Difference Between Religion and Spirituality

Religion vs Spirituality

Nearly everyone would say that they believe in a god or a power higher than themselves. Some people profess to belong to a specific religion, while others say that they are only spiritual. Obviously the concepts of religion and spirituality are fundamentally intertwined. There are differences between the two, though those differences vary depending on to whom you speak.

A Basic, Working Definition
Religion ‘“ is a human invention that centers on specific rituals and a set of stories that outline a basic moral code and belief system. Religions often, but not necessarily, have a hierarchy of initiates, with those further into the inner circle leading the rituals for the general populace
Spirituality ‘“ relates to the spirit or essential essence of humanity. People who say they are spiritual are working to grow and better this inner force. Religious people are generally spiritual people as well, but spiritual people do not necessarily have to be religious. They may work to attain a heightened spirituality through alternative methods.

An Outsider’s View
Religion ‘“ to the outsider, the defining characteristic of religion would be its rituals. Every religion asks certain things of its followers. It may be praying at certain times or the day or week. It may be eating or abstaining from certain foods. It may be studying from a specific text or learning certain songs or chants.
Spirituality ‘“ is a little harder to recognize. Today, with the rise of New Age philosophy, many people try to attain a higher spiritual state through meditation, chanting, prayer, or contemplation. These practices are also espouses by certain religions.

From the Sociologist
Religion ‘“ is a social force for unity within a group. A religion is often referred to as a community of believers. It strives for uniformity of thought and action in its members. At the same time, it provides these members with a community for spiritual and physical support. Most religions have charitable arms that distribute food and clothing to needy parishioners.
Spirituality ‘“ is an individual phenomenon. The Deists of the Enlightenment may be the first large group to describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. As secular society became more supportive through national unity and social programs, the need to be belong to a religious group lessened. Many people prefer a more individual approach.

1.Religion and spirituality both refer to man’s desire to find inner peace or God, regardless of the terminology they use.
2.Religion employs literature and rituals in its worship whereas spirituality uses personalized prayer and meditation.
3.To an outsider, religion may seem all about ritual while spirituality avoids anything that can become meaningless through repetition.
4.The rituals of religion are meant to foster a community of believers that provide both spiritual and physical succor to it members while people who consider themselves to be only spiritual are generally left to their own devices.