The Battle Within: Spirituality vs. Religion

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I often find myself questioning why people do what they do, or why how people all of sudden turn over a new leaf, yet still display the old leaves from time to time. I understand that we are human, born with sin, and learning about who we are everyday.

I get up everyday and feel empowered by my God and I feel as though my spirit is lifted closer to him. What I don’t feel everyday is the religious connection.  I go to church, for the words of guidance from the pastor, but don’t feel a connection to the members or an obligation to the church. And it’s not like I’m holding back or not opening myself up, but I also don’t want to feel as though I’m forcing myself, it should be free willing in my opinion.

I saw a bumper sticker once that read, “Religion is for people afraid of going to Hell, Spirituality is for people who have already been there.” In a weird way it made sense to me(it also made me laugh). I read a few definitions on spirituality and religion, and put together what I think they mean:

Spirituality can refer to an ultimate reality or transcendent dimension of the world as you view it. An inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his or her being, or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.”  A concern for that which is unseen and intangible, as opposed to physical or mundane. Free from the body, clear of thought. To have an appreciation for religious values that include sacred matters or religion or the church.

Religion is the belief in, and worship of a higher controlling power, like a personal God or gods. It’s a particular system of faith and worship in which details of belief is taught or discussed in a pursuit of understanding, or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance. It allows people to govern themselves by a moral code of human conduct while trying to give purpose and understanding to the universe. As a  member of a religious order, a person is bound by its vows and guidelines.

The two things that stand out in spirituality and religion is “free” and “bound” A person can be free spirited, but also bound by religion, “Let go and let God”,but be constraint to the word and religion. Religion should not bound your spiritual life. I understand that religion and spirituality do conjure up differences. But at the same time they are just terms and words. Spirituality and religion can be interchangeable. The boundary between religion and spirituality is fluid.

We are ever evolving as human beings. There’s always a new challenge, or circumstance, or interest which can and will determine how we see ourselves and how try to get in tuned with our spirit through religion. I’m trying to find that balance with my spirit and religion. Maybe for me, that balance isn’t a 50-50 split by it’s true sense of the term. For me, it might be 60-40 or 70-30, I don’t know. All I can agree on is that I’m not there yet. The battle continues.

2 Comments on "The Battle Within: Spirituality vs. Religion"

  1. RB-Lott Apr 14, 2011 · 10:32 am

    Growing up Christian and later on dabling in Islam, I too have battled with the “Religious” issue. I’ve heard the term “that’s against my religion” many times over the years. I often wonder if they have even questioned [why]. To me religion, in many ways, train you to not think for yourself and definitely not question its validity no matter how confusing or contradictory it may be; at least the religions that [I] have experienced and come across. I believe in God, The Most High, Creator, Yaweh, Allah, etc. I consider myself [Spiritual] more so now than ever before. I am not the type of person that believes that if you don’t go to church, you are going to hell. I must say that religion introduced me to God but I have found peace and have established a solid relationship with my Creator outside of any specific religious practice.

  2. d peters Jun 6, 2011 · 10:55 am

    To RB that is an interesting way to look at it. I too have spent most of my life in religion. I too believe in the Most high, Creator, Yaweh…but when it think of the vastness of what He is and the many worlds and spaces and creatures He has created..it just does not make sense to me that He would single out one group of people and say ” look you are mine and if others want to be mine they must do this or that” that so much sounds like man’s thoughts not a creator who has created so much more that just our tinly planet and solar system. when you think about it….

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