Religion vs Spirituality
Religion can be defined as a belief in and reverence for a divine power. It can be a personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship. Institutionalized Religion focuses on dogmas and rules, whereas spirituality focuses on the soul that dwells within you. The American psychologist William James (1842–1910) defines spirituality as “the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine.”
Religion and spirituality are two terms that do not appear to have any difference at all in their sense, but they do have some difference for sure. Religion is all about beliefs and worship, whereas spirituality is about the soul within matter. The matter corresponds to our body. Soul is different from the body. Anything pertaining to the soul or the spirit is spiritual.
In short it can be said that religion refers to a group, whereas spirituality refers to an individual. Religion focuses more on the outside due to its indulgence in dogmas and rules that are often felt rigid by the people. Spirituality on the contrary concentrates and focuses more on the ‘within’. The term ‘within’ applies to the individual soul.
Spirituality is all about the individual. It is about the realization of the supreme self within you. The realization of the innate power within you to combat all situations in life is the goal of spirituality. Spirituality aims at building strength of the mind and the spirit. It speaks about the real truth of life. Spirituality aims at making you strong by mind. It aims at the elimination of what are all untrue.
Religion on the contrary aims at imbibing faiths in you about certain dogmas pertaining to a group of followers of the particular faith. It helps in shaping your character by giving importance to the adherence of the dogmas and rules. It says once you stick to the rules and dogmas you are sure to emerge out as a man with character. Religion is in short a character-building concept.
Spirituality is mind-building concept. It shapes the mind of the individual. It is individual oriented in content. A perfect combination of both is needed in the present days for man to succeed in life. You need to have a perfect blend of religion and spirituality to succeed in your life. You need to be spiritually strong to react to successes and failures of life. You need to be religiously strong too in order to shape your character.
Spirituality leads towards enlightenment whereas religion leads towards discipline. Religion builds discipline of the individual whereas spirituality builds the individual himself. Hence you can say that religion is the subset of spirituality. If you think deeply then you would come to know that once you are spiritually strong you need no religion to survive. You become a polished individual once you train in spirituality.
The difference between religion and spirituality can thus be summarized as follows:
- Religion focuses on dogmas and rules followed by a particular sect or group of people, whereas spirituality focuses on the soul that dwells within you.
- It can be said that religion focuses on the outside; spirituality focuses on the within.
- Religion comes from outside whereas spirituality comes from within.
- Religion shapes the character of the individual whereas spirituality aims at shaping the individual himself.
- Religion makes a person disciplined, whereas spirituality makes a person strong by mind.
- Religion aims at building faiths and customs, whereas spirituality aims at building the strength of the soul. It makes the person ready to combat any situation in life.
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