The Main Difference Between Religion and Belief


Last week I watched a video highlighting the reasons why Anthony Hopkins is one of the greatest actors today.

For one, when he reads a script, he will read it hundreds of times. He learns the part in its entirety. The only thing left is for him to feel the emotion he knows he is supposed to display and he does a wonderful job.

However, at one point in his life, he had a sort of downward spiral and became an alcoholic.

When he finally asked for help, a woman told him “Why don’t you just trust in God?”

While Hopkins was an agnostic, he still considered that trusting in God could work and with seeing results, he continued to trust in a higher power.

But he is still agnostic.

So why after that giant transformation through trusting in God did he remain agnostic?

The simple way to put it, trusting in God, even going so far as to pray to him doesn’t necessarily mean you believe he is real.

Maybe putting your life in the hands of a higher power is enough to feel the ease of someone watching over you taking the stress off of your mistakes.

Believing not everything is in your control and attempting to make the best outcomes in life purely through prayer – even if praying to nothing – can help us not feel constrained.


Religion is believing what is told to you

While religions like Christianity still thrive with many followers, it’s not uncommon to hear of people abandoning religion because they don’t believe anymore.

Or simply the teachings of the religion don’t feel relevant or helpful.

A religion is more or less a community. If you don’t feel a part of the community or become disinterested in the community, leaving it isn’t a step back from belief but a change in lifestyle.

I’m going to do my best not to sound harsh with my opinion on religion, however, religion to me has always seemed strange because although it is about praying to and believing God, there are a lot of forced upon ideas.

Your morals are told to you, guidelines and stories are told to you and your community begins to believe your achievements have transpired through the will of God.

I still see the idea of religion as helpful, yet the concept of ritualistic prayer to a higher power described to you by the church seems a bit much. Believing in itself should be enough but then the activities in the community you are a part of begin feel irrelevant.

The difference I see in belief and religion is religion carries the extra weight of being told what you believe and your say in how you see it is not always accepted.


Belief is trusting in the universe

If I said the stars aligned and my dream came true, that doesn’t mean I believe I had nothing to do with it.

Belief is almost superstitious like a lucky number.

How we can utilize this superstition of believing there are forces at work can give us the comfort of no longer having the thought, “this isn’t going to work because I will mess it up.”

Belief is taking what you want to happen and saying to yourself “I want this to happen and I have faith that it will happen.”

This is similar to what Hopkins did.

Realizing we may just need positive hope on what will happen can bring it to be more likely to actually happen.

Belief is understanding while we may be powerless to what happens overall, a positive outlook and a belief that the best possible outcome will happen prepares us for that success.

Believing everything will align is how we should think because it is better to prepare for the positive outcomes of the future and start building off of that thought.

Belief is motivating because it feels as if there is a backing to positive reasoning.


Trust in everything

When something is out of our control, hope and belief that what we want to happen will happen is simply understanding that what is out of our control doesn’t mean we have to prepare for the worst.

Religion is belief embedded in a community with set beliefs that are given to you upon joining.

Just because something good happened that was out of our control doesn’t mean we have a higher power to thank. But if we thank any sort of higher power, we should trust whatever or whoever made it happen will do it again on our request.


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