Are Spirituality and Religion the Same Thing?

December 22, 2021

eye with variety of graphics on sky background

With modern day life bringing significantly more stress and chaos, more people are turning to intentional living than ever before to help restore a sense of peace.

From using aromatherapy for stress relief and crystals for cleansing, to intention skincare for conscious bathing, intentional practices have become a thread in the fabric of everyday life for many.

Some refer to these actions as a form of "spirituality" - a way to live life connected to Spirit. Some believe these represent different forms of religious practices - a way to lift up the most high.

Many question if they are one in the same.

display of crystals and spirituality emblems

Below, we'll go over some differences and similarities between spirituality and religion. We'll also provide examples of common spiritual and religious practices for reference. We do encourage you to continue to explore the many beautiful ways people connect with the source(s) of life to see what resonates with you.

What is Spirituality?

The Oxford language refers to spirituality as:

“The quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”

Some who practice spirituality might broaden this definition to more accurately capture how spirituality has evolved in recent times, “The practice of connecting with, honoring and cultivating the human spirit or soul as a method of growth; acknowledging the collective Universal spirit that resides in and illuminates every living being in the Universe; the personal practice of looking within for answers; an awareness of the God/Goddess energy within that co-creates a person's life experience on Earth.” (words of author, not an “official” definition)

What is Religion?

Religion, as defined by Oxford Languages is:

"the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods; a particular system of faith and worship; pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance."

In many cases, religions were formed as a collaboration of shared values and beliefs in a particular deity. Many have evolved over the years to include a set of formalities and traditions that each worshipper adopts for himself/herself and typically practices as a member of a collective group.

holy bible on pedestal in church

Many different religions exist in the world today and while at times hard to differentiate, many share the same core philosophies: worship the supreme being, live in alignment with the values of the religion, and live in faith.

Some congregate inside a church to worship, some meet at a mosque, some create their own space at home dedicated to worship.

What’s the Difference?

Aside from what was described above, the main difference between spirituality and religion lays in the concept of inward versus outward.

Spirituality involves looking inward to cultivate the “God” within.
Religion tends to look outward and upward to lift the “God” above.

Spirituality looks to oneself as the co-creator of all life.
Religion looks to the supreme as the sole creator of all life.

What’s the Same?

woman lighting spiritual candle in place of worship

Both spirituality and religion can help you discover life’s meaning and strive for inner peace.

Both can provide the framework for living life with virtue and integrity.

Both share the belief that there is a creator source that is greater than just one individual.

Both can help shape a person, family or community's moral compass and generational values.

Examples of Spiritual Practices

Many spiritual practices are performed with the understanding that you as an individual are a coexisting human spirit among the collection of spirits in the universe. Therefore, connecting to the collective source becomes an inward focus to help deepen the awareness of self.

person sitting in lotus pose during meditation

Spiritual Practice Examples:

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Yoga (Bikram, Ashtanga, Kundalini, and Hatha)
  • Visualization
  • Manifestation
  • Mantras, Affirmations
  • Intentional Breath Work
  • Psychedelic Therapy
  • Plants as Healers
  • Spirit Animal Cultivation
  • Oracle Reading
  • Ancestral Offerings
  • Fasting and Sacrifice

Examples of Religious Practices

Many religious practices are focused on the whole unit of worshippers involved in patterned behavior designed to express and affirm their religious beliefs. This includes the purposeful studying of the words or scriptures of the religion's established teachings and ways of life.

people raising hands in worship

Religious Practice Examples:

  • Reading Scripture
  • Attending Church
  • Sermons
  • Baptisms
  • Communion
  • Prayers
  • Pilgrimages
  • Saying Grace
  • Collective Singing
  • Fasting and Sacrifice

Can They Co-Exist?

Emphatically yes!

In fact, one person can practice both spirituality and religion simultaneously. One person can both believe in Jesus as their savior and also understand that we are all connected as one collective God spirit. It doesn’t have to be “either/or”, it can be “and”.

What resonates with one person doesn't have to resonate or be judged by another.

image of books astrology and herbs in bowl

Regardless of what you believe or how you practice, be a part the light that supports inner healing, peace and creating a loving environment for all. Strive to live life with intention, gratitude, and compassion and watch as the world shifts for the betterment of every single person/plant/animal alive.

A Skincare to Support Your Spiritual AND Religious Practices

Nefertem is an independent, family-owned intention skincare company designed to support the spiritual development of others. Offering soaps to connect with your spirit, moisturizers to honor self-love, and aroma sprays to create a space for worship. Learn more about us.

Also in Information & Inspiration

mature woman applying beef tallow on her skin
Beef Tallow for Mature Skin: Uncovering Myths and Truths

May 22, 2024

Is beef tallow going to eliminate wrinkles, fines lines, and crepe skin? No! But it can help! Explore the myths and truths around using beef tallow on mature skin as we explore why tallow works so well and the best skincare product on the market to use.
Read More
the science behind using beef tallow for skincare with book and cows
Unveiling the Science: The Benefits of Beef Tallow for Skin

March 26, 2024

Read More
beef tallow for skin on table with spoon
Beef Tallow for Skin: A Timeless Solution to Modern Skincare Problems

February 29, 2024

Discover the magic of Beef Tallow for Skin, an age-old remedy for modern skincare woes. Rich in essential nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins, tallow rejuvenates, hydrates, and fortifies skin health. Explore its benefits, debunk myths, and learn how to incorporate it into your skincare routine.
Read More