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Essay On Religion And Spirituality

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Is there a distinct difference between religion and spirituality? Or does it come down to one’s own interpretation? In terms of interpretation, one can be spiritual without being religious and one can be religious without being spiritual. Distinction between religion and spirituality is similar to the ancient Roman’s cultus and pietas. Gary Kessler states, “’Cultus’ refers to religion as a cultural system consisting of moral codes, rites, and groups. ‘Pietas’ refers to religion as a personal kind of devotion.” On the other hand, shifting definitions between religion and spirituality have challenged these findings. This paper will argue the distinct differences between religion and spirituality by comparing how their meanings have evolved over centuries.
It is often said that people in modern day society tend to believe that religion has evolved from following strict morals and ethics to being open-minded about other religions. According to Webster’s dictionary, religion is an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. This definition is not necessarily true or false, but useful in developing a cultural perspective. Kessler himself writes, “Comparative perspective develops an understanding not just of others but also of ourselves, just as we learn more about our own religion and values by understanding them in contrast to the religions and values of others.” In other words, one is more aware of various religions today and not just one’s own rather than trying to justify their own religion through religious practices in comparison to other religions. For example, in the 16th century Martin Luther, one of the founders of the Protestant Reformation “claimed religion was based on be...

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...uality,” (Kessler 20). Therefore, there is no right or wrong in terms of spirituality. On the contrary, religion is not open to change and expects one to follow a specific path or believe in a specific being, which suggests religions are bias. Religious leaders will tweak a religion to justify their religious views in order to push onto others why one should live life thinking a certain way. Spirituality is a choice and isn’t forced upon a person like religion is in many cases.
Thus, religion is a voluntary methodology while spirituality is involuntary. Ultimately, shifting definitions between religion and spirituality have challenged these findings. Despite the word “spirit” dealing with religion, they are two different concepts. Religion means believing in a God or afterlife. Spirituality simply means believing in oneself, one’s efforts, and one’s strengths.
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