The Differences Between Religion and Spirituality


While the terms religion and spirituality are often used interchangeably, there are many distinctions between the two. While spirituality is about searching for a sacred destination, religion is a set of practices and beliefs that have multiple functions. For example, religion may involve prayer or the institution of a church. However, a religion may also be an expression of a larger social context.

The survey’s results were based on interviews with 1281 U.S. adults (aged 18 and older). A representative sample of adults was surveyed between April and November 2016. The study’s margin of error was three percentage points. The sample was calibrated to population percentages by adjusting for known demographic variables. Religious attitudes were assessed by asking survey respondents to state whether they felt their religion gives them meaning or purpose, and whether they find it helpful or harmful.

Some religious beliefs are rooted in fear. For instance, the concept of original sin can cause people to feel fear and anxiety. Other concepts such as divine judgment and eternal punishment can lead to feelings of panic and anxiety. Religions may also promote a sense of belonging among followers. In addition, some religions have developed specialized practices for healing the sick.

Regardless of the religion practiced, it is important to understand that religion and human rights are compatible. Indeed, human rights help protect the freedom of religion. However, history is rife with examples of religiously-based violence.

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