Spirituality vs Religion: What’s the Difference?

Currently, there are 4,300 religions practiced worldwide. Religious faith goes beyond the followers of popular religions like Christianity and Islam. Religious doctrine dictates the lives of people all over the globe.

But beyond the limits of religion, some people practice and develop their individual spirituality. Many of these people do not practice an organized religion.

This debate of spirituality vs. religion is long-standing. What is the true difference between the two? Can they coexist?

Keep reading to find out more about spirituality and religion.

What is Religion?

Religion is the worship and/or service of a supernatural being or God organized under a specific system or institution. Religion is innately collective–people practice religion as a group.

Religion can be a powerful means of connecting a population (for good or for bad). It is often organized as a hierarchy with leaders who decide on the official belief system of the followers.

People are often drawn to organized religion because it gives them a sense of community. 

What is Spirituality?

While religion is often collective, spirituality is often an individual practice. If someone is growing spiritually, they find ways to connect to a higher power or being in their daily lives.

This practice is different for everyone.

One of the most popular ways people practice spirituality is through the law of attraction. People also practice and study numerology and meditation focused on positive affirmations.

People who are not interested in religion can find many benefits in pursuing spirituality. Studies have shown that spiritual practices like meditation can greatly improve mental functioning. It can also have a positive impact on emotional wellbeing.

For many people, the draw of spirituality can be tailored to a person’s individual needs.

‘Spirituality vs. Religion’ or ‘Spirituality and Religion’?

While these two ideas may seem at odds, collective religion vs. individual spirituality is not always the case. For many religious people, a focus on individual spirituality improves their religious practice.

Many organized religions emphasize individual spirituality. This is seen as a way to develop a better relationship with God. The practices of prayer, meditation, and affirmations are common in religion. These practices are also tied to spirituality and individualism.

For some, a better understanding of the self and the soul through spirituality helps their religious belief. It leads to a better understanding of the higher being they worship.

Making Space for the Unknown

At the heart, this question of spirituality vs. religion is the issue of faith. We can question and argue and hypothesize all day, but there are some things that we cannot know for sure.

This faith in the unknown is what makes spiritual pursuits so beautiful. We can ask questions and learn new information our whole lives and still not know everything. Are you looking for answers and working towards spiritual growth? Check out our Law of Attraction category to learn more.