Spirituality and Religion: Everything to Know
Did you know there are some significant differences between being spiritual and having a religion?
Spirituality and religion often go together, but they don’t have to. Many people describe themselves as both spiritual and religious. Some don’t affiliate with any particular religious beliefs but call themselves spiritual.
No matter what words people use, these beliefs provide a lot of comforts, meaning, and guidance. They also may influence a person’s worldview and actions. As such, it’s important to consider what you believe in a careful manner.
Below, we’ll get into some of the key differences between religion and spirituality. That way, you can decide whether you want to follow a religion or describe yourself as spiritual. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Religion?
Religion is what a lot of people think of when they picture having a belief system.
There are two main types of religion that are popular today: monotheism and polytheism. Monotheism refers to religions that teach there is only one god. By contrast, polytheists believe there is more than one god.
Polytheists might pray to several different gods depending on what need or believe. Monotheists may pray to one god, although some monotheists also pray to saints and other significant figures.
Usually, religion contains a structured set of teachings. Many of these teachings stem from religious texts. Believers then take these teachings and interpret them, applying them to their own lives. Some religions believe their god wrote their scriptures.
Often, religious people will also meet together for services or religious holidays. These services might involve meaningful rituals or worship sessions and sermons. Usually, clergy oversee these religious events, either guiding the devotees through service or preaching and praying for people.
Judaism is one of the oldest major world religions. It came about in the 6th century BCE, and it is the forefather of the other Abrahamic religions.
“Abrahamic” refers to the commonly recognized founder of Judaism, Abraham. According to Judaistic teachings, God called Abraham to move from his home into the lands of ancient Judea. Abraham entered a holy covenant with God, establishing the Jews as God’s chosen people.
God also promised Abraham that his descendants would be many. Later, his wife, Sarah, gave birth to Isaac. Jewish people believe Isaac is their ancestor.
As such, Judaism is most often practiced by Jewish people. Some people have converted to Judaism without being Jewish, however. Judaism emphasizes following God’s commands and living lives in a way that honors God. Followers of Judaism observe religious holidays such as Passover and Hannukah.
Christianity grew out of Judaism, through the teachings of a Jewish man named Jesus.
Christians believe Jesus is both God and the Son of God. There are many Christian denominations, but most teach that people are sinful. As such, they cannot enter heaven to be with God. Jesus came to earth to save people from their sins. According to many Christians, he lived a sinless life and then died and returned to life.
Christians teach that people should avoid sinning and try to honor God with their lives. Many Christian denominations differ in what they teach, but all agree that people should try to follow God.
Islam also grew out of Judaism. However, Muslims believe that Abraham’s covenant was passed to them through Ishmael instead of through Isaac. Ishmael is considered the ancestor of the Arab people.
Many Muslims are Arab people, but Muslims also have an interest in converting others to Islam. They believe that people need Islam in order to submit to the will of Allah (Allah means “God” in Arabic). If people follow Allah and do good deeds in their lives, they will get to go to Jannah (Paradise) after the Day of Judgment.
There are many other different types of religion. These include Buddhism and Hinduism, which are more common in Asia. Increasingly more people are practicing pagan religions, which originated in the Celtic region. Others practice more recent religions, such as Wicca. Learning about different belief systems can help you understand how religion has shaped culture and history.
What Is Spirituality?
Spirituality and religion are similar, but the difference is that you don’t need a religion to be spiritual.
People who are spiritual may borrow from religious beliefs, even if they don’t consider themselves religious. Often, spiritual people believe in a form of a higher power. What they call that higher power depends on the person. Many spiritual people use the words “the universe” to refer to the spiritual realm.
Spiritual people often craft their individual practices around the things they view as helpful or meaningful. For instance, spiritual people may pray to gods, give offerings, or observe holidays and practices. They may use crystals to heal or draw certain energies into their lives. They may also read tarot cards or cast spells.
Some people believe in angel numbers, too. Angel numbers are numbers that people see repeatedly, and they are believed to contain messages. Learn more about the 939 angel number today!
So, religion thrives on structured beliefs, and spirituality doesn’t need structure. Still, many spiritual people research the beliefs their practices stem from. That way, they can honor the history of the beliefs and apply them to their lives.
Want to Learn More About Spirituality and Religion?
Now that you’ve read this guide, you’re ready to dive deeper into spirituality and religion.
It’s impossible to summarize everything there is to say about spirituality and religion in one article. As such, you should do more research into these beliefs and figure out which ones you want to follow.
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