Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Teasing Apart Spirituality and Religion

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, religion, happiness, LiveScience, the Tablet,

Spiritual children are in general more happy than children who don’t have spiritual aspects to their lives, according to research from the University of British Columbia. Religious practices, on the other hand, don’t have the same positive effect. LiveScience reports, “Religion is just one institutionalized venue for the practice of or experience of spirituality,” and it’s spirituality, not religion, that predicts happiness.

That dichotomy between spirituality an religion isn’t particularly helpful to Marjorie Ingall, writing for the new Jewish online magazine the Tablet. She writes, “I’m not so sure you can tease apart spirituality and religion.” Many religions fuse together aspects of family life, social justice, and community making the split between spirituality and religion nearly impossible to define.

Sources: LiveScienceThe Tablet 

ken_2
7/22/2009 10:21:48 AM

If your spiritual POV is thoroughly integrated with your religion, than you will naturally be unable to see a distinction between spirituality and religion. The two are NOT the same thing, however, though one can lead to the other. Spirituality is inherently personal (though it can be manifested through the symbols of a religion) and religion is inherently a social structure (of/for a group spiritual POV/identity). Religions can be powerfully beneficial in isolation. It is when differing religions or POVs meet and conflict that group acceptance can turn into exclusivity, 'revealed' morality can become bigotry, and altruism and works of compassion can become persecution.