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Still Waters

Is it better to be religious than spiritual?

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More and more people are rejecting religion but embracing spirituality. But have they got things the wrong way around, asks Tom Shakespeare.

After a relationship break up a few years ago, I signed on to a dating website. Filling in my online profile, I was interested to discover that the question on religious belief included an option that was new to me. You could tick boxes for the major religions, or for atheist, or for SBNR, which I discovered stands for "Spiritual But Not Religious".

http://www.bbc.co.uk...gazine-27554640

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Posted (edited)

That the word 'religion' is derived from the latin religare - to bind or connect - does not mean that religion means simply having connection with others. In arguing this, the author's opinion constitutes a fallacy.

Religion, in all it's meanings, is very closely associated with ritual, and 'ritual' is suggestive of activities which contain an element of supernatural, irrational or unquantifiable/unqualifiable belief. In the sense of the word 'religion' which the topic deals in, I would argue it cannot be used without involving some form of such belief - and so the option "Religious, but not spiritual" is invalidated.

As for his 'discovery' that many religious people "have no particular view on God", this is likely because many religious people, despite being religious and professing some sort of belief in God, do not actually give much thought to the topic of God. In this, what the author is exposing is actually that most religious people are led by (and happy to be led by) the belief of others, rather than making the effort of having any specific belief of their own. This is not the 'thoughtful collectivism' he declares religion to be.

Edited by Leonardo

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His basic point is that religion builds community, even if you don't believe in god.

I disagree with his statement that Humanism is all about rejection of religion, Secular Humanism is for people who are atheists and are moving beyond just ant-theism. There are several groups that build up a humanist community just as he talks about religious groups doing, including organized charity work and community building. It's true that religions have ready made communities, but that is more a factor of time. Religious groups have been around longer and have had more time to form communities than comparable secular groups.

There's an added problem, I think at least here in the US, is that atheists tend to be loners or non-social. Partly as a product of a culture where it's not encouraged.

So this week, why not find a time to sit in silence with your fellows, or sing with them, or read a holy book with them, or commune with them. Take a moment to reflect on your place in the universe and your obligations towards others. Belief in God is strictly optional.

So, basically, join the Sunday Assembly or one of the other non-religious groups that meet on the weekend. Or become part of a gaming group. Or a book club. Or just get together once a week and rant about your particular bugbear.

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Posted (edited)

So, basically, join the Sunday Assembly or one of the other non-religious groups that meet on the weekend. Or become part of a gaming group. Or a book club. Or just get together once a week and rant about your particular bugbear.

Or better yet, go to the pub and get happy drunk with the rest of the locals. For it is in that time and place that "reflection upon your place in the universe" brings about the connection the author so obviously craves.

Edited by Leonardo

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Or better yet, go to the pub and get happy drunk with the rest of the locals. For it is in that time and place that "reflection upon your place in the universe" brings about the connection the author so obviously craves.

Ah, but what if you don't drink?

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The author of this article seems to me to be resentful of people who have the courage to take their own spiritual journey, and not rely on the views and dogma of organized religion. He shuttles SBNR folks into boxes like 'self-centered' and 'divorced from community'.

Being spiritual doesn't mean that you necessarily buy into the belief of a supreme deity, or that you dabble in all kinds of weird supernatural mumbo jumbo. It means you recognize the presence of your soul and you do things in your life to foster it's growth and happiness, which includes helping other people, and engaging in community-type activities, what ever that may be.

And I highly doubt that religion-based churces are meant to be a place where 'belief in God is strictly optional.'

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I don't like religion.. I am spiritual...

the church or Vatican says have morals.

They abuse children.. case close.. their words mean nothing to me.

The represent evil... that's not what I represent

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Posted (edited)

also all churches do is beg for money. They tell me giving them money is God's will.

yeah right, I like am going to fall for that trick.

Begging for money is not spritual

Edited by LostSouls7
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His basic point is that religion builds community, even if you don't believe in god.

I disagree with his statement that Humanism is all about rejection of religion, Secular Humanism is for people who are atheists and are moving beyond just ant-theism. There are several groups that build up a humanist community just as he talks about religious groups doing, including organized charity work and community building. It's true that religions have ready made communities, but that is more a factor of time. Religious groups have been around longer and have had more time to form communities than comparable secular groups.

There's an added problem, I think at least here in the US, is that atheists tend to be loners or non-social. Partly as a product of a culture where it's not encouraged.

So, basically, join the Sunday Assembly or one of the other non-religious groups that meet on the weekend. Or become part of a gaming group. Or a book club. Or just get together once a week and rant about your particular bugbear.

I think Joseph Campbell, in his book, The Power of Myth, made a similar statement about religion building community and binding people to the community mores & morals, almost like a rite of passage.

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Seems to me both religion and spirituality are so diverse that it's impossible to answer the question definitively. Myself, I pay attention not to what people believe or which group they belong to or what they say, but focus on what they do, the acts they commit in the course of their daily lives. It's what we do that defines us, and not much else.

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Seems to me both religion and spirituality are so diverse that it's impossible to answer the question definitively. Myself, I pay attention not to what people believe or which group they belong to or what they say, but focus on what they do, the acts they commit in the course of their daily lives. It's what we do that defines us, and not much else.

I think you are right.

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I don't like religion.. I am spiritual...

the church or Vatican says have morals.

They abuse children.. case close.. their words mean nothing to me.

The represent evil... that's not what I represent

Individuals abuse children, not churches. Schools are supposed to teach children, but if a teacher abuses a child do you blame the school? Only if it's a religious school, if you wish to be consistent. Social workers are also supposed to help children but if a social worker abuses a child still you blame organisation? Only if it's a religious agency, if you're keeping consistent.
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The Catholic Church should be blamed for turning a blind eye when its paedophile priest abused children!

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Not in disagreement, JJ. But the Catholic church are not the only organisation to do such. Other religious organisations have covered things like this up. Even secular private schools have done so to protect their reputations. I'm simply pointing out that singling out the RCC is both unwarranted and unfair. It's unwarranted because they are not alone, and it's unfair because not all RCC churches were responsible for what individuals tried to do in other diocese.

That's not saying they shouldn't own their mistakes. They should. , and they will deal with the consequences. But pointing fingers at the Vatican is a simplistic response to a much more complex issue.

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I think that as a religious organization the RCC does have a greater moral obligation. It has a huge influence on millions of people, it represents Christian ethics and faith, given its leadership role, it should be acting with a high moral standard, which includes protecting children and acting quickly and decisively when those children are abused by members of their own organization.

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Any organisation be it religious or otherwise which turns a blind eye to abusive behaviour, particularly paedophilia, should face prosecution to the full extent of the law.

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I think that as a religious organization the RCC does have a greater moral obligation. It has a huge influence on millions of people, it represents Christian ethics and faith, given its leadership role, it should be acting with a high moral standard, which includes protecting children and acting quickly and decisively when those children are abused by members of their own organization.

I agree Beany.....I am catholic and I am glad the Church is being called on the carpet over this, in the end it will only make it stronger and better. I only hope it goes deeper, into schools, homes, boy scouts etc. Priest who abuse should be punished to the full extent of the law, Bishops should go to prison if they turned their back on the people that they are called to serve. However, I don't allow the actions of those who fail to live up to their faith or beliefs, or who are so broken that they can't be other than what they are, to dictate to me what path I will follow.

Peace

mark

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I think that as a religious organization the RCC does have a greater moral obligation. It has a huge influence on millions of people, it represents Christian ethics and faith, given its leadership role, it should be acting with a high moral standard, which includes protecting children and acting quickly and decisively when those children are abused by members of their own organization.

I agree to an extent. But I cannot fully agree. Most cases of cover-up are localised, the actions of one or two or three key individuals who for their own reasons felt the need to protect the church. It is therefore unfair to label the entire Roman Catholic institution as part of the actions of those few. As said, I'm not denying it's happened. It has. But singling out the RCC as of particular blame while other factors are ignored is.... well, it's wrong.

I'm not a Catholic, but I'm going to stand up for them when they are being unfairly targeted (and if you'll read my earliest posts on this topic when I first joined the forum, you'll note that I wasn't so fair minded, I had bought into they media hype just as much as many people these days seem to). They shouldn't be absolved of their crimes, I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that they should not be singled out as somehow a different kettle of fish (especially not when Protestant churches are equally guilty of the same thing but aren't being hunted by the media circus).

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Any organisation be it religious or otherwise which turns a blind eye to abusive behaviour, particularly paedophilia, should face prosecution to the full extent of the law.

90% agree with your assertion here. Unfortunately there is that darned 10%. The problem is that the RCC is a global organisation, with the head all the way in Vatican City. On a local level, each diocese works almost entirely independently (occasionally one diocese or other may request something from higher up the hierarchy). So taking the issue of abuse (and particularly paedophilia), one diocese may decide to simply move someone on who has claims made against them. This may be a local level decision, or it may be an immediate superior who decides it. But to blame the entire organisation for the actions of a branch to which they had no knowledge of said actions is just ludicrous.

It may perhaps suggest that a better monitoring system be set up, something to ensure that the Head of this organisation is made aware of all local-level decisions, but until recently when these cases of ephebophilia (no, the majority of accused priests are NOT paedophiles, despite the "Paedophile Priest" media headline, though ephebophilia is not exactly a great deal better it is still a better case scenario than the paedophile tag) made it necessary, it was not something that was perceived as a priority (or even a necessity);.

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The Catholic Church should be blamed for turning a blind eye when its paedophile priest abused children!

Lets not forget about this group ,which seems to escape criticism

Reformation.com lists allegations involving 838 Protestant ministers who have been accused of sexually abusing children:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/clergy_sex11.htm

fullywired

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Lets not forget about this group ,which seems to escape criticism

Reformation.com lists allegations involving 838 Protestant ministers who have been accused of sexually abusing children:

http://www.religious...lergy_sex11.htm

fullywired

Thank you for highlighting my point. I was reading a book the other day about the scandals within the churches, and I read an interesting fact. In 1993, during the absolute height of the "paedophile priest" hysteria, three Baptist ministers, all brothers, were charged with multiple acts of child sex charges. I can't recall which American State the three brothers lived in, but being the days before the internet, the story made the local State news but never made a single mention in national or international news.

Imagine what would have happened if the three brothers were Catholic priests? Think of it. Three brothers. All ministers in the church. All guilty of child sex offences. But because it wasn't "Catholic", it was deemed worthy of only local news stardom.

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My take:

I suppose I could classify myself as a "None", but I really don't like that designation. I believe in God and try my best to be a good person. But what makes a "good person?" That's undoubtedly morality.

So what about morality? Isn't morality part of being "spiritual?" And where am I going to get morality if I don't accept some kind of revealed divine authority like the Bible, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, etc.? I think most "Nones" would agree that God (or whatever is the Supreme Being) is the Highest Good and for us to be closer to Him, we have to try all we can to have integrity and virtue. So I think there's something incomplete about being a "None." I feel something about myself is holding me back from getting closer to the Revelation.

I hope what I wrote made at least some sense.

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My thinking is that religious organizations are supposed to be our moral leaders, and consider themselves to be that. As such, those organizations and their representatives have a greater moral responsibility. There are some acts that should not be hidden or defended, but apologized for as quickly as possible, to do so is to demonstrate leadership by doing, a most powerful act.

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My take:

I suppose I could classify myself as a "None", but I really don't like that designation. I believe in God and try my best to be a good person. But what makes a "good person?" That's undoubtedly morality.

So what about morality? Isn't morality part of being "spiritual?" And where am I going to get morality if I don't accept some kind of revealed divine authority like the Bible, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, etc.? I think most "Nones" would agree that God (or whatever is the Supreme Being) is the Highest Good and for us to be closer to Him, we have to try all we can to have integrity and virtue. So I think there's something incomplete about being a "None." I feel something about myself is holding me back from getting closer to the Revelation.

I hope what I wrote made at least some sense.

I'm pretty close to being a "none" myself. I'm not sure there is a god in the way that most people understand it, and if there is one I think we're part of s/he and they're part of us, but that's an if. I do feel like some innate benevolence exists that I can partner with, and am committed to living a moral, ethical life based on actions, not words. Maybe it's more of a philosophy than anything else, I figure if there is a god/dess, she will be happy with the choices I've made and not worry about what religion I've chosen or spurned.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for highlighting my point. I was reading a book the other day about the scandals within the churches, and I read an interesting fact. In 1993, during the absolute height of the "paedophile priest" hysteria, three Baptist ministers, all brothers, were charged with multiple acts of child sex charges. I can't recall which American State the three brothers lived in, but being the days before the internet, the story made the local State news but never made a single mention in national or international news.

Imagine what would have happened if the three brothers were Catholic priests? Think of it. Three brothers. All ministers in the church. All guilty of child sex offences. But because it wasn't "Catholic", it was deemed worthy of only local news stardom.

PA, is there any kind of absolute requirement to be a Protestant minister? Why I'm asking, it's different with Catholics, for the priests, there is a set requirement of things they must complete and then they are overseen in a chain of command that leads to the Vatican, archbishop, cardinal, etc. Around here, just about anyone can start a church, probably I think with just an online requirement to become a minister. My taichi teacher did it to marry perform the wedding for his son so I think he could go on and start a church if he chose to and there would be really be no governing organization or institution to report to or such like Catholic church and clergy. I think that has a lot to do with the outrage, how high the Catholic pedophilia coverups went up, not just that it happened and they were targeted, but big news how people high up in the church turned a blind eye and continued to let it happen and the controversy spanned 2 continents.

Edited by ChloeB

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