Why is it important to learn more about religion vs spirituality? Aren’t they practically the same? While there are similarities between religion and spirituality, they are still different concepts entirely. Defining these two is very important in your personal spiritual journey.
Religion vs Spirituality: Breaking it Down
What is Religion?
Religion is an organized system of beliefs and practices. It also teaches many things. These teachings include creation stories, devotional practices, ritual observances, and moral codes. The majority of modern religions base their beliefs on a great prophet or a great book. Also, religion relies on faith. A religious person is faithful when they put complete trust and confidence in what their religion preaches. Yet, sometimes, the basis of this trust is more on spiritual apprehension than proof or truth.
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality is a broad concept that focuses on the connection of the self to something bigger. It deals with existential questions like our place in the universe and the meaning of life. It is an aspect of being human where people seek to understand the way they connect to the moment, to themselves, to others, to nature, and to the sacred.
Similarities between Religion and Spirituality
The belief in something bigger than the self is what unites religion and spirituality. This larger power can be God, Allah, Buddha, Yahweh, or our belief in a primal force in the universe. A greater power has put us in this universe. Now, in both spirituality and religion, it is our duty to find our life’s purpose or to live our purpose as defined by our spiritual guide.
Differences between Religion and Spirituality
At first glance, religion and spirituality might sound the same. Yet, when you look closer, they are very different. There are three main differences in the argument of religion versus spirituality:
- Religion is an institution that was created by another person. Spirituality is something only you can find inside yourself. Further, sometimes people can be forced into religion. In contrast, spirituality is something no one can decide for you. Self-discovery makes spirituality great.
- Man defines religion. On the other hand, a greater power defines spirituality. Human beings can decide what religion is for them. In spirituality, something bigger than yourself guides you and your life.
- One of the most noticeable differences between religion and spirituality is that religion preaches and commands while the spirituality inspires. You need to follow a set of rules if you want to move forward in religion. Advancing in spirituality is through a process of loving and accepting yourself and the world around you. The idea of advancement is replaced with the journey for growth.
For an explanation of religion vs spirituality through the eyes of today’s youth, check out this video by dakotawint:
As Deepak Chopra said, “Religion is a belief in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience.” Other people might say they are spiritual but not religious yet, it is possible to be both. These two things are important in maintaining the balance between your mind, body, and spirit.
Are you religious or spiritual? How did you find your own spirituality? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 3, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.