In our society, and especially with younger people, being an active participant in an organized religion seems to be waning. This does not mean, though, that people are losing their belief in something greater than themselves - it simply means that belief is taking on a new form. Learn about different forms of spirituality and religious beliefs from a custom written paper.
For some, this new form is that of spirituality, a concept that is incredibly broad and encompassing of a variety of perspectives. At the core, though, is the belief in something bigger than oneself and the search for some sort of meaning in our everyday lives and the world around us. While spirituality can be connected to a particular religion, many people see spirituality as an almost universal concept, a sharp deviation from many organized religions, which very often have an "us versus them" approach.
People practice spirituality in a variety of ways based on their unique needs, perspectives, and beliefs.
- Yoga or meditation are innately spiritual practices
- Actively attending a traditional religious celebration or service
- A day out in nature can be a spiritual retreat
- Simply contempating life outside of one's own experience can be a spiritual event
Spirituality often brings peace and a sense of connection, it allows individuals to find acceptable answers to some of the biggest questions in our lives, like whether or not one is a good person, or if things that happen around us do so for a reason. Because the individual defines the acceptability of those answers, they are less likely to endure feelings of helplessness or confusion; because they can constantly question and dig deeper and challenge what they find, they are more likely to be happier and more content than those who simply accept the answers provided to them by any given organized religion. Spirituality can be part of a religion, or it can replace a religion; ultimately, spirituality is a way for a person to be connected on a deeper level to other people and to the world around them.
Spirituality and religion are also critical factors in inspiring individuals to enter helping professions today. For instance, one investigation of spiritual and religious views and experiences among more than 200 graduate students at two schools of social work revealed that the vast majority of subjects possessed strong religious and spiritual connections. For instance, nearly 90 percent of the respondents reported having some ongoing religious affiliation, while more than 90 percent reported belief in some conception of God, a transcendent force, or a divine element. Moreover, more than 40 percent of respondents reported believing in "a personal God," although many chose to express their faiths and their religious and/or spiritual beliefs through personal practices, instead ofthrough involvement in more formalized religious or spiritual services.
At the same time, some researchers and practitioners are concerned about the potentially harmful consequences of social work professionals' religious and spiritual beliefs for their work in the field. In fact, despite the recent robust resurgence of spiritual and religious influences in American social work, the reliance on spiritual and/or religious beliefs or practices when working with clients remains a decidedly controversial issue. For instance, religion and spirituality can be both liberating and oppressive forces, and that while religion and spirituality might fortify clients on their journey towards desired goals, spiritual and religious matters also often serve as distractions or obstacles in attaining these goals. The author notes, by way of example, that some women victimized by domestic violence refrain from seeking assistance from social workers because of religious traditions that emphasize wifely subservience. The dual commitments to client well-being and social justice among the growing numbers of professionals attaining joint degrees from seminaries and social work schools may generate serious professional stress or distress.