Spirituality vs. Christianity: How are they different?

Being in the Christian ministry for so long, I have heard people say that they are spiritual but not religious. I took more interest in this, and I have researched deeply about the topic to understand what it really means to be spiritual and what it means to be a Christian. I have come to understand that though some people use these terms interchangeably, they are quite different and exist independently but can complement each other. You probably have also heard these two terms being used and wondered which is which. Keep reading to learn more about spirituality vs. Christianity.

The main difference between Christianity and spirituality is that Christianity is a religion with a set of beliefs. In contrast, spirituality is a personal journey with one creating their own set of beliefs. Therefore, spirituality can be associated with religion or not. Some Christians define spirituality as having a personal relationship with God, while universally, the term can be used with people who do not ascribe to Christian teachings.

So, join me as I dig deeper and share more interesting facts about spirituality and Christianity with you. I will first define the two terms, look at their differences, establish if one can be a Christian and not spiritual and much more!

Spirituality vs. Christianity: Difference in definition

Spirituality vs. Christianity
Spirituality vs. Christianity. Image source: Pixabay

Christianity is a religion and has a structured belief system and organized sets of beliefs shared among those who identify themselves as Christians. Christians have the Bible as their guide and leaders who perform certain rituals like baptism when converting people to the religion. As a community of people with the same beliefs, Christianity is a supportive social network. Its members must adhere to its beliefs, practices, and behaviors. As a Christian, you are committed to following Christian guidelines and practices put in place.

Spirituality is more of an individual and is always about the inner self and one’s soul. People who consider themselves spiritual have their own set of practices and beliefs and are often searching for life’s purpose. However, spirituality is often viewed through two lenses, spiritual and non-religious. According to the Bible, spirituality is portrayed as having a personal relationship with God. However, in non-religious settings, spirituality is about connecting with your inner self so as to reach your maximum potential and show up as your highest self.

Difference between Spirituality and Christianity

Spirituality vs. Christianity - How are they different?
Differences between Spirituality and Christianity. Image source: Pixabay


The main difference between spirituality and Christianity is that Christianity involves a group brought together by common beliefs and faith, while spirituality is a personal experience of the divine. In Christianity or any other religion, members often believe that their story is right and that people need to adhere to it. However, when you are spiritual, you pick what you want to believe in and what your truths are without being influenced.

Belief system

In Christianity, the belief system is pre-defined in that these rules were set before you joined religion and will not change as they are based on the Bible, the sole reference of Christianity. On the other hand, the belief system of spiritual people has evolved. Spiritual people dig deeper, and in the quest to search their souls and find their purpose, they might pick up different beliefs along the way. Their beliefs are not predetermined, and they evolve.


Spiritual people have no rules as they search and arrive at their own set of truths and ideologies that they adhere to. Alternatively, if you associate yourself with Christianity, there are rules like the Ten Commandments that you need to adhere to and follow.

Where the beliefs originated from

People who refer to themselves as spiritual develop their own set of beliefs through their personal experiences and their soul-searching process. This allows them to discover deeper truths as they are not limited on how deep they can go. On the other hand, Christians learn or pick up group beliefs based on biblical experiences and teachings.

Are there any similarities between Spirituality and Christianity?

Though Christianity and spirituality are often used interchangeably, these two terms have more differences than similarities. What they tend to have in common is that they can both be false methods of claiming you have a relationship with God. To have a relationship with God, the two must complement each other. Christianity can easily substitute a relationship with God for a mere observance of rules and rituals. On the other hand, those who claim to be spiritual and not Christians often rely on themselves and not on God. Therefore, it is quite easy for people who have no relationship with God to use these two terms in different scenarios.

How does society view Christianity?

Spirituality vs. Christianity
How does society view Christianity? Image source: Pixabay

Society views Christianity with a double-standard lens. Christianity has attracted a lot of criticism mainly because of hypocrisy, people extracting certain Bible texts to satisfy their needs. Some Christians have come off as judgmental, and though they are just a minor percentage of what makes the religion, they have attracted much criticism. Furthermore, because Christian standards mostly do not align with societal standards, society sometimes views Christians as self-righteous people.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that Christianity also receives good publicity from society when they get involved in charity work like feeding the poor, being volunteers in refugee camps, and housing the homeless. This is something that restores humanity, and both society and Christians agree on it.

How does society view spirituality?

The term spirituality dates way back, but it has grown to be quite complicated in today’s world. Society views spirituality through two lenses; for some people, it is having a connection with God; for others, it is nothing about religion but being able to connect with your higher self. Those who view spirituality from a non-religious lens practice non-religious activities like yoga to connect with their spiritual selves.

In today’s world, many people consider themselves spiritual but do not want to identify with Christianity or any other religion. They believe Christianity, or religion at large, limits them from exploring and loving themselves fully. They believe in a higher being, the vibrational power of nature, meditation, and reflection but do not associate any of these with Christianity.

Naturalists view spirituality as a reflection of the ultimate truth of the situation we are in as we perceive it. They believe that an individual’s spiritual life is what you make from it. Therefore, more experiences that connect you to your spiritual self make you more spiritual. Take away is that society does not necessarily attach spirituality to Christianity; they believe the two can exist separately.

Can you be a Christian without being spiritual?

Spirituality vs. Christianity
Can you be a Christian without being spiritual? Image source: Pixabay

We can look at how the Bible portrays Christianity and biblical spirituality to answer this question. In the book of Matthew 23:5-7, Jesus speaks about religion. He references the Pharisees who pray out loud, takes the most important seats in the church, and want to be greeted with respect when they go to the marketplace, but all these not to glorify God but for others to see. Jesus implies that the Pharisees missed the basis of Christianity, being spiritual (being in a right relationship with God) and not promoting a moral hierarchy. Throughout the Bible, we can see that God is a relational God and always want to have a good relationship with humanity.

In today’s world, there are still a lot of “Pharisees” who go to church every Sunday but have no relationship with God. They are quick to judge those who do not attend church, but they have just gone to be seen. This is why theologians note that Christianity without biblical spirituality is simply moral bookkeeping.

In the book of Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus teaches on false discipleship and notes that on the last day, many will go before the Lord claiming they prophesized and drive out demons in His name, but the Lord will tell them to go away because he does not know them. Christianity is like false discipleship, doing things in the name of the Lord yet not really having a relationship with God. Therefore, though you can be a Christian and not be spiritual, it can be compared to being a false disciple or moral police. Being a Christian should be accompanied by having a personal relationship with God.

Is it possible to be spiritual even if you are not a Christian?

It is possible to be spiritual even if you are not a Christian; however, this depends on your personal beliefs. For some people, being spiritual and not identifying yourself as a Christian is directionless and self-involved. This is because, in Christianity, having a one-on-one relationship with God is what helps one attain spirituality. However, in today’s world, some people believe that you do not have to be in a religion to connect with your spiritual self. Some non-religious experiences like being in nature, yoga, and meditation, among others, can help you attain spirituality. Therefore, depending on what you believe in, being spiritual and a Christian can be experienced independently and can also complement each other.

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