Religiosity vs. Spirituality
I didn’t even have to hesitate on that one, as I immediately answered “spiritual.”
So, what’s the difference?
It’s an interesting question because I do go to church on the regular and engage in Bible-reading whenever I visit my mom, who makes it devotional reading each morning. I believe in the main tenets of my religion but have found myself taking issue with scriptural interpretations concerning women’s roles, same-sex, and ethnic isolationism. I can pray before going to bed and still engage in yoga lessons (no matter how “satanic” Virginia’s lieutenant governor thinks it is).
In other words, the difference to me between being “religious” and being “spiritual” has everything to do with how independent-minded one feels in approaching the divine. Being “religious” has always seemed to me to require a dependent-oriented approach to the divine – a reliance on religious leaders and doctrines to interpret one’s relationship with the divine – whereas being “spiritual” has meant to me the ability to come to the divine on one’s own, using religious teachings as a guide but never letting those teachings limit one’s capacity for spiritual awakenings.
Perhaps many others understand those two terms in similar ways, which is why I believe some fans – especially those who don’t subscribe to the specific teachings of the Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter Day Saints – get so anxious about David and what he will be like once he’s completed his Mission. I’ve always detected David’s “spirituality” in his Voice and his approach to music, but until he made his “announcement,” I hadn’t really detected his “religiosity.” You know: specific religious worldviews as dictated by his specific church.
If David had decided to take a two-year absence traveling the world and reaching out to the poor, or visiting Tibet for spiritual awakening, would we be so skeptical about the kind of “journey” David is embarking on?
Somehow, knowing that a two-year “mission” (even if it’s a coming-of-age ritual for most LDS youth) is essentially a proselytizing mission, does that make the difference? Does having a “religious” outlook expand on one’s artistry or does it limit it? Which seems a fair question, as I believe most of us would automatically view a “spiritual” outlook as only ever expanding one’s artistry, not limiting it.
What musical direction is David headed once he’s completed his mission? What is the impact? I still have faith (no pun intended) that David is going to be the same fair-minded and careful person he is, in which he may keep his “religiosity” to himself while letting his “spiritual” side shine through. There’s no reason to jump to conclusions simply because of what Mormon youth are expected to do as their rite-of-passage or what their church doctrines teach.
Just last week, when watching the Romneys (both Mitt and Ann) make the rounds on cable news, I was absolutely struck by how utterly petty and small-minded they came off – still bitching about how they lost the presidential election! Just to put their behavior in perspective, imagine David Archuleta spending his first year post-Idol bitching about coming in second, just barely winning American Idol.
You can’t picture that, right? Why? Because David’s character is not petty and small-minded!
So, there you have it: very different individuals, who were obviously raised in the same church, going through the same rites-of-passages, and yet their reactions are so different, that we couldn’t possibly define one’s character through the church they belong to.
These people may be “religious” and devoted to their church, but it’s the “spirituality” of the individual that makes the man and really sets the moral compass. I’ve long decided not to get caught up in the details of what David’s church preaches because it would be unfair to judge him just on those principles when his very actions have always pointed to a different understanding of the divine – especially when divinity intersects with his music.
What say you, Soul Davidians? Please take this latest poll: