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Contrasts Between Spirituality and Religion

To distinction religion vs spirituality provides us a clearer understanding and appreciation of spirituality. The principle variations of faith and spirituality lie within the traditional areas of doctrine, rituals and morality. All religions have these three fundamental parts: 1) doctrine or beliefs; 2) rituals or ceremonies; three) morality or a set of laws governing conduct. It’s in these areas that I will make the contrast of religion with spirituality.

Doctrine Versus Experience

Religions have a set of teachings which all members are enjoined to imagine in. If a member believes otherwise and teaches others to take action additionally, she or he is labeled as an unbeliever and may be excommunicated or put out of that spiritual group. Thus Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and different religions have a unique set of doctrines. Within the religions oneness of doctrine is of paramount importance.

In spirituality while there are certain teachings these should not emphasized a lot as personal experience. Spiritual individuals could also be members of different religions but they’ve the same or related experience. Christian mystics give attention to the expertise of union with the divine. So do Hindu or Muslim mystics. They might differ within the means of attaining this union with God but they agree that this needs to be experienced because the goal of their spiritual life.

Rituals Versus Intimacy

In religions there are particular rituals or spiritual ceremonies meant to precise human relationship with the divine. In Christianity we have the sacraments and the religious services like the Mass, preaching service, worshipful singing, etc. In certain religions this is so essential that a person is obliged to carry out these rituals as a method of salvation, like the ritual of baptism.

In spirituality the emphasis will not be so much on these rituals as a personal intimacy with the divine, usually attained through personal prayer and meditation, activities which in a way are the opposite of rituals. Rituals are performed in a crowd or group of people. Meditation is often performed in solitude and silence.

You possibly can see now that there really is a distinction between religion vs spirituality.

Ethicality Versus Compassion

Religions produce a set of guidelines to follow. This is usually expressed in written laws and oral traditions. Thus the Catholic Church has a Code of Canon Law. The opposite Christian churches have written insurance policies or a system of precedents. The Muslims have the Shariah Law. The Hindus have their own laws, particularly the laws which regulate their conduct of their respective castes. After a while the tendency is to increase the number of laws and to codify these.

In spirituality the central focus in human conduct is on changing into compassionate to all of creation. I used to be about to write «love» instead of «compassion» in the sub-heading. However over the years the word «love» has lost a lot of its real meaning. In almost all seminars, conferences on spirituality compassion is accentuated as crucial attitude required of human beings toward creation. This compassion begins with realizing our oneness with the divine and with all of creation. It’s not just a matter of feeling however is expressed in actions of kindness towards all we meet, human beings or different parts of creation. The tendency in spirituality is to simplify the laws, just like what Jesus did, reducing all of them into : love of God and love of neighbor.

The query I might like to pose is: Which do you think is best, faith or spirituality? My opinion is that both are necessary to human life. Faith capabilities as a cement in human culture. But with the latest ongoing studies on spirituality we are going to see an increasing number of men and women who are changing into more spiritual rather than more religious. Maybe churches which have lost their active members, as in sure areas in Europe, can shift their focus from faith to spirituality and give which means in life to more and more people. Religion vs spirituality will improve the awareness of more individuals to be taught more of the enduring values in life.

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