The Difference Between Religion and Spirituality


Western Europeans are split on the question of religion and spirituality, with respondents in many countries disagreeing on the positive and negative influences of religion. While public opinion in Scandinavia is overwhelmingly negative, respondents in Portugal, Italy, and Austria have more positive attitudes. The survey also finds that religion has a more positive impact on women than men.

As an individual, you should explore your own spirituality. This is different than following the rules of someone else’s religion. As you study spirituality, your beliefs will evolve over time. However, religious practices and institutions generally encourage members to adhere to a particular set of beliefs. Religious groups often have strict rules that prevent individuals from listening to their instincts.

While a majority of Americans believe in some sort of supernatural phenomenon, religious practices are not for everyone. Some individuals reject religion altogether. Regardless of what the case, religion has strong connotations, which is why almost half of the adult population describes themselves as religious and spiritual. Even though a majority of the general public does not consider themselves religious, they are actively engaged in a broader form of cultural resistance, such as protesting the oppression of minority groups.

Psychologists use the word religion to refer to a variety of different types of beliefs. Some people consider themselves to be purely spiritual, while others are more traditional. The distinction between religion and spirituality is not as clear as some might believe, however. While they are different concepts, both are part of the belief system.

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