Religion, as defined by the American Psychological Association (APA), is “a system of beliefs, values, and practices in which individuals and groups seek a deeper understanding of the divine, a goal which involves learning about a particular faith and participating in religious institutions.” There are many different kinds of religions. Among the most common are Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. Each has its own teachings about the Divine.
Many of these religions have profound spiritual texts. People who follow them base their values on these texts. A Christian might read the Bible, while a Muslim follows the Koran. However, the core of a religion is its beliefs, not its texts. Religious leaders can help guide people through their religious journeys.
Traditionally, religion and spirituality have been considered synonymous. However, as the 20th century progressed, the distinction between these two terms became more widely accepted. During that time, several classic definitions of religion were questioned and redefined.
Most of the religions that are prevalent today are based on traditions and doctrine. These belief systems are often used as a way to unite and inspire people. They are also a means for people to express their morality. Although each religion is centered around a unique faith, the goal of each is to lead people toward a set of destinations.
Religion is a social-cultural system that includes beliefs, organizations, texts, ethics, and worldviews. In some cases, these beliefs and practices are enshrined as sacred. This is especially true in the context of a religious institution.
Spirituality is an approach that is rooted in individual experience. Some people believe that God is within them. Others believe that the universe is created by an all-powerful and omniscient God. Regardless of which view you hold, the kingdom of God is not external. The kingdom of God is in each of us. Regardless of whether you identify as religious or spiritual, you are on a spiritual journey.
Practicing Christians disagree with 98% of evangelicals. Evangelicals and practicing Christians differ in their belief about the nature of God. Practicing Christians are also more likely to be polytheistic than monotheistic. Those who identify as “spiritual but not religious” tend to have ambivalent views about religion. Unlike the practiced Christian, these groups hold unorthodox views about God and are more likely to be anti-religious than religious.
One of the key differences between spirituality and religion is the level of accountability that each approach has. In religious organizations, it is often hard to hold others accountable for their actions. Consequently, it is easy to fall into deceptive behaviors. For example, a church member may not tell others about a domestic abuse situation. Instead, she may choose to hide it in fear of judgment. Conversely, a spiritual, non-religious person may decide not to acknowledge the death of Jesus.
While both religion and spirituality have their advantages and disadvantages, there is no question that both provide some value. Both are important aspects of our lives.