Hey! If I amend the first two statements, this applies to me, too!
‘I believe in God.
I’m a Theist.
I consider myself a critical thinker, and it fascinates me that in the 21st century most people still believe in, as George Carlin puts it, ‘the invisible man living in the sky.’
Before we lump all “religious,” “spiritual,” or “theistic” people into the same group, let’s remember that there are countless different traditions & practices that definitely have nothing to do with the currently massively held misconception of misinterpretations, deliberate mistranslations, and missing sections.
It’s tough to fault people for being confused when we’re all told to value and believe things from birth that are logically inconsistent and then never shown how to think critically in school, which to me is mind-blowing, but ever so sadly, not at all surprising anymore. This world exists to lie to us. To dupe & ensnare us, which is why humans are so obsessed with truth & reality. We crave knowledge so we can be right because what we know and believe is real and true.
Honesty & openness are so important because everywhere we turn, there is deceit. Even when not interacting with other humans, this world of matter will convince us of tigers that aren’t there in every bush. It’s just nature, but we can choose to cultivate the gift humans alone have been given, which is the ability for higher thought & abstract reasoning. As such, it just breaks my heart when I see so many people arguing over simple things that could have been solved in elementary school had the kids just been taught how to think & talk instead of just to feel and do without considering consequences or others being affected.
The word/concept of God is far older & far more expansive than the most currently most popular/widespread western translation/transliteration of God which carries such a bulk of connotation with it that for me, it’s almost rendered meaningless. Also, it’s a title, not a name, so that’s also something to consider. The same has happened with the world religion. It now has such heavy connotations that it basically can’t be used as it literally means because 9/10 or more people in the USA at least will not understand.
Religion actually means yoga & vice versa denotatively. It’s from Latin, re-ligiare, to re-bind or re-unite. What this means is that where there once was One, now there is Two, and the process of rejoining with the Whole into this One again is called the practice of religion, or yoga, which is why all yogic practices were once considered religious practices. Again, since religious isn’t used as it really means anymore as it implies dogma & dharma & sins & commandments, & so on, people in the west today seem to favor saying they’re spiritual instead of religious, which I think is a term that’s getting misused as well, because again to me, denotatively it simply means one who believes in spirit, i.e. something supra-mundane & immaterial, aka pre-material, that which existed before even the primordial.
The fact of the matter is that to discuss purely theistic concepts, since they’re so far beyond the realm of what is known & experienced on a daily basis when operating in the physical plane, critical thinking, abstract reasoning, and higher cognitive capacity, while not necessary to understand the spiritual, actually super help when first approaching religion in an intellectual mindset. While this can be the case, however, I maintain a strict position personally that if one truly desires to learn more about any spiritual/religious practice, it is always best to go to the source.
I advise if one truly wants to try and understand what the God phenomenon really is, it’s a matter of having to find the right people actually. Try to find someone who is earnestly, humbly, and sincerely striving to practice what they preach, live their lives as closely to the earliest teachings of their tradition in a way that is wholly personal & not at all dogmatic or about anyone or anything else externally. Then try to open your heart actually. Opening one’s mind is important, but the mind is easily influenced by the heart & true religion is about the heart, not the head