Difference between Spirituality and Religion

Key Difference: Essentially, spirituality is of one’s spirit or soul, or of one’s religious beliefs. There is not a definitive definition of it, but spirituality is defined as the search of God. A religion, on the other hand, is a belief in or the worship a god.

It has become quite important to distinguish between 'Spirituality' and 'Religion'. Religion is a way of life, a Dharma that is the law that governs all action. It is a belief in divinity, a system of beliefs. Whereas, spirituality is defined as the search of something sacred. Also see how Mysticism and Spirituality are different.

Spirituality is the real art of living, where meditation and self-control help achieve eternal peace. A spiritual person doesn’t follow any rules or guidelines; they are religious but do not want any responsibility or accountability in their way of living. It always brings moral in one’s life but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any goals in their life. Science has proven spirituality helps to heal faster, feel happier and live longer.  

Dictionary.com defines ‘Spirituality’ as:

  • The quality of fact of being spiritual.
  • Incorporeal or immaterial nature.
  • Predominantly spiritual character as shown in thought, life, etc.; spiritual tendency or tone.
  • Often, spiritualities, property or revenue of the church or of an ecclesiastic in his or her official capacity.

Spirituality can take you closer to God than any man-made religions. There are many forms of spirituality, and all are equally reasonable. One type of spirituality is that: Spirituality possesses the Holy Spirit of God as a result of receiving salvation through Jesus Christ. True spirituality is the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in a person’s life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

There’s a beautiful quote: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience… We are spiritual beings having a human experience”.

See the difference: Ego Vs. Self

While no one definition can completely sum up what religion is, following are some definitions through which we’ll come to know what ‘Religion’ is:

  • "Religion: A general term used... to designate all concepts concerning the belief in god(s) and goddess (es) as well as other spiritual beings or transcendental ultimate concerns." ~ Penguin Dictionary of Religions (1997).
  • "Religion: Relation of human beings to God or the gods or to whatever they consider sacred or, in some cases, merely supernatural." ~ Britannica Concise Encyclopedia (online, 2006)
  • "Religion: Human beings' relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine." ~ Encyclopedia Britannica (online, 2006)
  • "Religion: (2) a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; (4) a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith." ~ Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (online, 2006)
  • "The religious response is a response to experience and is colored by the wish to provide a wider context for a fragile, short and turbulent life." ~ Philip Rousseau, the Early Christian Centuries (2002)

Religion is a man’s interpretation of God. The religious tradition is responsible for the creation of such concepts and practices as Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, Jyotish, Yajna, Puja, Tantra, Vedanta, Karma, etc. Spirituality is born and develops in the person. It may be kick-started by a religion, or it may be kick-started by information. Spirituality extends to an aspect of a person’s life. Spirituality is chosen while religion is often forced at times.

Religion divides and Spirituality unites the world because the spiritual man is more concerned about other life and always puts his efforts to get into the right path without anyone’s pressure. In Religion, religious people have trust in God, but they discriminate against Spirituality. They feel that other religions are completely wrong without any shred of evidence.

A spiritual man believes in the higher spirit of living. Religion is spiritual, and spirituality can also be considered as a religion.

RELIGION is for people afraid of going to hell; SPIRITUALITY is for people who have already been there.

Also see: Physics Vs. Metaphysics

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