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rimbaudelaire

"Spritual But Not Religious"

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rimbaudelaire

My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out

Alan Miller, Special to CNN

The increasingly common refrain that "I'm spiritual, but not religious," represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious "movement" - an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect - highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.

Spiritual but not religious people are especially prevalent in the younger population in the United States, although a recent study has argued that it is not so much that people have stopped believing in God, but rather have drifted from formal institutions.

It seems that just being a part of a religious institution is nowadays associated negatively, with everything from the Religious Right to child abuse, back to the

Crusades and of course with terrorism today.

Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.

That attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that "feeling" something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more "true” than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us.

The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.

What is it, this "spiritual" identity as such? What is practiced? What is believed?

Please read the entire opinion piece here - http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/29/my-take-im-spiritual-not-religious-is-a-cop-out/

-----------------

We discussed this blog post in class today and I completely disagree with the author's opinion, and think his argument is absurd. What do you guys think?

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CRIPTIC CHAMELEON

No its not if you want to be spiritual in some way that's fine if you want to go to church and listen that's fine because some people feel better in themselves for going to church or just sitting in a field feeling closer to their God who cares. As long as they are not hurting themselves or any body else good on them. :yes:

Edited by CRIPTIC CHAMELEON

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Sir Wearer of Hats

Although there is often a sense of sniffy superiority to people who say "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual" it is less derived from the fact they're consciously trying to avoid the stigmata of religion (ie the crusades, the religious right etc) but that the speaker is the sort of person who is sniffily superior about everything, the sort of person who drinks $10 bottled water and calls it Periair, or who proffers the phrase "I was a fan before it was popular".

That's not to say everyone who calls themselves "spiritual, not religious" are like that, in fact most aren't, but like how most Muslims aren't terrorists or most Catholic priests aren't paedophiles, it's a sordid few that taint the group as a whole.

In fact, I'd go as far as saying most people who are not fundamentalists are actually spiritualist and nor religionist. We have an individual relationship with our deity (or deities) of choice, we individually set the boundaries of what constitutes our faith and being true to the tenets and commandments of our chosen belief system and (importantly) aren't so rude as to think other people should also follow our own personally constructed belief system.

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B Randomly

The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.

What is it, this "spiritual" identity as such? What is practiced? What is believed?

I agree with you, it's absurd... just reading the article p***es me off... first off, he doesn't even know what spirituality is(underlined above), so why does he have an opinion?

Secondly, everyone's ancestors fought just as hard for their religious freedom, as his did.

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Bendy Demon

I disagree with the article as well, spirituality is not synonymous with religon.

Religion can be a tool but spirituality has nothing to do with believing in some sky entity that your parents ordered you to believe in.

To me spirituality means going outside yourself to help others and get over this ego-centric attitude that has permeated our society where people seem to think they are the only ones that matter and everything will grind to a halt if they died.

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Ashotep

I also disagree with the article. I think you can be spiritual and not practice any religion at all. Spirituality comes from within, religion is taught.

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Bendy Demon

I also disagree with the article. I think you can be spiritual and not practice any religion at all. Spirituality comes from within, religion is taught.

Yes..what she said. :yes:

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little_dreamer

I believe in freedom of religion, period. And lots of other freedoms as well. Doesn't matter if it's frivolous, wishy-washy, or whatever, according to some people's opinions.

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Bendy Demon

Oh..I think that is valid too..just so long as one does not cram their beliefs on me and demand that I accept them or claim that if I do not accept their beliefs then that means I am a bad person.

I totally support freedom from religion.

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Mr Walker

My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out

Alan Miller, Special to CNN

The increasingly common refrain that "I'm spiritual, but not religious," represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious "movement" - an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect - highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.

Spiritual but not religious people are especially prevalent in the younger population in the United States, although a recent study has argued that it is not so much that people have stopped believing in God, but rather have drifted from formal institutions.

It seems that just being a part of a religious institution is nowadays associated negatively, with everything from the Religious Right to child abuse, back to the

Crusades and of course with terrorism today.

Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.

That attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that "feeling" something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more "true” than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us.

The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.

What is it, this "spiritual" identity as such? What is practiced? What is believed?

Please read the entire opinion piece here - http://religion.blog...s-is-a-cop-out/

-----------------

We discussed this blog post in class today and I completely disagree with the author's opinion, and think his argument is absurd. What do you guys think?

Why does one HAVE to adhere to, or even hold, "a positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind." in common with another?

Many individual spiritual beliefs include individual ethics and moralities based on those beliefs.

This sounds more like a social argument than a theological one eg "Religions are inmportant because they bind otherwise diverse people into social groups and provide standardised ethical and moral beliefs to those groups"

If "the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us". no longer fit, or are comfortable to, many people, then those people rightly abandon them, and seek a better fitting set. In this modern era they are more likely than i the past to create individualised doctrines, practices, rules and observations.

They also have access to social media to research and "group with" other people of common views, forming widespread but informal networks of likeminded spiritual beliefs.

Heck, even my wife's church bulletin, study guides and similar, are delivered on line these days.

Edited by Mr Walker
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rimbaudelaire

Really enjoying the responses. Please keep the conversation going.

The author responded in another blog post today. Here's a snippet and a link to the entire post:

Your Take: Author who calls 'spiritual but not religious' a cop-out responds to comments

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

I wrote a Belief Blog piece on Sunday called "My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out," which has received more than 8,000 comments, many taking up key points I raised.

My assessment is that the wider disorientation of Western society, the decreasing respect for many institutions and the disdain for humans alongside what Christopher Lasch has termed a "culture of narcissism" has played out both among the "spiritual but not religious" identifiers as well as among many "new atheists." Lots of the comments bear that out.

Some commenters accused me of outdated and dangerous dogmatism in sticking up for traditional religion. A commenter whose handle is spectraprism spoke to this view:

“The problem this author advocates is that of thinking anyone has the ONE COMPLETE TRUE WAY- and everything and everyone else therefore NOT advocating it completely must be wrong. This is dogmatic, archaic, leads to extremism and is completely incorrect. Not being challenged into blindly following whatever scripture is not showing softness of any kind - it's showing you have a brain to draw your own personal conclusions that work and make sense to YOU.”

I don't happen to believe in a religious "one true way" and in fact am not religious myself. My comments and observations are based on an increasingly common phenomenon in the past 20 years.

Read the rest of it here - http://religion.blog...ds-to-comments/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I offered my comment on the original CNN.com blog post. I don't remember what I wrote verbatim but it was something along the lines of how narrow-minded and absurd it was to argue a claim that it's a "cop out" to think of yourself as 'spiritual but not religious' just because what causes your spirituality is non-traditional/doesn't adhere to established tenets of organized religions/comes from a place that was not influenced by the hands of men hundreds or thousands of years ago...

I am Jewish (born that way) but not religious in any sense of the word. I'd say that I'm 100% certain of my agnosticism ;) ! IMO, spirituality is more about originality, coherence, complexity, and effective intensity (substance). The organized, traditional religions seem to be more about ritual and spectacle. How can my spirituality be "lesser" because I don't follow an organized, "greater" spirituality emanating from religion?

BTW - How odd is it that the author claims he's not religious? He claims that his argument is based on recent (the last 20 years) social and cultural observations, yet his evidence is religion-centered. In my classical rhetoric class we call that a non sequitur, which is fatal to any claim and argument.

Edited by rimbaudelaire

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Dying Seraph

My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out

Alan Miller, Special to CNN

The increasingly common refrain that "I'm spiritual, but not religious," represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious "movement" - an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect - highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.

Spiritual but not religious people are especially prevalent in the younger population in the United States, although a recent study has argued that it is not so much that people have stopped believing in God, but rather have drifted from formal institutions.

It seems that just being a part of a religious institution is nowadays associated negatively, with everything from the Religious Right to child abuse, back to the

Crusades and of course with terrorism today.

Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.

That attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that "feeling" something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more "true” than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us.

The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.

What is it, this "spiritual" identity as such? What is practiced? What is believed?

...

We discussed this blog post in class today and I completely disagree with the author's opinion, and think his argument is absurd. What do you guys think?

I take particular issue with the bold. From my experience I have met countless people that were "religious" and weren't getting the answers they wanted and so left a particular religion (or in some cases seeking out more then one) or church and found that their "spiritual" path left them more comfortable or more whole. It's not about the notion of by being independant that somehow the individual is more "special." The issue is that many individuals are disspointed in religion and the way churches carry themselves of their message and so follow an "internal" path instead of following like a sheep especially if you are not happy or fulfilled. That many now more then ever are questioning their religion...it shows me that more people are healthy then ever instead of just being sheep the masses are seeking for themselves. This is a blessing.

SINcerely,

:devil:

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CommunitarianKevin

Being a religious studies major, I must admit that I hate the term "spiritual." I do kind of see it as a cop-out or a lack of understanding. It seems to be kind of a rebellion against organized religion...but at the same time it is still religious. A rejection of organized religion does not make one less religious. If one looks at how religion is defined by religious scholars, such as Stephen Prothero, people who consider themselves spiritual are religious. Their religion may be a religion of their own but certainly gets its aspects from other religions and is religion...

But I must ask...why "spiritual" people object to being religious?

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Sir Wearer of Hats

But I must ask...why "spiritual" people object to being religious?

Perhaps it's an attempt to distance oneself from the less savoury aspects of a shared belief system (ie a "Spiritual Christian" can distance themselves from paedophile priests or the Catholic Church's more 18th century ideas about birth control) while willingly choosing other aspects (ie still taking communion).

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Blood_Sacrifice

Given that both religion and spirituality has got many varied definitions, it's difficult to ascertain if they are absolutely different or same.

The thing is, religion consists not only of spiritual matters but matters of everyday life too, the maters of the mateiral world, things to do with poltics, family, marriage, social structure, doctrines and dogmas, etc. Spirituality is generally the belief in the soul or the immaterial, things dealing with human emotions, purification of the human mind etc. Most if not all religions have to do with spirituality, but that isn't the only aspect of it.

Also, I guess people generally distinguish between spirituality and religion on the basis of organised religion, which either doesn't have, or mostly lost its sense of spirituality.

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libstaK

My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out

Alan Miller, Special to CNN

Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.

That attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that "feeling" something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more "true” than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us.

I'm trying to wrap my mind around how he managed to convey that like it was a "bad" thing.

Having said that I think I have some of the gist of his argument.

- Do we deny the wisdom of our forebears when we shun the religious institutions built on the blood and sweat of all their generations of seeking true faith, wisdom and unity with their deities?

- Do we hold all the hard won lessons in vain for countless generations of sincere seekers when we abandon their teachings - or more accurately what they believe they have learnt to be true?

These are important spiritual questions.

I was raised a very happy catholic in my childhood. Loved church and Sunday school, heck I was the only one in my family who trotted off on her own in her Sunday best between the ages of 6 and about 10 - times were different then, even 6 year olds could walk off to church alone in their own neighbourhoods.

I reached my teens and asked deeper questions about all those things that just didn't sit right - was told I was a bad student and made to say the rosary, I don't even remember how many times, eventually became frustrated at the lack of answers and the constant pushes for my submission to the accepted dogma and walked away, for many many years.

I never lost my faith in God though, nor my need to have answers to those deep rooted questions - my spiritual journey had begun.

The result?

I respect religions and their institutions. I recognise the place they play in society and that countless folk gain an understanding and a fulfilment within themselves by participating in their respective religions, I recognise many live peace and joy through what they are taught and are content and fulfilled - that's the positive side that is still there for many, though it gets little press.

However, for myself, I find that all my attempts to "rejoin the fold" leave me with the same issues with dogma that had me leave in the first instance. Evolution requires something new and many spiritual folk have an internal impetus to discover new territory, a deeper layer or understanding of the teaching than the institutions have been able or in some cases are even willing to teach them.

Not really surprising, if you ask any teacher with a class of 20 or more students much less hundreds or thousands as some mega churches hold. You cannot devote the time to the individual that has a special need to understand something in a way meaningful to them so that they "get it" and can progress.

Churches and dogma have a "tendency" to attract and hold "followers". Spirituality speaks more to "seekers".

This is just some of what I see.

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wolfknight

I disagree with this. I don't agree with any one religion. All of the religious were translated by man. Just because we walk around not talking about God all the time doesn't mean a person isn't religious. I am a very spiritual person. I do believe in God.

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Mr Walker

Really enjoying the responses. Please keep the conversation going.

The author responded in another blog post today. Here's a snippet and a link to the entire post:

Your Take: Author who calls 'spiritual but not religious' a cop-out responds to comments

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

I wrote a Belief Blog piece on Sunday called "My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out," which has received more than 8,000 comments, many taking up key points I raised.

My assessment is that the wider disorientation of Western society, the decreasing respect for many institutions and the disdain for humans alongside what Christopher Lasch has termed a "culture of narcissism" has played out both among the "spiritual but not religious" identifiers as well as among many "new atheists." Lots of the comments bear that out.

Some commenters accused me of outdated and dangerous dogmatism in sticking up for traditional religion. A commenter whose handle is spectraprism spoke to this view:

“The problem this author advocates is that of thinking anyone has the ONE COMPLETE TRUE WAY- and everything and everyone else therefore NOT advocating it completely must be wrong. This is dogmatic, archaic, leads to extremism and is completely incorrect. Not being challenged into blindly following whatever scripture is not showing softness of any kind - it's showing you have a brain to draw your own personal conclusions that work and make sense to YOU.”

I don't happen to believe in a religious "one true way" and in fact am not religious myself. My comments and observations are based on an increasingly common phenomenon in the past 20 years.

Read the rest of it here - http://religion.blog...ds-to-comments/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I offered my comment on the original CNN.com blog post. I don't remember what I wrote verbatim but it was something along the lines of how narrow-minded and absurd it was to argue a claim that it's a "cop out" to think of yourself as 'spiritual but not religious' just because what causes your spirituality is non-traditional/doesn't adhere to established tenets of organized religions/comes from a place that was not influenced by the hands of men hundreds or thousands of years ago...

I am Jewish (born that way) but not religious in any sense of the word. I'd say that I'm 100% certain of my agnosticism ;) ! IMO, spirituality is more about originality, coherence, complexity, and effective intensity (substance). The organized, traditional religions seem to be more about ritual and spectacle. How can my spirituality be "lesser" because I don't follow an organized, "greater" spirituality emanating from religion?

BTW - How odd is it that the author claims he's not religious? He claims that his argument is based on recent (the last 20 years) social and cultural observations, yet his evidence is religion-centered. In my classical rhetoric class we call that a non sequitur, which is fatal to any claim and argument.

Just to take your last (bolded) para. I can accept that the author is not religious, in that being religious requires the observance of a set of ritualised or codified beliefs, in practice. One can have ones own religion, or follow a mainstream religion, but religon is about shaping your life to your beliefs.

Spirituality is about your inner beliefs and views. One can be spiritual in the mind only, without expressing ones spiritual beliefs in physical form. if you do the latter, you become religious.

Because religious form is a integral part of any social framework, it is also true that one can comment on religion, and religiousity, within that social framework, as a singular if connected entity, without either being religious or seeing things through a religious perspective.

As another example, a social scientist could validly comment on the condition of a certain racial group within a society (or homosexuals) without either being of that group or, indeed, having any particular personal sympathy for, or connection with, it. They do so by observing the connections and inter relationships, cause and effect. etc,, between members of that group, and the structure nature and responses of the society to the group, and vice versa..

Edited by Mr Walker
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