Trendy "Spiritual but not Religious"

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 09:37 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;174000 wrote:
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 <?>


I think this is closest to the mark. Spiritual but not religious means "personal religion" as close as I can tell. Kind of like being an "independent" voter.

Twirlip;173946 wrote:
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.


Yes--different kinds of Christians are quite different. But your objection what I was getting at earlier. When you label something you are just picking out a trait they have in common. It is a useful and essential thing to do. You don't move to a new house by putting everything into one big box; and you don't try and talk about the world without talking about generalized groups of people. Dismissing the attempt is an overreaction to people who don't know much about it and generalize too much. What I think the spiritual but not religious people are doing is saying "well, I don't like all of these features of religions, so I must have a new name for what I believe". But it leads to some confusion.

jeeprs;173942 wrote:
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'.


But jeeprs, this contradicts what you said earlier:

Quote:
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.
Buddhist style spirituality has 5 rules, and yoga philosophy has 10. I think spiritualism has many ethical concepts that go a long with it. And where you have ethical concepts you have rules and regulations.

I'm not sure you can really separate spirituality from religion conceptually. It seems like the same concept, but spiritual people don't follow a specific religion that has lots of followers, they follow another religion.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 09:46 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;174068 wrote:
But jeeprs, this contradicts what you said earlier.


There is a difference between having it imposed on you on threat of damnation, and coming to it out of your own free will.

I have taken up Buddhist meditation and endeavour to observe the ethical precepts. I believe the ethical precepts are basic sanity, but if you want to get drunk and play cards, I am not going to be sanctimonious with you.Laughing
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 09:53 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;174075 wrote:
There is a difference between having it imposed on you on threat of damnation, and coming to it out of your own free will.

I have taken up Buddhist meditation and endeavour to observe the ethical precepts. I believe the ethical precepts are basic sanity, but if you want to get drunk and play cards, I am not going to be sanctimonious with you.Laughing


Only certain religions have damnation; so there you are not talking about all religions. And Buddhism is a religion. As for not being sanctimonious, isn't that a Christian principle as well (let he who is without sin...)?

I think then, that "spiritual but not religious" is a kind of self made religion. Many people who describe themselves that way (and actually, many westerners who have gone for buddhism) do so because of a dislike for some parts of the judeo-christian outlook.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 09:55 pm
@Khethil,
TO cast a bit of light on the difference between Dharma and Religion, this is an excerpt from a post I created of that name, on some of the key characteristics of the Buddhist teaching:

jeeprs;125704 wrote:
The Dharma of the Buddha

The characteristics of Dharma (dhamma in the Pali language of the Theravada tradition) display many such characteristics. The six qualities of the Buddha Dhamma, with their Pali titles, are:

1. Svākkhāto - The Dhamma is not a speculative philosophy, but is the Universal Law found through enlightenment and is preached precisely. Therefore it is excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle and excellent in the end

2. Sandiṭṭhiko The Dhamma can be tested by practice and therefore he who follows it will see the result by himself through his own experience.

3. Akāliko: The Dhamma is able to bestow timeless and immediate results here and now, for which there is no need to wait until the future or next existence.

4. Ehipassiko - "which you can come and see" -- from the phrase ehi, paśya "come, see!". The Dhamma welcomes all to put it to the test and come see for themselves.

5. Opanayiko - "leading one close to" - The Dhamma is capable of being entered upon and therefore it is worthy to be followed as a part of one's life.

6. "To be personally known by the wise". The Dhamma can be perfectly realized only by the noble disciples who have matured and enlightened enough in supreme wisdom.


The attitude in Buddhism is quite different to that of Western institutional religions. I am not saying that therefore Buddhism has no faults, that it is not institutional, and so on, because any institution can be corrupted. But I think the contrasts in the attitude are worth making note of.

---------- Post added 06-07-2010 at 01:57 PM ----------

There are spiritual atheists, religious Buddhists, Universalists Christians, and every other possible categorization and combination you can think of in the religious life of humans. Trying to come up with an intellectual schema which accomodates all the permutations is not going to get very far. Nevertheless, I think the basic distinction between spiritual and religious is meaningful.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 10:03 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;174080 wrote:


There are spiritual atheists, religious Buddhists, Universalists Christians, and every other possible categorization and combination you can think of in the religious life of humans. Trying to come up with an intellectual schema which accomodates all the permutations is not going to get very far. Nevertheless, I think the basic distinction between spiritual and religious is meaningful.


I'm not sure we are debating whether it is meaningful. We are talking about what "spiritual but not religious" means. We are talking about in what way it is meaningful.

I'm suggesting that the biggest difference involves whether the person accepts certain parts of the Christian type tradition, or takes ideas that they like from various other sources. I think saying that is more meaningful than saying that spiritual is different from religious.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 10:10 pm
@Khethil,
The key difference is the idea of 'inner experience' or 'spiritual experience'. The spiritual traditions are like maps to the inner landscape of states (and territories!) that you are likely to encounter if you are on 'the path'. There is a lexicon, a realm of shared experience, there are trailblazers and different domains of discourse, and so on. But the key point is becoming mindful, becoming aware, of the meaning of pure being.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 10:15 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;174088 wrote:
The key difference is the idea of 'inner experience' or 'spiritual experience'. The spiritual traditions are like maps to the inner landscape of states (and territories!) that you are likely to encounter if you are on 'the path'. There is a lexicon, a realm of shared experience, there are trailblazers and different domains of discourse, and so on. But the key point is becoming mindful, becoming aware, of the meaning of pure being.


hmm, but spiritual is still in a specific way I think. Two people can take a psychedelic drug for the inner experience, but one might attach spiritual meaning to it and the other might not.

I think there is that further distinction in how these inner experiences are approached. A mystical way and a non-mystical one. You do sometimes give the impression that the mystical way has a monopoly on the subject jeeprs :shifty:
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 02:22 am
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;174068 wrote:
When you label something you are just picking out a trait they have in common. It is a useful and essential thing to do. You don't move to a new house by putting everything into one big box; and you don't try and talk about the world without talking about generalized groups of people. Dismissing the attempt is an overreaction to people who don't know much about it and generalize too much.

No. There is a difference, or at least a useful distinction which can and should be made, between a label and a concept.

That followers of one religious orthodoxy or another 'label' themselves, as well as being 'labelled' by others, does not affect the concept of label: people may be labelled involuntarily (as in prejudice or stigma) or voluntarily (as in a religion or other grouping for solidarity). The 'box' in which they live is not a concept applied from an external point of view in order to make sense of a phenomenon from outside it, nor is the 'label' on that box a term which denotes such a concept. From the believer's point of view, the 'box' is more like a house or dwelling, and the 'label' is, I suppose, like an address. For members of stigmatised groups, on the other hand, the 'box' might be like a ghetto or prison or dungeon, and the 'label' like a brand or, literally, a stigma (whereas the 'label' on the 'box' of a religion is more of a shibboleth).

There is often an element of irrationality in labelling, but this is not essential to the concept. What is essential to it is intentionality: a person labelling another person or group is intent upon keeping that person or group inside the box with that label, and the person or group labelling themselves is intent upon remaining inside the box with that label, as if it were a house or dwelling having that label as its address.

I have just got up after far too little sleep, and I am not making this as clear and simple as it should be. Anyway, the point of making the distinction is that I was claiming that SBNR, like atheism, is a concept, but not a label (a label is always a concept, albeit one of a peculiar kind, whereas a concept is not always a label); however, I came to see, or at least to suspect, that it is indeed a label (a voluntary one).

If you are going to conflate the concept of a label with the concept of a concept, we are not even going to be able to agree on what it is we are agreeing on! Smile

---------- Post added 06-07-2010 at 10:13 AM ----------

Jebediah;174078 wrote:
I think then, that "spiritual but not religious" is a kind of self made religion. Many people who describe themselves that way (and actually, many westerners who have gone for buddhism) do so because of a dislike for some parts of the judeo-christian outlook.

All of that may be true, and probably is true, as far as it goes; but merely disliking some parts of some existing religion does not make a person spiritual. This is of course obvious, because most atheists, whether they are spiritual or not, dislike large parts of all existing religions. But it is worth pointing out, because on the face of it, you are saying that this dislike is, of itself, enough to make a person SBNR. What do you actually think is a sufficient condition for being SBNR (on top of this necessary one)? Is it that you think that someone who is SBNR must have belonged to some existing religion in the first place, but parted company with it because of some disagreement? Even if that were so, it would not explain the difference between the atheist former believer in religious orthodoxy and the SBNR former believer in religious orthodoxy. But in any case, it's not true; I hope my own example will suffice, as I was never in any organised religion, but I am pretty much happy to identify as SBNR.

(Come to think of it, I'm also LGBT, which I suppose makes me LGBTSBNR. How New Age, how trendy, can you get? And yet I'm a stuffy, unattractive, boring, old, bald bloke in a sports jacket like his Dad used to wear! ... Note to self: must stop editing this article!) Smile

---------- Post added 06-07-2010 at 10:48 AM ----------

Jebediah;174084 wrote:
I'm not sure we are debating whether it is meaningful. We are talking about what "spiritual but not religious" means. We are talking about in what way it is meaningful.

If I may say so, that's just quibbling. It is meaningful, and sometimes necessary, to affirm that the distinction in question is meaningful. Your quibbling might be justified if you were about to introduce some clarification, but instead ... here goes some quibbling of my own ...
Jebediah;174084 wrote:
I'm suggesting that the biggest difference involves whether the person accepts certain parts of the Christian type tradition, or takes ideas that they like from various other sources. I think saying that is more meaningful than saying that spiritual is different from religious.

That's not at all clear, at least not to me. (1) Are you suggesting that to be religious means to be Christian? Surely not. But why are you specifically mentioning Christianity in this context? That's one thing that's not clear. (2) There is no mutual exclusivity between "[accepting] certain parts of the Christian type tradition" and on the other hand, "[taking] ideas that they like from various other sources"; so what distinction are you trying to set up here? (3) By using the apparently redundant phrase "that they like", are you suggesting that a lack of critical thought is involved? If not, then what is the function of this phrase? (4) There was a (4), but I'm getting so tangled up in my own quibbling that I have forgotten what it was! I think it may perhaps have been the objection that surely there is more to being religious, and specifically to being Christian (because you have mentioned it), than "[accepting] certain parts of the Christian type tradition".

So I can't see that you have defined either of the two terms which you are trying to distinguish from one another. Is this perhaps because in some important sense you do not believe the distinction to be a real one, and you are struggling to imagine what kind of reality it might have in another person's mind, and not succeeding? That would not be unreasonable of you, and I apologise if I am quibbling too much, and more than you did!
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 10:10 am
@Twirlip,
Quote:
The 'box' in which they live is not a concept applied from an external point of view in order to make sense of a phenomenon from outside it,
But then aren't you saying that they literally live in a box? Or are they just applying the concept of box from an internal point of view?

Anyway, I can label a jar of pickles as "pickles" or a box of food as "food". And we also label groups of people like "democrats". We have a concept of food and when things match that description we put them in the box and label them food. Wouldn't you do that if you were moving, regardless of whether people use labels unjustly?

Quote:
All of that may be true, and probably is true, as far as it goes; but merely disliking some parts of some existing religion does not make a person spiritual.
Yes. They started christian or wanted some sort of spirituality, and didn't like the fact that Christianity is politically and socially conservative, or that they are pushing creationism in the schools, or that the Church had done things like support the crusades. People who have the religious urge here and don't want to go for Christianity often end up with Buddhism, or instead of just adopting Buddhism they study various kinds of alternative religions, that are less objectionable to their beliefs.

Quote:
If I may say so, that's just quibbling. It is meaningful, and sometimes necessary, to affirm that the distinction in question is meaningful.
Nah, we are on page 4 and that premise has been well established. To retreat to a position where you just affirm it is to retreat from the subject being debated.

Quote:
So I can't see that you have defined either of the two terms which you are trying to distinguish from one another. Is this perhaps because in some important sense you do not believe the distinction to be a real one,
I think I did, in this post or an earlier one. I'm calling spirituality "self made religion" or "personal religion".
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 11:53 am
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;174243 wrote:
I think I did, in this post or an earlier one. I'm calling spirituality "self made religion" or "personal religion".


I think based on what I've seen, am reading and have come into contact with, that this is probably as close to a working definition of SBNR as we'll get.

  • Self-Made: In that it's not institutionalized


  • Personal: Nonspecific across peoples. A non-corporeal view, set of hopes, mindset or system of beliefs that could be called spiritual in the non-material sense; all which vary and are specific to an individual

That's fine, it's all good. I still wrestle with re-defining terms (rather than just describing new mindsets with straightforward language or even new terminology). But we've seen this before, and we'll see it again I'm sure.

Thanks again for all replies
 
 

 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 07/29/2021 at 07:50:57