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 Religion or Spirituality: Which works best?

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Join date : 2008-10-18
Age : 31
Location : Cleves, OH

PostSubject: Religion or Spirituality: Which works best?   Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:13 pm

This post is a clip from a story written by Lawn Griffiths, and the full story can be found at:

Hold a discussion on people's beliefs, and within minutes, someone will pipe up, "I'm spiritual, but I'm not religious." For some, spirituality is an open field, and religion represents fences and restrictions.

"Religion is the institution, and, theoretically, it is based on spirituality, which is about some kind of connection with higher powers, supernatural power or whatever," said Craig Nagoshi, an associate professor in psychology at Arizona State University, where he researches religion and its correlations to spirituality. He believes people can easily claim to be religious, spiritual or both.

"The thing is that religion is a human institution, and it has all the good and bad things about human institutions," Nagoshi said. As such, religious systems have tried to control the beliefs of people, leading to alienation and hostility. Yet religion provides the mechanism that facilitates people making spiritual connections, he said.

Without churches, for example, many would have never heard compelling, habit-changing sermons, uplifting choral music or calls to volunteer for specific causes - even though houses of worship are not unique in affording those experiences. Religion has nurtured human networks, specifically faith communities that empower like-minded people to carry out ministries of compassion to others, which is not so common among those choosing to independently practice their spirituality, he and others suggested. Spirituality has been called a "personalizing of religion."

"Basically, humans have always operated as social groups," Nagoshi said. "As such, there has always been institutions to manage a society. Religions have been well integrated into that social management function."

On his Web site, in an article titled "Religion vs. Spirituality," writer Marcellino D'Ambrosio, a Catholic renewal theologian, notes, "It is fashionable today to disdain 'religion' but praise 'spirituality.' Religion is oppressive, they say, but spirituality is liberating. Spirituality is about being in touch with your inner self and the life force that animates the universe." D'Ambrosio calls religion something that "should cause people to pause." It's a word whose Latin means to "bind oneself" or "commit oneself."
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