Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spiritual and Religious

Without a doubt, it is a new day for spirituality in our world. In the popularity contest of modern life, it is religion which can't get a date for the prom. More and more, people are declaring themselves "spiritual but not religious," and it is both a problem and progress for us.
The problem with being "spiritual but not religious" is that it is a dead-end for the spiritual seeker. Without the positive "tools" of religion, it can only describe a person's point-of-view -- expressing a sense of open wonder and personal conviction about transcendent possibilities and the numinous on the one hand, and a disinterest in, or dissatisfaction with known religious history, structures and dogmas on the other.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not criticizing people who identify themselves as "spiritual but not religious." Anybody who feels compelled to choose spirituality over religion has, in my opinion, "chosen the better part" -- to quote Jesus from the Gospels [1]. Sometimes it seems like the only appropriate response. The problem arises when we are asked, or we ask ourselves, "How are you 'spiritual but not religious'?" For when we try to answer the question, we either have a difficult time explaining it, or immediately start to name activities we do, or refer to teachings from existing religious traditions that undermine the original statement.
Read the rest here


Benjamin J. Short said...

When speaking of spiritiuality vs religion one must acknowledge why people are separating themselves from religion. People still desire community, which religion was meant to provide. People who are spiritiual will meditate which the religious call prayer. Its not the structure of religion that most often puts people off. Its what religion, or at least Christian religion often stands for. Bigotry, sexism, racism, anti-semitism and so on. This list could go on and on in which people use Jesus to justify their hate. Until this pervision of the gospel stops then more and more will seek spirituality over religion, but who can blame them.

Kimberlynn Alexander said...

A person can be both spiritual, but not religious. Religion is man made. Paul explains in that a person can be both fleshy and spiritual. its depends on the person relationship towards God. You can sowed to the spirit which will yield to life or you can yield your members to flesh, which leads to death.

KTodd said...

Great article! I often hear the debate between being spiritual and religious. I, myself, have been caught giving more weight to relationship than religion. But I agree with the writer that separating the two is not the best option. There are important parts or “tools” as described in the article that are necessary for our spiritual growth and if we completely throw religion away we miss the depth that we are trying to attain in our spirituality. I believe that when some people pick up the “spiritual” mantle that they are really denouncing some of the traditions that they don’t understand and have deemed unnecessary. And truth be told some of them may be unnecessary because of cultural changes or technological innovations but to completely rid ourselves of the basics of religion would be akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water.