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Two Phases of Religion

Readers note:

Chapter 12 from “The Secret of Being Strong” by C.W. Naylor


“Life is many-sided and has diverse variations.” This is true for many aspects of life such as in business, school, politics, morality and religious. Most people suppose that everyone’s religious experience needs to be identical, meaning “everyone should have that same experience and should manifest it in the same way”. No two people are identical in every way so why should their outlook or experience me the same?

Now, at the core of the Christian faith the experience is the same: salvation from sin, sanctification of the soul, and the blessings of being a child of God. But even in these experiences each person is different because they each had different sins they were forgiven from and their past that was erased. But if we were to categorize the experience of salvation into phases we could break it down into two separate phases: the mystical and the practical.

Now to illustrate these two phases we can use two of the great false religions that have focused on only one phase while totally rejecting the other. Buddhism is the type of religion that focuses exclusively on the mystical and the contemplative things such as quietness and peace. This focus on detaching from the world and temporal issues has caused the Buddhists to be viewed as the ideal perspective to those in the world, but the result for ordinary people produces a multitude of idle priests who have no motivation for any task. On the other hand, Islam is the type of religion that concentrates the practical, that is to say on action and what you do as an individual. While Buddhism just sits idly by not caring if any join their cause, Islam is the exact opposite; Islam spread quickly throughout the entire middle east and northern Africa in the matter of a few decades. But what Islam has in practicality it lacks in mysticism. Mysticism is those high ideals of the religion that you follow, Islam has low moral standard but a high call to action.

But to return to Christianity, followers of Christ have both high ideals and many things they can do to prove their love for God. Those who love to dream and ponder on the high things of God can do so, and that idealism can be transferred into worship and inspiration for the saints around them. The Church needs those that have a vision of what God desires of his people. We are not to withdraw from society like the Buddhist monks, but we are to stay in this world but not be part of it. Practical faith is also a necessity for Christianity. Doctrines and teachings are only as good as they are applicable to our daily lives. The early church spread because of it’s high ideals but also because of the zeal of those that believed and had a heart to work for the church.

We as Christians need to focus on both phases. We need to understand and be inspired by the deep truths of the Word of God, but we need to take that inspiration and make it active in our lives. “Activity is the moral expression of grace in the heart.” If we love God, we won’t just sit and merely gaze and contemplate the truth, but we will want to go express it to the world and tell what God has done for us and what he can do for them.

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