What is the difference between spirituality and religion?

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What is the difference between spirituality and religion?


When speaking about the differences between religion and spirituality we need to remember that there are different perspectives when looking at this question. This answer will focus on a Christian perspective.

From a Christian understanding there is a difference between religion and spirituality. Though there is a difference between religion and spirituality, this does not mean that two are incompatible. From a Christian perspective to be Spiritual is to know that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and is King and Savior (1 John 4:2). From a Christian understanding nothing else is Spiritual. This might seem harsh, especially considering all the different religions and spiritual perspectives that there are in the world.

But spirituality is not determined on what people feel or experience. Spirituality is determined on knowing God, because God is Spirit and the only way to worship him is through his Spirit (John 4:4). And knowing the truth about God can only come from God (1 Corinthians 2:11).

This makes sense when we think about it. In that we can never know what a person is thinking unless they tell us what they are thinking. In the same way, no-one can know God unless God tells us about himself.

In terms of Religion, it is an organised matter of worship. It is humans following rules and regulations in the worship of God. But religion is not incompatible to knowing God. When we look at history in the Bible, we see that God created a religion for the nation of Israel at Mt Sinai after they came out of Egypt (Exodus 19).

But following a religion was not as important to God as the people being committed to him (Isaiah 1:13-14). That not is to say that religion is not important to God. But if a persons heart is not in it, then being religious will not impress God. For as God says, a Christian is saved by grace (a free gift given by God because of Jesus) and not by works so no-one can boast (Ephesians 2:8).

A final point on religion. In Christianity it is essential to have organised religion. Because what God is doing in the world is building his church. Which is to say that God is bringing his people together to serve him (1 Peter 2:5). The bible uses the analogy of a body being like the church (1 Corinthians 12:15-20). Because people are different but we need to come together to serve God. That takes organisation, and religion provides Christians with an organisation they need to serve God.

A good book to read about Spirituality in Australia is Stirrings of the Soul by Michael Raiter.

Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au

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