Have you ever questioned whether your beliefs align more with religion or spirituality, or a combination of the two?  Or have you pondered if there is a difference between religion and spirituality?

Faith seekers have been offering their opinions on the difference between religion and spirituality for many years.  Being a seeker myself, I have incorporated many views from other religious and spiritual leaders.  I will share with you my thoughts and understanding of definitions and the commonalities and differences between religion and spirituality.

Religion, in my opinion, is an organized and structured path to our higher power, which many call the Universe, the Divine, or God.  I will refer to this higher power as God.  There are many different religions throughout the world, and they all have their own systems and beliefs.  My observation is that all religions share the same common goal of providing their faith followers with a pathway to God.

Every religion has its own rules, regulations, rituals, celebrations, and acceptable practices that define how followers practice their religion. Religions use different kinds of community dwellings and settings for sharing and celebrating beliefs, such as churches and synagogues.  For example, followers of the Christian religion attend church, predominantly on Sundays, whereas followers of Jewish religion attend synagogue, mainly on Saturdays.  Followers of Buddhism believe in universal truths and noble principles and followers of Hinduism practise their own daily rituals in their homes and believe in reincarnation. 

Spiritualism, in my opinion, is our personal relationship with God, our higher power.  Spiritualists do not follow the same structured pathway to God as witnessed from religion.  Spiritualism reveals to followers that God is always communicating with them.  God is receptive to us praying and asking regularly for help, and God also sends us messages through synchronicity, through our intuition, and through signs and messages in the universe.  Signs and messages reveal themselves to us when we are receptive to receiving them, and when we are consciously paying close attention to what the universe is telling us. 

Religions attempt to answer our big questions by providing the path for a deeper understanding, but some will say that religions fail to answer our really big questions.  For instance, many religions believe in life after death or an afterlife, but do not provide the answers to our specific questions about life and death.  Spirituality provides us with answers to our big questions about life and death and the purpose for our lives here in this physical world.  Spiritualists know where they come from, where they go when they pass, how they should live their physical life here on earth, and that they can always communicate with loves ones who have passed and are in Spirit.

Many people join religions for the purpose of belonging to a community and being with other like-minded people who share their common beliefs.  Some will argue that religion separates humanity.  They will tell you that they have witnessed people who only accept other people of the same faith and beliefs as they hold.  Many have also witnessed that religions tend to compete with one another, claiming that their rules, traditions, and regulations are better than others, and that their path is the only path to God.  Spiritualists tells followers that we are all one and we are all united.  Everyone here on this earth is an eternal soul in a physical body, and we are all equal. No soul is superior.  Spirituality provides followers with a direct path to God and Spirit where they can call on our higher power at any time, because they have a personal relationship. 

My experiences have taught me that you can be both spiritual and religious.  For example, I still hold many Christian beliefs, and I like many aspects and beliefs of other religions, but I have predominantly adopted a Spiritualist faith.  Best-selling author Thomas Moore wrote the book titled “A Religion of One’s Own” where he devoted an entire book for seekers to discover and develop their own path to faith and our higher power.  Even before reading his book, I was intrigued by aspects of Buddhism and Hinduism.  I incorporate both my Spiritualist faith and my Christian beliefs into my daily spiritual life.  As best-selling spiritual author Gabrielle Bernstein is quoted as saying, “people find their spirituality through religion and can have a God of their own understanding.  Religion is taught to us but spirituality we learn on our own.” 

I believe having any faith is important to incorporate into our daily life.  Our faith informs every decision we make, helps us understand how to live our life, and provides us with our direction and compass in life. If you are part of an organized religion, you will understand how important belonging to a community is, and how important your beliefs are in your life.  If you are not part of a religion, you can choose to observe or join an organized religion in your community at anytime, and you would be welcomed into that community with open arms.

If you currently do not have a faith and would like to add more Spirituality into your daily life, there are some basic steps to get you started. The first step is to create a quiet time and space for you to meditate or think.  It could be first thing in the morning when you get out of bed, ten minutes in the middle of a busy day, or at the end of the evening just before you go to bed.  You want to create a daily ritual where you can communicate with God and Spirit and ask for help or ask questions to ensure that you are on your right path. 

The next step is to watch for signs and messages being sent to you in answer to your questions. This takes practice because it requires us to consciously pay attention to everything the universe is telling us.  We do not always understand at the time that signs and messages are for us, but, if we pay close attention, then we will realize that God and Spirit hears our prayers and questions. For example, you may accidentally run into an old friend who has information that you have been seeking, or you may develop a knot in your stomach and have a hunch that moving forward with a big decision in your life you are contemplating is not in your best interest.  You may be driving in your car and notice a license plate in front of you with a word or name that confirms a question that you have been asking or a song may come on the radio that has special meaning to you.  There are so many different ways that signs and messages are sent and reveal themselves to us from God and Spirit.

Religion and spirituality both provide us with a path to our higher power.  You may prefer to practice one over the other, a combination of the two, or to develop your own faith specific to your needs, as author Thomas Moore suggests.  Incorporating faith in our daily life provides us with a foundation and direction, and most importantly, it provides us with our purpose and the comfort of knowing that we are never alone. 


Submitted: August 04, 2021

© Copyright 2023 Denise Svajlenko. All rights reserved.

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LE. Berry

I have an article published here on Booksie addressing the topic of your piece. Mine is a little less 'incorporating' in it's perspective. I enjoyed your thoughts on the subject. Well expressed Denise.

Fri, August 6th, 2021 7:16pm

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Reply

Thanks so much. I will look for your article.

Fri, August 6th, 2021 12:23pm

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