Religion vs. Spirituality
Updated: Apr 23
Some people make no distinction between religion and spirituality, however they are different in nature. You can be spiritual without religion and be spiritual within a religion. The difference is that religion is a belief system with a framework of creeds, doctrines and rules, whereas spirituality is not confined or defined by the same constraints of religion. Spirituality is the individual connection to God and the Universe, and even in relation to each other.
Many people identify as "spiritual but not religious" but what does that mean exactly? It varies depending on the individual. Often it means they do not identify with any religious organization or ideology. They may have an eclectic, Earth-centered or nature based spirituality. It can even mean they are Agnostic. It may include a belief in God or it may be closer to secular humanism (humanity is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without belief in God).
Spirituality in this context is usually thought of more as a mindset of discarding traditional beliefs and rules mandated by some religions in favor of making up your own mind about what is Truth regarding God, the Universe and morality. Spirituality is not confined by any one religion. It can be a sense of awe, wonder and curiosity about God, Source, Spirit, the Soul and Creation.
Some branches of religion take a more holistic approach to spirituality. Metaphysical Science is one such example because it draws on spiritual Truths from many religious and spiritual sources, both Eastern and Western. It is truly an open-minded and beautiful way of looking at God, humanity and the Universe. We see everything as One and through a lens of love and a desire for peace.
A person within a religion can also be spiritual. Although they may be operating within parameters of their religion and may or may not share all of the beliefs of the organization they are a member of. It is a sense or feeling that we are a part of something greater than ourselves, there is more to life than our human existence, and an awareness of the Divine, greater whole. It is a desire to improve your own life and to make the world a better place for others.
Religion in of itself may be positive or negative, depending on how it is used. Religion has been wielded to oppress, spread prejudice, bigotry, and all kinds of violence or to promote unity, peace and love. Anything can be used for good or bad.
Religions usually have the intent of bringing mankind into communion with God and to improve the person's life. There is not a "one size fits all" as each serves a purpose, depending on the individual and their spiritual journey. There is Truth found in all religions.
God gave us a conscious for a reason and the ability to question, reason and discern. It is up to us to walk the path of light.
"For You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness."
- Psalm 18:28
God bless you, have a great week and Namaste.
Rev. S. Castle