The Spiritual Journey

By Bret Burquest


There are a multitude of spiritual paths, including numerous religions, conceived by the human race.


AGNOSTICISM: The view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable. They do not believe in the existence or the nonexistence of a God or gods. They simply don't know.


ANIMISM: Considered to be the original human religion, as practiced by aboriginal and native cultures. They believe in multiple gods and the existence of spiritual beings. Animals, plants and celestial bodies have spirits.


ATHIEISM: There is no such thing as a supreme deity. To believe in God is to have blind faith (wishful thinking) in something that can't be proven to exist, therefore it's only logical to assume it doesn't exist.


BUDDHISM: The essence of existence is suffering. The cause of suffering is pleasure of the senses. You grow through meditation. To end the suffering one must give up the craving for pleasure (both joy and sorrow).


CHINESE TRADITIONNAL RELIGION: A combination of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Although Communist laws prohibit religion, an estimated 350 million people still practice this divergent faith privately.


CHRISTIANITY: Through a wide variety of differing denominations and practices, they believe Jesus Christ was the son of God who came into being through an immaculate conception and was crucified for their sins.


GNOSTICISM: God is found within the self as well as outside the self. The soul suffers in this delusional, evil world. Each person has a divine counterpart watching over us. Essential spiritual knowledge comes from within.


HINDUISM: Human and animal spirits reincarnate, returning to earth many times in different forms. Your devotion goes to the god you choose. You go up and down a Karmic hierarchy while seeking Nirvana. 


ISLAM: There is one true God named Allah. Their doctrine is the Koran, written by Muhammad, and they must pray five times per day. Those who follow Allah will go to paradise, those who don't will go to hell.


JUDAISM: The world was created by an all-knowing divinity and all things were designed to have purpose. God's will was revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai and the Torah regulates how humans are to live their lives.


OTHERS: Other belief systems (# of followers) include: Secular (1.1 billion), Primal-indigenous (300 million), African Traditional (100 million), Sikhism (23 million), Spiritism (15 million), Baha'i (7 million), Janeism (4.2 million), Shinto (4 million), Cao Dia (4 million), Zoroastrianism (2.6 million), Tennkyo (2 million), Neo-Paganism (1 million), Unitarian-Universalism (800,000), Rastafariansim (600,000), Scientology (500.000) and so on.


I never wanted to write a column about such a sensitive subject but several people have asked me to join their bandwagon of posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings. They believe their religion is the true path to divine salvation and assume the world would be a better place if everyone believed as they believe.


However, there are a zillion different religious points of view in this world and adopting the dogma from a particular branch of a specific belief system would clearly be offensive to those who believe differently. This world has shed enough blood over religious differences without adding more fuel to the fire.


Religious freedom in America protects each religion from being dominated by other religions (or superseded by the prohibition of religion). Government should have no role in religion other than assuring its right to exist.


Life is a journey. Many people get stuck in the trap of seeking pleasure or riches, but once you start the spiritual aspect of your journey your self-indulgence is replaced with simple pleasures (a beautiful sunset) and a sensible lifestyle (living within your means) as the glory of your spiritual awakening becomes far more rewarding.


Being whole isn't a matter of having money or fun; it's a matter of appreciating your existence.


Your spiritual journey is a profound individual experience of everlasting discovery. While you may rejoice in this discovery, your personal religious principles do not belong on the walls of public buildings.


Treating others as you wish to be treated includes tolerating other points of view.


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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columns and author of four novels. Contact




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