That is one reason why I know Aikido is not for me, I already have firm religious/spiritual beliefs. While I do still believe Aikido teaches many worthwhile martial principles, to me it is not worth all the other aspects (including but not limited to religion) that do not interest me.
Then I cannot fathom why you even spend your time here???
Maybe you and I view spirituality in religion in different ways??? ....That is the issue???
I have never experienced outwardly practice of dogmatic religion in ANY aikido dojo. It just is not a part of it. Is it a religious practice for me...well yes....but that is my issue and would never affect our interaction or training....it is personal in nature.
I have had spiritual experiences in the most non-relgious environments. In fact probably the biggest one for me occurred about 10 years ago in U.S. Army Ranger School. Now what does THAT have to do with ANY religous or spiritual practice!
Having 5 friends killed in the Pentagon on 9-11 was a religous/spiritual experience for me that affected me deeply!
There are many, many people out there that do not box up there religion and spirituality in a box only to be opened on Sunday mornings during service. Many Western Christians that believe that every action they take, thought they think, and practice they take is a part of their religous and spiritual practice.
While aikido may be a part of many peoples relgious or spiritual journey....it doesn't mean that the training focus is on that, it is simply a benefit to be gained.
Jun already split the thread...i'd too would be very interested in discussing how you see religion blatantly integrated and practiced in aikido.