Religion and spirituality are similar concepts but are often viewed as two separate and distinct things. The former tends to be more personal, while the latter generally incorporates public rituals and organized doctrines. The distinction between the two is largely semantic, as both fall along the same spectrum of belief systems. However, in some cases, religion and spirituality are the same thing.
A person’s set of beliefs changes over time as he or she continues to study spirituality. However, the rules of their religion typically remain the same. This is because religious institutions are pre-defined and communicate changes to their members through recognized authorities. In addition to being pre-defined, religious institutions are uniquely spiritual, as no other social institution has such a central goal.
The rise of individualism and materialism has affected many aspects of religion and spirituality. However, many religions remain functional, providing social support, meaning and incentives for good living. By reducing the spiritual content of a religion, it can become a self-serving institution or a powerful ideology of oppression.
In many countries, religions have a broader cultural influence. Religions influence the politics, art, and literature of a culture. Religious symbols are widely used in music, literature, and dress codes.