Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

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Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:15 am

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/2 ... ?hpt=hp_c2

Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.


The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.


At the heart of the spiritual but not religious attitude is an unwillingness to take a real position.


I'm inclined to agree with this guy. The pick-and-choose smorgasbord of spirituality allows one to not take a real position or to choose only those things most palatable, if it is logical or true or not. On the other hand, the smorgasbord might allow some to discover the Dharma or at least be more tolerant and peaceful to the rest of the world.
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby lobster » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:50 am

Some atheists . . . mentioning no Buddhists . . . have no need of religion
and are spiritual. :soapbox:

New Agers are often toe dipping before more mature alignment. :yinyang:

Being religious does not make one spiritual. That is the
task of ones integrity. :namaste:

We of the true dharma (where available)
are not dissuaded or persuaded by religion, spirituality
or other half built rafts . . .

time for my jedi training :jedi:
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Indrajala » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:51 am

You also lose the distilled wisdom from a given established tradition.
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby plwk » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:52 am

Well David, perhaps terms like 'spiritual' and 'religious' needs their proper definition and context whenever they are raised or otherwise, one is looking at another futile debate of 'til the cows come home' thingy and IMHO, the article has not really addressed it but just ranting on generalities based on falliable human behaviour rather than the actual philosophy?

And the second issue is that what's 'spiritual' for one may be regarded as 'religious' and vice versa for another and the whole dynamics...so where is the line drawn or should a line even be drawn in the first place?

Recently, an interesting thought as I raised here, where the Dalai Lama was musing over 'secular ethics'...even suggesting that 'religion' is no longer adequate, something that both religionists and non religionists can mutually agree on rather than the usual insistence that religion is necessary to formulate ethics and sidelining the nons in the process? Similarly, would that idea work in the 'spirituality vs religion' debate?
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby viniketa » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:59 am

If we go back to the Latin origin of the English word "religion" (most accepted root is "religare" - "to bind fast"), it has to do with 'binding fast' to the traditions and practices of a household, including worship of the god held by the householder. Often, rather than being born to a house, one came to the house through being a member of a conquered nation taken as slaves. Too keep "order" in the house, it was essential that all living in the household follow the same practices.

Given that history, and the additional baggage that goes along with "organizationalized" religion today, I must say that I largely disagree with Alan Miller (author of that article). In organizations of all types, today, persons have feelings of powerlessness that threaten the orderly psyches of individuals.

That said, in almost all spiritual traditions, some degree of "relinquishing self" to a power or process greater than the "self" is a central idea. If one is unable to accomplish this to some extent, than the beliefs and practices are rather useless whether one calls them 'spiritual' or 'religious'.

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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Adumbra » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:23 am

My understanding of being spiritual but not religious is that you believe in metaphysics, but refuse to have your metaphysics dictated to you by anyone who claims a special revelation. To say that someone cannot be spiritual without subscribing to a faith like Islam or Buddhism seems no different from saying that someone cannot be ethical without embracing a particular moral code such as utilitiarianism or humanism.
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby lobster » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:11 am

well said guys :twothumbsup:
those Sith had better watch out . . .
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:04 am

David N. Snyder wrote:http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/29/my-take-im-spiritual-not-religious-is-a-cop-out/?hpt=hp_c2

Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.


The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.


At the heart of the spiritual but not religious attitude is an unwillingness to take a real position.


I'm inclined to agree with this guy. The pick-and-choose smorgasbord of spirituality allows one to not take a real position or to choose only those things most palatable, if it is logical or true or not. On the other hand, the smorgasbord might allow some to discover the Dharma or at least be more tolerant and peaceful to the rest of the world.

These are not necessarily mutually exclusive positions. One may be religious to a point, but more prone to solitary practice (perhaps called spirituality).
Others may prefer the social aspect of religion and don't practice at all. There are many nuances in between. In the least the author oversimplifies things.
I think there might be an agenda of sorts behind such statments. Perhaps gaining converts to a cause?
Taking a position may be exactly what one should avoid, especially if such position is based on ignorance. But being a syncretic gatherer, picking and choosing what pleases one's ego is the also the wrong way to go. Both seem positions rooted in ignorance.
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby underthetree » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:09 pm

I'm not sure that, strictly speaking, it's possible to be spiritual but not religious to at least some degree. But one can be religious and not follow one particular creed.

So...

Can you separate spirituality from the practice of religion?

What 'spirit' is implied in 'spirituality'?

Is the term 'spirituality' actually of any use when discussing Buddhadarma?
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby seeker242 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:55 pm

Is it not just their karma that causes one to be "spiritual but not religious"? Can you really blame someone for having the karma that they have?
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:12 pm

That's the real cop-out: blaming it on karma. :lol:

Karma is not a fixed thing. Usually we can always do something. The extent to which we can change the result of our karma varies a lot and depends of many factors.
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby seeker242 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:50 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:That's the real cop-out: blaming it on karma. :lol:

Karma is not a fixed thing. Usually we can always do something. The extent to which we can change the result of our karma varies a lot and depends of many factors.


Seems to me that the one who says "spiritual but not religious is a cop out" is the one who is doing the blaming! So what if someone is "spiritual but not religious". As long as they are not out there robbing banks or killing people, they why would it matter to someone else? If a person is not causing harm to others, then why is their spirituality anyone elses business to begin with? I don't see any "new agers" out there robbing banks and such!
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:04 pm

How do you define "spiritual"? If one must be a practioner of Highest Yogic Tantra to be called "spiritual" then a ot of people are excluded. On the other hand, there are tons of people seeking the deeper meaning of life, who are concerned with right and wrong, who wonder how to deal the the uncertainty about how a well-intentioned action will work out, and more. And they are not associated with any religion at all.
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Re: Being spiritual but not religious is a cop-out

Postby Music » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:02 pm

Religions in general encourage superstition, mindless worship of deities or gurus, blind following of traditions, and rituals. Plus they're usually politically motivated. No wonder people want to be spiritual without the baggage of religion. Why can't I just practice meditation without calling myself a buddhist? Is that wrong? Must I sign a written confession or something? :shrug:
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