Religious vs. Spiritual

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Jenna Pagnotta
Professor Reklis
Faith and Critical Reason

In our modern age, it seems as though fewer and fewer individuals are describing themselves as religious, instead opting for the term “spiritual”. This shift is most apparent in the United States, as mass attendance decreases, and society places more reliance on science and technology rather than religion. Sandra Schneiders’ essay discussing the definitions of spirituality and religion and the link between the two sheds light on how much of contemporary culture identifies themselves. While Schneider firmly believes that the two work in tandem, and one cannot be had without the other, the renown psychologist Sigmund Freud would unquestionably view this move away from religion as an affirmation of his theory that faith is waning as civilization advances towards science and reason.

In Sandra Schneiders’ “Religion vs. Spirituality: A Contemporary Conundrum”, she clearly details her definition of both religion and spirituality, and discusses the influence they have on our modern society. She defines spirituality as, “the capacity of persons to transcend themselves through knowledge and love.” (165). She goes on to say that spirituality does not need to be linked to one specific religion, and in actuality it could simply be about an ideal such as feminism. In addition, everyone’s spirituality is different due to the fact that it is personal to each individual. It involves a personal lived reality, not based on an abstract idea, and necessitates a conscious involvement of the person. Being truly spiritual also encompasses a fusion of both the body and spirit, truly life integration. Essentially, being spiritual should be positive and moving towards the ultimate good. (Reklis, CN, 9/10/12) The term spiritual originally came from St. Paul who used it to describe the effect of the Holy Spirit. Schneider states here that in latter years, spirituality “has become a generic term for the actualization in life...
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