I can’t tell you the last time I attended church. But, that doesn’t make my faith any less valid. I can tell you I pray often, and prayer works.
To me, religion is like that student who attends college because she was told it would greatly enhance her chances of getting a better job, which gets a better income. However, spirituality is like the person who took another route and did what he felt was right for him. He ended up with the same career, or an even a better one, than the one who followed convention.
Religion and spirituality are often grouped together and interpreted as one entity.
According to the definitions listed in Webster’s dictionary of religion and spirituality, the two support each other. Religion is an institutionalized system grounded in a set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. Spirituality is defined as the state of being spiritual, relating to God and belonging to a church or religion.
After reading an article by Daniel Gabriel on www.societyoftheonealllight.com, I have found religion has very little to do with spirituality. They differ especially when the effects and personal growth of an individual based on the two subjects are studied. Religion is normally standardized for the masses.
Along the way, it loses its intended meaning when wrongly construed and gets caught up in the corruptness of power hungry leaders. Spirituality is about personal experiences affecting the soul and how an individual relates to God on his level.
Spirituality is an individual’s personal quest to re-discover his or her essence and who he or she really is.
In Gabriel’s article he said religion is an “external thing” whereas spirituality is an “internal thing.” Religion involves a mass of people whereas spirituality is a personal thing involving only the individual and leaves no room for interpretation or corruption by outside forces.
Religion is meant to be interpreted and learned based on pre-subscribed notions, and it leaves no room for further growth. The idea of religion is limited, and it stunts the spiritual growth of the believer. The more people believe in their religion and its values, the less they are willing to accept new attitudes and ideas, whether they are true or false.
I see people who view religion as a way of life and interpret all its teachings literally as misguided as to what message really is. These beliefs often form into prejudices that can harm others.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is all about personal growth and learning to see everyone as an equal, and in the image of God.
Spirituality allows people to choose their own path to spiritual enlightenment at a personal pace. Religion has set deadlines and determines your journey for you.Religion is fear-based and unconsciously teaches us to judge others unlike us, hold back our true feelings and fear the unknown. Through spirituality, we can discover own personal truths and ourselves.
Tatiana Jerome is a junior public relations student from Parkland. Contact her at Tjanna01@yahoo.com.