Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer
There is a common belief among many people that spirituality and religion are the same. When we are blind to the differences, unintentional prejudice occurs to those most vulnerable. The main difference is simple and easy to understand.
Religion is an organized set of beliefs and practices shared by a group of people or a community. Spirituality is the individual practice based around a sense of peace and purpose that is free formed without predetermined values.
With that being presented as the definition of religion and spirituality used throughout, the biggest difference to me is that spirituality is a learned concept based on experiences while religion is taught and passed down from generations.
That is not to say that religion cannot be learned. In fact, religion is strengthened mostly through personal experiences. The best way to keep these two concepts separate is to remember that spirituality strengthens religion. Your personal experiences reinforce and back up what you are taught.
It is becoming increasingly more popular throughout the generation of emerging young adults to be spiritual without religion. The biggest attraction to youth separating from their religion is the appeal of a strong sense of personal purpose without the feeling of dependency or desired approval of a group or organization.
The ultimate question then is “can you be religious without being spiritual?” The simple answer is yes. This is only in the sense similar to that of a child. The child can be religious but not spiritual.
A child can engage in the church, go to Sunday school, and pray but without the spiritual backup to the religion are their efforts empty? Most people would think so. If you’ve never experienced what it is like to feel that connection to whatever the base of your religion is, then yes, these are empty efforts.