“Spiritual” and “Religious”…

Here are a few questions to ponder today. 

Are you “religious” or “spiritual”?

Do they have to be different? Are you both? Neither? 

Next question.

How did your upbringing or early life experience lead you to where you are now and how you classify yourself?

If you’re wondering what brought this on, bear with me and I’ll attempt to explain. Sometimes I get going on these things and I wonder if I’m even being coherent. In recent weeks I’ve gotten a few comments here, mostly polite,  from people who I would consider “religious”. For the most part, these comments have shared concerns that spirit communication is from the Devil or evil. I apparently need to find God… which is weird, because I feel like I have a pretty close relationship with him, actually. I have no intention of censoring these comments, providing they stay respectful. And just to be clear, I have comments set to be approved mainly due to the fact that I have students out there. They’re free to read, but they don’t need to comment. 🙂 

In one of the comments, the reader discussed how she was once into “the occult” (a term that is SO misunderstood and is often confused with “cult”), but now she’s Christian. It was suggested that I repent and “seek God, rather than demonic spirits.” 

Well… I realize it is dangerous to go here, but I’m going to. As soon as I read the comment discussed above, I couldn’t help but think about how my path has been the opposite of hers. And, I suppose, we both would see each others paths as backwards. I grew up and spent a LOT of time in a Southern Baptist Church. My sister and I were the third generation of our family to go to this church. By the time I was in high school, I was a staff musician and was getting some great experience. But it was also around this time that I learned some disappointing things that were going on in the congregation. Not only that, but nationally there was a lot of controversy going on with the Southern Baptist Convention spreading and teaching hate. Ellen Degeneres had come out of the closet and so of course they boycotted everything having to do with ABC and Disney (their parent company). Ring a bell? People can be so very hateful in the name of God… and they’ll follow anyone who refers to themselves as a “pastor” or “preacher”. So I think my family determined that there was more love and acceptance at home than in the church. But I decided to stay until I left for college, gritting my teeth the whole time… and I made that decision for one reason only… music.  In college I worked in two or three different churches as a staff musician and for a year was a director of music. I’ve been known to say that the only thing I got out of these church experiences was music, which has ended up being a huge part of my life, but that’s not exactly true. There were many people who helped raise and support me in my hometown church, people who I have lots of love and respect for. There were many nice people who I worked with in college. But… you can lose a lot of yourself in organized religion. And most definitely, not everything shouted from a church pulpit is good… or even true, for that matter. 

Around 5 years ago I began what I refer to as my “spiritual shift”. I am so much closer to God now than I ever was before then… and I don’t regret leaving organized religion. I don’t think anyone is ever truly enlightened… and I definitely have my flaws (oh boy, that’s another blog post), but I’ve certainly come a long way since then. It’s like my eyes are opened now. I can’t imagine going back to a time where I knew nothing about a spirit guide… or meditation… or energy, or the fact that we’re all loved, no matter what and no one is judged! And… I can’t believe there was a time when “ghosts” were just people wearing bedsheets on Halloween. Aren’t we doing our children an injustice by teaching them that there is a physical land up in the sky covered with clouds and angel wings where only some of us go? I remember praying a lot growing up… begging to not go to the fiery place where the red guy with horns would torture you. And if we’re teaching kids that to get them to behave (Jesus on the shelf?), then we have serious issues. To me, closing my mind and going back to a world where dogma is kept alive to keep leaders of churches and religious organizations in power would be a giant leap backwards. I know too much now. And spirit communication? I’ve yet to have a negative experience. Why wouldn’t we want to learn more?  (Side note. Check out MOSS’s two investigations [HERE and HERE] of a church that DID want to know more. Cool experience!)

So… I know everyone has their own path. I get that. I know very little about these readers other than their “religious” comments. They very well may be the nicest and sweetest  people one could meet. But… how does one respond? Do you smile and just move on? Do you write up a blog post about it? 😉 Am I even being coherent? Am I going to Hell? Care to start a discussion?



Christians and the Occult (kristinemcguire.com) 


About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit BigSeance.com! View all posts by Patrick Keller

16 responses to ““Spiritual” and “Religious”…

  • Randall Keller

    There’s not much to say to this post because I think you made quite a compelling case, and sometimes adding to things like this doesn’t really add at all. I will say this though, you’re attitude is worthy of emulation, I think. I personally try very hard (not often successfully) not to say negative things about others, and I never truly understand why some people feel so driven to do so. I also stopped attending church services after high school. Different reasons, probably, but they were well-considered reasons, I think, and I also feel closer to God as a result. The point being, most of us are not so different, and for my money, we’re all children of God. If God loves us all, then who am I to do otherwise. I think whenever people use God or religion as a shield against loving our “brothers and sisters,” our only response is to love them just the same. Although, I’m not sure we’re instructed to hang out with them. 🙂 The only antidote to hate is love, as I see it. I feel sorry for people who have lost that capacity

    • Patrick

      Dude… Have you ever written a blog post and then a day later you wanted to delete it because you annoyed yourself? 🙂 I’m considering it.

      • Randall Keller

        All the time! I dunno what you’re referring to, but I always talk myself out of it by convincing myself it takes courage to leave it. Sometimes the better part of valor is being able to be wrong. I often am. I suspect we all are. But I’m not sure I’ve read any blog posts of yours that qualify, unless it was your book review of my books. 🙂 I thought your last one was great! But I definitely can relate to what you’re feeling.

      • Randall Keller

        I replied, but since I did it from my phone, I dunno if it got here or not – I lack the confidence in modern technology, it appears. To quickly answer gain:

        I frequently want to do an “expedient” delete of my posts. But it’s like an issue of courage, I think, so I resist. But your posts are great, and if someone disagrees, oh well. I think you exhibit a great deal of tolerance in what you say, while also remaining true to yourself and your convictions. I suspect most of us would count it a loss if you second guess.

      • Patrick

        I approved the original reply, but apparently I didn’t approve hard enough. They are both now approved because both comments were spectacular. 🙂

  • LeeAllenHoward

    Hi, Patrick. I came out of the same environment. 10, 15 years ago, I would be one of the ones posting about finding God and resisting the devil. I earned a masters in biblical studies. But after a difficult coming out experience, I divorced and quit the ministry. I felt lost for a few years, then had a season of profound psychic experiences that set me on a new path, hungry to learn about the New Age, metaphysics, reincarnation, the afterlife, and Spiritualism.

    I now feel I have a much broader experience and understanding of spiritual issues and consider my former “religiousness” as a terrible blindness and stew of judgmentalism. I do believe in God (writing a post about how so now), but my understanding is not so dogmatically defined.

    Thanks for posting this. As always, I get a lot from reading your blog.

    • Patrick

      Well then I’m glad I didn’t delete it like I almost did. 🙂 Your story fascinates me. When does THAT book come out? 🙂 Anyway… thanks for re-blogging and for the constant support.

  • LeeAllenHoward

    Reblogged this on BUILDING THE BRIDGE and commented:
    This is a great post by Patrick of bigseance.com. I will foilow with a post about my thoughts about God.

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  • Cathy Wallace

    “PK” I think this is a very good blog, actually I always like them. Each person can really only speak for themselves, but I don’t see connection between your blogs and evil. I’m sure there are those that choose to “go to the dark side” but I don’t believe you are.
    I do consider myself a religious and God fearing person. I attend church every week and try to do what I think is the right thing, treat people the way I would want to be treated, but we all make mistakes that’s human nature.
    I also do very much believe in the spiritual side. I’ve had a couple of experiences that no one would ever be able to make me believe anything less. Do I think it was evil, no!! Quite the opposite.
    You are very good at what you are doing and it shows that you love it. I say keep up the good work and follow your heart. Don’t let anyone’s comments or opinions get the best of you. They are really only statements about that person not you!!!

    • Patrick

      Thank you, Cathy! I wasn’t too upset.. I just couldn’t really understand where the comments were coming from, I guess… and they all came in one week. And last week I landed myself in an interesting and awkward discussion with a co-worker that made me wonder if this topic was meant to come up about now. But you’re right… people can only speak to their own experiences.

  • Maria Laing

    I’m catching up on reading your blogs, and after reading this entry and your second thought about deleting it, I am glad you didn’t. My first thought was why would someone who believed your work was “of the devil”, even be reading about seances? What bone do they have to pick? If they so believe, why not avoid such sites rather than wage criticism? I, probably much more than most, having experienced the “religious” life as a Catholic nun, as you know, as a former member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in O’Fallon, MO. I later married a Lutheran minister, and with no former role model of a minister’s wife, learned I was not cut out for the job. All along my journey, I also had a point of reference from my family heritage, being half Apache, Native American from New Mexico! All things considered, it has taken the death of my oldest son to pull it all together into a quest to consolidate all that I found worth keeping and dispense with the rest. I think every person is on his/her own journey….where they are today, may not be where they will be next year, or five years from now. With that perspective, I take the live and let live approach. I consider myself spiritual. I also acknowledge that I have learned much from my “religious” training, as well as the beautiful and amazing Gregorian Chant, and music of the Roman Catholic Church and many other aspects that shaped my sense of beauty and mysticism. I am grateful for it all..and grateful for your dedicated work toward connecting with spirit, and bringing us along with you. Keep up the good work!!!

    • Patrick

      Maria… I’ve decided that if you don’t write a book, you should definitely consider starting up a blog. We could all learn so much from you and your journey. You have beautiful thoughts that deserve to be read by more people.

      You bring up some good questions. Why did they seem to search this blog out?

  • Ash

    Haters gonna hate…

  • Brandie Sellers

    Well said, my friend!

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