Spirituality is often mistaken for religion, but those who identify themselves as spiritual know that spirituality is very distinct from religion. A spiritualist usually comes in one of five different forms: religious, theist, deist, agnostic or spiritualist. All five represent unique ways of thinking and of believing why we are here.
- Spiritualist. A person who identifies themselves strictly as a spiritualist may have a more broad belief system than other kinds of spiritualists. Agnostics and theists are also spiritualists, but a person can be a spiritualist without being an agnostic or a theist. A spiritualist is simply someone who believes that the spirit realm is just as real as the realm of space, time and matter. They may be specific about the forms that spiritual beings take or they may believe that the forms of spirits are unknowable to people. One does not need to believe in God to be a spiritualist.
- Agnostic. A person who identifies themselves as an agnostic is a person who believes that there is a God but we cannot understand or know anything about him / her. They may believe that religious interpretations of God are a good effort at understanding him / her, but they put no stock in any one religion’s interpretation of God. They believe that God is mysterious and unknowable, and anyone who claims to understand God is foolish.
- Deist. A person who identifies themselves as a deist is someone who believes in a powerful God but does not believe that he interacts with people or oversees the affairs of people. A deist believes that we are inherently separated from God by circumstance.
- Theist. A person who identifies themselves as a theist is one who believes in a personal, all powerful God who governs his / her creation and is concerned for the affairs of people. This sounds similar to what some religions believe about God, but theism is not tied to any particular religion.
- Religious spirituality. It is true that not everyone who is religious is spiritual, however, a spiritual religious person channels their spiritualism into the beliefs that their religion defines.