When we tell other people that we consider ourselves spiritual people, they often mistakenly believe that we mean religion – in one form or another. However, there is a difference between religion and spirituality.

Religion is the organized way to God. Spirituality is also the path to God, but it is not organized. They have a common subject, but their approaches are different. Religion and spirituality instruct that there is more to the universe than meets the eye and that our life is more than life in the physical body.

The main difference between religion and spirituality is that religion presents us with beliefs, dogmas, and intermediaries between God and us. Spirituality is the desire for inner self-improvement and promotes our individual autonomy in defining and connecting with God as it corresponds to our heart and mind.

This article intends to finally end the misunderstanding between religion and spirituality.

Religion vs. Spirituality

Religion vs. Spirituality

Once upon a time, all religions began as a spiritual process. But in their striving for organization, they lost their essence. In a way, Religion is corrupt spirituality. Let’s understand the difference between religion and the spiritual process.

1. Spirituality is from time immemorial, whereas religion developed over time

Spirituality is the true essence and true origin of every religious movement. But sometimes, spirituality in religion fades into the background, and we are left with mostly religious beliefs and rituals.

Gautam Buddha was not a Buddhist; Lord Rama was not a Hindu; they were, in fact, highly realized spiritual people. Both are considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who was spiritual. They had a group of followers who were also greatly moved by their spiritual quest. But as the centuries passed, when groups and their social recognition grew, spirituality slowly became a religion.

There’s now Hinduism, Christianity, Muslims, and many more. Hinduism is also divided into Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and so on.

But Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are divine spiritual forms, not religious ones.

2. Religion makes you bow to it; Spirituality sets you free

Religion forces you to follow a certain ideology and rules, otherwise promising us heavenly punishment. Spirituality helps us follow our hearts and do what we think is right.

It helps us achieve what we consider right in life – without looking back at the sacred books; we do not always agree with it from beginning to end. It allows us to choose for ourselves what to believe in enough to give it divinity.

3. Religion is determined by humans, Spirituality by God

Religion can be anything that a person professes. On the other hand, spirituality is determined by God. Because man determines religion, religion is a manifestation of the human mind. But spirituality, by God’s definition, is a manifestation of His nature.

True spirituality is what is deep within ourselves. It is your way of affection, accepting, and treating the world and the people around you. It cannot be found in temples or believed in any way.

4. Religion Makes You Dependent, Spirituality Makes You Independent

Adherents of most religions believe that you are truly worthy of happiness and good luck only if you actively support it and regularly participate in all the necessary rituals. Spirituality shows us all that we don’t have to rely on or depend on anything to be happy.

The roots of happiness always grow from ourselves, and it depends only on us whether it will turn green or fade. Remember, we are always in the place and time that allows us to be happy. We do not need to attend certain activities or events for this. Divinity is in each of us. And we deserve it.

5. Religion is based on the fear of punishment; spirituality reminds us of karma

Religion tells us that if we do not obey a specific set of rules, after death somewhere there, in another world, such as hell or patala lok, we will be punished for this.

Spirituality, on the other hand, helps us understand that every deed we do has its own consequences and can ultimately become our blessing or punishment – for which we do not need to wait for divine judgment. The consequences of our actions depend only on the fundamental laws of this universe, whether you believe in them or not.

6. Religion claims to have the truth; spirituality encourages the search for truth

There are no religions that are not filled with rigid, and every religion has its established rules and principles that say how and what you must believe. Spirituality allows you to search for your own truth, a path known only to you, and understand it in a way that only you can.

It motivates us to look inside ourselves and, plunging into the depths of our own souls, once and for all, understand that the truth is called truth because it is the same for each of us. But it also allows us to believe in our own truth – in the truth that we see through the prism of our hearts.

Quick Comparison: Religion vs. Spirituality

Religion asks you to believe.Spirituality asks you to seek.
Religion speaks of sin and hell.Spirituality speaks of reason.
Religion wants to comfort you.Spirituality wants to liberate.
Religion is external.Spirituality is internal.
Religion wants to convert you.Spirituality wants to inspire you.
Religion says it’s the only way.Spirituality says that each person has their own path.
Religion is an institution.Spirituality is a journey.


Religion and spirituality can go together. Many people find spirituality in their religion, and for them, these differences may not be so relevant since, for them, these two things are combined. But things are different for those interested in pure spirituality, regardless of religious affiliation. The difference between religion and spirituality is not what you believe but how you live and feel about it.

(Last Updated On: July 25, 2022)