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What is the difference between spiritual and religious?

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Asked by -Eilish- at 1:08 PM on Dec. 31, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 28 (33,578 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • I learned while I was my sister's support for out patient rebab, having a higher power is one of their big things in the road to recovery. The way the guy explained it to me was being spiritual means you believe in some sort of higher power, not necessarily God or any set religion, but you believe. And religious means you believe in a specific God or deity.

    Answer by Nanixh at 1:25 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • To some extent, the answers are going to depend on what these words mean to individuals, but the simplest answer I've ever heard was: Spirituality is INTERNAL while religion is EXTERNAL. You can be both spiritual and religious, of course, but many people consider themselves spiritual but not religious.

    Personally, I would describe myself as spiritual and not religious, because I don't follow one single religion or structured set of beliefs. I have a couple that I tend to follow, but I'm open to other religions, philosophies, and other ways of searching for truth or meaning in the universe (including science). There's no one definition of 'religion' that works for all views though, so sometimes I fall into 'religious' definitions if they're broadly defined. Hope that makes sense.

    Answer by pam19 at 1:28 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • Basically it comes down to how one can believe without following a religion - there are many out there who have faith but who refuse to let one religion or church define that faith for them. Belief in God (or whatever else) doesn't automatically mean one must accept religion too. So many do believe, in some way or another, and have faith, and act out that faith in various ways that do not include established religion or the church. More and more people these days are taking their faith into their own hands, defining their spirituality for themselves, rather than allowing an institution to do it for them. :)

    So one can be spiritual AND religious, or spiritual but NOT religious - and I'm sure there are actually people out there who are religious but not spiritual, though they're probably the rare ones....

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 1:29 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • spiritual. more in tune with the energies of the universe. everything has energy and chakras. religious, belong to a group of worship that follows rules of that group

    Answer by momofone725 at 1:29 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • Being spiritual is an inner process. It's something you are all the time. It is the calm of knowing who and what you are every moment of every day. Religion is a outer process. Going to a church, socializing with fellow cult members, making a show of being something on one or two days a week. Before you go back to living your life the way you want to the rest of the time.

    Answer by witchqueen at 1:30 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • ...spiritual means you believe in some sort of higher power, not necessarily God or any set religion, but you believe. And religious means you believe in a specific God or deity.


    Where do 'non-theistic' religions or spiritual paths fit? These things are hard to define sometimes.


    Buddhism doesn't require a belief in a higher power. Some Buddhists believe in a higher power and some don't, but Buddhism is one of the world's biggest 'religions' (sometimes defined as religion--sometimes not). The same could be said for Taoism.

    Pantheists believe nature itself is 'divine', but most don't believe in a supernatural, higher power.


    Answer by pam19 at 1:33 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • Spiritual= relating to the spirit and the soul
    Religious = belonging to a religious sect, order or church

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 1:33 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • From my perspctive as a Christian, spiritual for me is my personal relationship with God. It's praying and worshiping in spirit, etc. As far as religion..I think religion can be seen as basic as "what religion are you?" so the faith you follow. For me, religion is rules and traditions that we were saved from. When I think of religion I think of the Pharisees, Sadducees, or even some of the practices of various denominations today that feel bound by law and rules. Both these things mean different thing to different people. They aren't cut and dry.

    Answer by kittieashy at 5:24 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • "Religion is for those who do what they are told regardless of what is right. Spirituality is for those who do what is right regardless of what they are told" -unknown

    Answer by MamaJasmine at 8:20 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

  • Before reading the other replies, I am going to add my own opinion ...

    Religious means following man-made tenets, such as denominations of a religion.

    Spiritual means following what's in your heart and soul. You are not tied down and boxed in by those man-made tenets.

    You can be a spiritual Christian. This means that you read the Bible, you walk and talk with God/Jesus but you are doing this on your own. You don't belong to a specific denomination and have a man/woman behind a wooden stand telling you how you should be believing/acting.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 8:47 PM on Dec. 31, 2010

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