A Comparison of Religion And Spirituality

Wicca Spirituality Table of Contents
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Religion is often associated with force, sometimes disastrously so, historically and today; whereas spiritual concepts such as loyalty, freedom, and peace don't create strife or conflict, much less war. Spirituality is always associated with nonviolence. - 158

The spiritual is tolerant, yet religiosity is commonly intolerant; the former leads to peace, the latter to strife, bloodshed, and pious criminality. > [Religion vs spirituality]

There remains, however, buried within every religion, the spiritual foundation that it originated from. – 181

Power vs Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD

What is the difference between religion and spirituality? Here's a handy chart, comparing religion to spirituality.



Spirituality is inborn. Spiritual experiences are as natural to human beings as breathing.
Religion was created by humans to explain, contain, and stimulate spiritual experiences.
Spirituality is an experience within yourself, inexpressible and unforgettable.

Religion is other people telling you what that experience is supposed to be.

Spirituality holds that you and the Divine are One, inseparable. Thus, the purpose of spirituality is simply to fully remember this fundamental truth. Religion claims that the Divine exists outside of you, and you are apart from it. Thus, the purpose of religion is then to make you acceptable to this outside judge.
Spirituality asserts that you are inherently perfect, whole, and lovable. You do not need to "heal" or change. Although you will be happier if you realise your perfection, which is what spirituality helps you do. Religion asserts that humans are imperfect and/or ignorant, if not actively sinful and evil. Religion then aims to set you straight and guide you how to improve yourself (according to its designs).
Spirituality acknowledges that everyone's spirituality is uncompromisingly unique; no one can say what another's spiritual path could be. Religion imposes one person's spiritual experience upon others.
Spirituality aims for personal experience of the Divine, and an internal understanding of what you believe to be true. Religion aims for acceptance of what other people have experienced and said to be true.
Spirituality is having a personal, intimate relationship with your Source. Religion seeks a relationship with the Divine, but not union.   Religion separates you from the Divine, insisting you are "less than Divine," while seeming to encourage closeness.
Spirituality is the seeking of union with the Divine.

Religion is the rules about the seeking that bind together a community in conformity.

In spirituality, you are successful to the degree you attain unity with the Divine..
In religion you are successful to the degree you obey the dictates of your leaders.
Spirituality does not have rules.  The most it offers is guidelines and spiritual practices that have helped others and are likely to benefit you. Religion insists on its rules as absolute truths.
Spirituality is internally focused.  What occurs is between you and the Divine, alone. Religion is externally focused.  The focus isn't on the experience but whether you're following the rules.

Spirituality is talking to God yourself, and hearing the Divine's response. 

Religion puts an intermediary (priest) between you and the Divine.  It is someone else interpreting the Divine for you.
In spirituality, morality is subject only to the approval of the Divine. In religion, morality is dictated by obedience to an authoritarian rulebook (law).
The aim of spirituality is to create opportunities for direct experience of the Divine. The aim of religion is to make you a cohesive, beneficial member of the congregation.
Spirituality is having a mature relationship with your Divine Source. Religion is the child-version of spirituality: it is a stepping stone and guide toward spiritual union.
Spirituality is learning to be your own Sacred Chalice, your own container for Divine Energy.

Religion serves as a container for spirituality, for those who have found the real purpose of religion.  For others, religion acts as a pseudo-spirituality, relieving them of the responsibility to actually live a spiritual life.

Spirituality insists that you can only KNOW what you have experienced for yourself. Religion usually demands unquestioning obedience to dogma.  You BELIEVE what you are told to know.
In spirituality, everyone has the potential to achieve the goal of full awakening, by whatever path is right for them. In religion, the goal of personal "salvation" is achieved only by those who adhere to its beliefs and rules.
Spirituality is meant to serve the Divine, and by extension, all of life.

Religion is meant to serve spirituality, yet it is commonly twisted around to be exactly the opposite. Or worse, it serves the goals of those who seek control and "power."

Spirituality champions personal power.  It reminds us that true power can only be found within yourself, not in controlling people or events. Religion confuses the basic issues of power and control. It tries to control others, rather than seeking to control self.
Spirituality seeks to liberate you from dependence in any form. Religion keeps you dependent and spiritually immature . . . unless you happen to perceive the spirituality beyond it.
For more information on the difference between religion and spirituality, please see the accurately named article: The Difference Between Religion and Spirituality.

With Brightest Blessings,

erin Dragonsong

Witch Love Smilie  ©  Wicca Spirituality

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