What is the difference between religion and spirituality?

I attend a monthly coffee and spirituality group. While the group was formed to discuss “spirituality,” we often end up discussing “religion.” To me, spirituality is about spirit, how people treat each other, etc…but I am wondering what you feel the difference is between the two, and can you have one without the other? Thanks.

11 thoughts on “What is the difference between religion and spirituality?

  1. Jesus is spiritual but not religious. He taught about healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, He never taught about religion, man started that.

  2. Religion and spirituality are often placed in the same category. I prefer to call someone who is religious, religious. And, someone who is spiritual, spiritual… but I don’t see how one can be both. You’re one or the other, baby!

  3. Religion is a load of old dogma….

    Dumbledore is the great ruler! He will defeat the Dark Lord!

    The Dark Lord even preys upon muggles like you.

  4. Basically, religion is man’s attempt to reach God. Spirituality is God’s attempt to reach man.

  5. Religion is that ball of lies which you fashion into a weapon using hate as the fire. Has nothing to do with spirituality which is your own businesses and (one hopes) is not used as a weapon.

  6. The mind is the spirit.
    Religions are of 2 kinds: true and false.
    Let’s do the best things for the best reasons.

  7. I would say that religion is collective and spirituality is individual. To use your definition, if the topic is how people treat each other, then spirituality is about how YOU treat people and religion is about the way all people should treat each other.

    Yes, you can have one without the other…but the moment you start sharing your opinions with others and inviting them to share their opinions with you, it is almost inevitable that the topic will shift from spirituality to religion.

    Don’t make the mistake of limiting the term “religion” to a belief in God (or some other supernatural entity)…it is possible to be spiritual in your approach to God without being religious…and it is possible to be religious in your values without any deity involved. I think the key is whether you focus your attention on what is right for YOU or on what is “right” for everyone. The former is “spiritual”, the latter is “religious”…whether you involve God or not!

  8. The difference between religion and spirituality is probably whatever the people having coffee say it is.

    having said that, let me step into the coffee klatch and offer my own take on it, for what it’s worth.

    Spirituality is a very loose look at paranormal, extrasensory aspects of our world and life. It can mean almost anything, and often does.

    Religion usually pulls in the parameters to address questions of why we are here, why there is suffering, etc., and the discussion often tends to focus on the viewpoint of some specific or general religious viewpoint.

    Religious discussion can be from the viewpoint of a denomination, such as the Orthodox Church within Christianity, from the view of a particular person such as Jack Spong, Karl Barth or Sarah Palin (no, really!). It can also be broader in that it is very free, and yet still has a sort of Judao-Christian point of view, as opposed to Buddhism, Bahai, Zoroastrianism,Sikh, Islam, etc.

    Spirituality discussions do not require so much learning to get “in the door,” to able to participate, whereas religious discussions often end up being “sand-bagging” where a person who has actually read Karl Barth can walk all over those who haven’t.

    Both types of discussion have their place.

    Spirituality is less likely to move in a particular productive direction, but then we have this annoying habit of assuming that if talk doesn’t “go somewhere,” it’s non-productive.

    Religious discussion is useful for clearing up reasons and mistaken reasons for believing in or not believing in some aspect of religious life or lore. I took a class entitled “Christology.” The title may even make you scratch your head. It’s the study of the nature of Christ as understood by many scholars over the centuries, but usually centering in the period from first- to fourth-century writers in the Church.

    It clarified for me a lot of reasons we believe certain things. Others would be put to sleep by it, for sure.

    I hope this gives some grist for the mill for the next coffee klatch.

    And there really isn’t any “right” answer…..

    unless you’re Catholic, I suppose…..

  9. A religion has a hierarchy of priests & a distinct manor of worship & rules .
    Someone who is spiritual is a person who follows their own path

  10. Those of us who believe in God, Our name of our religion is our Church in our beliefs. Spirituality is prayers between God and ourselves in how we follow and live our life’s with Him! You cannot live life without the other for our religion is God
    God Bless!

  11. Regarding God, you an believe whatever you like, as long as you know that within the word belief is the word ‘lie’. be-lie-f. Whatever we believe about God, or spirituality- as if the two were unconnected- is good; as long as we know that it’s wrong. It is said that God is everything; and God is nothing. God is no-thing; like no-thing that we can imagine. I put a face on God; I must. God is an infinite reality. My mind is a finite process. I cannot access an infinite reality with a finite process, so I put a face on it. That’s OK. As long as I know that it’s the wrong face, because any face will be the wrong face.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *