Towards Religious-Spirituality: A Multidimensional Matrix of Religion and Spirituality

Sahaya G. Selvam


In the contemporary study of religion there seems to be an exaggeration of the distinction between religion and spirituality, not only to the point of separation, but worse still, in terms of a superiority-inferiority hierarchy that gives rise to a value judgement between spirituality and religion. Could this be a sign of the persisting Western hegemony in the study of religion? This article suggests that the consideration of religion and spirituality as disparate entities may be necessary in some societies but not sufficient for a global perspective. Could there be an integrative model that would lend itself for an inclusive exchange in the study of religion and spirituality? Basing itself particularly within the literature of the psychological study of religion, this essay develops a multidimensional matrix of religion and/or spirituality that attempts to be, at the same time, parsimonious and comprehensive, which includes constructs like religious-spirituality. Religious-spirituality is suggested to be similar to Allport s concept of intrinsic religiosity, having a three dimensional movement marked by an upwardly-directed vertical spirituality, inwardly-directed interior spirituality, and outwardly-directed horizontal spirituality.


Religion, Spirituality, Religious-spirituality, Intrinsic Religiosity, Pargament, Allport, Emmons, Quest, Secularism, Three-dimensional spirituality

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