Difference between religion and Spirituality

Difference between religion and Spirituality

Religion and spirituality are two closely related, yet quite distinct disciplines associated with faith. Most people confuse these two terms and often use them interchangeably. Religion and spirituality are neither completely separate subjects, nor are they similar. Efforts to separate the two has always stirred mixed reactions, and the line remains a blur.

By definition, religion is a system of institutionalised beliefs, attitudes and practices which are shared among certain groups of people. For instance, the Christian religion believes that Jesus is God and observe baptism and communion. Spirituality, on the other hand, is the personal connection you have between your soul and God.

Let’s look at some of the fundamental differences between Religion and Spirituality

First, spirituality is personal to an individual. It cannot be separated from the individual because it is considered a part of them. Spirituality is a journey towards self-awareness and is reflected in the way a person behaves and interacts with other people. As such, it can only be truly known to him and remains private and sacred only to that person. Religion, by contrast, is a separate entity from an individual. It is a set of beliefs and rules known to the public which define how members of that group should behave and interact with each other.

Also, spirituality is comprised of beliefs that are discovered and developed by an individual. These beliefs change continuously with time as the individual grows spiritually. A person can be spiritual and religious at the same time. Such a person internalises the beliefs of the religion and develops a set of “personal truths” that he deems right. Religion, on the other hand, comprises of predefined beliefs that have been documented as a reference and passed on from members of one generation to another. The ideology of religion is not meant to change. Any changes are overseen by religious leaders and involve a slow monitored process.

Lastly, despite all the best intentions, most religions have subtle aspects of fear interwoven within the teachings. Judgment, eternal punishment in hell, and facing Gods wrath creates anxiety to members of the Christian faith who fail to adhere to the teachings. Spirituality, on the other hand, is based on love and encourages an individual to do so as a choice and not from fear of consequences.


Spirituality and religion are both points in the same spectrum of the beliefs system. The difference is that one is more personal and private, while the other comprises predefined beliefs that are open to the public. A person can be religious without any personal spiritual connection. A person can also be spiritual without necessarily being bound to a particular religion. Sometimes the two can be so much intertwined, calling for a holistic approach in the effort to separate them.

Difference between religion and Spirituality


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