Trendy "Spiritual but not Religious"

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Khethil
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 05:48 pm
I ran across this article today on CNN.com that talks about this growing trend; one we've talked about here on the forum quite a bit. I thought it might be nice to share:

Excerpt:[INDENT]"I'm spiritual but not religious." It's a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that they don't need organized religion to live a life of faith...

The "I'm spiritual but not religious" community is growing so much that one pastor compared it to a movement. In a 2009 survey by the research firm LifeWay Christian Resources, 72 percent of millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) said they're "more spiritual than religious." The phrase is now so commonplace that it's spawned its own acronym ("I'm SBNR") and Facebook..."
[/INDENT]Full News article
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 06:27 pm
@Khethil,
Hey! I read this very article earlier today and considered posting a thread on a bit that jumped out at me. I'll quote it here:

Quote:
Heather Cariou, a New York City-based author who calls herself spiritual instead of religious, doesn't think so. She's adopted a spirituality that blends Buddhism, Judaism and other beliefs.
"I don't need to define myself to any community by putting myself in a box labeled Baptist, or Catholic, or Muslim," she says. "When I die, I believe all my accounting will be done to God, and that when I enter the eternal realm, I will not walk though a door with a label on it."


I suppose I understand the feeling here, but it seems pretty obvious that "spiritual instead of religious" is also a box with a label. And, what exactly is terrible about having a label? When I move, I have a box labeled "books" but it is understood that they are all different books, and maybe some things that may not traditionally be called books.

It seems better to just understand that labels are general instead of shunning them.

***********

Anyway, as to the subject of the article, it seems clear that you can use a religion to avoid responsibility for your beliefs, and that you can use the spiritual but not religious trend to do the same (it is very flexible--there is no target to aim at for criticism). And there is a tendency to accept whatever sounds nice to the person.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 07:16 pm
@Khethil,
Cafeteria style religion some call it.
A little bit of Christianity- Jesus loves me, sounds warm and fuzzy
A little bit of Budhism- reincarnation (over and over till you can get it right) sounds better than one life, final judgement and heaven or hell.

At least the spiritual but not religious crowd tends not to be very dogmatic, doctrinal or agressive with their personal beliefs. They are not likely to kill you for belonging to the infidel faith or torture you until you get your doctrine right. I know militant atheism would like to eradicate any form of supernatural belief but human nature being what it is some form of spirituality is likely to persist.
 
wayne
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 01:06 am
@Khethil,
Just a thought I had.
I personally choose the direction of God belief. I call it a direction because there always seems to be an inherent doubt.
I am wondering, do atheists experience any doubt?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 01:28 am
@Khethil,
How about philosophical, thrilled to be alive, and able to perceive some religious myths as expressive of this thrill? Of course the Gospel of John opens with Logos, a Greek concept quite important to Western philosophy, especially to its linguistic turn.

I think that any human will be tempted to annoyance by the lukewarm who are too lazy to clarify their views. Unless their view includes a radical simplicity that rejects this need for clarification. Personally, I identify with philosophy and reason, and strive for dialectical coherence. I find what appears to be lukewarm religion as unappealing as I find music without depth or passion. I suppose in our personal lives, we evaluate a person's "depth" or seriousness on a case by case basis.

I'm waiting for a comedian to say s/he's "religious but not spiritual."
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 06:23 am
@Khethil,
I checked out the article. That story that was told halfway down the page about the conversation between God and the Devil, was told by Krishnamurti when he dissolved the religious organisation that had been built around him - in 1927!

I think this column from the NYT a couple of years back is far more insightful: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/13/opinion/13brooks.html
 
mark noble
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 09:58 am
@jeeprs,
Hi All,

Doesn't religion mean as defined "System of belief" - "Way of Life"? Because if it does, and I believe it does, then how can any sentient creature not be religious? Doesn't every living thing follow a "Way of life"?
How do you guys here define religion? Without the affix "Fixed" being applied.

Thank you, and marvel on.

Mark...
 
Jacques Maritain
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 10:59 am
@Khethil,
Spirituality without religion is largely impotent. You need both in order to have a fuller understanding of the divine and matters related to the spirit. To emphasize merely religion or spirituality by itself is choosing an incomplete picture on purpose, and you deprive yourself in the end.

It reminds me of Chesterton's remark about the modern world being nothing but fragemented virtues and vices running wild and doing great damage. The complete picture has been lost.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 12:13 pm
@Jacques Maritain,
Jacques Maritain;173826 wrote:
Spirituality without religion is largely impotent. You need both in order to have a fuller understanding of the divine and matters related to the spirit. To emphasize merely religion or spirituality by itself is choosing an incomplete picture on purpose, and you deprive yourself in the end.

It reminds me of Chesterton's remark about the modern world being nothing but fragemented virtues and vices running wild and doing great damage. The complete picture has been lost.

Well first we had religion which was going to organize, explain and improve the world. We all know how that turned out. Religious wars, divisions,etc.

Then we had modernism where science and reason were going to explain and improve the world with technology. In some ways it did in other ways it brought pollution, wars, alienation.

Now we have so called deconstructive postmodernism which is what "Chesterton" is describing. No eternal values or aesthetics only relativism (not just man but each individual is the measure of all things).

Some engage in what is called constructive postmodernism, the project of recovering the foundational wisdom of the past and intergrating it with science and reason. My personal choice.

"Religion will not recover its former power until it learns to accept change in the same spirit as science." A.N. Whitehead.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:25 pm
@Khethil,
For my part, I personally have yet to understand what precisely is meant by "Spiritual but not Religious"; not because I don't accept such could be, but mainly because without the context of some religious framework, exactly what might that spirituality be comprised of? What element(s)? What mindset sets it off enough to be called "Spiritual" from something else?

I get the "Not Religious" part. But I'd very much like to hear a SBNR person enunciate their belief/view system that illustrates how it is "spiritual".

Thanks
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:35 pm
@Khethil,
:)You remember the description of "the force" from star wars?
Nothing too precise is meant.
It is the general notion that there is some higher unifying power, spirit, purpose or meaning to life and the universe. Nature more like mind or organism than machine.
In fact in star wars humans who put their trust in "the force" defeat those who rely exclusively on machines.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:36 pm
@Khethil,
There is a difference between spirituality and religion, although they overlap in many respects. Spirituality is concerned with the search for experiential and inner truth, while religion expects conformity to the rules and regulations of a body of believers.

One of the first dogmas of Christianity was extra ecclesium nulla salus 'no salvation outside the Church'. It meant what it said, albeit with a certain amount of wriggle-room provided by the idea of 'the invisible church' as distinct from the visible one.

The attitude in Buddhism was different from the outset. According to legend, among Buddha's last words were the advice 'to be a light unto yourself. Work out your own salvation with diligence'.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:39 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;173581 wrote:
I ran across this article today on CNN.com that talks about this growing trend; one we've talked about here on the forum quite a bit. I thought it might be nice to share:

Excerpt:[INDENT]"I'm spiritual but not religious." It's a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that they don't need organized religion to live a life of faith...

The "I'm spiritual but not religious" community is growing so much that one pastor compared it to a movement. In a 2009 survey by the research firm LifeWay Christian Resources, 72 percent of millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) said they're "more spiritual than religious." The phrase is now so commonplace that it's spawned its own acronym ("I'm SBNR") and Facebook..."
[/INDENT]Full News article


I knew someone would eventually shed some light on this! Man, you don't know how many times I've mentioned on this forum that it is en vogue to call oneself spiritual but not religious these days.

Who called it? Who called it? :bigsmile: (I know, it wasn't a unique insight, relax guys)

---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 05:53 PM ----------

Article wrote:
"If it's just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"


Yeah, so I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:54 pm
@Khethil,
it is worth remembering that at its height in the late 1920's, The Theosophical Society had an international membership totalling hundreds of thousands of people. The World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in (I think) 1889 brought Swami Vivikananda and Buddhist abbot Soyen Shakyu to American shores; the former was an extremely charismatic speaker and was a big hit amongst the intelligentsia. There were well-known Yoga-based spiritual centres in Los Angeles by the 1940s. Nowadays we have Naropa University, which is a fully accredited Buddhist university (in Boulder, I think) and there are Buddhist centres, and new-age bookshops for that matter, all over the Western world. So the spirituality cat is well and truly out of the bag.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:55 pm
@Khethil,
A book on this precise subject which I found quite interesting (albeit not really very satisfying) was: David Tacey, The Spirituality Revolution: The Emergence of Contemporary Spirituality. Here are the notes I wrote at the time (Thu 28 Feb 2008) to remind myself of what it was like (the notes weren't intended for publication - not even on the Internet! - so they're a bit rough [particularly "educated ... book"!]):
Quote:

This is an intelligent, educated and subtle book about something real, which I have been discovering and experiencing for myself.

It has been pleasant to find David Tacey as a fellow-explorer, but I cannot accept him as teacher or guide. He is too committed to traditional Christianity (yet oddly coy about giving suggestions for further reading in his own mystical tradition, as if bending over backwards not to indoctrinate, in line with his convictions about education in spirituality), too snooty about 'spiritualism' and the paranormal (even though I completely agree with him about many of its manifestations, and it is pleasant once again to see my own thoughts put in words by somebody else), and insufficiently willing to grapple with the depressing (indeed, dispiriting) implications of scientism, particularly in the area of mental health, psychiatry and psychotherapy (where I feel he misses a great opportunity, perhaps because he is afraid of being put on the spot).

Generally he is just too vague, not concrete enough. I need more, and I have to go on exploring in my own way, although I yearn to share more than I have been able to share with this man, having been permitted a glimpse that some such sharing is possible.

He is also altogether too positive about 'postmodernism', which I still loathe. [Sorry, Reconstructo! But at least you didn't name yourself Deconstructo.] Again he fails really to grapple with some of the implications of what he writes about, particularly in regard to questions of the absolute (or Absolute), objectivity, reality (or realism), and so on.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:56 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;173900 wrote:
There is a difference between spirituality and religion, although they overlap in many respects. Spirituality is concerned with the search for experiential and inner truth, while religion expects conformity to the rules and regulations of a body of believers.


What separates spirituality from introspection? I mean, if you search within yourself and find that the inner truth is that you hate other people, that seems like it wouldn't be spiritual. And that, to conform to the standard of spiritual, you would have to let go of the hate.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:00 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;173912 wrote:
What separates spirituality from introspection? I mean, if you search within yourself and find that the inner truth is that you hate other people, that seems like it wouldn't be spiritual. And that, to conform to the standard of spiritual, you would have to let go of the hate.


Trying to draw the line in regards to what is spiritual and what is not? Good luck to you sir!
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:02 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;173912 wrote:
What separates spirituality from introspection? I mean, if you search within yourself and find that the inner truth is that you hate other people, that seems like it wouldn't be spiritual. And that, to conform to the standard of spiritual, you would have to let go of the hate.


The discovery or realization that you are possessed by animosity is the first step. In fact, quite often such a realization will in itself lead to a reduction in these kinds of feelings. Oftentimes those kinds of emotional impulses loose a lot of energy once they are exposed to the light of awareness. I suppose if it is deeply seated within you, like for example as a result of post-traumatic stress of having been victimized or abused in your past, then indeed you would need to undertake some kind of cathartic therapy to free yourself from it.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:06 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;173914 wrote:
The discovery or realization that you are possessed by animosity is the first step. In fact, quite often such a realization will in itself lead to a reduction in these kinds of feelings. Oftentimes those kinds of emotional impulses loose a lot of energy once they are exposed to the light of awareness. I suppose if it is deeply seated within you, like for example as a result of post-traumatic stress of having been victimized or abused in your past, then indeed you would need to undertake some kind of cathartic therapy to free yourself from it.


So spirituality has something to do with moral improvement via introspection. It seems like there are other parts to it. I feel that getting drunk and playing poker is not considered to be spiritual. And atheists are often said to be non-spiritual. There is some role for god or "cosmic consciousness" in spirituality it seems.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:23 pm
@Khethil,
Getting drunk and playing poker could probably be classified in the general area of cheap thrills, could they not? Generally culminating in undesirable side effects also, such as hangovers, liver damage and financial loss. One does not need cosmic consciousness to know that.:bigsmile:
 
 

 
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