Spirituality vs Religion: 3 BIG Differences Between Each – Happier Human

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There are many ways to increase your happiness (in fact, we’re talking about 54 strategies in this article), but One of the most important methods that stands out is going to church.

You’ve probably heard people say they’re “spiritual but not religious” when describing their faith, and wondered what that really means.


A majority of us often use the words “religion” and “spirituality” interchangeably, but they are entirely different concepts.

So what is the difference between religion and spirituality? In this article we will define both and explain their differences. (Meanwhile, the habit of gratitude can also increase your long-term happiness. If you want to learn morecheck out the 90 Day Gratitude Journal for inspiration on how to write, designed to deepen your appreciation of what you have in life).

Defining Religion

Religion generally refers to a Institution that has a set of organized practices and a structured belief system shared by and among those who are members of the institution. Their beliefs, often transcendental, are passed from members to converts and are based on either a formally documented creed or established cultural practices.

In either case, there are professionals within each religion who hold positions of leadership and representing formal aspects of the institution. The leaders often perform certain rituals related to the core beliefs of the religion, which form the basis of how one’s life should be lived.

Religion operates as a community or group that shares the same beliefs extremely supportive social network. It creates practical implications for day-to-day behavior in accordance with the group’s beliefs, rituals, and practices. Members of a religion also often follow special dress codes (especially religious leaders), moral codes, and actions prescribed by a supernatural being.

A religious person commits to following the guidelines established by his or her religion. He or she keeps the rites and practices such as For example, attending church services regularly on a Sunday for Christians, observing the Sabbath for Jews, and fasting during Ramadan for Muslims.

Defining Spirituality

Spirituality is about your own soul and inner self. Being spiritual means holding on to your personal beliefs and practices and searching for meaning in life. One’s definition of spirituality may change throughout life, adapting to individual experiences through personal study and self-reflection. The goal of spirituality is to recognize the power within, to overcome all of life’s challenges, and to connect with something bigger than yourself. (To learn more, here are 10 ways you can be spiritual. )

Spirituality is a universal, personalized experience, and everyone’s experience is unique. A spiritual experience can be described as sacred or transcendent, or simply as a true sense of aliveness and connection, or as pure gratitude. They can belong to a religious group and still be spiritual and vice versa.

In fact, some find that their spirituality is closely tied to a religion, while others have their own personal connection to a higher energy. Others seek meaning in life through their connections to nature or the arts.

When it comes to the debate between religion and spirituality, neither is inherently good or bad. Spirituality is broader and more abstract than religion. Religion maintains a defined, tangible code of ethics, while spirituality is largely undefinable. However, these two methods of believing in something help people lead happy, meaningful lives.

The Differences Between Spirituality and Religion

The following characteristics distinguish a spiritual person from a religious person.

1. Individual vs. Group Beliefs

Spirituality is a solitary experience of the Divine, while religion involves a group of people brought together by their common belief or beliefs about the Divine. Religion aims to form one’s character. It shapes one’s beliefs, attitudes and actions by giving importance to following rules. This connects people who share a religion because they share character traits and views of life. On the other hand, spirituality focuses more on the individual soul of each person.

There are many religions in our world, and one thing they all have in common is that they preach the idea that their story is the right story. However, when someone is spiritual, they are able to pick out the things they believe in from any religion and combine those truths to formulate their own beliefs.So when you ask the question, “Can you be spiritual and religious? The answer is “Yes – if your true beliefs align with a particular religion.” However, many who are spiritual believe that the ultimate truth of all is the same despite any differences between them.

Spirituality is focused more on the quality of the message being offered than on the differences in the details of the original story. For example, while Christians focus on the story of Moses and the 10 Commandments in detail, someone who is spiritual can take away some broader messages from the story, such as being thankful for the things in your life or always being honest be.

While one’s spiritual beliefs are typically unique, spirituality often enforces the idea that all human beings are equal. The world has no borders, races or cultural divisions. Humanity is all one, with love being the core of everyone’s being. Despite all possible ideological differences, all people have the same consciousness – they are just expressed in different ways. Since the essence of every human being is the same, this means that any differences are superficial. This understanding invites people to be inspired to accept and support each other on the path to enlightenment together.

2. Progression of Beliefs

A spiritual person’s beliefs evolve as they learn more through their personal study of their own spirituality. Alternatively, in religion, the belief system is usually predefined. The recognized authorities of the religious group endorse or communicate changes regarding the ideologies that the members of the religious group should follow.

In this way, religion requires people to be obedient to their beliefs and they adhere to the scriptures or what they are taught by religious leaders. Religion often keeps people from listening to their own instincts and instead teaches them to accept and do what they are told without questioning it.

On the other hand, spirituality teaches people , constantly listening to their inner voice and using it as a guide to living the good life. Spirituality urges people to break free from obedience or conformity to create their own path and journey in life. Because of this, someone who practices spirituality can constantly change their beliefs throughout their life. Nothing is set in stone, so what you find to be “right” or “wrong” today can change down the line with new life experiences.

3. Spirituality has no rules.

A spiritual person often arrives at their own truth while developing their spirituality, rather than following an ideology or set of rules. The experience is often personal and takes place in private, allowing people to follow their own intuition and do the things that are in their own best interest.

Although some spiritual traditions have theories and practices offer to help people on their journeys, they are not intended to be adopted as a set of beliefs. Rather, they are offered to spiritual seekers as tools they can use to aid in their spiritual growth.

On the other hand, a religious person accepts truth as defined by their religion, and those truths often are documented and shared with others. In religion there is often a promise of punishment or reward for upholding beliefs or following rituals. But for spirituality, the only reward is one’s inner peace.

Fear of punishment for one’s actions is often a major factor in religion. Those who practice a religion fear the consequences of their way of life after death. Often people believe that if they do not live their lives according to their religion, they will go to hell.

However, spirituality encourages people to focus their energies on positive things and to act solely on the basis of love . When someone is spiritual, they do what they think is right, regardless of all possible consequences.

Spirituality may not threaten punishment for a life lived contrary to a set of rules, but it speaks often karma. This is a principle of cause and effect where one’s actions or intentions have a direct bearing on their future. This means that someone who lives with good intentions and does good deeds will have future happiness, while living with bad intentions can lead to future suffering.

If you’re asking yourself, “Am I religious or spiritual?” Consider whose rules you are following. Do you rely on the rituals of a particular church to carry you through times when your faith begins to wane? Do you rely on an institution to organize your beliefs for you, or do you choose what to believe? These are important questions to consider when trying to determine if you are religious or spiritual.

4. Formation of Beliefs

Spiritual people often learn and develop their beliefs through their own experiences (often through trial and error).This empowers people to discover their own truths without limiting the depth of one’s understanding. Alternatively, a religious individual learns or develops their faith based on the experiences they are told through their religious founders or through parables.

Spirituality encourages people to find their own path, which enables them to create their own journey to go enlightenment. With spirituality there are no limits to self-discovery. It inspires people to trust their heart and follow their own instincts. Spirituality is simply the ability to recognize that every human being is more than just a human body – they are a soul with unlimited potential. Every human being is essentially a minor god – a unique and powerful manifestation of existence serving a purpose in this world.

Spiritual people learn and develop their beliefs based on their own experience, while religious people develop them based on the experiences they are told about their religious founders.

So what is the difference between a spiritual person and a religious person? A spiritual person looks within themselves to do what is right, and a religious person looks outside for guidance.

People who are spiritual can adapt to new conditions and their discoveries throughout their lives . They are flexible in their beliefs. A key difference between religion and spirituality is belief versus being. Religion emphasizes the content of the believers’ beliefs and how those beliefs translate into their daily lives. The focus of spirituality, on the other hand, is the process of tuning in to one’s own inner being.


In the search for the divine – be it on a Sunday from the pew or on a ridge with a view to a glorious sunrise – we increase our feelings of happiness, peace and appreciation for the life we ​​have. Religion and spirituality are neither the same nor completely separate. In spirituality, one might ponder, “Where do I find meaning in life and what are my true values?” Meanwhile, in religion, common questions might be, “What is the truth?” and “What is right and wrong?” /p>

Where the two intersect is each person’s individual experiences that influence how they think, feel and act.

Are you more spiritual or religious? We’d love to hear your answers, so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for ways to bring meaning to your life, a habit of gratitude is a way to start. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to check out The 90 Day Gratitude Journal, which offers writing suggestions to develop your appreciation for what life has given you .


Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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