Let me not write the direct answer, yes or no. Rather let’s start it with the definition from the general understanding. So, how can religion get defined generally? Religion is an institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, preferences, and practices having some person or figure to serve. This means it is a group of people having faith over the same person or figure which is later institutionalized with added norms and conditions.
Now, let’s analyze how any religion grows. We are talking about religion, in which there is some ideal personality to worship. Generally, that ideal personality such as Jesus, Gautama the Buddha, Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, etc is the one who was highly spiritual beings. Someone call them enlightened beings, whatever you call it.
So, such enlightened figures start to share knowledge so that other people can get benefited by getting into the path of spirituality. As time passes and the physical body of such spiritual beings is no longer available, their students make it a kind of institutionalized system. The purpose of such a system is to spread the teachings of the spiritual person so that people get benefited from the teachings of their master. But time passes and people start adding some other set of rules which were not actually there in the beginning. So, various other social beliefs like what to do and what not, and a lot of sets of values are added. Finally, religion is formed when thousands of people start to accept that.
So, in the beginning, what’s the religion of Jesus or Gautama the Buddha? You can simply guess anything but not Christianity or Buddhism, right? So, their main concern was spirituality and how spirituality can change a person’s life. They wanted everyone to become spiritual so they started to teach people about spirituality, they didn’t want to make people religious. I am not saying religion is a bad thing, but religion today without the actual glimpse of spirituality is the dumb thing that exists. The spiritual aspect must not get suppressed in any shorts of religion. Spirituality is what that gave birth to religion, it must not be in shade.
Now let’s understand what spirituality is. The science of believing and accepting that there is something either that be energy or person or nature that is beyond you and is highly powerful to influence your life and the practice to get in sync with that is spirituality. Simply spirituality came from the term spirit. Spirit is the energy or force that is in everything and that is very powerful, non-destructive in nature. So knowing your true self is also a suitable definition of spirituality. Spirituality is experiential whereas religion is a belief.
So, theoretically, spirituality was the cause for most of the religion to exist, but religion being commercialized with added materialistic approaches and a lot of wrong interpretation of actual meaning has made religion move far away from spirituality. So, in today’s context, spirituality and religion are seen as quite a different topic. A lot of religions have started suppressing spiritual practices and give more priority to materialistic and social norms and values. So, people say ‘I am spiritual not religious’, and they are somehow correct. Please mind the very important quote,
Religion doesn’t want you to think but wants you to just practice it without questioning, but spirituality says don’t believe anything without experiencing, doubt a lot.
Therefore, we can conclude the topic of discussion as spirituality and religion are not actually different but are made different in today’s context. Therefore, in today’s practical context a spiritual person might not always seem religious. In conclusion, we should focus on the teachings of the spiritual person such as Jesus, Buddha, Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, Muhammad, etc, rather than focusing on the religious values which were later added by the society.