Spirituality vs. Christianity

“I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God. I pray all the time—for self-control, for humility,” pop culture icon Katy Perry tells Marie Claire. Though Katy Perry has only one voice, her opinion speaks volumes about the spiritual-but-not-religious trend that is taking place in this day and age. According to a Pew report, almost 1 in 5 Americans identify themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.” These people were identified as having a connection to God but not with any form of institution.

As Christians, we certainly believe that our religion is more of a relationship that we have with Christ. This is a “spiritual” aspect of our Christian faith. However, it is becoming the status quo to forsake many, if not all, of the actions that are a result of our relationship with him: attending church, reading scripture, acknowledging right and wrong and actions, etc. Instead, many opt for just a spiritual-but-not-religious connection that implies a denial of formal Christian practices (i.e. baptism, communion, church attendance, etc.). While it is certainly possible to be a spiritual Christian who seeks to connect with God and form an intimate and personal relationship with Christ, it is not possible to be exclusively spiritual and live a life in accordance to the calling of God; here is why:

Being a Christian means believing in sin

To become a Christian, one must acknowledge that he has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). To acknowledge sin is to acknowledge that there is a definitive right and wrong and that our standards about what is right and what is wrong are derived from God.

This is very different from being only spiritual. To be solely spiritual means that one believes in “the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature,” according to Dictionary.com. This means that there is an existence of supernatural beings; however, the standards of right and wrong, how one gets to heaven, and if there is a heaven are entirely up to the person and his opinion. This form of religion is different for everyone, there are no standard beliefs, spirituality and God exist in only the person’s state of mind.

A Christian accepts God’s Word

As Christians, we believe that the Bible was inspired by God himself (2 Timothy 3:16). Christians accept God’s word as true and holy and believe that we are called to live a life pleasing to God. We recognize that we will never be perfect but we strive to please God in our actions, nonetheless. Conversely, spiritualists may accept aspects of different faiths and beliefs, disregard parts of spiritual texts that they do not agree with, and in this way, form their own religion.

Unlike a spiritualist, a Christian cannot pick and choose doctrinal beliefs to agree with. A Christian either follows the Lord wholeheartedly or not at all. In Revelation 3, John even goes so far as to write, “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God […] I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
Christians live with a purpose

As Christians, we believe that God’s love is the greatest love we’ve ever known. We live to glorify God and to tell others the good news of Christ’s unconditional and never-ending love for us. We marvel at the fact that Jesus died for us even in our sinfulness just so he could be with us. Christ’s love is exciting, uplifting, and romantic and we want everyone to know! But in just spiritualism, many do not believe in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Many reject that accepting the Holy Spirit into their lives is the only way to eternal life and most do not feel the need to tell others about their relationship with God because their relationship with God is unique to only their situation. There is no historical background to their beliefs. Their God exists only in their minds and there is no ultimate purpose to live and tell others about God’s love.

Thus, though Christians can and should be spiritual by seeking a deep and personal relationship with Christ that is not defined by works and formal traditions, it is not possible for one to be exclusively spiritual and reject the Bible and its teachings, and still be a Christian. God wants his children to feel a connection to him; it’s the whole reason he sent his son to die. He wants his people to believe him and to accept him and him alone. Though it might be tempting to pick and choose whatever aspect about Christ one wants to believe, falling in love with the one true God is so much more rewarding.

Cresonia Hsieh is a journalism student at the University of Florida. She can be reached at [email protected]

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8 Responses to “Spirituality vs. Christianity”

  1. This article was a thought provoking one. I had mentioned to others before that I am spiritual and not religious, implying that I believe a close relationship with Christ is most important, it never occurred to me that someone might think it I meant I was denying such important things as baptism and communion. Thanks for the clarification. I will be more careful next tim

  2. “Spirituality” has become a popular buzzword for everything from nature appreciation to meditation. Of course, if one has had a genuine connection with the divine dimension of his or her being, it means a completely different thing.

  3. Armando Chavez

    I have a big issue with the christians. I have had countless battles with Christians in every feed that has nothing to do with them. Any spuritual, astrological, you name it article is always filled with those and I quote my god this, my bible this, my bible says and on and on. Why do Christians do that? I wouldn’t be in a Christian feed if the subject offended me and I would not be in where I don’t belong. I am an advanced spiritual, and I am appalled by these Christians that I have begun seeking ways to eradicate them from a lot of the Facebook, internet feeds.
    I also have a revulsion towards Christians for them always trying to push their beliefs on others. As a spiritual I find myself closer to the creator. I don’t have to limit my life, hopes, and dreams expecting a miracle from a bible. And I don’t and won’t make someone else rich selling me gods and heavens. The creator is wonderful and powerful but it is the Christians that push many away from religion. I would love an answer as I have no answer.
    And I sincerely thank you.

  4. A true lover of god does not push them selfs on you, or anyone god says be a light .. a true Christian knows that you are to share gods unconditional love by being kind and loving, compassionate, forgiving , patient, if someone says I am a Christian and makes you feel bad, unworthy, unloved.. they are not Christians. God gives all free will therefor there should never be any pushing down anyone’s throat as you say.. god is love, that’s what he wants from us, so if we are from him we want the same, love one another no matter what anyone feels …our job as followers of Christ is to plant the seed.. god does the rest.. Much love in Christ🙏🏻

  5. I am sad to read you have had such bad experiences with Christians, A true lover of god does not push them selfs on you, or anyone. god says be a light not a pest .. a true Christian knows that you are to share gods unconditional love by being kind and loving, compassionate, forgiving , patient, understanding. if someone says I am a Christian and makes you feel bad, unworthy, unloved, and or they come across as judgmental well my friend they are not Christians. God gives all free will, therefor there should never be any pushing down anyone’s throat as you say.. god is loving god and he wants us to come freely that’s what he wants from us, so if we say we are from him we want the same, for you to come freely. Christian need to love one another no matter what anyone feels or believes. God wants us to come freely not to be pushed into anything. Our job as followers of Christ is to plant the seed of gods love For you and that’s it. the rest is up to you believe or don’t believe he accepts us as we are. ..

  6. As a child raised in a strict Christian environment, I struggled with counter-productive Christian views toward others who question or choose not to be narrowed minded. I personally have chosen to step back from labeling myself as Christian out of shame. The God I know- wouldn’t force, brainwash, deceive, or make anyone feel condemned (as stated in the Bible).

  7. What’s very disappointing is these same Christian beliefs seems to be the doctrine for racism and sexism throughout history and even today and frankly like Renae I have completely removed myself for all labels

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