BY SOFO ARCHON
“I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.” ~Albert Camus
Many people think that spirituality and religion are one and the same thing. This is far from the truth, however, and now you are going to learn exactly why, by understanding the five core differences between religion and spirituality. So here they are:
1. Religion gives you a dogma – Spirituality allows you to discover the truth
Religion gives you a dogma — a ready-made set of ideologies and rules that you have to believe in and follow in order to find god, salvation, and so on. Religion, in other words, is fundamentally based on blind belief.
Spirituality, on the other hand, does not hand down to people any belief system or rules. It actually allows people to explore and discover the truth for themselves. And although different spiritual traditions might provide theories and practices in order to help people in their spiritual journey, they are never intended to be taken on belief. They are offered just so that spiritual seekers can experiment with and use them as tools for their spiritual growth, if they find them beneficial.
2. Religion teaches you to obey – Spirituality teaches you to follow your inner voice
Religion requires obedience from people — obedience to religious teachers, priests, scriptures, god, etc. Religion teaches people to avoid listening to their own heart and mind and instead to obey to authority — that is, to accept and follow without questioning whatever they are being told.
Spirituality teaches people how to come in touch with their inner voice and use it as a guide to living the good life. Spirituality teaches people to break free from the shackles of obedience and conformity, by helping them to create their own path in life.
3. Religion makes you afraid – Spirituality makes you courageous
One of the fundamental differences between religion and spirituality is that the latter is helping you to relieve yourself from the burden of fear that has accumulated in your psyche through cultural conditioning, as well as to awaken your inner warrior so that you can face and overcome any difficulty that might come in your way, whereas religion is preventing you from becoming courageous by soaking you in fear.
So-called religious people are constantly afraid — afraid of hell, afraid of god, afraid of themselves… in short, afraid of life. Thus they can’t gather the inner strength to live the way they want to live — that is, to spontaneously express themselves, and “fight” for what they desire.
4. Religion turns you into a slave – Spirituality sets you free
As long as you are indoctrinated by religion, you will be intellectually and emotionally suppressed. If, for example, you believe that you are a sinner and any act of yours might lead you to damnation, you will never be able to live care-free, relaxed in the present moment, savoring the beauty that life has to offer. If you think that an all-seeing god is watching you every moment of your life, you will feel nothing but a powerless, manipulated puppet.
According to spirituality, each and ever person is a small god, so to speak — a unique, beautiful, powerful creation of existence that is truly important to this world — a liberating feeling that cannot be compared to anything else.
5. Religion separates people – Spirituality unites them
When people believe in religious scriptures which claim that their religion is the only word of god and that all other religions are the work of evil, naturally their religious dogma won’t help bring peace between groups of different religious traditions. In fact, even people of the same religions are divided, fighting between each other for silly, superficial ideological reasons.
Spirituality teaches that, no matter what religion different people might have, they are all deep down one consciousness expressed in various forms. Spirituality is teaching that our essence is the same and our differences are only superficial, a realization that leads us to embrace our fellow human beings and walk the path to enlightenment together as friends, helping each another instead of putting obstacles on each other’s way.
“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” ~Charles Bukowski
Photo courtesy of Moyan_Brenn
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