Spirituality vs. Religion

Can you be spiritual without having religious beliefs or belonging to any particular religious sect? How do spiritual and religious beliefs differ and how are the two sometimes tied together? This article discusses my views on the role of spirituality versus the role of religious beliefs as well as the similarities and differences of the two.

Religious beliefs are often based on cultural conditioning. Most religious beliefs are inherited from the family unit, learned in institutional settings or absorbed through contact with the society at large. Spiritual beliefs on the other hand are most often based on personal experience.

It is possible to have personal spiritual beliefs and religious ones at the same time; very often they go hand in hand. Many times these two types of beliefs serve the same purpose. They give order to a world in chaos; they provide a moral foundation upon which to base behaviour. The importance difference between the two types of beliefs is in their source. Religious beliefs are based on second hand information, in a very real sense, information and beliefs become traditional, passed on through scripture, proselytizing and popular media. Spiritual beliefs, in contrast, are developed individually and quite often deal with issues of a more personal or intimate nature than those addressed by religious doctrine.

Spirituality is independent of religious beliefs or doctrine. It is possible to be a spiritual person without belonging to any religious denomination or adhering to the ideology of any particular religious institution. To be spiritual, means that you recognize and acknowledge a power or sensibility within yourself and outside of yourself, beyond the purely physical or mental. The recognition of the spiritual self and the acknowledgement of forces beyond the scope of rational analysis does not require membership in any group.

Jeffry R. Palmer is the well known author of several books dealing with the subjects of metaphysics, paranormal phenomena and psychic development. His articles and columns have been featured in several popular international magazines. His accurate and detailed psychic predictions, including Hurricane Katrina and the Indonesian tsunami have captured the attention of an international audience.

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