Spirituality and religion are terms that are often confused with each other. Since childhood, you perceive them as one.
Spirituality gives meaning and direction to your life. It will help you to grow and develop yourself. You come to know the real meaning of your existence.
But, the real essence of spirituality is affected by some blind religious practices.
If you recognize this deeply rooted power within yourself, then you can constructively guide your life.
In this article, we will see how both of them are distinct. The main aim is to clarify the difference between spiritual and religious practices, and not to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Spirituality vs. Religion
The thought behind both of them is the same but differs in the way they are approached.
Both teach us how to visualize the universe that is not possible with our naked eyes. They teach that there is more to life than your physical body.
Both make us realize that the universe has non-physical elements, and we all should connect with them to live a fulfilled life. But both are different for everyone. Knowing the difference between them will help you to visualize what you are doing and whether it is serving your life’s purpose or not.
Let us discuss some main differences between religion and spirituality:
- It represents a set of beliefs.
- A holy man acts as an intermediary between you and god.
- It promotes blame and shame.
- You have to leave your present living for a better future.
- It is an institution.
- It teaches you about sin and hell.
- It relates you to an external form.
- It converts you.
- It says you to follow a set of pre-defined beliefs.
- It allows you to govern yourself and connect with the higher energy.
- There is no involvement of any intermediary.
- It makes you aware of your existence and promotes self-realization.
- It tells you how not to become slaves of your present attachments for a blessed present.
- It is a continuous journey.
- It makes you knowledgeable about karma.
- It relates you to your true internal essence.
- It inspires you.
- It says every individual has a unique path to follow.
Slowly with time and a desire to gain a respectable position in society, the spiritual element associated with every religion got vanished. Now we are left with mostly social institutions.
Religion overpowered spirituality. Teachings, experiences, spiritual practices, and principles got replaced by beliefs, moral rules, rituals, and stories.
Importance of Spirituality
With the rise of scientific knowledge and level of education, more and more people are abandoning religion as a tool to explore the world and create a better version of them. Today you have more physical comforts, knowledge, and means of entertainment. It is a result of inventions in the field of science and technology.
But, then also you suffer from mental disorders, financial insecurity, and feeling of emptiness despite having a successful career and a stable income.
Spirituality and Science
It acts filler between religious practices and scientific materialism.
Religion: You should believe what scriptures say.
Science: Trust only facts that can be experimentally proven.
Spirituality: Do not blindly follow religious practices. Understand the deeper meaning of life by doing self-exploration.
Spirituality can argue with science, but religion cannot.
Spirituality and science both have their unique system and knowledge base. They both are good and complement each other.
Spirituality is concerned with fulfillment, happiness, human growth, finding the true meaning of life, and building connections.
Science is more concerned about the external world. It focuses on knowledge, invention, facts, and information.
We need to keep evolving with time. The facts presented by scientific theories today may be incomplete or flawed and may not be relevant in the coming years. Similarly, teachings related to spirituality may not be the same after a hundred years, but you should focus on the present to create a fulfilling life.
The New Era of Spirituality and Religion
With advancement, we are moving in a direction where spirituality is governed by science, and science is enlightened by spirituality.
Science helps in cleaning up superstitions, and spirituality uplifts science. The concept of karma, meditation, reincarnation, and enlightenment plays an important role in this development.
If organized religious institutions want to continue being a part of the next generation of humans, they need to revise their system of beliefs. They should follow the path of spirituality and abandon the age-old dogmas.
Spirituality takes away the pain of forcefully following a set of beliefs and rules to attain enlightenment. It connects you internally with the higher spirit without the involvement of any intermediary.
So what does being spiritual means? It means you have your own views, beliefs, and practices. You follow your own path based on your ethics and not as per views and beliefs of any institution.
But, to some extent religion is also a part of all spiritual traditions and vice versa.
I consider myself more spiritual than religious.
How do you define religion and spirituality?
Share your views in the comments below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Preeti Shah