October 25, 2005

I understand religion to be a structure of beliefs shared among a community: with spirituality as the personal expression of belief, shared or otherwise. I invoke society into (specifically) religion (as opposed to spirituality), because I see religion, literally, as a social (interactive) construct. One can be spiritual in the absence of others: but to follow religion requires community.

Thus where the personal expression of faith follows the tenets set by the community, spirituality can encompass religion; and religion can certainly encompass spirituality (for upon what else was the communal structure founded?): but neither automatically entails the other -- nor is the relationship a static thing, what at one time was is not necessarily what is.

Yet both spirituality and religion, to an outside perspective, can appear confining: and indeed must, if the tenets are to hold any personal value. After all, what is a definition, if not words confining meaning? What is the worth of spiritual values, if they do not define identity?

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