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What Is the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?

Have you ever heard someone say they are spiritual but not religious? This is a common answer for people who do not follow a certain religion, but who believe in a higher power. What is the difference between religion and spirituality? This question is a difficult one to approach, and the answer will greatly depend on who you ask, but in simplistic terms: religion is a "pathway to God" and spirituality is a broader term, encompassing religion, essentially saying there's a connection between humanity and something "larger.»


There are many religions practiced all over the world, and many followers will argue that their religion is the one to follow and believe in. Commonly practiced religions include: Paganism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Muslim, Confucianism, Daois, Asatru, Atheist and Agnostic, Pantheist, New Age and the list goes on. Each religion comes with their own set of beliefs about who "God" is (or whether He even exists in the first place) and how to live life through Him, to achieve the best possible afterlife. Each religion has its own set of beliefs regarding what happens to those who do not practice as they should, and their own interpretations of their Holy books, such as the Bible, or the Koran. Regardless of what religion you claim to be, you have your own thoughts and feelings about its core values, and you are in control of how well you live by them. No one person can say a particular religion is better than another for any fact. When you choose a religion to follow, you choose the one you best identify with, and can believe in the most.


Those who are spiritual do not necessarily go without religion, but those who do not identify with a particular religion can still consider themselves as "spiritual". Those who believe human existence to be a fraction of the overall equation, that is, those who believe humanity to be a part of something larger, are spiritual. They may not have the answers as to what that larger something is, and they may not know how to describe it, but they do not believe we are here as the sole creation. It is not necessarily "God" they believe in, but they do not discount the existence of a higher power. Religion gives people who follow them a specific set of beliefs to help them fine tune their spirituality, while those who do not follow a religion are more open to interpretation of their own beliefs, based on what they know and experience in their day-to- day lives.

Regardless of what religion you may or may not follow, spirituality is a broader term that encompasses all of it. Though you may never follow any religion, or you may choose to change your religion, all of it falls under being spiritual. Only you can decide what it means to be "religious" or what it means to be "spiritual.»

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