Rules to Relationship
I have heard it said that one can be spiritual without being religious, but rarely can one be religious without being spiritual. I believe half of this idea to be true. Though there are varying opinions and beliefs on this subject, from a Christian standpoint I see a valid distinction between spirituality and organized religion.
For many, religion describes the social, public, and organized means by which people relate to the sacred and divine. It is made up of rules, structure, ritual, and doctrine which seems to leave one starving for something more. Many religions exert control, instill fear, force morality, and all but remove God from the equation. Sins are confessed to clergymen, places of worship are elaborate, and the people are told what, when, and how to pray. Religion is an institution established by man. It can be anything that one practicing it desires it to be. So, if it is defined by man, then overall I think religion can distance you from God.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is born in a person. It is defined by God and extends to all facets of a person’s life. Spirituality is chosen, while religion is often forced. It is the manifestation of God’s nature, found deep within oneself, not just in a church or from believing a certain way. It is a pure yearning of one’s soul toward finding answers to life’s questions. It privatizes and personalizes religion by promoting intimacy and relationships, and it allows one to access all that is sacred and divine on a very personal level.
Unfortunately, there are many religious people going to church who are not spiritual. They may show up every week, but when it actually comes to faith in God, their beliefs do not match their actions. If one is projecting an image of being a moral person, for instance, but in their private life they are actively pursuing a life of sin, this is showing a lack of accountability and hypocrisy. This brand of religion looks good on the...