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What is the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?

Columnists
I’m in recovery and suspect that my addictions keep me from knowing something. But what?Addictions are like mud on a mirror: when we look into it, we cannot see our true self. Addictions keep us from seeing ourselves as a manifestation of God the way a wave is an extension of an ocean. Moving beyond addiction leads us to the greatest freedom we can know: the freedom to be who we are — creative agents for justice and compassion. What is the difference between religion and spirituality? Religion is often about who’s in and who’s out, creating a worldview steeped in “us against them.” Spirituality rejects this dualism and speaks of us and them. Religion is often about loyalty to institutions, clergy, and rules. Spirituality is about loyalty to justice and compassion. Religion talks about God. Spirituality helps to make us godly. The two need not be at odds. Religion at its best is spirituality in community.  As a kid I was deeply wounded by my church, but I want to return. What can I do to protect myself from being traumatized again?Religious institutions that do harm are those that ins …

Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art: Shattering the Illusion of Control and Falling into Grace with Twelve-Step Spirituality. He also hosts our podcast, “Essential Conversations.” Listen here.


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