There are a lot of people confused about the difference between being spiritual and being religious. When someone announces they are spiritual but not religious, many wonder what this means. There are some who do not feel there is a difference between the two and some who are afraid of being misunderstood by society for claiming to only be spiritual. To alleviate these misconceptions and misunderstandings, we need to understand the difference between religious and spirituality.
What Does It Mean To Be Religious?
We often hear someone describe themselves or someone they know as being a religious person. This description is often concluded because one fulfills the outward requirements of their faith. This fulfillment means they follow all the traditions and participate in all the rituals. These rituals and traditions; however, can be followed by some who do not have deep inner devotions.
Some Jews go to their synagogue every Saturday and Christians attend their church services every Sunday. There are also Hindus and Muslims who keep their dietary laws but are not necessarily doing it for the love of their Lord. These persons follow their practices out of a sense of identity as it looks good to others when they follow the customs. They paint a picture of respectability in their community but are not in fact spiritually oriented.
Those who are not spiritually oriented, but perform the rituals of their faith can be ruthless. These persons can be corrupt politicians, members of organized crime, adulterers, and even thieves or murderers. The definition of religious is said to be:
- Manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality
- Devoted to religious beliefs
- Conscientiously faithful
- Zealous and fervent
If one does not fall under these four descriptions can they honestly be described as being religious?
What Does It Mean To Be Spiritual?
If a person goes to church every Sunday and says their prayers every night does this make them a spiritual person? No, this does not make one spiritual as being spiritual is a person whose highest priority is to be loving to others and themselves. Spiritual persons are kind people. People can practice yoga and meditate each day without having any concerns about being loving. Without the thoughts and actions of being a kind person, one cannot be spiritual. The definition of being spiritual is said to be:
- Of the soul; relating to the spirit in contrast to material things
- Of religion; relating to sacred things rather than worldly things
- Temperamentally akin; connection of the mind, spirit, or temperament
- Refined; having great refinement and concern with higher things in life
- Pertaining to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature
To be a spiritual person, you need to let kindness guide you through life. You need to be kind to yourself and others including animals and our beautiful planet. Being spiritual is recognizing that spark inside of yourself that is God and honoring that love.
What Is Common Between Being Religious and Being Spiritual?
What is common between spirituality and religious is the false methods one has through their relationships with God. The commonness of both can be the false paths that lead one to God. The real value of religion is that it points out we have fallen short and are in of a Savior. Spirituality is valuable as it points out the physical world is not all we have. Humans are not only material, but they also possess a soul and spirit. We all need to be aware of the spiritual world surrounding us. Spirituality is believing that there is something and someone beyond our physical world and that we need to connect with it.
Spirituality Will Connect Us Not Divide
In our world today there is evidence that religion is used to divide human beings. Spirituality will allow us to see the truth and connect us rather than divide. It will enable us to accept differences in others and see their uniqueness and similarities at the same time. Spirituality preaches karma, while religion promotes punishment. Spirituality will help to make us godly, as religion speaks about God. The two do not have to be so different as religion when at its best is spirituality in the community.