Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Topic: Religion and Spirituality

Religion -

1) the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
2) a particular system of faith and worship

Spiritual -
1) of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
2) of or relating to religion or religious belief

See? There is a difference!

I've always seen a difference between the two, and understood my need for them in separate manners. Religion is the structure in which I express my spirituality through the lens of culture/time/current ethics or morals. Spirituality is the core truth, the message and the importance it has on me. Spirituality is the code/the message, Religion is the way the message is presented and the ritual I use to express it.

Religion shifts and changes with the culture and time that uses it. Christianity today is vastly different than Christianity 100 years ago, or even just 50 years ago. The message/truth/code/guidelines/expression of reality that Christianity proclaims hasn't changed; what has changed is how we interpret it and how we express it. Christianity in America is different than Christianity in Germany, same day but different culture. At the heart, both cultures draw upon the same information and resources but due to the lens of society interprets it vastly different.

Spirituality however, that is something I feel a bit more fundamental. It is the thing we understand in our hearts as right, it is the moral/ethical code we follow to be a better person. It is those beliefs we have that defy explanation or assumption, it is the way of living that feels right. These are fundamental cores of our nature, the things that are "real" to each of us. These have to be expressed, they defy our understanding in an animistic way, and thus we create filters to understand them. These filters are built out of our cultural heritage and thus the message will change...into Religion.

Can you have pure spirituality and no religion? I think some people do, but they are rare. Isolated monks, spiritual guru's hidden in the wilds, these are people who have no tie to culture or the times and express their spirituality through an unfiltered/less tainted lens. But for the rest of us, our spiritual needs become expressed through the religion we choose to follow. I think it's a good thing to understand that.

What are your thoughts on the matter?