By Klaus Döring
Most scientists agree that religiosity (also called religiousness) is not an independent personality trait, despite there being some commonality between their characteristics. Religiosity and personality traits both relate to one’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
Religion is a specific set of organized beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group. Spirituality is more of an individual practice and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose. It also relates to the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life and connection with others.
One of the most important parts of my life is the belief in a supernatural power that governs the universe. It doesn’t matter which religion we belong to or believe in: the recognition of God as an object of worship. The form of worship should be our primary need.
During my stay in several Western countries, I experienced icy and conceited comments such as religiousness isn’t popular anymore. Religiousness makes people unwilling and morose because of exaggeration and sometimes even hypocrisy.
Increasing negative headlines about the “institutional church” nowadays and also in the past, and embarrassing comparisons lead only to discord.
How come? We want to see the religiosity of our fellow creatures. We want to understand their ideology.
But we are also poking our nose into other people’s business too much. Let’s look behind the scenes and let’s find out what religious behavior promotes: humility in actual life. Maybe. It’s hard for us to do without affecting others. We even forget the real meaning of religiousness. St. John Crysostom subscribed to the topic “Pagans and Christians” very well: “There would be no pagans if we were good Christians. But the pagans see us manifesting the same desires, pursuing the same objects – power and honor – as themselves, how can they admire Christianity?
They see our lives open to reproach and our souls worldly. We admire wealth equally with them and even more. How, then, can they believe? From miracles? But these are no longer wrought. From our conversion? It has become corrupt. From charity? Not a trace of it is anywhere seen. (Quotation “Winnowing Fan”, Vol. XX, June 2003, S of G Foundation, Makati).
I am proud to have people in my surroundings for more than two decades who taught me how to be on the right track – unconcerned and unnoticed. Natural and uninhibited, they showed me how to put real religiousness into action besides praying and going regularly to church. I call such people religious. I mean it as praise because they don’t like to blow their trumpets while acting as Christians in our daily life. Having such people around us makes it easier to practice forgiveness.