In today’s parlance, you will hear many people say I am spiritual, but not religious. Others will say spirituality is inherent in their religious faith. I would like to add some clarity regarding these two perspectives. Your spiritual and/or religious beliefs say a lot about you. They help define you at a deeper level of existence. They affect the way you think, feel and behave.
For sake of discussion, here are two definitions. Religion can be explained as a “set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”
Religion has organized structures that center on particular beliefs, behavioral rituals, ceremonies, and traditions. Religion has the notion of god or gods. There are 12 major religions in the world.
Spirituality is more of an individual practice and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose. It relates to the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life and connection with others. It is amorphous. Many agnostics will claim this stance. Thomas Huxley coined the term agnostic in 1869 and defined it in this way: “It simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that which he has no scientific grounds for professing or believing.”
Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking were agnostics. They did not believe in an anthropomorphic god.
Is there a right or wrong here? True or false? What is important is that each person find meaning and purpose in life. Each perspective can be valuable. The bottom line could well be described by Martin Luther King’s statement that he wanted his kids judged by the “content of their character.”
How would you describe your current “content of character”?
It is incumbent on every enlightened individual to search for and find that which helps him become a better person — the best s/he can be.
What I am trying to portray here, Respected Reader, is that you continually search for a way for you to become your best self. Religion and/or spirituality are important components to help you reach that pinnacle of existence. What road might you be on — if any?