Religion and spirituality are two terms that do not appear to have any difference at all, but they actually do have some critical conceptual differences. While religion is all about dogmatic beliefs and worship, spirituality is about the soul within one that matters. The soul is different from the physical body and anything pertaining the soul and spirit is spiritual.

Briefly put, we can say that religion refers to a specific group, while spirituality refers to an individual.  Religion focuses more on the exoteric (outer) due to its indulgence in dogmas and manmade rules often experienced as rigid.  Spirituality on the contrary, distillates and focuses more on the esoteric (inner) dynamics within, and the term within relates to an individual’s innate soul and spirit.

Spirituality deals with an individual – about the realization of the supreme self and innate power within a person that enables you to deal with all kinds of situations in life being the objective. Spirituality aims at building strength of a mindful soul.  It voices about the real Truths of Life and aims at making you strong by soul-mindfulness and elimination of what is untrue. I believe that the truth is only true until you organize it, and then converts into a lie. It is my conviction that Jesus was not teaching Christianity, neither did Buddha taught Buddhism or Krishna Hinduism. The common denominator between them is that all three of them taught compassion, kindness, love, concern, care, forgiveness, and peace in an unconditional stateSo, the issue is not about Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism (to name a few), but rather to be Christ-like, or Buddha-like or Krishna-like.

Religion, on the contrary, is orthodoxy – rules and historical scriptures maintained by people over long periods of time. People are raised to accept and obey the beliefs, customs (culture and traditions) and practices about certain dogmas pertaining a specific group of followers of a particular faith, or religion without question.  It supports the shaping of your character by giving importance to the adherence of the dogmas and rules, and articulates that once you obey to the dogmas and rules, you are assured to emerge as a human with character. Thus, religion is briefly a character-building concept while spirituality is mindful-building concept – it shapes a mindful-soul of an individual – an individual oriented concept. You need to be spiritually strong to react wise to the attainments and failures of life.

Spirituality leads towards enlightenment of the soul while religion lures towards a discipline.  Religion builds discipline of an individual while spirituality builds the individual self. Hence, we can conclude that religion is a subset of spirituality.  When considered deeply, you would realize that after you evolved as spiritually sturdy there is no need for religion to survive. You evolve to a polished individual once you become proficient in spirituality.

We can summarize the principle differences between religion and as follows:

  • While religion focuses on dogmas and man-made rules followed by a particular sect or group of people, while spirituality focuses on the inert soul that dwells within.
  • Religion focuses on the exoteric (outer) while spirituality focuses on the esoteric – the soul itself, within.
  • Religion is directed from outside whereas spirituality from within.
  • Religion profiles the character (consequence) of the individual whereas spirituality aims at shaping the individual self.
  • Religion converts a person to be disciplined, whereas spirituality converts a person to be strong by soul-mindfulness.
  • Religion aims at constructing beliefs and customs, while spirituality aims at constructing the strength of the soul.  It equips a person to be prepared and able to deal wisely with any possible situation in life without being judgmental.

Conclusion

It is difficult to find peace of mind as long as we keep trying to give the rest of the world a piece of our mind! Let us recognize that our function in life is to give ever greater expression to the joy and inspiration within us, not to sit in judgment on our neighbor or to try to convert him to our special belief, culture, religion, tradition or doctrine. In any event, the loudest sermon we ever preach is not words – it is in our way of life.

If ours is the true way of God, we need not be concerned; it will be demonstrated in the way we live, in the way we conduct our business, in our attitudes towards our life partner, children, family, friends and fellow-workers, in the light in our eyes and the radiance in our faces.

When you live your conviction, there is less need to speak of it, but if you are called upon to do so, your neighbor will listen, not because of what you say but because of what you have become.

Contact Dr Kobus Du Toit for personal coaching, to book him for a speaking engagement, for a copy of his book – Wake Up Cracking the Crisis Code – Trauma to Triumph or to book your seat on his 2-day Wake Up Seminar – This seminar covers loving yourself and waking up to the reality that is truely you.  kobus@revitalizeyourlife.co.za or 082 772 3501