How do you define the difference between religion and spirituality?

Obviously all religions strive for a spiritual condition,either in this life – spiritual advancement – or in the next – an advancement of another kind! But what is spirituality without religion? Is it possible,or are free-minded seekers simply deluding themselves? How many of you feel you are “spiritual” but not “religious”?

23 thoughts on “How do you define the difference between religion and spirituality?

  1. Spiritualists don’t generally believe all the “dogma” that goes with religion.


  2. Spiritual just means that you recognize the existence of the spirit world but do not conform to any particular religious doctrine.

  3. spirituality is the essence: the love and the flow of life force, as well as the values that make life good and healthy. religion is the doctrines, dogmas and rituals that are unique to a given religion and, for any given religion, form a context in which the spirituality is lived out.

  4. Religious:
    In the ordinary sense, this word refers to the quality by which a person is pious or prayerful, believing in God and acting according to God’s moral laws. In the special sense, religious refers to that baptized Catholic who freely consecrates himself to serve God more fully through the profession* of the evangelical counsels* within a religious institute* or community

    concerned with or affecting the spirit or soul; “a spiritual approach to life”; “spiritual fulfillment”; “spiritual values”; “unearthly love”

  5. i feel that it can go both ways. i am religious however, if i feel sad this can eat away at my spirit. leading my spirituality into a haze and Q my faith. for me it goes hand and hand. yet for others, again i feel that it can go both ways. i am not sure how it works for them. wow this Q really made me think. nice Q!

  6. Religion is living according to a set of rules, Spirituality, for me faith, is living because of love… Jim

  7. Religion is man attempt to reach God or be acceptable to God.

    Spirituality in the Christian sense is a relationship with God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

  8. I am a born-again believer of Jesus Christ. I am a Christian. The only thing that saves me is my faith in Jesus Christ. I have a spiritual relationship with Him.

    I am not “religious.” Most religious people believe that you have to adhere to a strict set of rules or you cannot be saved by that religion or you cannot be a part of that religion. They have several laws and sacraments you have to do…religiously.

    There is nothing religious that I have to keep doing to be saved. Salvation is by faith, not by works.

  9. My definitions:

    “Spiritual” is the personal connection that you have with the Divine.

    “Religion” is the architecture (rituals, practices, fellowships, etc.) that is built around that spirituality.

  10. I am not religious, religion is not for Christians who desire to have a relationship with Christ, it is for the Pharisee’s. I believe I am spiritual, as my connection with God is a spiritual connection. Religion is not something I strive for, to me the word is almost the same as denomination, as in are you Catholic, Methodist, Pagan, what is your belief? That is how I see it, good question!

  11. Colossians 2:20 – 23 20If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22(which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

    James 1:27 27Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

    John 4:23 – 26 23“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said* to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26Jesus said* to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

  12. basically different is religion follows the DOGMA.
    spiritualuty follow the GOD, and HOLY spirit.

  13. I don’t get “spirituality”. It sounds like a bunch of bologna.
    And yet when I read these answers, it makes perfect sense.

  14. Religion is man made dogma. Religion was created by man to control the people and collect their money. Religion created an imaginary place called hell to use to scare sheeple into following their idiotic rules.

    Spirituality is what we feel in our hearts. Spirituality is seeing God in the trees and the ocean. Spirituality is about enlightenment and educating our souls. Spirituality is about accepting all beliefs and lifestyles that do not harm anyone else as natural to that person.

  15. Most religions are man made! They have there own traditions were they live by the flesh and not in the spirit. If you do the things by the traditions of man it is not of God. Just like it says in the bible, that we have faith (spiritual) and not of works (the things that are done by the flesh), which saves you. Your soul wants to live in the spirit but your body wants to live by the flesh.

    Yes: Spirtualty is achieved by following God’s word in a nondenomnational church or a Pastor that is preaching sound doctorine. If it is not of God, then it is a religion that follows the traditons of man.

    Example: The bible says that Jesus will be in the ground for 3 days and 3 nights, how do you get 3 days and 3 nights from good friday to sunday morning? but the churches follow their own doctorine, which is a comercial holiday! This is the religious traditions of man. Jesus was put into the tomb on wensday evening and rose on Saturday evening. Back then evening was the begining of the day and morining the end of the day. .

    Romans 8: 3- 11
    3For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

  16. You can believe in Spirit/God and live it by following organized rules – ‘religion’.
    You can believe in Spirit/God and live it by not following any organized rules – referred to as ‘spirituality’.
    You can have no belief in Spirit/God at all – ‘atheism’.
    Just 3 tonal variations on the same theme.

  17. I’m spiritual but I don’t follow any religion. I see thinks that are okay and things that are bad in the different religions that I know about. I consider myself to be my source of spiritual guidance I don’t rely upon the dubious guidance of others. I believe that christ taught the importance of this when he talked about the blind leading the blind. Budha also taught the importance of this. He summed up his entire teachings into 3 things the third thing relates to having your own wisdom being your own source of spiritual guidance.

  18. A religion is a heirarchical structure with a set of beliefs or tenets by which members distinguish themselves from the rest of humanity. Spirituality is that inward yearning for answers to the questions of life and death and purpose we all feel in our hearts. Religions are known generally for supressing all but one set of answers to these questions, spirituality is known for freeing humanity from the cycle of dependency we have on outward authority rather than inward understanding.

  19. Religion is exoteric and spirituality is esoteric.

    Religion focuses on the outer person (appearance or expression), while spirituality focuses on the inner person (thoughts, feelings, and so on).

    Religion is form and spirituality is substance.

    Religion copies and imitates, but spirituality discovers and originates.

    Religion fills; spirituality overflows.

    Religion brings routine. Spirituality brings freedom.

    Religion values ceremony. Spirituality values meaning.

    Religion imposes rules. Spirituality declares universal truths.

    Religion says people are bad. Spirituality says they are good.

    Religion empowers others. Spirituality empowers oneself.

    Religion is the painting. Spirituality is the flower.

    Religion looks to the past. Spirituality looks to the future.

    Religion takes discipline. Spirituality takes curiosity.

    Religion burdens. Spirituality lightens.

    Religion persuades. Spirituality explains.

    Religion fears. Spirituality seeks.

    Religion defines. Spirituality expresses.

    Religion teaches longsuffering. Spirituality teaches patience.

    Religion takes away. Spirituality affirms.

    Religion limits. Spirituality expands.

    Religion requires the acceptance of a belief in place of experience; Spirituality requires the release of beliefs that hinder experience.

    Religion is a bandage. Spirituality is the scalpel.

    Religion obscures. Spirituality uncovers.

    Religion is the haven of the fearful. Spirituality is the playground of the joyful.

    Religion dulls. Spirituality sharpens.

    Religion hushes. Spirituality laughs.

    Religion cries tears of guilt and shame. Spirituality cries tears of release and joy.

    I consider myself to be spiritual!

  20. Religion refers to a given dogmatic approach to believing in God. It is a defined theology that has various methodology as per belief of its authors.

    Spirituallity refers to an individual approach to God. One who believe there is in fact a Creator, but is not confined to an ecumenical doctrine.

  21. Religion is supposed to be a way that was already carved by someone who has been enlightened!

    But, you can obviously see all the fanaticism and the level of enlightenment achieved by the followers of various religions!

    So you are better of being a free-soul (even if you are deluding yourself)! It is better rather than being stuck to a religion and then getting punished or killed for leaving that religion if you don’t like it!

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