Religion Vs. Spirituality Essay, Research Paper
Shehzad Ali Mughal
Student ID: 589-13-4757
Rel 2011: T & TR (09:30am to 10:45am)
Due Date: 02/08/2001
“Religion is for people afraid to go to hell — Spirituality is for people who have already been there.”
Since the birth of humankind, our biggest inner struggle has been to achieve a level of complete peacefulness through religion or spirituality. Even though, religion has evolved and shifted through many individual beliefs, yet the essence spirituality has always been the same. First, I will try to explain religion and spiritually in a broader sense, and then I will explain why I prefer spirituality to religion.
According to one of the religion writer, Malik Khan, Religion in actual practice is applied to a great variety of human ideas, acts, and institutions. All attempts to sift out from these some common element, which would represent the “essence” of religion, have ended in failure . Considering the wide range of concerns called religious, it is at least clear to me that altogether they have played a highly significant part in human history. Men have fought and died for their religion. Art and literature have flowered forth as expressions of faith. I met many individuals have who acknowledged religion as the basis for strength, hope, and significance in their lives. Generally speaking, I regard religion as significant in the degree to which it concerns the whole range of man s experience. From this point of view, a religion, which is relevant only to a part of man s life, would be relatively trivial. A second view of significance or importance is the extent to which the religion deals with “ultimate” rather than merely preliminary matters. Furthermore, a religion is trivial unless it continually leads one out from immediate and particular concerns to questions about ever-wider meanings, more extensive connections, and deeper implications. A principal of standard of goodness in religion can be summarized in one word, “community”. Broadly speaking, I believe community is the harmonious inter-relation of individual entities. By this approach, a religion is good when it ultimately promotes community and it is bad when it destroys community. The elements which enter into what I here call “community , are not necessarily human beings. Thus, I do not mean by this term only the social group. Harmonious inter-relation also apply to man to his non-human environment. Or it may concern the co-ordination of the diverse experiences in the consciousness of a single human being.
The word spirituality is derived from the word “spirit.” As I check the thesaurus for “spirit” renders such diverse supposed synonyms as soul, apparition, ghost, phantom, specter, spook, animation, life, vigor, zest, allegiance, devotion, and loyalty. When I examine the word spirituality itself, I discover devotion, holiness, piety, saintliness, and sanctity. According to one of the writer, Iqbal Shah, Spirituality is connecting to the “universal oneness” in everything and everyone around you. Spirituality is living one’s life from the realization that the body, mind, and ego personality I have been taught to identify with is just the tip of our iceberg, our little head sticking through the window of the senses into this world, whereas our true body is the universe. I feel that our perceived world is mostly an illusion and that the goal of life is to awake to our real Self which is vast and multidimensional–already intimately connected with all of creation, with a twin shadow self that is already scripted, mostly primitive, and hidden from us, but that this whole Self is already One with this believe which I call God whose essence can hardly be understood, but to which I acknowledge as Eternal Wisdom, Ultimate Reality, creator of all Life. I believe my spiritual journey is construing the precious meaning of this unique life given to me. I ought to recognize and accept this oneness, brought to me in many forms by the great mentor (God), in its various crises and transitions.
In conclusion, I prefer spirituality to religion because religion is an organized structure but spirituality is something you feel deep inside. Furthermore, religion is about certainty and spirituality is about wonder. I believe many people escape into religion in order not to be challenged by God, because they do not want to have to continually rethink things, most of us prefer our illusions and private idols to reality, mystery, and challenge. In addition to, religion attracts those of a guardian type personality; spirituality attracts those of a more pilgrim type of personality more open to learning, wonder, and mystery. Personally, I feel spirituality by an “awakening” that I experience in life; consequently, my views about this world and about others shift.