There’s a distinct difference between religion and spirituality, but we hear the two terms often used interchangeably. Keep reading as we explore what it is.
Religion and spirituality are two terms that seem interchangeable for many people. If you tell someone that you’re spiritual but not religious, chances are they might raise their eyebrows in disbelief.
The truth is that there’s a big difference between religion and spirituality. Understand this will help build healthier relationships with your loved ones and of course, yourself.
Discovering the Difference between Religion and Spirituality
1. Finding the Truth
Religion tells you how the universe operates and why we exist. It separates black from white, who’s in from who’s out.
Spirituality on the other hand, allows you to explore those questions you have about the world and why you’re here. You have the answers for yourself. There’s no limit to your discovery. Spirituality encourages you dig deeper and go further into your own mind.
2. Separation vs. Unity
A key difference between religion and spirituality is that while spirituality unites, religion divides.
Even though there are many religions in the world, each one has its own story that its followers have to accept. People with different religions are categorized in different boxes.
Spirituality looks beyond our uniqueness. Its main focus is not on how each individual is different or how details vary across stories. Rather, spirituality is about the quality of the divine message. It seeks to unite.
3. The Rules
Each religion comes with a set of specific rules and rituals. All Buddhists live by Five Moral Precepts. All Muslims follow what’s dictated in the Quran. If you’re a devoted Christian, you can’t miss a Sunday church service.
In contrast, there’s absolutely no rules in spirituality. Everything is within your power. You decide what is right and good for you and others around you. You’re free to choose your own path to becoming a better person. Happiness is in your hands.
4. Love vs. Fear
This is a major difference between religion and spirituality that many tend to overlook.
Religion comes with punishment, which infuses a great sense of fear. You’re afraid of the outcome of your deeds, that you won’t go to Heaven if you fail a certain rule. Everything you do has to be considerate to your religion.
But when it comes to spirituality, there’s only one thing: Love. Every decision you make is based out of love.
This doesn’t mean that you have no fear. Rather, in spite of being afraid, you are empowered by love to follow what feels right for you. When you trust your heart, you transform yourself and fill yourself with compassion and kindness for others.
Look Within Yourself
With all that said, the creators of religions all started from a deep spirituality. They embarked on their spiritual journeys to find the truth within themselves, not to establish a religion.
Whether you’re religious or spiritual (or both!), it’s important to walk own path and discover yourself. And always face life love.
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Also published on Medium.