The phrase “spirtual, not religious” has been with AA since its beginning. Do we know what it means? Aren’t they related or similar?
We sense there is a difference, but what is it? Bill Wilson knew and wrote that the Big Book was a beginning, yet more would be revealed. The first 164 pages of Alcoholics Anonymous were not the final word; he feared that we would never consider the “more revealed” over the years. He knew previous attempts at sobriety movements failed because they weren’t flexible. He wanted AA to be adaptable to the times, changing over generations. He wanted the “spirit” of AA to take precedence over the “letter” of words published in 1939.
“Spiritual” is a hard word for many of us to understand. It seems abstract, or vague, or squishy when we try to give examples. Rather than getting into all the uses and meanings of spiritual, let’s focus on how religious vs spiritual can differ.
The following comes from the-open-mind.com. I don’t expect us all to agree on these differences, but they are worth considering.
Deepak Chopra said that “religion is belief in someone else’s experience, spirituality is having your own experience”.
Religion asks you to bow – Spirituality sets you free
Religion shows you fear – Spirituality shows you how to be brave
Religion tells you its truth – Spirituality lets you discover it
Religion separates from other religions – Spirituality unites them
Religion makes you dependent – Spirituality makes you independent
Religion applies punishment – Spirituality applies karma
Religion makes you follow another’s journey – Spirituality lets you create your own