Religion and Spirituality – what differentiates religion from spirituality?
Religion is usually defined as the belief in a God or gods to be worshiped. This is usually done by following specific rituals and it is expressed in certain conduct. This usually has a code of ethics which needs to be followed as well. Spirituality on the other hand is more of a non physical or spiritual character. It is about character which is expressed in life, thought and tone. Religion claims that when the person follows the beliefs, rituals and more, their relationship with God will be put right. Spirituality on the other hand focuses on the spiritual world and spiritual things instead.
Religion and Spirituality should be almost synonymous, but sadly it isn’t. There are huge differences between religion and spirituality.
a) Religion usually talks of a world view which is all about us against them. Spirituality on the other hand upholds the view of us and them.
b) Religion usually owes it’s loyalty to clergy, rules, institutions and more. Whereas spirituality owes it’s loyalty to compassion and justice.
c) Religion speaks about God whereas Spirituality talks about being godly.
d) Religions are varied and some are completely different to each other whereas spirituality is the same.
e) Religions have a hierarchy of initiates and most have an inner circle which lead the rituals for the rest of the people. Spirituality does not have a hierarchy.
f) Religious people could be spiritual ones and generally speaking, most of them are. Spiritual persons on the other hand may not be religious but may attain spirituality through other means.
g) Religion usually consists of a community of people with the same beliefs. It tries to initiate uniformity in action and thought as well among the members and the members who are part of it are provided with physical and spiritual support. Spirituality on the other hand is very individualistic.
h) Religion is something which comes from outside whereas spirituality is something that comes from within. Religion focuses on the outside whereas spirituality focuses on the within.
i) The character of the individual is shaped by religion whereas the individual himself or herself is shaped by spirituality.
j) Religion instills discipline in the individual whereas spirituality makes the mind of the person strong.
All things considered, religion can be considered as a subset of spirituality and once the individual has built himself or herself to be spiritually strong, they do not need religion in order to survive.