The Difference between Religion and Spirituality
Many people who follow a religion are happy to do so. Their experience of religion in their personal life has been positive. There is nothing wrong with that.
But there are many others who grew up in a more dogmatic or fundamentalist type of religion and have suffered under its influence.
Many of them broke away in search of a deeper truth, or a truth that doesn’t take their power away and make them feel like a helpless sinner. Many became suspicious that authority had anything at all to do with the Truth.
Let’s understand that there are major differences between Religion and Spirituality. Religion is a very watered-down version of the truth and its emphasis is passivity:
Religion is about believing.
Spirituality is about discovery and Being.
Religion has rituals, rules and tradition.
Spirituality has tools to reach enlightenment.
Religion is for those who want to be led.
Spirituality is for those who want to lead themselves.
Religion is an external authority whose followers must obey the ‘will of God’.
Spirituality is self-responsibility and understanding what ‘free will’ means.
Religion is for those who are passive by nature.
Spirituality is for those who are curious by nature.
Religion promotes notions of unworthiness, sin, guilt and repentance.
Spirituality promotes wisdom through direct experience, self improvement and healing.
Religion represses the True Self (or divine spark)
Spirituality discovers the True Self (Soul or higher self)
Religion is exclusive and divisive.
Spirituality embraces all and judges no one.
Religion says there is only one scripture of truth, and that truth is static.
Spirituality says no single religion ‘holds all the keys to the kingdom’, and that truth is both static and dynamic.
Religion teaches people what to think.
Spirituality teach how to think.
Religion creates dependency.
Spirituality creates independence.
I am sure many other differences exist and I welcome additions to this list. Check out this article on the 12 Worst Ideas Religion Has Unleashed on the World .
If you are interested in spirituality, then it becomes at matter of arriving at a new level of understanding – that is discovering truth for yourself by exploring and reading many works from many spiritual teachers and authors and sources; and not have institutions spoon feed you what they want you to know (which is very limited).
Understand that a spiritual awakening is not some trend or episode, it is literally waking up from a deep slumber like casting off a spell thrown upon you by the institutions of society which are there to keep you in line to better serve themselves. You may wonder is it lasting. The answer is ‘yes’ it it a life-long adventure. Check out Spiritual Awakening: Does it Last?
For more about starting a spiritual journey, check out these topics: