Twenty percent of Americans today consider themselves “spiritual” but not religious (Sam Harris, Waking Up). Practices like yoga and meditation are experiencing explosive growth and mindfulness has become a buzzword in the media for spiritual and personal enlightenment, but what of religion? Religion has endured for centuries as a framework for morality and transcendence, and it continues to comfort, connect and inspire people around the globe.

So what is the difference between religion and spirituality? Where does one end and the other begin? Are they complementary or mutually exclusive?

Finally, how in our desperate search for meaning in the digital age can individuals embrace both to deepen our sense of connection to the world and how we move through it?

It is a hard fact in this country that the number of people who describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated is growing—and growing younger—according to a recent Pew Research Center Study (May 2015). One could even argue that religion is ripe for disruption much like other institutions such as government and education. Or that secular campaigns around choosing kindness, daily gratitude and socially responsible business are effectively providing spiritual fulfillment in lieu of religious practice. But can you have religion without spirituality or spirituality without religion? Is it possible they can both have a seat at the proverbial table in a way that is mutually respectful and beneficial. 

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