Religion and Spirituality – Is There Really a Difference?

When it comes to spirituality and religion, I sometimes think of why there is a distinction made. After all, both those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious, and those who consider themselves religious but not spiritual maintain that there are differences. Then, there are those who consider themselves both spiritual and also religious. Even these like to separate the two. It seems very few really say “Well, spirituality and religion are basically the same thing.” Maybe it’s because it’s the truth. Maybe not.

My understanding of the difference that is generally accepted, is that spirituality is a more personal definition where you come to your own conclusions about what you feel is spiritual. While, religion is an organized group that pretty much teaches or tells you what is the truth regarding faith, the soul and God. Another difference I often hear is that people who consider themselves spiritual, often don’t acknowledge that they believe in a God, just a feeling that there is something spiritual beyond the material world we live in.

But, can you really believe in a soul or spiritual world without believing in a supreme being or God? Well, there are some definitions of religion which are much more general and besically refer to religion as a “worldview” based on your beliefs. This can mean just about anything and in my opinion makes the difference between spirituality and religion less defined. You can have a set of beliefs and a worldview that don’t include a supreme being and also aren’t part of an organized group. So maybe a religion can also have a singular, personal and individual definition. Perhaps it should be this way because we are talking about beliefs and faith. These are feelings and not concrete scientific facts. If there were facts then of course it wouldn’t be a faith.

While it seems reasonable for someone to say “I am spiritual, but I don’t believe in God.”, does it also seem reasonable for someone to say “I am religious, but I don’t believe in a God.”? According to some definitions, this seems to be a reasonable statement also, although at first it doesn’t sound logical.

I haven’t come to any conclusion at this point as to whether there is a difference between religion and spirituality, but what seems to be the case is that it all depends on who’s definition you choose to accept.

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