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Spirituality and Religion


DH

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Been pondering this, and could use your thoughts.

Are spirituality and religion the same thing, or are they different? If they are different, what is the difference?

It might help to define terms:

What is spirituality?

What is religion?

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Been pondering this, and could use your thoughts.

Are spirituality and religion the same thing, or are they different? If they are different, what is the difference?

It might help to define terms:

What is spirituality?

What is religion?

Good topic. I tend to believe that being religious simply means you are a follower of a religion and are attempting to follow the rules of the religious group you belong to. For example, if you are LDS that means going to Church for 3 hours on Sunday, paying a full tithe, scripture reading, following the WoW, etc.

But to me, being spiritual really means you are altruistic, gentle and have a high and more refined moral quality. So to answer your question, a person can be very religious without being spiritual, and you can be very spiritual without being religious.

Also, if you were to ask me what is the main cause that people leave the Church, my response would be that it is usually from the hypocrisy of some who claim to be LDS. When a person sees an LDS who is very religious, conduct themselves in a manner unbecoming, this can be a compelling argument in their mind, against the LDS system.

The question is why this happens. The answer is that many of us who claim to be LDS are very religious, but we are not spiritual. This is a huge practical difference.

Being spiritual vs. religious reminds me of a very powerful letter in Haim Gnoitt's book "Teacher and Child", about how education serves absolutely no purpose unless it teaches us how to be more human. This is also analogous to being religious without being spiritual. Being religious serves no purpose unless it can teach us to be better people and more spiritual.

"Dear Teacher,

I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers, children poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses, women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates. So I am suspicious of education. My request is: help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmans. Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human."

--Haim Ginott (1972)

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Good topic. I tend to believe that being religious simply means you are a follower of a religion and are attempting to follow the rules of the religious group you belong to. For example, if you are LDS that means going to Church for 3 hours on Sunday, paying a full tithe, scripture reading, following the WoW, etc.

But to me, being spiritual really means you are altruistic, gentle and have a high and more refined moral quality. So to answer your question, a person can be very religious without being spiritual, and you can be very spiritual without being religious.

Also, if you were to ask me what is the main cause that people leave the Church, my response would be that it is usually from the hypocrisy of some who claim to be LDS. When a person sees an LDS who is very religious, conduct themselves in a manner unbecoming, this can be a compelling argument in their mind, against the LDS system.

The question is why this happens. The answer is that many of us who claim to be LDS are very religious, but we are not spiritual. This is a huge practical difference.

Being spiritual vs. religious reminds me of a very powerful letter in Haim Gnoitt's book "Teacher and Child", about how education serves absolutely no purpose unless it teaches us how to be more human. This is also analogous to being religious without being spiritual. Being religious serves no purpose unless it can teach us to be better people and more spiritual.

"Dear Teacher,

I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers, children poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses, women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates. So I am suspicious of education. My request is: help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmans. Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human."

--Haim Ginott (1972)

Good one TW :P

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Been pondering this, and could use your thoughts.

Are spirituality and religion the same thing, or are they different? If they are different, what is the difference?

It might help to define terms:

What is spirituality?

What is religion?

You need to first define what you mean by spirituality. While religion is a reasonably well defined concept in the minds of most people, spirituality is not. To me spirituality is a subset of religion. Spirituality can only have meaning in the context of a true religion.

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Been pondering this, and could use your thoughts.

Are spirituality and religion the same thing, or are they different? If they are different, what is the difference?

It might help to define terms:

What is spirituality?

What is religion?

For me religious is, as said above, being part of a social structure and living in accordance with those teachings. It is easy to be religious because it participating in a social construct, following norms, and being one of the group. Being can be done outside of being religious or even having a religion. It is the personal relationship with God, listening to his voice, and striving to live in such a way that the Sprit becomes a daily companion. This is a personal journey where one is seldom benefited by the group at large. In truth, you can be alone in crowd. In a real sense it is possible to move beyond the social contructs; they have no meaning in and of themselves unless they also bring one closer to God.

It is easy to argue over semantics on this topic. I would agree that "true religion" leads one to spirituality; however, true religion also is a personal experience and expression.

This is similar to the dichotomy of the Church and the Gospel. It is easy for me to think of myself as frustrated with the Church, but completely dedicated to the Gospel.

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For me religious is, as said above, being part of a social structure and living in accordance with those teachings. It is easy to be religious because it participating in a social construct, following norms, and being one of the group. Being can be done outside of being religious or even having a religion. It is the personal relationship with God, listening to his voice, and striving to live in such a way that the Sprit becomes a daily companion. This is a personal journey where one is seldom benefited by the group at large. In truth, you can be alone in crowd. In a real sense it is possible to move beyond the social contructs; they have no meaning in and of themselves unless they also bring one closer to God.

It is easy to argue over semantics on this topic. I would agree that "true religion" leads one to spirituality; however, true religion also is a personal experience and expression.

This is similar to the dichotomy of the Church and the Gospel. It is easy for me to think of myself as frustrated with the Church, but completely dedicated to the Gospel.

The Bible defines neither religious nor spiritual the same way as you do:

James 1
:

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

1 Corinthians 14
:

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

It equates spiritual with being a prophet, and religious with being virtuous.

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Spirituality is what religions hope to teach their people. Being religious is following the tenets of the faith but spirituality only comes when that religion is internalized and not simply ritual.

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You need to first define what you mean by spirituality. While religion is a reasonably well defined concept in the minds of most people, spirituality is not. To me spirituality is a subset of religion. Spirituality can only have meaning in the context of a true religion.

That's funny, I would have thought just the opposite, that spirituality is the more general term referring to anything having to do with "things spiritual," the spirit world, etc., with religion as a subset of that. But I think I understand what you're saying--it depends on how you look at it. :P

A lot of people seem to think in terms of external vs. internal, with religion being external, community-based, and spirituality more personal and subjective. I really like what Deborah said, that (true) religionists hope to teach spirituality and help people internalize it.

These are difficult concepts to pin down, but I think it's worthwhile to think about them, even if we don't come to any definite conclusions.

Thank you very much for your thoughts. Carry on! ;)

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Being religious means you follow the Handbook. Being spiritual means you follow the Savior.

The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, in most cases, I'd say that the two are mutually reinforcing. One who follows the handbook is much more likely to follow the Master, and he who follows the Master will want to follow the handbook.

Lehi

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Are spirituality and religion the same thing, or are they different? If they are different, what is the difference?

They are different but related, like two hands that wash each other. Religion is a system we adopt. Spirituality is adopting others as our own, in love.

This is why

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Spirituality is what religions hope to teach their people. Being religious is following the tenets of the faith but spirituality only comes when that religion is internalized and not simply ritual.

I like this. But I wonder: is mechanical ritual not also spiritual? As in, negatively so?

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Good topic. I tend to believe that being religious simply means you are a follower of a religion and are attempting to follow the rules of the religious group you belong to. For example, if you are LDS that means going to Church for 3 hours on Sunday, paying a full tithe, scripture reading, following the WoW, etc.

I would argue if you are doing it right it would tie into spirituality. Of course not everyone is doing it right.

But to me, being spiritual really means you are altruistic, gentle and have a high and more refined moral quality. So to answer your question, a person can be very religious without being spiritual, and you can be very spiritual without being religious.

Here I would disagree. Spirituality is a connection to the divine (or by some definitions the infernal) and in the LDS faith means the beginning of godliness (through the Priesthood).

Tying it to goodness seems odd. Many of the best people I know don't have or seek our connection with the divine.

Also, if you were to ask me what is the main cause that people leave the Church, my response would be that it is usually from the hypocrisy of some who claim to be LDS. When a person sees an LDS who is very religious, conduct themselves in a manner unbecoming, this can be a compelling argument in their mind, against the LDS system.

And of course damning for the fraud. Then again, comparison with others and using them as a measuring stick seems silly to me. If you are spiritual you have a better source and a better example to follow. To allow a fellow human to chart or influence your religious course is foolish.

You also generally have a very poor idea of who that person actually is. As Brigham Young once said you may see flaws but you do not see the hours on their knees begging for grace to overcome those flaws.

The question is why this happens. The answer is that many of us who claim to be LDS are very religious, but we are not spiritual. This is a huge practical difference.

I would argue that you have no way of knowing how spiritual someone is.

Being spiritual vs. religious reminds me of a very powerful letter in Haim Gnoitt's book "Teacher and Child", about how education serves absolutely no purpose unless it teaches us how to be more human. This is also analogous to being religious without being spiritual. Being religious serves no purpose unless it can teach us to be better people and more spiritual.

I would argue that the more important element is if there is a God and if so, what he wants. Morality and spirituality are indispensable but they are not the ends for which we were created. I like this quote from C.S. Lewis:

The people who keep on asking if they can
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Spirituality is the opposite of being carnal. A carnal person is a hedonist and selfish. A spiritual person is willing to sacrifice for others and is unselfish, putting truth and morality ahead of the body. It also has to do with being open to a divine influence.

Religiosity has more to do with a set of doctrines, behaviors and/or rituals one might adopt that are faith based.

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I like this. But I wonder: is mechanical ritual not also spiritual? As in, negatively so?

Ritual can be deeply spiritual if it is already internalized. However, in many cases the ritual comes first and then we begin to understand the principles behind it and it becomes more meaningful. I think of the temple for example. I doubt many of us get much out of it the first time we go. But with repeated visits are understanding increases and temple attendance isn't just a duty but something we look forward to. This is the case with almost anything in the church, ie home and visiting teaching, taking the sacrament. We may just do it for years because it's expected but then one day we really catch the vision of what it means and our whole attitude changes.

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Deborah, thank-you. The reason I ask is because I honestly see little difference between what most consider to be "religious" and any other activity.

Put another way, no matter what we do there always seems to be a text cited like scripture, a tithe paid, a garb worn, a "prophet", a temple where people congregate, and some sort of performance in that temple... an endowment of power.

So if we take the NBA for instance, the text is the stats and lore which are cited like scripture. The tithes are all the moneys paid, part of it for fan jerseys. The media is prophetic, and the stadium is the place of gathering where a "dragon" is hopefully dismissed. Both victory and defeat literally transform the countenance of the patron, and this sensational change is expected when entering. If you went in expecting to "win" and then the team wins, your ego is empowered. If you were unsure but hoped for victory, then their win "saves" your ego. Hence, the game is essentially an endowment of power.

It is the same for popular music, politics, shopping, cinema, video games, and everything else we spend our time doing. The only real differences are the deities worshipped and who collects the tithes. Are people at a comic book convention any less religious than the Anglicans? Is the Steffi Graf fan who stabbed Monica Seles any less fanatical than Timothy McVeigh?

If all is ritual, then how can any act not be considered spiritual?

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Deborah, thank-you. The reason I ask is because I honestly see little difference between what most consider to be "religious" and any other activity.

Put another way, no matter what we do there always seems to be a text cited like scripture, a tithe paid, a garb worn, a "prophet", a temple where people congregate, and some sort of performance in that temple... an endowment of power.

So if we take the NBA for instance, the text is the stats and lore which are cited like scripture. The tithes are all the moneys paid, part of it for fan jerseys. The media is prophetic, and the stadium is the place of gathering where a "dragon" is hopefully dismissed. Both victory and defeat literally transform the countenance of the patron, and this sensational change is expected when entering. If you went in expecting to "win" and then the team wins, your ego is empowered. If you were unsure but hoped for victory, then their win "saves" your ego. Hence, the game is essentially an endowment of power.

It is the same for popular music, politics, shopping, cinema, video games, and everything else we spend our time doing. The only real differences are the deities worshipped and who collects the tithes. Are people at a comic book convention any less religious than the Anglicans? Is the Steffi Graf fan who stabbed Monica Seles any less fanatical than Timothy McVeigh?

If all is ritual, then how can any act not be considered spiritual?

Since you brought up sports as religion, I have to share the following:

Football as a Fertility Rite

Obviously, Football is a syndrome of religious rites symbolizing the struggle to preserve the Egg of Life through the rigors of impending winter. The rites begin at the Autumn Equinox and culminate on the first day of the New Year, with great festivals identified with bowls of plenty. The festivals are associated withflowers such as roses; fruits such as oranges; farm crops such as cotton; and even sun-worship and appeasement of great reptiles such as alligators.

In these rites, the Egg of Life is symbolized by what is called "TheOval", an inflated bladder covered with hog skin. The convention of "The Oval" is repeated in the architectural oval-shaped design of the vast outdoor churches in which the services are held every sabbath in every town and city. Also every Sunday in the greater centers of population where an advanced priesthood performs. These enormous churches dominate every college campus; no other edifice compares in size with them, and they bear witness to the high spiritual development of the culture that produced them.

And Hermeticists say: All human activities, without exception, are varieties of magic.

Yours under the panentheistic oaks,

Nathair /|\

Happy Alban Eilir

Edit to add: if anybody follows the football link, the immediate page is safe, but don't click on anything refering to tattoos. (it takes at least three links to get to the NSFW page, so you won't see it accidentally.}

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Since you brought up sports as religion, I have to share the following:

Interesting take. But beyond the indications of pagan observances, don't fertility rites still just do essentially the same thing as all rites? Including knitting, skipping stones, getting plastic surgery, and participating in a militia? Isn't it all really about endowments of power?

And Hermeticists say: All human activities, without exception, are varieties of magic.

That's great, and to the the extent that magic infers a "magi", or priesthood, I would probably concur.

It's interesting to me that hermeticism, alchemy, gnosis and the modern forms of the occult in general all seemed to rise to prominence during the time between the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and Smith's building of the temple in Kirtland. In other words, during the Apostacy. Almost as if they were filling the void left when the Lord took the Patriarchal Priesthood from the Earth.

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Interesting take. But beyond the indications of pagan observances, don't fertility rites still just do essentially the same thing as all rites? Including knitting, skipping stones, getting plastic surgery, and participating in a militia? Isn't it all really about endowments of power?

That's great, and to the the extent that magic infers a "magi", or priesthood, I would probably concur.

It's interesting to me that hermeticism, alchemy, gnosis and the modern forms of the occult in general all seemed to rise to prominence during the time between the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and Smith's building of the temple in Kirtland. In other words, during the Apostacy. Almost as if they were filling the void left when the Lord took the Patriarchal Priesthood from the Earth.

Just in case anyone didn't figure it out, the football thing was a humor piece.

My primary magic teacher used the quote to emphasize the need for practice. The analogy he used was a guitar player.

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I think the way spiritual is being used in my experience is just a cop out for certain people. since they cant find a belief system that allows for them to live their life their way they just say "im not religious im spiritual though" which basically means i believe in something but i dont have to answer to anyone IMO.

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I think the way spiritual is being used in my experience is just a cop out for certain people. since they cant find a belief system that allows for them to live their life their way they just say "im not religious im spiritual though" which basically means i believe in something but i dont have to answer to anyone IMO.

It often does, but it also often means, "I don't like (what I think of as) Christianity."

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