There’s a trend that’s been going on for some time now, and I’m sure it’s still picking up pace, for people to identify as being spiritual, just not religious. It’s as if there’s a distaste at the notion of being religious. And if there is indeed that distaste (I’ve experienced it myself), that speaks an unfortunate volume on the state of religion.
I feel as if that distaste is largely due religion’s death. I don’t mean that it’s dying in the same sense as becoming mythology. I mean that it lost touch with it’s heart, spirituality. Without spirituality, religion becomes little more than a dry husk.
Spirituality is much more important, but what is it? The dictionary tells us that spirituality is, “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.” I also see it as being focused on the divine. Spirituality is the part that focuses on prayer, communion, meditation, etc. It’s the essence from which all religions spring from.
And if spirituality can be separated from it’s inferior shell, why shouldn’t it be, right? I used to feel that way too, but not anymore. Religion may be inferior, but it still has it’s purposes. There’s a question that I am quite fond of, “What is God’s religion?” Religion was created to help form a relationship with the divine, and so, God has no use for religion. Religion provides a set of tools and methodology for forming that relationship. And just as you can build something using a variety of different tools and methods, I’m sure that the divine can be approached from a variety of religions. Sadly, this is also where religion lost touch with it’s own heart. It became too focused on rules and restrictions, and it’s adherents see other people who are able to enjoy spirituality without the restrictions. And in some cases, it’s not even that. They may inherit their distaste from peers or surrounding society. But most of the distaste has certainly originated from unnecessary (or misunderstood) rules. There’s a reason for the rules, but that could be a blog post all on it’s own. Not only that, but there are also other uses for identifying with a religion. It’s part of culture, and claiming a religion mostly means also identifying, in part, that religion’s culture too.
Now, I’m not saying that you HAVE to have a religion. It can help though. And I totally sympathize with not wanting to claim any religion, just spirituality. It’s really helpful when you’re trying to explore. It’s even okay to claim agnosticism, which literally means “not knowing.” But if you are truly spiritual, you will investigate what works best for you and that that will have at least roots in religion.