Have you ever wondered: What are the differences between religion and spirituality? Maybe you’ve heard both terms before, but didn’t know exactly what each one meant, or what distinguishes one from the other. Many people believe that these are one and the same; and although they share some similarities, there are also some differences.
In this post, I will help you with distinguishing between the two and hopefully make everything a little clearer, if there was possibly some confusion before.
When you look up these two terms they are defined as follows:
Religion – the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
Spirituality – the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
These are very basic definitions of a highly respected multi-faceted reality. I know there are many people who believe different things when it comes to their personal beliefs about religion and spirituality. And I whole-heartedly respect their views and religious beliefs. I can also say that the differences between religion and spirituality are not always clear cut because they definitely overlap in areas, and also that both are about exploring the same realism to some degree, but maybe just that its coming from different angles or viewpoints.
What is the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?
For most people, religion is something they’ve been brought up with from a young age and is something that goes beyond the physical existence. Its a deep founded love, respect, belief and admiration for a Higher Power, who has intellect, wisdom and great knowledge to share with us. This is received through written scriptures in a Holy book, attending services at a place of Worship or by spending time in prayer.
Each religion has their own beautiful insights into how they will reach Heaven or be with God when they leave earth one day. I have had the privilege of meeting many people from various religious backgrounds over the years and although I am non denominational in my own religious beliefs; I love speaking with people about religion and their personal beliefs with respect, and listen to what they have to say. These conversations bring me joy.
Everyone strives to be happy in their lives. This is a universal need that all of us desire, no matter our age, gender, cultural background, religion, financial or social standing. Not all of us are lucky enough to experience true happiness throughout our lives; or if we do, it is sometimes fleeting.
This can be down to various problems we experience in our lives. We all know of the mental and physical issues we face each day; but what most of us don’t realise is that sometimes these problems may be attributed to an emotional or spiritual root cause.
If its not from an emotional issue then it very likely may mean that its coming from a spiritual root cause, but manifesting itself as a psychological or physiological problem.
Some of the primary spiritual root causes can be labelled as:
- Departed loved ones and lack of closure
- Distress due to negative energies around us
7 Differences Between Religion and Spirituality
1. Spirituality is a Little More Free Flowing
Spirituality is about following your heart and soul, and doesn’t necessarily follow a particular ideology. You are encouraged to follow your intuition and do what feels right for you and the people around you.
It gives you the freedom to decide the best course of action to become a better person without (and I use these terms loosely), the fear of punishment or the promise of reward. Your inner peace, joy and happiness is what’s important; and these feelings are what bring you closer to your higher self.
2. Spirituality Comes More From Love Than Fear
Not so much these days, but throughout the ages we’ve seen that fear has played a big part in some religions. Sadly people feared the consequences of their actions and what would happen after they passed away, if they didn’t live their lives according to the rules of the religion of that time.
Spirituality is a relatively newish concept in comparison, and it seems to act on the basis of love and to emphasize the good in everything. Choices that you make out of fear cannot be good for the soul. Choices that you make out of love however, can feed your soul and give you inner confidence and courage. It encourages you to do what you feel is right and with what is in alignment with your higher self.
3. Where Religion Explains the Truth, Spirituality Allows You to Discover it
Some religions will explain how everything was designed and created, but spirituality will allow you to discover the answers on your own. It gives you the tools to find the truth about all things and there seems to be no limits on how deep you can go when trying to understand everything the universe has to offer. Although this does then leave a lot open to personal interpretation of course.
4. Where Religion is Individualistic, Spirituality Connects
There are so many different religions these days and each one has their own uniquely beautiful story. Spirituality views truth in each one and connects them becauseto the Spiritualist, the truth remains the same for all, irrespective of their unique differences. Spiritualitys’ emphasis is on the divine message that is shared and focuses less on the details of the story being told.
5. Spirituality Refers to Karma
Religion sometimes speaks about the threat of eternal damnation whereas spirituality leans more towards Karma. Karma loosely put, means it revolves around the universal Law of Attraction: What you send out is what you get back.
I once heard a natural healer by the name of Master Stephen Co say, when speaking about Karma that it acts almost like a boomerang; if you send something good out, it will come back to you but it will take time for that good to come back to you. It will also come back with more than what you sent out because the karma is like a magnet attracting more good as it comes back.
The same can be said for sending negativity out. This is possibly another reason why spiritualists try to do good whenever they can, they understand how the Karma works.
6. Spirituality Encourages You to Follow Your Own Path
Instead of sharing chronicles about God or angellic beings from biblical times, spirituality inspires you to follow your own path and create your own experiences. This enables you to allow your journey of self-discovery to unfold in your own time and at your own pace.
7. Spirituality Encourages You to Look Within Instead of Externally
One of the ideals within spirituality is that there is more than one pathway to God. Whereas with various religions, there is usually only one way to get to Heaven or be with God. When spirituality is tailor-made to the needs and temperament of a person, it leads them to a quicker spiritual evolution and later, possible enlightenment.
Spirituality has to do with having a certain feeling inside you, that knowing that there is more to everything than just our five physical senses can show us. It has to do with finding inner peace and calm. Due to this, it then makes sense that spirituality is usually practiced alone compared to some religions which are generally practiced in communities or large groups.
I believe that we are all beautiful souls, created in love and as equals, and that each one of us have a higher purpose in this life. I am finally on the right path to discovering mine, I hope you are too.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and that it gave you a little insight into some of the differences between religion and spirituality. I would love to hear from you, please feel free to leave your comments below.
Wishing you love, light, and happiness,