Religious but not spiritual

Religious but not spiritual

There are 8 comments on the Newsday story from May 24, 2014, titled Religious but not spiritual. In it, Newsday reports that:

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

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Newsday.

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#1 May 25, 2014
The heart of this thought-provoking article lies in the following:

"Because don't we have four options?

"We can be religious and spiritual - which is the traditional faith approach

"We can be spiritual but not religious - which is the new age pick and mix approach

"We can be humanist - which is neither religious nor spiritual

"Or, perhaps, we can be religious but not spiritual

"This last choice works best for me."

Tom Shakespeare, the author, posits that continuing with religious tradition even absent of any spiritual belief benefits both individuals and institutions, providing lasting connections and the means to promote charity and social justice. My problem with that is that the believer are going to be in charge and will inevitably promote social stuff that I simply cannot be a part of. Like TS (I won't call him Shakespeare--too confusing), I was a Quaker for a long time, and I thought that I could return to Meeting even as a nonbeliever. As I meditated, I came to a realization and spoke:

"As Quakers, we commit ourselves to living as free of violence as we can. But what is violence? Is it limited to actions that cause physical harm? Perhaps not. Is not any action born of anger a form of violence? How about judging others harshly? Unkind words? Rejection? I submit that even thoughts can be acts of violence, especially when the flavor our attitudes towards others and that peace comes about when our emotions are free of anger or disparagement. Peace begins with the heart and in no other place."

I was surprised that the reactions after meeting. I had expected that some would disagree, but not that anyone would be offended. Harsh words were spoken, and I never returned.

So, no, even without spirituality, religion doesn't work for me. The nutters are still in charge.
Amused

Lowell, MA

#2 May 27, 2014
I do agree with Shakespeare's point about "spiritual" being so vague as to have next to no actual meaning. It is now a term that apparently means any sort of vague feeling or glimmer of any sort of higher power.

I understand, but do not agree with, his point that organized religion presents a more robustly developed set of beliefs, more clearly articulated, and that this is somehow superior to unfocused spirituality. Theology may result in more elaborate sets of beliefs, but it is, at bottom, a fact-free debate. As an example, a few years ago, the Vatican convened a meeting of theologians to examine whether unbaptized infants who die go to "limbo" or to "hell". Opinions were exchanged, but not one of those opinions was based on any objective evidence that "limbo" or "hell" exists, that infants, or anyone else, has a "soul" which survives death, or that "souls" go anywhere post mortem. Religious belief is certainly more florid in its expression than mere "spirituality", but its elaborateness is no guarantee of validity.

I am even less convinced by the idea of "religious but not spiritual". Religion may be the more elaborate expression of spirituality, but spirituality seems to me to be the root of religion. A belief that there is something more than the material world is the foundation for all religions. Without the motivating spark of spirituality, religion is nothing more than empty ritual. Even if people do need to bond around some idea bigger than themselves, as Shakespeare posits, bonding around religious ritual without any actual belief in the religion's tenets seems merely a pointless exercise.

“Sombrero Galaxy”

Since: Jan 10

I'm An Illegal Alien

#3 May 27, 2014
Amused wrote:
I do agree with Shakespeare's point about "spiritual" being so vague as to have next to no actual meaning. It is now a term that apparently means any sort of vague feeling or glimmer of any sort of higher power.
I understand, but do not agree with, his point that organized religion presents a more robustly developed set of beliefs, more clearly articulated, and that this is somehow superior to unfocused spirituality. Theology may result in more elaborate sets of beliefs, but it is, at bottom, a fact-free debate. As an example, a few years ago, the Vatican convened a meeting of theologians to examine whether unbaptized infants who die go to "limbo" or to "hell". Opinions were exchanged, but not one of those opinions was based on any objective evidence that "limbo" or "hell" exists, that infants, or anyone else, has a "soul" which survives death, or that "souls" go anywhere post mortem. Religious belief is certainly more florid in its expression than mere "spirituality", but its elaborateness is no guarantee of validity.
The way you expressed this made me laugh, but it is right on point. No where in the religious debate do they offer any proof of the existence of anything they claim. It's just lime when they claim that Satan is a liar. How can one claim that someone one has never met,heard, or even had a written account from, is a liar?
Amused wrote:
I am even less convinced by the idea of "religious but not spiritual". Religion may be the more elaborate expression of spirituality, but spirituality seems to me to be the root of religion. A belief that there is something more than the material world is the foundation for all religions. Without the motivating spark of spirituality, religion is nothing more than empty ritual. Even if people do need to bond around some idea bigger than themselves, as Shakespeare posits, bonding around religious ritual without any actual belief in the religion's tenets seems merely a pointless exercise.
I agree again. But a lot of people are like that, They don't in what the church preaches but stay apart of it because of the ritual-the comfort. My professor told me that was why she stayed with her church despite her beliefs.

“Sombrero Galaxy”

Since: Jan 10

I'm An Illegal Alien

#4 May 27, 2014
"Without religion, the danger is that an individual thinks that he or she is the centre of the universe. Religion asks more of you than just to look after yourself. Because religion is a collective practice, it enables us to learn from others around us, and from a history of sincere and disciplined examination of the problems of life - a history which is sometimes called the Wisdom Traditions. Through reflection and discussion in the context of religion, we can achieve discernment, which means seeing reality more clearly."

There is no wisdom in religion. Religion blinds us rather than makes us see clearly.

“Sombrero Galaxy”

Since: Jan 10

I'm An Illegal Alien

#5 May 27, 2014
I like some of the comments like this one
"Bryant O'Hara, Stone Mountain, GA

I have three major problems with this article. One: The author admits that many people reject organised religion because of their "repugnance at the abuses committed in the name of Christianity" and other religions, yet he appears oblivious of the fact that it is precisely "involvement in religion... offer[ing] a sense of belonging;" of "membership in a community" (which he espouses) that has typically led to those very abuses. Two: He consistently characterizes the beliefs of the 'spiritual but not religious' disparagingly as "pseudo-religion", "inchoate", unrefined and undebated, individualistic, "self-centered complacency", "wishy-washy", "mumbo-jumbo", "a more or less random set of beliefs"... the list goes on, whereas his own position does not come under any such criticism, despite being quite obviously a bit muddled itself. After all, on what basis can he claim "to live according to Christian principles" while at the same time considering "Belief in God... strictly optional"? Thirdly, he characterizes humanism as "not positive but negative - it centres on rejecting religion," which is itself an extremely reductive interpretation of a centuries-old tradition of philosophical and scientific argument. "Through reflection and discussion in the context of religion, we can achieve discernment, which means seeing reality more clearly," he continues, blithely ignoring the fact that it is precisely the absence of open discussion, the refusal to entertain alternative points of view, that humanists typically cite as one of the most frustrating behaviours of religionists."

“It's just a box of rain...”

Since: May 07

Knoxville, TN

#6 May 27, 2014
Center of the universe? Ha!

Religion used to place us there. Science reveals that we are tiny creatures on a small planet in an insignificant solar system in one of many galaxies and that even our universe might be one of many. We are short lived animals on a 4 1/2 billion year old planet, members of a species that is probably less than a few hundred thousand years old.

Center of the universe? Ha!

“Sombrero Galaxy”

Since: Jan 10

I'm An Illegal Alien

#7 May 28, 2014
They persecuted Galileo for saying otherwise.
NightSerf wrote:
Center of the universe? Ha!
Religion used to place us there. Science reveals that we are tiny creatures on a small planet in an insignificant solar system in one of many galaxies and that even our universe might be one of many. We are short lived animals on a 4 1/2 billion year old planet, members of a species that is probably less than a few hundred thousand years old.
Center of the universe? Ha!
ROCCO

Indio, CA

#9 Jun 4, 2014
clear

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