Spirituality through the eyes of a Truth Seeker


Religious versus Spiritual (Part 1)

Have you ever stopped for a moment and thought about the differences between these two words? Think about when they’ve come up in conversation long enough and you might notice some things.

The most common one for me is that more people will “defend” their beliefs with Spiritual more than with Religious. In other words, whenever the subject of “Belief in God” crops into a conversation, especially if you ask someone what religion they are and some will respond with that they are “spiritual not religious”. I see this as a defense and can attest to that mainly because I am “guilty” of it. When this is the response, the person has rejected the notions of religion in favor for something not so specific and needs to state that. The one thing that I have not ever heard is the opposite of someone saying they are “religious not spiritual”.

So just what is the difference? Most people, especially those that claim the “spiritual not religious” stance will tell you the main difference is in the word “dogma”. Let’s then start with the “Grammar of It All”.

Per http://www.etymonline.com; Dogma – “1541 {another source stated 1590-1600} (implied in dogmatist), from Latin dogma “philosophical tenet,” from Greek dogma (gen. dogmatos) “opinion, tenet,” literary “that which one thinks is true,” from dokein “to seem good, think” (see decent). Treated in 17c.-18c. as Greek, with pl. dogmata.” So there we have it, right? Not really because this is using the word to describe the word, so big deal if dogma is from the Latin or Greek of the same name. So that didn’t help.

If you just take the referenced Latin and Greek, tenet appears in both. Cross reference tenet (http://dictionary.com) you get opinion and dogma in the definition for tenet which exemplifies the peculiarities of the English language where we use the same set of words to describe another set of words. I take this to mean they have similarities with very subtle differences that are never really explained leaving you to come to your own personal understanding of their use. Using what has been given between these two; then it’s a philosophical opinion or tenet (opinion, doctrine, principle) that which one thinks is true. Let’s bring that down to something more manageable and say it’s a “philosophical opinion, doctrine, or principle that one thinks is true”. This leaves itself open for lots of speculation because you may not agree with what I think is true, but then again opinion is used in the definition.

When looking over the actual results at http://dictionary.com, the speculative “one thinks is true” doesn’t appear in these definitions. The various dictionary definitions are actually more solidly stated than that. Take a look:
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Random Thoughts
  • “You abdicate and ignore your ability to create your reality. Essentially you turn your power over to be maneuvered by others. The tendency to think that someone other than yourself is going to save you has been programmed and conditioned into humans. No one is going to save you. In order to flourish and thrive you must be willing to take charge of your life.”
    by Barbara Marciniak, The Pleiadians
  • “Attachments to Outcomes create more problems than they are worth because sometimes The Universe just has other plans for you.”
    by Jeff Staebell, My Life Experiences
  • “Negative Beliefs are enforced & ingrained by their ensuing experiences which affirm the belief; creating those nasty vicious cycles.”
    by Jeff Staebell, My Life Experiences