Trendy "Spiritual but not Religious"

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:28 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;173930 wrote:
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:


So spirituality is distinct from having a good time, especially in a cheap or impure kind of way. So spiritual people don't do that?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:36 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;173930 wrote:
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:


See this is one of the things that bug me about a theistic approach to atheism.

I feel many theists assume a specific morality or a philosophy of all atheists as if athiesm is some life style or belief system, which it is not. There is only one thing you can determine from atheism. The only thing you can determine about an atheist is that they don't believe in the existence of god. Anything else you try to add to that, is pure assumption. You can not determine an atheist's life style and if you do it is pure speculation.

I know some atheists that are spiritual. To them spirituality is embracing all of life as interconnected through mutual reliance. Such as animals and plants provide sustenance to human survival. Some forms of bacteria are beneficial for human survival. Many microorganisms provide life support for many other life forms. So they try to find some level of unity with all of life rather than developing ideas that humanity is superior or that humans can survive without needing any other life.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:41 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.

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'.
It kinda ironic actually, spirituality is usually considered an individual belief but typically is the notion of some unifying spiritual principle. The spiritual but NR crowd is generally very tolerant and easy going.

Religion of the other hand typical wants a unified belief system, set of doctrines, beliefs, rituals and practices which has resulted in thousands of different religions. Many of whom are intolerant of each other.

In some sense the spiritual but not religious group is more unifed or at least tolerant of others with their much more individual belief systems.

For me, diversity is divine, nature is endlessly creative and innovative.
God must like diversity for nature assures that we are all different.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:48 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;173933 wrote:
So spirituality is distinct from having a good time, especially in a cheap or impure kind of way. So spiritual people don't do that?


Buddhist lay-people (i.e. non-monastic observers) observe the five precepts. These are commitments to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication.Generally gambling is seen as a vice, although it has never been a problem to me, as I have never gambled (but I have had my issues with 3 & 5.:perplexed:)

In Yoga philosophy, there are 10 'restraints and observances' which cover very similar ground, albeit with a slightly different emphasis.

But if you were to do a cross-cultural study of traditional ethics, you would find a fair amount of common ground between Indian, Chinese and European 'practical ethics'.

---------- Post added 06-07-2010 at 08:53 AM ----------

Krumple;173938 wrote:
I know some atheists that are spiritual.


Quite true. The Jains and several of the schools of Yoga philosophy, are atheistic, and Buddhism is not a theistic philosophy. But they all believe in a transcendent reality or another plane of existence.

On the other hand, there are also those who say that not only is there no God, there literally is nothing other than material atoms - 'atoms and the void', I believe is the expression.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:54 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;173938 wrote:
I feel many theists assume a specific morality or a philosophy of all atheists as if athiesm is some life style or belief system, which it is not. [...]

I know some atheists that are spiritual.

I was going to point out earlier (but decided not to bother) that lumping all "spiritual but not religious" people together (as in Jebediah's post #2, for example) is almost exactly like lumping all atheists together. Depending on how exactly you do it, it may make sense, or it may not. What can be said with certainty, however, is that neither of these two classes constitutes "a box with a label" in the same sense as do the classes of believers in mutually exclusive religious traditions. (jeeprs will correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that Buddhism is exclusive of other traditions, so even what I have just said "with certainty" is not certain!)

P.S. On second thoughts, those who describe SBNR as "a box with a label", comparable to organised religions (and not comparable to atheism), may have more of a point than I at first thought.

What has caused me to have second thoughts is the reflection that I would feel uneasy about claiming to be "spiritual", just as in the thread [OT?] How can you tell if someone is a Christian? I expressed how uneasy I would be to describe myself as "Christian" merely on the basis of having had a couple of dreams about Jesus which I took seriously.

I think what causes this uneasy feeling is an awareness that the claim to be "spiritual" is a claim, in a way in which the statement that one is an atheist is not a claim. The claim is something to the effect of having some sort of personal relationship to something; this relationship probably has to be of a deeply respectful character; and its object cannot (knowingly) be another human being, nor can it be a collection of human beings, nor can it be any kind of human construction, no matter how impressive, such as science or art.

With me, it's all (as I think jeeprs observed somewhere) a bit too much 'in the head' (although deeply felt) for me to be able to claim to be spiritual - I just think and feel that I should be.

I'd better not try too write any more just now, in case I change my mind again! :perplexed:
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 06:39 pm
@jeeprs,
Thanks for the input, but I'm still confused. I realize what the difference between religion and spiritualism is. But as I've perused the recognized dictionaries, what I'm seeing as "spiritual" still had to do with the notion of the Spirit (or primarily those supernatural entities that have been labeled such).

What I typically hear are vague, non-descript phrases that are just something else renamed. Even some of your input here goes in that vein:

Some Abbreviated Concepts given as Spirituality:[INDENT] A "Unifying Spiritual Principle"
But the fictional phenomena called "the Force" was "The Force"
And ones inner self is their "Inner Self"
The idea of Experiential truth we call "Experiential Truth"
And a "Personal Relationship" is a "Personal Relationship"

But... I don't call my cat "A Blender", I call him "A Cat"

So why are these things being called "Spirituality"? Help me understand here...
[/INDENT]Are we just taking other aspects of our existence and renaming/couching them as "spiritualism"? It sure sounds like it; and if that's the case, all we've done is applied a new meaning to an already established label with no value added and causing a lot of confusion. There still lingers the question: Aside from a religious context, what is spirituality?

I don't mean to come off as obstinate; but it seems to me this word has no real meaning except as a nice-sounding label that many seem to like bear regardless of substance. I well understand that this is a delicate, personal and important aspect for some of you and I highly respect the place it plays in your life. I'm just hoping to understand this trend/fad/characterization.

Again thanks - and thanks in advance for any additional insight
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 06:51 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;173982 wrote:
Thanks for the input, but I'm still confused. I realize what the difference between religion and spiritualism is.


ahem, 'spiritualism' was very much in vogue in the 19th century, and is generally associated with seances, mediums, and the like. It is a word I would describe as 'quaint'.

Khethil;173982 wrote:
But as I've perused the recognized dictionaries, what I'm seeing as "spiritual" still had to do with the notion of the Spirit (or primarily those supernatural entities that have been labeled such).


What makes you think 'spirit' is 'an entity'? What about 'the spirit of giving'? or 'the spirit of Christmas'? Would you describe those as 'entities'?


Khethil;173982 wrote:
What I typically hear are vague, non-descript phrases that are just something else renamed. Even some of your input here goes in that vein:

Some Abbreviated Concepts given as Spirituality:[INDENT] A "Unifying Spiritual Principle" -that sounds suspiciously like something from philosophy! You would want to keep away from that, don't know where it might end up.

But the fictional phenomena called "the Force" was "The Force" - as a matter of fact, George Lucus got the main mythological ideas for Star Wars from Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces. Marvellous book, I recommend it. In fact there is a rumour that Yoda was based on a Tibetan Rinpoche.

And ones inner self is their "Inner Self"
The idea of Experiential truth we call "Experiential Truth"
And a "Personal Relationship" is a "Personal Relationship" Inner truth = things you know are true in your heart that people in the world generally seem to ignore.

But... I don't call my cat "A Blender", I call him "A Cat"

So why are these things being called "Spirituality"? Help me understand here...
[/INDENT]Are we just taking other aspects of our existence and renaming/couching them as "spiritualism"? It sure sounds like it; and if that's the case, all we've done is applied a new meaning to an already established label with no value added and causing a lot of confusion. There still lingers the question: Aside from a religious context, what is spirituality?

I don't mean to come off as obstinate; but it seems to me this word has no real meaning except as a nice-sounding label that many seem to like bear regardless of substance. I well understand that this is a delicate, personal and important aspect for some of you and I highly respect the place it plays in your life. I'm just hoping to understand this trend/fad/characterization.

Again thanks - and thanks in advance for any additional insight


It's all good. A major part of the issue is that we are speaking about things that are out-of-scope for the verbal aspects of your intelligence. So you have to develop a lexicon which has meanings that apply to the realities you experience, which might be at variance from conventional usages.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:01 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;173982 wrote:
Thanks for the input, but I'm still confused. I realize what the difference between religion and spiritualism is. But as I've perused the recognized dictionaries, what I'm seeing as "spiritual" still had to do with the notion of the Spirit (or primarily those supernatural entities that have been labeled such). ...
I don't mean to come off as obstinate; but it seems to me this word has no real meaning except as a nice-sounding label that many seem to like bear regardless of substance. I well understand that this is a delicate, personal and important aspect for some of you and I highly respect the place it plays in your life. I'm just hoping to understand this trend/fad/characterization.

Again thanks - and thanks in advance for any additional insight
I think the "but not religious part" is a specific rejection of organized religion with its creeds, dogmas, doctrines, specified rituals and practices. The spiritual but not religious are often trying to specifically disassociate themselves from the history of any particular organized religion (inquisitions, persecutions, crusades, religious wars, etc).

It is not a rejection of the notion of god or higher power or spirit but it is a rejection of organized institutional religion. It brings up the question about what a "religion" is or means. Perhaps it opens the door to what do you mean when you say "god" or "spirit". If someone says they are spiritual but not religious you might have to actually engage them in conversation to find out what their concept of spirit or god is as opposed to assuming it is the supernatural interventionist deity of organized religion.:bigsmile:
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:03 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;173988 wrote:
It's all good. A major part of the issue is that we are speaking about things that are out-of-scope for the verbal aspects of your intelligence.


Thanks Jeeprs,

What "things" are you speaking of?
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:06 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;173982 wrote:
What I typically hear are vague, non-descript phrases that are just something else renamed. [...] Are we just taking other aspects of our existence and renaming/couching them as "spiritualism"? [...] There still lingers the question: Aside from a religious context, what is spirituality?

I don't mean to come off as obstinate; but it seems to me this word has no real meaning except as a nice-sounding label that many seem to like bear regardless of substance. I well understand that this is a delicate, personal and important aspect for some of you and I highly respect the place it plays in your life. I'm just hoping to understand this trend/fad/characterization.

Again thanks - and thanks in advance for any additional insight

I'm an extremely inadequate representative of this way of thinking, but I'm always (or nearly always) quite interested in discussing it, so I'll try to give a definition, with the caution that this is only one odd bloke's made-up definition!

I would say that spirituality (not "spiritualism") is a sense of being a part of something.

I don't mean part in the sense of being one of a crowd, or even part of a movement, or someone who plays a role in something important (such as a profession or a political party) - in a word, playing a part - but being a part of something, in your innermost being (yes, I know that that's another of those vague phrases that you hate!), rather than being a separate individual who joins himself or herself onto something, as an act of individual choice, without that individuality itself coming radically into question.

And by saying that it is a sense of being a part of something, I mean that it is not just an idea (such as e.g. a Marxist idea of being a historically conditioned, socially constructed subject, whose apparent individual being is grounded in a superior social reality), but something felt, perhaps not viscerally (although that is possible, I gather), but still lovingly, gladly, and gratefully. (I'm sorry if that makes you retch! Sick bag provided.)

Others may differ ...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:08 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;173778 wrote:
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


Nice little article.

Quote:

The real challenge is going to come from people who feel the existence of the sacred, but who think that particular religions are just cultural artifacts built on top of universal human traits. It's going to come from scientists whose beliefs overlap a bit with Buddhism.In unexpected ways, science and mysticism are joining hands and reinforcing each other. That's bound to lead to new movements that emphasize self-transcendence but put little stock in divine law or revelation. Orthodox believers are going to have to defend particular doctrines and particular biblical teachings. They're going to have to defend the idea of a personal God, and explain why specific theologies are true guides for behavior day to day.

Quote:

Researchers now spend a lot of time trying to understand universal moral intuitions. Genes are not merely selfish, it appears. Instead, people seem to have deep instincts for fairness, empathy and attachment.
Scientists have more respect for elevated spiritual states. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania has shown that transcendent experiences can actually be identified and measured in the brain (people experience a decrease in activity in the parietal lobe, which orients us in space). The mind seems to have the ability to transcend itself and merge with a larger presence that feels more real.
Quote:

Over the past several years, the momentum has shifted away from hard-core materialism. The brain seems less like a cold machine. It does not operate like a computer. Instead, meaning, belief and consciousness seem to emerge mysteriously from idiosyncratic networks of neural firings. Those squishy things called emotions play a gigantic role in all forms of thinking. Love is vital to brain development.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:12 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;173993 wrote:
Thanks Jeeprs,

What "things" are you speaking of?


that, of course, is hard to say, exactly. Try describing the taste of an orange to someone who has never eaten fruit. Spiritual awareness is a little like that. It is a different dimension of awareness. To be completely honest, it first happened to me via...I am getting all coy here. You remember the 60's? Anyway, I don't want to drag the conversation down that road, it is another can of worms. Anyway, shorthand is 'new awareness'. I think a lot of religious verbiage is various ways of trying to describe that, capture it, convey it.

What Prothero said above is very important, I would like to add 'the two meanings of religion'. 1. Religio - latin - attitude of awe and respect towards the Gods. 2. re-ligare - re-bind (note the connection of 'ligare' and 'ligament') - this is the idea of 'union', or 're-joining' or 'mending that which has been divided. So, very roughly, these two usages represent the division between conventional (external, 'downtown') religion and esoteric spirituality. The latter has always been, by nature, something of an underground movement, for various reasons.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:16 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;173946 wrote:
The claim is something to the effect of having some sort of personal relationship to something; this relationship probably has to be of a deeply respectful character; and its object cannot (knowingly) be another human being, nor can it be a collection of human beings, nor can it be any kind of human construction, no matter how impressive, such as science or art.

I can't completely agree with this. I'm a big fan of Blake, who saw Life as Holy, and "God" as only existing within living beings (the usual kind.)

True, "spirit" is often associated with the supernatural, but for me it is not. To recognize that love is the goal of life is "spiritual" in my opinion. And maybe it's even obvious. But maybe not. "God is Love" is for me the true kernel of Christianity, which is just a tradition, a husk. Now I take this "God is Love" idea literally. God is "just" a human emotion. But I feel that this human emotion is underestimated or presented by art (a potentially spiritual endeavor) as sentimentality or as something cheaper than it is. Art is or should be, in my opinion, an expression of love, a gift. Even science has its spiritual aspect. If one views the environment as part of man, and perhaps one should, an exploration of this environment can also be an act of love. Is curiosity love? I think it can be. Smile
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:17 pm
@prothero,
prothero;173992 wrote:
It is not a rejection of the notion of god or higher power or spirit but it is a rejection of organized institutional religion. It brings up the question about what a "religion" is or means...


Ok, so perhaps religious (in whatever context that may be), yet rejecting of organized religion. Perhaps more accurately said: Religious and Spirtual but not Organized <?>

... my paraphrase of your point close? If so, I think that certainly makes it understandable; perhaps more as a phenomena rather than a distinct nomenclature per say.

Nice reply - Thanks
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:27 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;173999 wrote:
I can't completely agree with this. I'm a big fan of Blake, who saw Life as Holy, and "God" as only existing within living beings (the usual kind.)

That's pretty much what I'm inclined to think, too, with the proviso that what I think about it may not be what it is. (Hence my interest in 'Zoe'.)
Reconstructo;173999 wrote:
True, "spirit" is often associated with the supernatural, but for me it is not.

Not for me, either. I'm absolutely certain I have never expressed any belief in anything supernatural; and in my profile and in my introductory post I even went out of the way to repudiate any such belief. That the supernatural has never made any sense to me is a constant thread throughout my life, tying together my (long) atheist phase and my (still short) theist phase. That said, I don't claim complete certainty that there is nothing supernatural; I only know that I have never had any use for the idea.
Reconstructo;173999 wrote:
To recognize that love is the goal of life is "spiritual" in my opinion. And maybe it's even obvious. But maybe not. "God is Love" is for me the true kernel of Christianity, which is just a tradition, a husk. Now I take this "God is Love" idea literally. God is "just" a human emotion. But I feel that this human emotion is underestimated or presented by art (a potentially spiritual endeavor) as sentimentality or as something cheaper than it is. Art is or should be, in my opinion, an expression of love, a gift. Even science has its spiritual aspect. If one views the environment as part of man, and perhaps one should, an exploration of this environment can also be an act of love. Is curiosity love? I think it can be. Smile

Well, love is not (I can't remember exactly how I put it) "another human being, or a collection of human beings, or a human construct", is it? So to worship love, in a sense, might well be spiritual; at least, it's not ruled out by my (loose, ad hoc) definition.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:36 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;174004 wrote:

Well, love is not (I can't remember exactly how I put it) "another human being, or a collection of human beings, or a human construct", is it? So to worship love, in a sense, might well be spiritual; at least, it's not ruled out by my (loose, ad hoc) definition.


That's tricky! I guess the icewater is not the glass that holds it, but then perhaps they are one. Smile
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:36 pm
@Khethil,
It shouldn't be forgotten, also, that Christianity started out as a rebellion against organised religion of all types (i.e. the pharisees, the Roman state religion) and that for the first couple of centuries uncountable numbers of Christians perished at the hands of authorities of all kinds, often in dreadful ways. Ironic, then, as I am sure you will all agree, that centuries afterwards the persecuted became the persecutors....

Also I want to support Twirlip where he said 'a relationship'. From my experience, I can only concur. If you were to ask me 'relationship with who or what', the honest answer is 'I don't know'. But I now understand what a Christian would say in answer to that question, and why they would say it. I am sort of in agreement with them, but my outlook is pluralist.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:38 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;174004 wrote:
That's pretty much what I'm inclined to think, too, with the proviso that what I think about it may not be what it is. (Hence my interest in 'Zoe'.)

Good point. Here's something tricky in my mind. Anything we think already does exist, as Form, as concept. But I don't want to derail this thread w/ my personal obsessions. One more thing though: if we were to experience something unusual, would it exist for us in a way not reducible to form(thought), sensation, emotion?

---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 08:39 PM ----------

jeeprs;174009 wrote:
It shouldn't be forgotten, also, that Christianity started out as a rebellion against organised religion of all types (i.e. the pharisees, the Roman state religion) and that for the first couple of centuries uncountable numbers of Christians perished at the hands of authorities of all kinds, often in dreadful ways. Ironic, then, as I am sure you will all agree, that centuries afterwards the persecuted became the persecutors....

Ah, yes, isn't there some gnostic doctrine that organizations tend to become their opposite?

I see Jesus, the character at least, as similar to Socrates. Two central characters for the West. Smile

---------- Post added 06-06-2010 at 08:41 PM ----------

Twirlip;174004 wrote:

Not for me, either. I'm absolutely certain I have never expressed any belief in anything supernatural; and in my profile and in my introductory post I even went out of the way to repudiate any such belief.

Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to suggest such a thing. I was just trying to take the word "spirit" back from the supernaturalists. It's really a beautiful word.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:45 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;174011 wrote:
I see Jesus, the character at least, as similar to Socrates. Two central characters for the West. Smile

Yes, all we truly committed philosophers should go from door to door, urging strangers to "Accept Socrates into your life!" Smile
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 07:47 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;174016 wrote:
Yes, all we truly committed philosophers should go from door to door, urging strangers to "Accept Socrates into your life!" Smile


And Euler too? mathematics!! Now that's the stuff.
 
 

 
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 09/22/2020 at 05:35:58