I was thinking about the expression “I am not religious but I am spiritual.” This leaves open so many questions. How do you define religious? How do you define spiritual? How are they different? Is one better than the other?

Most of what I read about this dictamen describes religion and religious in common terms. Wikipedia says: “religion refers to organizational or communal dimensions”. Biography Online says: “Religion usually entails adhering to a certain dogma or belief system. Religion is often concerned with sin, guilt and a concept of a God who punishes. Many followers of religion feel that only their path can lead to salvation.”  Dr. Kathleen Hall says: Religion is “a personal or institutionalized system grounded in belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.” None of these definitions fit the Unitarian Universalist religion. Our religion is much more like the definitions of spiritual that are contrasted with those of religion. Thanks to my finding and joining the UU church, I can say that I am religious. I believe in our seven principles. I attend church on a regular basis. I support my faith with my time, my talents and my finances.

I have read in several places that there are 6 differences between religion and spirituality:

  1. There are no rules in spirituality.
  2. Spirituality is based only on love and not fear 3. Religion tells you the truth – spirituality lets you discover it.
  3. Religion separates, Spirituality unites.
  4. T e difference between karma and punishment
  5. Spirituality allows you to walk your own path. Yet when I read these differences, it seems that we could substitute the word spirituality with Unitarian Universalism and it would almost make as much sense.
  6. We do have a rule in UU, but it is very different from the rules in most other faiths. We ask that you believe and try to live by the seven principles.
  7. Our faith is based on love and inclusion, not on fear and exclusion.
  8. We ask that you find your own truth in our fourth principle.
  9. Our faith is based on uniting people, not separating them for differences.
  10. We do not talk about punishment for trespasses.
  11. We all have some common goals, but we walk our own path to those goals.

I am glad to have found this religion and proud to say that I am religious and spiritual.