Humility in religion: Everything you need to know

Whether you’re the religious one, or you’re the one talking to someone religious, you must know how to communicate properly—and that can only be done with a big dose of humility.

But as important as humility might be, it doesn’t come easy… especially among religious circles.

After all, when one can claim to have God on their side, it’s easy to think that you’re always right.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about why humility is so important in religion so you’ll be even more motivated to stay humble.

Humility: what it is and what it’s not

Humility isn’t about tearing yourself down or having a bad image of yourself, or always yielding and letting other people have their way with you.

That’s just being a doormat, and you don’t need to be a doormat to be humble!

You can stand up for yourself and still be humble.

And that’s because, in its purest form, humility is simply having a realistic view of yourself and your limitations—that you don’t know everything.

A lot of people have the misconception that humility is a sign of weakness—after all, when we see someone being put down, we say that they have been “humiliated.” But on the contrary, humility is a sign of strength.

It’s a constant fight against your ego, and it requires you to keep a level head when you find your worldview challenged.

Not everyone can do it… at least, not without conscious effort.

Reasons why humility is important in religion

Now that we have a clearer definition of humility, let us discuss seven reasons why it’s extremely important in religion and in communicating with anything related to religion and faith.

You’ll see that the world would be a much better place if we all learn to practice humility.

1) People don’t like being preached at.

If you’ve been in touch with modern society, you might be familiar with the “annoying preacher” stereotype.

Whether it’s something you laugh at or find offensive, there’s a reason why it is a thing, and that is because people don’t like being preached at.

Being preachy—which is basically acting like you know better than most people—is caused by a lack of humility.

And unfortunately, rather than making people want to listen and learn from you, they will instead want you to walk away as soon as possible.

They don’t want to feel like they’re being talked down to by anyone, even if you have the best intentions.

2) You’ll have discussions, not arguments.

Pride and arrogance gives no room for discussion.

What discussion is there to be had, after all, if you know you’re correct and you’re sure that you’re absolutely right and they’re absolutely wrong?

But that’s not a good thing. As I had mentioned before, you are just human—you can be wrong!

You can FEEL like you’re right when you actually are in the wrong. And even if they turn out to be wrong… there might be something about their perspective worth thinking about.

The thing is, the only way you can ever grow and learn—as an individual and as an institution— is to have discussions, rather than arguments. And to have discussions, it’s extremely important that you have humility.

3) You will avoid black-and-white thinking.

I had mentioned earlier that even if someone is wrong, they can still have perspectives worth thinking about. The other way is also true—you can be “correct”, and at the same time be…well, wrong in some ways.

It’s easy to think in black and white, that if you’re “right” then you’re completely right… and if they’re wrong, they’re completely wrong.

But the world doesn’t operate in black and white. Instead, the world exists in shades of gray and you can be both right and wrong at the same time.

You’re not special. You’re not the best of everything. By simply acknowledging this, you’re already becoming a better person.

I strongly suggest watching the video below by Justin Brown, where he goes into further detail about this important fact of life.

It’s a nice slap to the face, but something that we all need to hear.

YouTube video

4) You’ll serve as a good example.

Humility is more than how you argue and talk to people. It will also affect how you live your life and affect how the people around you see you.

It’s easy to think that being confident in being correct, and in looking confident you can make yourself respected by the people around you.

Some people will look up to you, for sure, but these people will be the ones who already agree with you and simply want validation.

People who have some doubts with you will, instead, stay away from you.

By being humble, by not posturing or trying to maintain the image of being confident, or smart, or righteous, you will get to be a good example to those who look up to you.

And, as a bonus, people will like you and see you as a genuinely good person.

5) You’ll avoid overgeneralization and prejudice.

 Humans have a natural inclination to generalize. And even if you’re aware of this and try to avoid it, you will still end up generalizing in one way or another.

Not only does it make you write out large swathes of the human experience, it can and will also make you see ideas and concepts in an incredibly simplistic manner.

Think about how a lot of religious people would immediately get prejudiced when they hear that someone is an atheist, or worships a religion different from theirs.

Or how you might think you have an idea what someone is like simply by hearing about their political views or what their hobbies are.

And this—overgeneralization and prejudice—is the very last thing you want if you want to grow spiritually.

 The Divine is in all of us, even in those groups or beliefs that you might have biases against.

 6) You’ll see the flaws in your religion.

Nothing in this world is perfect, not even religion or scripture.

The divine may be perfect, but all religious traditions are ultimately the attempts of flawed human beings trying to preserve their brush with perfection.

You might think “does that mean my religion is wrong?” but no, that isn’t necessarily the case. After all, it’s quite possible to be both right and wrong at the same time.

Your religion might have its strengths, but it also has its flaws and by being humble and accepting this fact you can hold an open mind and learn from those with differing beliefs.

7) You will have a richer spiritual life.

When you have the humility to listen to other perspectives, and the openness of mind to question your own beliefs, the end result is that you will have a much richer spiritual life.

It might feel heretical to break from the beliefs you’ve grown up with all this time, but hey! Change—for better or for worse—isn’t always going to feel pleasant at first.

Think about it. The Divine is gentle and kind. If your faith had taught you to hate or to shut your mind to new ideas, that’s not the will of the Divine but that of man.

By being humble, you’re also able to “customize” the kind of spiritual life you want—whether that involves a religion or two or none at all.

You grow and evolve spiritually only by being open, and openness happens only when you have humility.

Ways to be humble

Make no mistake—it’s not easy to learn to be humble and to stay humble.

If it were as easy as saying “oh, I’ll be humble” then more people in this world would be humble.

As a quick rule of thumb, you’ll want to look into the following:

  • Accept that you aren’t the best at everything—even the things you are best at.
  • Sometimes it’s not your turn to talk, and instead you should be listening.
  • You are flawed—and sometimes in ways you don’t even know—and that’s okay.
  • Everyone around you has a life story as rich as—if not richer than—yours.
  • There’s no shame in saying sorry, even if you didn’t think it was a big deal.
  • Stop trying to compare yourself with others.
  • Be open to new ideas, even if they go against your beliefs.

This isn’t everything, of course.

But we do have articles here about how you can be more humble, and I strongly recommend visiting them for a more comprehensive guide on how you can be humble.

Last words

Humility is one of the most important virtues you can have, especially when you are diving into religion and spirituality.

Not only will it enrich your spiritual life and help you become a better person, it will also help you avoid that one thing that happens to a lot of spiritual people—getting ignored or chased away for their faith.

It’s easy to think that people in this day and age are faithless and simply hate people of faith. But that’s not the case… usually.

Most of the time, it’s not spirituality that people have problems with, but the fact that a lot of spiritual people aren’t exactly humble.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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