There are many different ways that people satisfy their need for spiritual health. People will differ on what the differences between spirituality and religion are; however, there are several differences between spirituality and religion that are important to note when considering spiritual well-being.
Religion is Public
One difference in spirituality and religion is religion functions in public. When thinking of religion, they think of a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship. Religion has become a part of our cultural system.
Whether the religion you subscribe to is inclusive like Buddhism or exclusive like Christianity, religions usually have major tenets such as a set doctrine of prescribed behavior, a standard of membership, congregations, devotion to a deity, things that are sacred, and symbols. Religion integrates public aspects of human culture more so than spirituality.
The development of religion often results when a group of people share personal spirituality. Religion is different from culture to culture, and religion to religion, but its public aspect is fairly universal. It is the differentiation of personal spiritual beliefs in a religion that can result in new religions, or sub-groups of religions, being formed.
Therefore, it can be said that personal spirituality produces religion. Religion is a part of spirituality, and spirituality is a part of religion. However the two intertwine for you, it is possible to consider yourself spiritual rather than religious.
Religion as a Part of Spirituality
One of the reasons why religion and spirituality can become interchangeable is because religion can be a part of spirituality. While religion is often a public form of spirituality, it can be a part of a person's individual spirituality. Personal beliefs in any system, such as yoga, nature, a deity, or a human soul, will eventually become your spirituality.
Humans are unique beings because we have the capacity to contemplate, and question, who we are, where we come from, what our purpose is, and other ultimately unanswerable questions. Spirituality is the inherently human trait to try to find answers to these questions and concerns.
The concept of spirituality and how it relates to, and differentiates from, religion is a complicated issue that can't be resolved in a single article. One of the main differences is that religion is public, while spirituality is personal. Other than that, they are interconnected in many different ways for many different people.