What is the Difference Between Spirituality and Religion?
Religion is often confused with spirituality. While both are similar, they are different. Spiritual growth and religious development are completely different things, while religion can help us understand our place in the world and can provide structure for our lives, but is not a method of spiritual growth. In general, the two concepts are often used interchangeably, but there are some important differences between the two. So what exactly is the difference between the two?
Religion is usually defined as a set of generic beliefs or practices, which relate to or support society. Religions do not focus on a person’s individual religious beliefs; rather, all are assumed to be in agreement. While some religions may have special texts or teachings, the major premise of all religions is universal acknowledgment of the sacredness of all beings, especially humans. Religions also generally require obedience to divine will, although there are minority groups that do not adhere to any specific religious beliefs or practices.
While all human beings share some common traits and values, there are some fundamental differences between all religions. Orthodox Christians and Muslims believe in the sanctity of all life, including humans. All other religions, whether it is Wicca, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, consider some form of a transcendent deity or spirits to be with us at all times. While some religious groups may restrict their followers to certain types of clothing (such as Muslim women who are required to wear the Islamic headdress called the Hijab, a symbol of religious devotion), others allow all cultures and members of all age groups and gender to worship freely. No matter what type of religious activities a religion requires its followers to participate in, all share a common desire to follow a path of compassion and peace.