Self-Assessment: Spirituality vs Religion
When it comes to creating your paradise, there are a few concepts that will greatly further your endeavors. Establishing a strong belief system is important as it serves as a strong foundation. This belief system can range from atheism all the way to pantheism and everything in between. In the Self-Assessment series, we will look at these bricks that can be laid. The first one as I’m sure you guessed is the internal debate between spirituality and religion. We will analyze the terms, and take an objective look at the pros and cons of each.
Spirituality – This belief system can be defined as a state of being that focuses on the spirit/soul instead of the material/physical. When someone is spiritual their primary concern is the inner sanctity of their being in opposed to the material world. Spirituality typically emphasizes the belief in the supernatural, personal growth, the journey of inner meaning, and experiencing the hand of the gods/God. Traditionally spirituality is practiced alone or in small groups without many rules/regulations. Ultimately, spirituality is about the path to the “true self” and relies heavily on experiences.
Religion – This belief system can be defined as a cultural system that focuses on creating an accepted set of behaviors and practices. This can be accomplished using world views, texts, sanctified places, ethics, or organizations. Religion in a broad sense will connect humanity with the supernatural. This often comes in the form of a higher power. Traditionally, religion uses faith as their foundation. The ultimate objective of most religions is to give meaning to life.
For this next section, I will take an objective view on these highly subjective topics. My goal is to provide you with the pros and cons of using these two belief systems. Thus, you will have a strong foundation for creating your paradise. I urge you to read this with an open mind as understanding these systems can be beneficial to your growth.
Pros of Spirituality – Spirituality tends to bring about a great amount of personal growth. A spiritual person is constantly adapting to their conditions and draws new conclusions based on their experiences. A spiritual person is not heavily affected by societal norms as their practice relies on their own individuality. This can be very useful when attempting to carve your own way in life. Not being hindered by the group grants one the freedom to be responsible for their own actions. Because spiritual people focus on personal growth they are typically more mature than the average person. Because of this maturity, logic based decisions are maximized while emotionally ones are minimized.
Cons of Spirituality – With great maturity often comes great isolation. One who is spiritual tends to spend a lot of time in isolation. They spend so much time meditating and self-reflecting that the world around them can pass them by. Essentially, they enter a small bubble where they can easily neglect the world. Additionally, it is easy to succumb to selfish desires when one views the world internally on a large scale. Finally, the spiritual person will often come across as eccentric, lazy, distant or crazy. This is due to the “wild” kinds of conclusions that spirituality often leads to. One such example is the belief that nothing in the world matters because humans are energy and energy never dies. Thus, what actions we take now are meaningless in the grand scale of things. But at the same time everything matters because we are all connected in some way, no matter how distant. It is not uncommon for a spiritual person to arrive to countless paradoxical beliefs causing inner turmoil.
Pros of Religion – Practicing an organized religion grants access to a second family. This second family can often be closer than your blood ties. A rare concept such as trust suddenly becomes abundant. Additionally, there are more people that can pool together in your time of need. This is one instance where blood isn’t thicker than water. Another pro to practicing an organized religion is that it tends to boost your overall happiness. By participating in group activities, one can share in the positive vibes of the group. These vibes are infectious and will often raise your overall mood. There is a set structure to your daily life and clear rules and guidelines to follow. This ultimately makes life a bit easier as there is less thinking involved in making decisions. An action either falls in accordance with your religious beliefs or they don’t. There is usually one leader in an organized group that one can look up to for guidance. An example of such a leader would be a priest or a rabbi. Having a clear hierarchy makes for a smooth experience when making decisions.
Cons of Religion – An organized religion can sometimes be too organized, limiting what you can and cannot do to the point of frustration. Additionally, if you fail to meet the standards of the group there tends to be several consequences. These consequences often come in the form of ridicule, disappointment, or even ostracization. This will have a drastic effect due to the close-knit culture. Being thrust into isolation can lead to severe depression. Having a leader to follow also has its drawbacks. It is possible for said priest or rabbi to exploit their followers or lead them astray. Finally, depending on where you live following a religion may make you blind to the world around you. Not associating with people who have different opinions and perspectives is the major cause.
Wrap Up – When it comes to choosing a belief system it is important to choose one that fits your desired lifestyle. Stay tuned for my next post which will be “Stoicism vs Buddhism” I have taken a very complex topic and taken it down to its very root. Whether I have done these two wonderful concepts justice is up to you. Please like, share, or comment. I would love to see feedback on this post.
“If you believe all is right with the world then it is true, likewise if you believe all is wrong.” – Negus Lamont