Religion vs Spirituality

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Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 11:37 am
Many philosophical debates naturally end up reaching a point where the concept of 'god' enters the picture. Along with it comes use of terminology such as religion and spirituality.
But I feel the difference between the two terms is little understood and therefore the discussions tend to splinter and become largely unproductive.
Would anyone else care to share their understanding of the terms or debate that they are essentially interchangeable ?

GS
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 11:43 am
@groundedspirit,
groundedspirit;126182 wrote:
Many philosophical debates naturally end up reaching a point where the concept of 'god' enters the picture. Along with it comes use of terminology such as religion and spirituality.
But I feel the difference between the two terms is little understood and therefore the discussions tend to splinter and become largely unproductive.
Would anyone else care to share their understanding of the terms or debate that they are essentially interchangeable ?

GS
Well just for a start, I would suggest that "spirituality" tends to be an individual form of belief system whereas religion tends to be more of a community, organized, structured form of belief system. People increasingly turn away from organized religion to refer to themselves as "spiritual but not religious" a label that many self apply.

Organized religion has become associated with dogma, creed, doctrine and divisiveness, in additional to the historical problem of sectarian violence, inquisitions, crusades and other problems of violence and intolerance. Individual spirituality is generally not associated with those problems or that history.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 01:14 pm
@prothero,
prothero;126184 wrote:
Well just for a start, I would suggest that "spirituality" tends to be an individual form of belief system whereas religion tends to be more of a community, organized, structured form of belief system. People increasingly turn away from organized religion to refer to themselves as "spiritual but not religious" a label that many self apply.

Organized religion has become associated with dogma, creed, doctrine and divisiveness, in additional to the historical problem of sectarian violence, inquisitions, crusades and other problems of violence and intolerance. Individual spirituality is generally not associated with those problems or that history.


Yes, that is how many people intend to be understood. However, people are "spiritual" because of the religions; it is the influence of religion on society that gets many people to feel that they are "spiritual". So although many people wish to distance themselves from the issues of various religions, and wish to pick things to suit their own tastes, it is not something that is really without a connection to religion.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 01:33 pm
@groundedspirit,
groundedspirit;126182 wrote:
Many philosophical debates naturally end up reaching a point where the concept of 'god' enters the picture. Along with it comes use of terminology such as religion and spirituality.
But I feel the difference between the two terms is little understood and therefore the discussions tend to splinter and become largely unproductive.
Would anyone else care to share their understanding of the terms or debate that they are essentially interchangeable ?

GS


It is en vogue to say you are spiritual these days. Spiritual sounds freeer, less restrictive! I imagine these people must feel like they're newage hippies. Not to mention, people who are spiritual don't have to bear the scrutiny that comes over religious institution. You know, like when a Catholic priest rapes a little boy.

Oh, and I think a religious person would be more than happy to call themselves spiritual, but I don't a spiritual person would necessarily be comfortable calling themselves religous. In fact, I think they would have a problem with it, since "spirituality" seems to be a religious rebellion of sorts!

Spirituality is often misunderstood because attempts to refer to spirituality are moot. As most of us sensible people understand, spirituality doesn't correspond to anything in this world. Now, the spiritual folk will tell you it's experiential, but that's clearly not evidence for anything spiritual existing. So, of course there's going to be confusion. No one really knows what "spirituality" refers to, and since it's supposedly experiential, it cannot even be explained with language! Great, more nonsense. :intentive:
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 01:49 pm
@groundedspirit,
Spirituality is the emotion, religion is the institution.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 01:51 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;126208 wrote:
Spirituality is the emotion, religion is the institution.


There's an emotion called "spirituality"?
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 02:01 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;126209 wrote:
There's an emotion called "spirituality"?


Yes, I hope you won't ask me to pin it down exactly though. I would put it at something like: inner peace + elevation (opposite of disgust) + faith.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 02:02 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;126209 wrote:
There's an emotion called "spirituality"?


A spiritual awakening could cause emotions.

In Holland we say also "bezield" which would mean animated, inspirit or inspired in Englich.

So I do see connection between spirituality and emotions.:Glasses:
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 02:03 pm
@Zetherin,
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 02:32 pm
@groundedspirit,
Jebediah;126211 wrote:
Yes, I hope you won't ask me to pin it down exactly though. I would put it at something like: inner peace + elevation (opposite of disgust) + faith.


Are you sure you don't mean something else? None of those things are emotions. Maybe there are emotions involved, and you're using figurative language with me. I do know that faith is not an emotion, it's just belief without proof.

And I wouldn't ask you to pin down spirituality. I'm a reasonable person and wouldn't ask you to do something nonsensical.

Pepijn Sweep wrote:
A spiritual awakening could cause emotions.


Maybe, but that doesn't explain what a spiritual awakening is. Or what anything spiritual is, for that matter.

Fil. Albuquerque wrote:

The Anemoi and the Aniti, the Anima or "having " The Spirit may be simply in the joy of Life...


Or maybe when I enjoy life, I'm just enjoying life. "The Spirit" need not be involved. In fact, I would rather he not be.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 02:43 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;126219 wrote:
Are you sure you don't mean something else? None of those things are emotions. Maybe there are emotions involved, and you're using figurative language with me. I do know that faith is not an emotion, it's just belief without proof.


Sure, but what do you feel when you believe something without proof? I guess I'm describing a feeling rather than an emotion, but isn't an emotion just a strong feeling?

I'm not trying to add "spiritual" to the list of the six basic emotions. I'm talking about the feeling people are describing with they say "spiritual". Some emotions are complex.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 02:48 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;126225 wrote:
Sure, but what do you feel when you believe something without proof? I guess I'm describing a feeling rather than an emotion, but isn't an emotion just a strong feeling?

I'm not trying to add "spiritual" to the list of the six basic emotions. I'm talking about the feeling people are describing with they say "spiritual". Some emotions are complex.


You're right, some emotions are complex. That's why I like the more complex models of emotion. Scroll down the bottom of this page and look to the right; there are almost 50 different emotions there.

Emotion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Which of these emotions, if you could guess, correspond with spirituality? Also, does everyone experience these same set of emotions whilst having a spiritual experience? Would a different spiritual practice or ritual produce different emotions? Is spiritual experience directly tied into emotion? Can a sociopath have a spiritual experience? Can someone with autism or asperger's?

Not asking you to pin point, a ball park will do! The word "Spiritual" seems so vague to me. It's very clear to you all?
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 03:02 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;126227 wrote:
You're right, emotions are complex. That's why I like the more complex models of emotion. Scroll down the bottom of this page and look to the right; there are almost 50 different emotions there.

Emotion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Which of these emotions, if you could guess, correspond with spirituality? Also, does everyone experience these same set of emotions whilst having a spiritual experience? Would a different spiritual practice or ritual produce different emotions? Is spiritual experience directly tied into emotion? Can a sociopath have a spiritual experience? Can someone with autism or asperger's?

Not asking you to pin point, a ball park will do!


This list is good as well:

List of emotions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I do suspect that different people have different feelings. I don't often have it so I'm working off memory here.

Inner peace--serenity, contentment, relaxation
Elevation--I think this is one they are still studying. Described as the opposite of disgust.
faith--I'm thinking of a trust and optimism type of combination.

I would add wonder and perhaps awe as well.

So someone might go from their stressful job in retail to a big park somewhere. Climb up a hill with a nice view. Sit down and relax, let go of worries and appreciate the purity of nature. And then, if they are a bit spiritual or in that mood, get a feeling of being a part of nature, that this is how things should be.

Or they might be out in a storm and awed by the power of it. Many of the original gods were tied to the power of nature.

Or the happy glow some people get when they get a lot of personal fulfillment from helping someone in need.

So yes, I would describe it as quite varied and vague. But basically, we have a set of emotions or feelings that led us to start religions in the first place. They drive people who are in those religions. But they can also be independent.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 03:14 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;126233 wrote:
This list is good as well:

List of emotions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I do suspect that different people have different feelings. I don't often have it so I'm working off memory here.

Inner peace--serenity, contentment, relaxation
Elevation--I think this is one they are still studying. Described as the opposite of disgust.
faith--I'm thinking of a trust and optimism type of combination.

I would add wonder and perhaps awe as well.

So someone might go from their stressful job in retail to a big park somewhere. Climb up a hill with a nice view. Sit down and relax, let go of worries and appreciate the purity of nature. And then, if they are a bit spiritual or in that mood, get a feeling of being a part of nature, that this is how things should be.

Or they might be out in a storm and awed by the power of it. Many of the original gods were tied to the power of nature.

Or the happy glow some people get when they get a lot of personal fulfillment from helping someone in need.

So yes, I would describe it as quite varied and vague. But basically, we have a set of emotions or feelings that led us to start religions in the first place. They drive people who are in those religions. But they can also be independent.


So, then, it's perhaps a type of mood. Someone is either in a spiritual mood, or they are not. I have witnessed a storm and felt a sense of awe by the power of it. I also have become happy from helping someone in need before. It seems to me many could, though, and I don't see anything which links to the supposed spiritual nature.

I think I've been in a spiritual mood before, because it seems as though anything can be spiritual. It's a perspective, and more than an emotional mood, an intellectual mood.

That is fine, let us have our moods. Nothing wrong with that, we're humans after all.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 03:43 pm
@groundedspirit,
So it seems that someone can be spiritual in the same sense that they can be optimistic, cynical, or laid back. They don't have to be religious in the same sense that someone who is affectionate or loving doesn't have to get married.

It is still more vague that "optimistic" though.
 
groundedspirit
 
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 04:23 pm
@Jebediah,
Interesting posts everyone !

I see that some seem to have the identity correct on the "religion" aspect - i.e. that it's an organized power structure. An early form of government (that has carried for a long time and still exists).

But "spirituality" on the other hand seems to be a term less understood. Some I notice seem inclined to tie it back to religion - if nothing else that to point to possible roots.
Others I notice look on it as little more than an evolutionary term - a language development - devised to attempt to detach it from the negative connection to "religion" but maybe not being vastly different.

I might propose another view............

One probably tied more to the 'feeling' or 'emotion' that someone mentioned.
There can be an experience, a perception - regardless of it's subjectivity - and more and more supported by science including quantum physics and experimentation into alternate modes of reality and perception. What our 5 primary senses relay to us is not ALL that is being relayed. Anyone who has spent significant time around animals understands that well.
Our oldest documented examples of civilization leave trails of it.
It's some feeling of.....let's call it 'connection & awareness', of truly what we as humans are and where we fit into the bigger picture of things (the universe)
This 'feeling' (for lack of a better term) as I say is becoming more studied and documented every day.
But it seems as more come to understand this, it begins to surface more in our cultures. The confusion comes mostly when we try to attach pre-existing terms to it that have some meaning already in our minds - like god, religion,spirit,faith etc.
It would seem, to gain a truer understanding we must learn more and avoid using such terms in our discussions because there is no method of avoiding the subjugation that they will affect.

And so now........
Here we go Smile
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 11:01 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil. Albuquerque;126213 wrote:


[CENTER]:bigsmile:\\
In Spanisch their is a difference b'tween anima & animo, quite big. Is this the same in your language. You still have traces of Galic in the North ? Arab words in the county of Algarva, dialect or Alleteja?

Lisboa was one of my favourite town. Elegant, civilized... Then Rua Garett burned down and I was job-less. Well my check did not survive ...Next Morning it was spooky to get to Camera. Police was most friendly.

Adios, Pepijn Sweep


[/CENTER]
 
Twilight Siren
 
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 10:52 am
@groundedspirit,
I see it like this. Religion is concerned more with worship and faith and deities, and following dogma set up by a "prophet" (as most major religions have) that people follow blindly (faith). They worship or follow certain figures. It's an institution and, even though there are many sects in each religion, all the people of that religion follow the same basic dogma and beliefs. Plus, people do horrible things in the name of religion.

Spirituality is something that I see as nothing more than living with your spirit in mind, trying to improve and develop yourself, not for the sake of any promised "eternal reward" or fear of "damnation" . . .. but just because you feel the desire, the push . . . something . . telling you to try to " be the best you can be" (without the army) . . . to try to feel "whole" . . . to know yourself and see deeper into yourself, thereby helping you see others and the world (which you are one with) in a new and mystical light. . . to discover you "self" (this is in another thread).

I see several good points that many of you have made though . . . . .



prothero;126184 wrote:
Well just for a start, I would suggest that "spirituality" tends to be an individual form of belief system whereas religion tends to be more of a community, organized, structured form of belief system. People increasingly turn away from organized religion to refer to themselves as "spiritual but not religious" a label that many self apply.[1]

Organized religion has become associated with dogma, creed, doctrine and divisiveness, in additional to the historical problem of sectarian violence, inquisitions, crusades and other problems of violence and intolerance. Individual spirituality is generally not associated with those problems or that history.[2]


1. I would agree with the community things, but spirituality doesn't always have beliefs tied to it . . . except for the belief in yourself. . . maybe belief's the wrong word here. Let me know if you figure out the right one, cuz' I don't know it.

You're right though . . I would call myself spiritual, but not religious and most epople these days would roll their eyes and scoff at me for saying so, because they assume this make me some "new age hippie". This may be the case for other, but not me. I've also seen very religious people who don't seem to have one spiritual bone in their body. Their religion is a facade, an image. It's like a vegetarian who eats chicken or fish . . . In me eyes . . . that means you're not a vegetarian, but others disagree. These people don't see the "true message" that their religion may be trying to tell them (as most were founded with good intents). They are hypocrites!!!
How can you assume to save your soul, if you pay no mind to it?!

2. Good stuff. I agree.



Zetherin;126202 wrote:
It is en vogue to say you are spiritual these days. Spiritual sounds freeer, less restrictive! I imagine these people must feel like they're newage hippies. Not to mention, people who are spiritual don't have to bear the scrutiny that comes over religious institution. You know, like when a Catholic priest rapes a little boy. [1]

Oh, and I think a religious person would be more than happy to call themselves spiritual, but I don't a spiritual person would necessarily be comfortable calling themselves religous[2]. In fact, I think they would have a problem with it, since "spirituality" seems to be a religious rebellion of sorts!. . .


1. Precisely, but I wouldn't call the rapist priest spiritual, by any definition of the word, only religious . . because he obviously has no concern for the affect of his actions on his fellow man. Please don't misinterpret this as me saying that spiritual people have a specific "moral guidline" . . but I've found that this is always the case . . . .the spiritual person (esp. one who has seen his connection to the rest of creation) would keep in mind the effects of their actions on others (in general), and generally follow the "Golden Rule"
2. This is mostly true, I'd say. . .at least from what I've seen.


Pepijn Sweep;126212 wrote:
A spiritual awakening could cause emotions.

In Holland we say also "bezield" which would mean animated, inspirit or inspired in Englich.

So I do see connection between spirituality and emotions.


I agree, in a way. I think that a spiritual awakening causes emotions because of some "releasing of energetic blockages" because you are becoming more "open". Releasing blockages has long been know to cause emotional release, whether in a psychiatric setting, during deep bodywork, or any spiritual "awakening". I theorize that it has something to do with meridians, chakras, as well. . .you become a more whole and open person.

Fil. Albuquerque;126213 wrote:


This may apply to a certain degree, but I also think that there are a grreat number of people who enjoy life very much, and know joy well and aren't spiritual in the least.

Jebediah;126225 wrote:
Sure, but what do you feel when you believe something without proof? I guess I'm describing a feeling rather than an emotion, but isn't an emotion just a strong feeling?

I'm not trying to add "spiritual" to the list of the six basic emotions. I'm talking about the feeling people are describing with they say "spiritual". Some emotions are complex.


It's like instincts. You may "feel" like you must go and do some certain task, without any proof of a physical need to do so . . . but you act on your instincts, and (in many cases) avoid disaster or improve your situation, whatever it may be.

I can see how you would describe "spiritual" as an emotion. It may not be a major one or even a recognized one . . . "spiritual" may even be the wrong word for it . . but I don't know the right one, and I understand what you mean when you say it how you did . . . .good enough for me :a-ok:

Zetherin;126227 wrote:
You're right, some emotions are complex. That's why I like the more complex models of emotion. Scroll down the bottom of this page and look to the right; there are almost 50 different emotions there.

Emotion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [1]

Which of these emotions, if you could guess, correspond with spirituality? Also, does everyone experience these same set of emotions whilst having a spiritual experience? Would a different spiritual practice or ritual produce different emotions? Is spiritual experience directly tied into emotion? Can a sociopath have a spiritual experience? Can someone with autism or asperger's? [2]



1. I caution against using Wikepedia as a factual source. It's definitions are made by the majority . . . it's a vote, a common consensus, and not always the truth. . . . .I refer you to the experiment that Steven Colbert did, making it say in Wikepedia that he had saved some endangered species, just by telling people to go to Wikepedia and saying he did (I don't remember the exact story) . . I believe it was the African Elephant. . . anyways, no one had actually improved the numbers of the species, just submitted that their numbers seemed to have grown. Majority isn't always right . . . but there's more of them than me . . . or you . . .so the majority makes it so just by saying it's so.

2. I think it releases emotions, but you're probably right . .it would be different emotions for different people. As for sociopaths, I think it would likely that they could not produce any "real" spiritual feeling. . . but maybe they could be religious!!Very Happy . . . *shrugs* but I'm no mental health care pro!!
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 11:50 am
@Twilight Siren,
Twilight Siren;146214 wrote:
I see it like this. Religion is concerned more with worship and faith and deities, and following dogma set up by a "prophet" (as most major religions have) that people follow blindly (faith). They worship or follow certain figures. It's an institution and, even though there are many sects in each religion, all the people of that religion follow the same basic dogma and beliefs. Plus, people do horrible things in the name of religion.

Spirituality is something that I see as nothing more than living with your spirit in mind, trying to improve and develop yourself, not for the sake of any promised "eternal reward" or fear of "damnation" . . .. but just because you feel the desire, the push . . . something . . telling you to try to " be the best you can be" (without the army) . . . to try to feel "whole" . . . to know yourself and see deeper into yourself, thereby helping you see others and the world (which you are one with) in a new and mystical light. . . to discover you "self" (this is in another thread).

I see several good points that many of you have made though . . . . .





1. I would agree with the community things, but spirituality doesn't always have beliefs tied to it . . . except for the belief in yourself. . . maybe belief's the wrong word here. Let me know if you figure out the right one, cuz' I don't know it.

You're right though . . I would call myself spiritual, but not religious and most epople these days would roll their eyes and scoff at me for saying so, because they assume this make me some "new age hippie". This may be the case for other, but not me. I've also seen very religious people who don't seem to have one spiritual bone in their body. Their religion is a facade, an image. It's like a vegetarian who eats chicken or fish . . . In me eyes . . . that means you're not a vegetarian, but others disagree. These people don't see the "true message" that their religion may be trying to tell them (as most were founded with good intents). They are hypocrites!!!
How can you assume to save your soul, if you pay no mind to it?!

2. Good stuff. I agree.





1. Precisely, but I wouldn't call the rapist priest spiritual, by any definition of the word, only religious . . because he obviously has no concern for the affect of his actions on his fellow man. Please don't misinterpret this as me saying that spiritual people have a specific "moral guidline" . . but I've found that this is always the case . . . .the spiritual person (esp. one who has seen his connection to the rest of creation) would keep in mind the effects of their actions on others (in general), and generally follow the "Golden Rule"
2. This is mostly true, I'd say. . .at least from what I've seen.




I agree, in a way. I think that a spiritual awakening causes emotions because of some "releasing of energetic blockages" because you are becoming more "open". Releasing blockages has long been know to cause emotional release, whether in a psychiatric setting, during deep bodywork, or any spiritual "awakening". I theorize that it has something to do with meridians, chakras, as well. . .you become a more whole and open person.



This may apply to a certain degree, but I also think that there are a grreat number of people who enjoy life very much, and know joy well and aren't spiritual in the least.



It's like instincts. You may "feel" like you must go and do some certain task, without any proof of a physical need to do so . . . but you act on your instincts, and (in many cases) avoid disaster or improve your situation, whatever it may be.

I can see how you would describe "spiritual" as an emotion. It may not be a major one or even a recognized one . . . "spiritual" may even be the wrong word for it . . but I don't know the right one, and I understand what you mean when you say it how you did . . . .good enough for me :a-ok:




1. I caution against using Wikepedia as a factual source. It's definitions are made by the majority . . . it's a vote, a common consensus, and not always the truth. . . . .I refer you to the experiment that Steven Colbert did, making it say in Wikepedia that he had saved some endangered species, just by telling people to go to Wikepedia and saying he did (I don't remember the exact story) . . I believe it was the African Elephant. . . anyways, no one had actually improved the numbers of the species, just submitted that their numbers seemed to have grown. Majority isn't always right . . . but there's more of them than me . . . or you . . .so the majority makes it so just by saying it's so.

2. I think it releases emotions, but you're probably right . .it would be different emotions for different people. As for sociopaths, I think it would likely that they could not produce any "real" spiritual feeling. . . but maybe they could be religious!!Very Happy . . . *shrugs* but I'm no mental health care pro!!

I certainly agree about Wicki. Since I'm Dutch, not keen on computers in worked Wicki in English. I had some fun checking things I basically all-ready knew.

I thought abit more and see Religion as the form of a movement, and Spirituality as the content of the movement. Maybe a bit black and white ?
 
Patty phil
 
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2010 12:14 am
@Zetherin,
Religion can be a spiritual collective ascent towards a supposed metaphysical truth wherein the reality is understood as a system not limited to matter and its physical determinations.

While spirituality in the strict sense simply means believing in the existence of non-corporeal beings as part of the universe, either within all matter or apart from matter.
 
 

 
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