Journal of the Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences;Volume 18


From “Religious” Studies to “Spirituality” Studies : The Common Issues Included in Both

Miyajima, Shunichi

Permalink :
JaLCDOI : 10.14943/jfhhs.18.21


The concept of “spirituality” has replaced the traditional concept of “religion” in recent years. Undoubtedly, the criticism of the concept of religion is behind the spread of the spirituality concept, i.e., the idea of being part of a group which has been considered an element of the religious concept has changed. Although being part of a group is one of the important elements of religion, religiosity that is unbound by such a group is often referred to as spirituality. Certainly, the Eurocentrism of the concept of religion, which was applied to the Christian tradition, has been criticized, and the term spirituality is used to replace it. Furthermore, the concept of spirituality has been applied to the study of Asian religions and is referred to as Asian spirituality.” However, the term spirituality has the same potential problems that religion had in the past. Although the term spirituality implies a specific religion, it also promotes essentialist and universalist ideals. Therefore, it contains the same issues as the concept of “religion.” In modern religious studies, there has been much debate over the “essence” of religion, which transcends or is understood by all religions. The Christocentric and Western-centric tendencies of the phenomenological school of religion in defining the essence of religion have been criticized. Hence, the critique of the concept of religion criticized such essentialism. Thus, if the term spirituality is used without a clear awareness of such issues, the same issues as with the term religion will persist.