to themselves and a free life. The fact is we are all living spiritual lives to one degree or another. Whether you deny it or accept it is up to you. In societies eyes there is being religious, spiritual, scientific, etc. Its this sort of class based thinking that I think has ruined our perceptions of real life.
There is a new awakening taking place that you can visibly see. People are going around the bend to find the new way to look at life. Science has shown us many new ways to look at life and thus ourselves. Because of this our consciousness over the past hundred years or more has shifted to a mode of thinking that has a vague bleak connection to a godless reality. I think new age thinking and metaphysics is our natural attempt to find our way back to ourselves and our spiritual connection to all of reality. We exist in scientific consciousness and thus must move back to our true selves from this point.
I think the religions of the world are stuck (very much in the same case as my previous article described). God works through you whether you are aware of it or not. It seems most of society goes through life not knowing what god looks like. They even deny he exists. How can you deny something existing if you dont know what it is? Its like a fish denying that water exists. The fish doesnt realize he lives in water and is made of water. That is real ignorance. Science unknowingly describes much conscious reality. These truths serves us greatly but because they are seen as an authority people take on that mode of thinking. This is why acting as an authority is dangerous. They are observing consciousness on so many of its levels Its startling that they can miss god in all of it? They miss it because they are disconnected from it within themselves. Searching for answers through science will inevitably result in finding our true nature.
I think we are due for a great awakening. I call it an awakening because it feels like remembering. When you go to sleep, you drift off into dreams and explore that world. When you come back you have to remember who you are. You awaken. We are all searching for ourselves whether we admit it, outwardly ask for it, or even deny it. "Every act, seen or unseen, is an attempt to learn more about ourselves." The few years ahead look like they will be rough. But we are on a collision coarse with ourselves. I think there is great hope in that.