Lately, I have been hearing more people say, “I am spiritual but not religious”; what does that even mean? Every time that I have tried to engage myself in a discussion about this topic it has turned into a straight debate (a.k.a an argument)! I am just trying to understand. Please help!
I Just Love God
Dear I Just Love God,
Thank you for asking this question; this has been such a hot topic as of late! It can absolutely be a touchy subject but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Let’s start with the basics!
Generally speaking, having faith is defined as:
- An allegiance to a duty or a person
- Having complete trust
- Something that is believed especially with strong conviction
With this, having faith in God symbolizes one’s allegiance, loyalty, having complete trust and a strong conviction for him. In his unconditional love for each person, the idea that he created everyone for a reason (having a purpose for our existence), the idea that no matter how tough things become in life he will see us through it if we believe in and seek him, etc.
Spirit is defined as the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul. This can also be interchanged with ‘Holy Spirit’, which is often referenced in the Holy Bible. *The term “holy spirit” is a Christian terminology however spirit is the nonphysical essence of a person.
Religion is defined as the organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to the supernatural often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
Although there is not one set definition for what spirituality means, in the context of your question I believe that a person who is spiritual and not religious does still believe in God or a higher power. He or she may even still believe in religion; maybe some aspects of one religion, some aspects of multiple religions, etc. Someone who practices spirituality may feel as though they can connect with God without practicing in rituals, going to Church, or identifying with one religious group. Someone can potentially connect with God via nature, via praying, via meditating, via conversations about God with friends, so on and so forth.
With the highest respect to all religions, religion is not a requirement to believe in or be blessed by God. There may be aspects of religion that one does not want to adopt or that one simply do not agree with; their relationship with God should not be comprised because of this. God created the planet earth, religion is man-made. Religion gives individuals who welcome it a structured way to worship or praise God in a community with others.
In my opinion, the confusing component of the term ‘spirituality’ is that it is often directly correlated to religion. I believe that people have decided to redefine what spirituality means to them, absent of religion.
All in all, God gave us all free will to maintain control of our lives. I believe that we are all on this earth to do his work and to make a difference in the world; I don’t believe that how we chose to believe or have faith should be criticized or ultimately turned into an argument. God is love – whatever way we chose to love him is our decision and we should respect other’s decisions as well!
Keep the faith!