Spiritual vs Religious
Religion and spirituality are two concepts that go hand in hand and are discussed together almost on all occasions. Both are essential aspects of a human being’s life that help them gain a deeper understanding as to what their lives and existence are about, thereby, helping them to cope with the regular ordeals of life.
What is Spiritual ?
Being spiritual can be defined as a process of personal transformation that is in accordance with certain religious ideals. However, since the 19th century, spirituality has been separated from religion and has been more focused upon experience and psychological growth. There is, however, no single widely-agreed upon definition for spirituality and thus, it can be any blissful experience of meaningful activity. However, according to Waaijman, spirituality can be traditionally defined as the effort to recover the original shape of man in the image of God. However, in modern terms, spirituality would denote a process of transformation which is triggered by a meaningful activity and is a very subjective experience.
What is a Religious ?
A religion can be described as a philosophy or method of thought based upon an organized set of cultural beliefs and systems created by man with the intention of bestowing a meaning to the human existence. This is done so by putting communities in communion with a higher power through rituals, stories and beliefs. It is an open community that usually allows freedom of thought to its members, its principles having been established and accepted by large groups of people for a long period. In most cases, one is often born into one’s religion while others choose or convert into a religion of their choice after experiencing, researching and extensive studying out of their own free will. Being religious would mean wholeheartedly believing and placing faith on these beliefs as preached by one’s own religion and arduously following its practices and rituals.
What is the difference between Spiritual and Religious?
It is a given fact that religious and spiritual are two terms that are often discussed in similar contexts. However, the term “spiritual, but not religious” being in trend these days , it is important to note that while a religious person is most definitely a spiritual person, a spiritual person is not always religious. So that is where the differences commence.
• Religion is a tangible theory where importance is attached to worshiping idols, symbols and fixed ideals. Thereby, being religious involves placing faith upon such tangible aspects. The concept of spirituality does not include idols or symbols and as such it has more of an intangible, vague quality.
• Religion has a basic moral code, a set of core values and a story outline. Spirituality does not feature such characteristics.
• Religions are based upon rituals that are strictly and ceremoniously followed by those who are part of that religion. Spirituality does not feature such rituals and the practices followed in spirituality are subjective. Some may follow methods such as meditation while others may engage in chanting, et c. However, these methods are not customary to be followed.
• Religion and its ideals are based upon the teachings of a religious leader who has thus set up such ideals with the aim of guiding the people towards nirvana, salvation, etc . Spirituality is focused upon the inner cultivation of a person. This is done so with the aim of enabling the individual to reach a higher plane of being.
• Religion brings societies together by common beliefs, rituals and customs and thus features entire communities of believers. This also contributes towards lending a helping hand towards members of the community by way of providing alms, engaging in community service, etc. Although spirituality believes in good will towards others, it is more of an individual practice. While there may be small communities that hold common spiritual beliefs, it is a rather secluded practice which features communities much smaller than the communities found in religion.
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