Busted Halo
feature : word on ths street
March 30th, 2006
Word on the Street : Spirituality vs Religion

Do you think there is a difference between being spiritual and religious? Do you consider yourself spiritual or religious?

David, 18
I think religion and spirituality are definitely different. I am much more spiritual than religious. I was raised Catholic, but it wasn't something that I was a part of. In high school I kind of broke away from it. I realized I do believe in God, but I can believe in God within myself. I can learn through myself rather than go to the church. Religion has been a downfall for many societies. Being part of something that brought down a different group of people, that's just something I don't feel like I should be part of. Even now, growing up Catholic and being a gay American, there's that tension there. Why do I want to be part of something that doesn't want me to be part of it? Now if I don't feel comfortable with being a part of an organized religion, but I still believe in God, the spirituality prevails and I find solace in that rather than being part of religion.
Kristen, 23
I know a lot of young people who use those terms really differently. A lot of people don't like to say they're Catholic or a certain religion or that they go to church. I think they use spiritual by saying that they believe in something. I would say I am both. I would say that I am spiritual, but I'm also religious. I go to church and my family are practicing Catholics.
Kari, 18
I think there's a huge difference. Religion is an institution. Religions are communal and like being part of a club. Being spiritual is something that you can be alone. You don't have to be religious or part of a group in order to be spiritual. I think that religion breeds more fragmentation than anything. You're in your own religion and others are outside of it. Even in the monotheistic religions that believe in the same God are so fragmented. For instance Muslims and Jews alone, there is so much tension there. If they all believe in the same God then where does all this tension come from? At a certain point, we need to realize that God didn't make religion, people made religion. You can be spritiual and believe in God. I am way more spiritual. I think I have a relationship with God without subscribing to a religion. I don't need to subscribe to any clear-cut rules about God.
Steven, 24
It depends entirely because some religions are organized to a point where many of the truths behind the religion are lost. Some religions allow free thinking. Some have more rules, which I think impedes progress among [humanity]. Some feel like they can't follow [the religion] because it isn't necessary. Spirituality is in a person and what they make of it. What he or she decides to follow. When something becomes organized it can become corrupted, depending on the people who run it and that becomes a problem. I feel that I am more spiritually inclined and depend on my own individuality. I like to look at other religions and see what's going on and incorporate different parts. To keep what are the good parts. But I think some of the rules are just unnecessary.
Tatin, 22
I think religion is an institution and the certain rules you have to follow. I think being spiritually minded is having an open mind to God and trying to live your life according to what God may want and following the Golden Rule. I think they are two different things. Being spiritual you can have a love in your heart for God and being religious is following a certain organizational institution. For me it's being more spiritual than religious. I grew up a Jehovah's Witness, but if anything it's made me more spiritually minded. I didn't think I could follow the entire rule [of religion] personally. But, if anything, it made me more spiritually minded and realize that there is a God above.

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