While much of the world is not as religious as it once was, religion still holds quite a bit of weight in the world today. In fact, the two major religions of the world today, Christianity and Islam, are practiced by over half of the world’s population today.

It might not seem like this is the case if you live in America, where one study says that 18 percent of people aged 60 and younger regularly go to church and less than half of them believe in the existence of God. The study also says that each new generation is less religious than the one before it.

Which might explain the growing idea of spirituality. Something that many people say they practice in lieu of religion, even though spirituality and religion are often lumped together as one.

Why might someone say they are spiritual, but not religious? Here are the three main differences between a person who says they are spiritual and a person who says they are religious.

Religious folks claim to have the truth and want to share it with others. Spiritual folks believe the truth is out there waiting to be discovered

Religious people tend to live their lives as dictated by the Bible. Whatever is said in the Bible is the truth, including things like how the Earth was created, why there is bad and good in the world, and how God has a plan for everyone. And that’s enough for them.

Spiritual people simply can’t accept an answer that they themselves have not experienced or know to be true for themselves. Only once they have discovered the truth for themselves will they believe it.

Religious people act out of fear of being punished. Spiritual people do right by themselves

One of the core tenets of religion is being devout, chaste and without sin at all times, otherwise you burn in a lake of fire for eternity. Many people who grew up religious have had it drilled into their heads that they will be punished for not strictly adhering to the laws laid down in the Bible.

Spiritual people still have a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong, but they don’t do one or the other because they believe they will be damned. They act in ways that align with their inner selves. Their motivations become vast and complex, instead of strictly obedient.

Religious folks like to condemn those who do not see the world their way. Spiritual folks choose not to

Religious people tend to categorize and separate others into specific groups of good and bad depending on where their faith lies. What’s crazy is that there are 43,000 denominations of the Christian faith, and if you belong to one of those, you can’t belong to any of the others (and you’re viewed as being wrong by the other sects).

After all, if you’re claiming to have the truth, some other group cannot also have a different truth, right?

Spiritual people are much less concerned with what you choose to believe. If your spirituality differs from theirs, they’re not going to condemn or persecute you for it. They recognize that spirituality will be different for everyone.

It might seem like there is bias when writing about these two ideologies, but at the very core level, these are three very fundamental differences between people who practice spirituality and religion.

What do you think about the differences between religion and spirituality?

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