The Difference Between Religion and Spirituality
Religion is the process of relating to the sacred in a socially organized manner. It includes religious texts and practices, institutions, and world views.
Religion usually refers to a belief system that teaches faith in the God, or higher power, and how to live according to that belief. However, it also includes rituals, ceremonies, and worldviews, and can include ethics.
Historically, religion was the dominant element of society before colonization. Today, there are many different types of religions around the world, each with its own unique history. Some, such as Islam, are deeply rooted in rituals, doctrines, and archetypal figures. Others, such as Christianity, are based on the lives of historical figures.
Depending on the religion, participants can be involved in religious practices, such as prayer, meditation, rituals, and service. They can also be part of an organization, which often includes clergy. These structures are typically rule-based and guard their members’ behavior, ensuring that there are no abuses or violations.
Although these systems are considered to be spiritual, they have some negative aspects. For example, some religions teach fear and condemnation.
On the other hand, others are free of judgment and allow their members to participate without fear. A major difference between religion and spirituality is that religious organizations often have tighter control over their members’ behaviors, as well as their access to clergy.
Religious organizations have had to work to limit the influence of mystics. This was part of a long American tradition of personalizing religion and privatizing it.