Some people may take advantage of emotionally vulnerable people while pretending to support their spirituality. If you're emotionally vulnerable, it's easier to convince yourself to participate in unhealthy activities. A major disadvantage of spirituality is that it can lead to a sense of superiority among followers. This feeling of superiority can cause intolerance towards those who do not share the same beliefs and can even lead to hostility and violence.
To make things clear, I don't belong to the “religion is bad” or “spirituality doesn't make sense” groups. Sure, I can understand why people hate religion or uplift spirituality (and vice versa), but I'm not interested in perpetuating division; our world has had enough of that. There is a lot of beauty and depth in both religion and spirituality, and before “throwing the baby out with the bath water”, I want to offer you, dear spiritual pilgrim, something to think about; something to meditate on and contemplate. The word “spirituality” comes from the Latin word spiritualis, which means “breath”; from the spirit; air.
It is primarily concerned with finding, experiencing, and embodying one's true spiritual nature. Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there. To be fair, not everyone clearly hates religion or thinks spirituality is wow.
But, in general, in mainstream Western society, both are frowned upon or outright avoided. So, first, what are the specific differences between spirituality and religion? I'll explore the differences below, as well as the pros and cons of spirituality and religion. Keep in mind that the following distinctions are very, very generalized and do not take into account the many nuances that exist between religion and spirituality. Nothing is completely black and white.
While spirituality focuses on a personal connection to the Divine, religion encourages a community-centered connection to the Divine. In other words, different religions, in general, tend to focus on bringing people together and finding a shared faith in a god or ideology. Spirituality, which lacks a clear structure, is about winning and experiencing love and freedom. Religion, on the other hand, consists of submitting to a certain path (that is,.
The basic difference between spirituality and religion here is that spirituality has to do with “Follow your own happiness,” while the motto of religion tends to be: “Not my will, but yours, be done.”. Spirituality teaches us that All is One (not duality), that, ultimately, there is no separation between the spark of the Divine within us and the Divine that permeates everything. Spirituality teaches the sacred, or that the Divine can be experienced, felt, and incarnated. And religion teaches holiness, or that the Divine cannot be touched, experienced directly, or even looked at because it is much bigger than us.
There are practically no rules at all in the realm of spirituality (apart from unspoken codes of conduct such as not killing, not stealing, etc.). There are no rules because the spiritual path is totally self-directed in an informal process that follows its own rhythm. Religion, contrary to spirituality, is very formal. There are established structures, routines, rituals, and rules that one is expected to follow in order to be called a devotee.
Because spirituality is self-directed and has to do with one's personal connection to the Divine, there is low responsibility. There's no one else to tell you what you're wrong about except yourself. Spirituality consists of experiencing, feeling, and embodying the Divine. It focuses on getting the job done or, in different terms, on getting “practical experience”.
As you can see, there are good and bad things about spirituality and religion. There's no black or white here. Both can enrich or demoralize our human experience. In its most childish form, spirituality can become a new-age nonsense that lacks depth, commitment, responsibility, the capacity to create meaningful social change, and credibility.
And in the most childish form of religion, it can be a force of destruction that creates more division and suffering. I have directly experienced both spirituality and religion in their most toxic states, and I have also experienced the benefits of both. So why is it necessary to keep one and discard the other? But there is a sublime opportunity present at the heart of spirituality and religion. The debate between spirituality and religion only creates more hatred and ill-will in the world, and yet, when we dare to combine the two, we have what I call a “third way forward”.
We have a path of integration, depth, and tremendous power for good. What I'm talking about here is quite Taoist (without me necessarily being Taoist). On the one hand, we have religion, which is a very yang force. On the other hand, we have spirituality, which is a very yin force.
Religion is form, and spirituality is the absence of form. Religion is the container and spirituality is the content. The two of them dance together, holding hands, or at least they can do it. Mysticism is the common thread of spirituality and religion.
When we unite elements of spirituality with religion and vice versa, we obtain a robust, profound, and delightfully multifaceted path that can properly support us and “initiate” us into the Mysteries of the Divine. Everyone has their own unique path, so if you don't feel called to invite spirituality or religion into your life, no problem. I'm not there to change that. As someone who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home, then left and became an agnostic, then adopted New Age spirituality, then became a practitioner of the occult, and finally committed to a mystical path, I've been on a merry-go-round when it comes to spirituality and religion.
But instead of seeing things in terms of black or white (which creates division and, therefore, fear), I see that religion and spirituality can be like sisters, brothers, or friends who support each other in harmony. We just need to deeply analyze both and find their background of similarities to realize that they are not as opposites as we once thought. Negative religious coping may be more common among denominations and congregations that encourage the belief that people can themselves achieve remission from illness through prayer, and that the persistence of the illness is a sure sign that the person has failed in some way. For example, Rosmarin and his colleagues11 discovered that spiritual strife (negative religious coping) was a strong predictor of an increase in symptoms of both depression and mania and seems to be a common and important risk factor for depressive symptoms.
In addition, some spiritual beliefs may discourage people from taking responsible steps, such as getting vaccinated or using birth control, which can have negative consequences for their health and well-being. These findings suggest that it is not religious beliefs or religion-oriented behavior per se that negatively affects mood, but rather the dimension of spiritual struggle and the cognitions that accompany it (for example, “God must be punishing me”, “I must be unworthy of being saved”). In addition, a recent Gallup poll, which once again refutes the scenario that COVID-19 will cause a loss of faith or negative expressions of religiosity, revealed that the COVID-19 crisis has improved the spirituality and religion of many Americans. .