What do people mean by "not religious but spiritual"?

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    Aug 11, 2014 5:24 AM GMT
    Explain
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    Aug 11, 2014 5:27 AM GMT
    kevex saidExplain

    I believe it's intended to mean not a follower of organized religious groups, but still having a belief in spiritual things.
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    Aug 11, 2014 5:31 AM GMT
    Spirituality refers to a higher consciousness within one's self, such as during meditation. Religion refers to a belief system which usually includes a deity (God, Allah, Satan, Zeus, etc.)

    At least that's how I, the "meditating atheist," understand it.
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    Aug 11, 2014 10:43 AM GMT
    Or that they believe in a higher power but not necessarily a god. Kind of like the energy that exist in nature and all living things.
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    Aug 11, 2014 11:16 AM GMT
    I use it to say that I have spiritual (Christian) beliefs but to say that I don't align myself with any specific church or follow any specific religious rituals.
  • Lincsbear

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    Aug 11, 2014 11:30 AM GMT
    I`m not sure on this(and I don`t think such people are necessarily, either), but I take it to mean someone who feels this material world is less than all there is; that there is a non-material realm or state of mind where other values apply. This could be quite religious or spiritual, or even just a sense of human values like art and its influence on us.
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    Aug 11, 2014 1:05 PM GMT
    People who describe themselves that way are basically talking out their ass.

    It's an intellectually lazy position.
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    Aug 11, 2014 1:24 PM GMT
    Jack_NNJ saidPeople who describe themselves that way are basically talking out their ass.

    It's an intellectually lazy position.
    Agreed. In 90% of the cases I've known it means "I want to believe that God approves of me and anything that I do, and I don't want to follow any rules." My, how convenient.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Aug 11, 2014 1:33 PM GMT
    I take it to mean that someone believes in God and/or a higher power but do not affiliate with any specific religion
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    Aug 11, 2014 1:33 PM GMT
    I am challenged by this position because many/most spiritual experiences FOR ME happen in community. Although I appreciate meditation, enlightenment through solitary study, and the kind of moments you can have in places of natural beauty, I think my strongest times of growth have been because of the structure and fellowship of my church. We are by no means of one mind on... well anything really... but we're all okay with that. Mostly.
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    Aug 11, 2014 1:52 PM GMT
    ShiftyJK08 saidI am challenged by this position because many/most spiritual experiences FOR ME happen in community. Although I appreciate meditation, enlightenment through solitary study, and the kind of moments you can have in places of natural beauty, I think my strongest times of growth have been because of the structure and fellowship of my church. We are by no means of one mind on... well anything really... but we're all okay with that. Mostly.


    This resonates for me. I basically look at the two adjectives "spiritual" and "religious" as being two sides of the same coin. But spiritual implies an individual approach and religious implies doing so as part of a community.
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    Aug 11, 2014 2:03 PM GMT
    Actually it is a more intellectual interpretation of God to say you're spiritual not religious; it means I am aware of a higher power than myself, however I am not conceited enough to think that any ignorant explanation that a human can come up with could ever come close to knowing something that is beyond human limits. It's called trusting the unknown.

    It doesn't matter what religion you have, it will never be deductively valid or provable. That's why some people say spiritual not religious; spirit is more sensible than an inductive story a bunch of people choose to believe, because they're afraid of accepting that they will never truly know how life started. Spiritual people just bypass all of the bullshit and acknowledge that.

    Gotta love the weak judgments made by ignorant guys on realjock. Stick to lifting weights boys, leave spirituality to those who are out to seek real knowledge, not to make fun of other ways of thinking because you're not intelligent enough to understand them.

    Also OP, if you want a good answer on anything that's not fitness related, I would personally recommend asking on a different site. These threads are full of guys who just troll and talk shit because they're bored.


  • MikeW

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    Aug 11, 2014 2:31 PM GMT
    TO22 saidThese threads are full of guys who just troll and talk shit because they're bored.

    LOL, the irony of saying that to the OP is priceless.
  • MikeW

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    Aug 11, 2014 2:44 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidSpirituality refers to a higher consciousness within one's self, such as during meditation. Religion refers to a belief system which usually includes a deity (God, Allah, Satan, Zeus, etc.)

    At least that's how I, the "meditating atheist," understand it.

    This is a very good answer.

    I was born a mystic. That is to say, from a very early age I had what are called "mystical experiences"… but they didn't take the 'form' or use the 'symbols' of organized religions. These kinds of experiences continued on into high school and I tried to connect them to Christianity but ultimately I saw that wasn't "it". When I took LSD for the first time (Mayday, 1967), that confirmed what I'd begun to suspect--it all has to do with "consciousness." (I put the word in quotes because there's a lot of debate about what *it* is and isn't.) I haven't had these kinds of experiences often as an adult but occasionally.

    I don't really like the word "spiritual" any more than I do "religious" because "spiritual" can include everything from ouija boards and Séances to channeling, telepathy and a whole lot of other stuff.

    One of the best books ever written on this subject, IMO, is a very early one, "The Varieties of Religious Experience," (wiki) by William James. If you google it you can find a PDF of it online.

    At this point the questions among those intellectuals who ponder such things are, "does consciousness exist?" and "if so, are there (qualitatively) *higher* states of consciousness?" Big questions.
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    Aug 11, 2014 3:02 PM GMT
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=not+religious+but+spiritual
  • Sakura

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    Aug 11, 2014 3:07 PM GMT
    TO22 saidActually it is a more intellectual interpretation of God to say you're spiritual not religious; it means I am aware of a higher power than myself, however I am not conceited enough to think that any ignorant explanation that a human can come up with could ever come close to knowing something that is beyond human limits. It's called trusting the unknown.

    It doesn't matter what religion you have, it will never be deductively valid or provable. That's why some people say spiritual not religious; spirit is more sensible than an inductive story a bunch of people choose to believe, because they're afraid of accepting that they will never truly know how life started. Spiritual people just bypass all of the bullshit and acknowledge that.




    This exactly. I identify as spiritual rather than religious, not because I'm lazy, rather I've come to the conclusion that a human's relationship to the divine is more complex and wonderful than any human can assign a methodology to.
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    Aug 11, 2014 3:28 PM GMT
    TO22 saidActually it is a more intellectual interpretation of God to say you're spiritual not religious; it means I am aware of a higher power than myself, however I am not conceited enough to think that any ignorant explanation that a human can come up with could ever come close to knowing something that is beyond human limits. It's called trusting the unknown.

    It doesn't matter what religion you have, it will never be deductively valid or provable. That's why some people say spiritual not religious; spirit is more sensible than an inductive story a bunch of people choose to believe, because they're afraid of accepting that they will never truly know how life started. Spiritual people just bypass all of the bullshit and acknowledge that.



    Except that theologians from an early age have said very similar things. The nature of God is that any attempt we make to explain him/her/it is inherently flawed.

    I personally don't get very caught up in attempts to surgically codify if/what/where God/higher power is, and belong to a faith community where there is room for that. I LOL at people I know who argue fine points of divine nature with such conviction, for just the reason you state above. Our Presiding Bishop, upon being cornered by fundamentalists and pressured to state that "Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation" replied that for us to think that our understanding of the Divine is the only way he/she/it is capable of manifesting to humanity is to put the same in a very small box. She's also a scientist, and pretty free-thinking.
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    Aug 11, 2014 3:59 PM GMT
    TO22 saidActually it is a more intellectual interpretation of God to say you're spiritual not religious; it means I am aware of a higher power than myself, however I am not conceited enough to think that any ignorant explanation that a human can come up with could ever come close to knowing something that is beyond human limits. It's called trusting the unknown.

    It doesn't matter what religion you have, it will never be deductively valid or provable. That's why some people say spiritual not religious; spirit is more sensible than an inductive story a bunch of people choose to believe, because they're afraid of accepting that they will never truly know how life started. Spiritual people just bypass all of the bullshit and acknowledge that.

    Gotta love the weak judgments made by ignorant guys on realjock. Stick to lifting weights boys, leave spirituality to those who are out to seek real knowledge, not to make fun of other ways of thinking because you're not intelligent enough to understand them.

    I'm not sure I agree with the part of your statement 'it means I am aware of a higher power than myself, however I am not conceited enough to think that any ignorant explanation that a human can come up with could ever come close to knowing something that is beyond human limits'.

    I agree that it's an unknown but think that for many, the explanation by humans, and in many instances, the interpretation by humans is not discounted by those who claim to be 'spiritual' but instead it's the membership to a specific religious affiliation that tends to embrace only the humanistic view of that higher being that differentiates the two. Many formalized religions have skewed the unknown to specific to meet their 'needs' and I think the spiritual look well beyond that to possibilities that might be inclusive over many groups of religion but not embraced by them all.
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    Aug 11, 2014 4:00 PM GMT
    Nivek said
    Jack_NNJ saidPeople who describe themselves that way are basically talking out their ass.

    It's an intellectually lazy position.
    Agreed. In 90% of the cases I've known it means "I want to believe that God approves of me and anything that I do, and I don't want to follow any rules." My, how convenient.


    Agreed, but I'd say the 90% is too low of an estimate.
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    Aug 11, 2014 4:14 PM GMT
    ShiftyJK08 said
    TO22 saidActually it is a more intellectual interpretation of God to say you're spiritual not religious; it means I am aware of a higher power than myself, however I am not conceited enough to think that any ignorant explanation that a human can come up with could ever come close to knowing something that is beyond human limits. It's called trusting the unknown.

    It doesn't matter what religion you have, it will never be deductively valid or provable. That's why some people say spiritual not religious; spirit is more sensible than an inductive story a bunch of people choose to believe, because they're afraid of accepting that they will never truly know how life started. Spiritual people just bypass all of the bullshit and acknowledge that.



    Except that theologians from an early age have said very similar things. The nature of God is that any attempt we make to explain him/her/it is inherently flawed.

    I personally don't get very caught up in attempts to surgically codify if/what/where God/higher power is, and belong to a faith community where there is room for that. I LOL at people I know who argue fine points of divine nature with such conviction, for just the reason you state above. Our Presiding Bishop, upon being cornered by fundamentalists and pressured to state that "Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation" replied that for us to think that our understanding of the Divine is the only way he/she/it is capable of manifesting to humanity is to put the same in a very small box. She's also a scientist, and pretty free-thinking.


    Then how does she explain Jesus' statement: "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life." He could have easily said that he was one of many ways, many truths, and many lives.

    "No one comes to the Father except through me."

    The ultimate choices one has to choose from about Jesus is (1) he is who he says he is and meant what he said (I AM WHO AM), (2) he never said those things (which calls into question everything attributed to him in the NT and Christianity collapses like a house of cards, or (3) he was an egotistical lunatic.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4864

    Aug 11, 2014 4:31 PM GMT
    ShiftyJK08 said
    TO22 saidActually it is a more intellectual interpretation of God to say you're spiritual not religious; it means I am aware of a higher power than myself, however I am not conceited enough to think that any ignorant explanation that a human can come up with could ever come close to knowing something that is beyond human limits. It's called trusting the unknown.

    It doesn't matter what religion you have, it will never be deductively valid or provable. That's why some people say spiritual not religious; spirit is more sensible than an inductive story a bunch of people choose to believe, because they're afraid of accepting that they will never truly know how life started. Spiritual people just bypass all of the bullshit and acknowledge that.



    Except that theologians from an early age have said very similar things. The nature of God is that any attempt we make to explain him/her/it is inherently flawed.

    I personally don't get very caught up in attempts to surgically codify if/what/where God/higher power is, and belong to a faith community where there is room for that. I LOL at people I know who argue fine points of divine nature with such conviction, for just the reason you state above. Our Presiding Bishop, upon being cornered by fundamentalists and pressured to state that "Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation" replied that for us to think that our understanding of the Divine is the only way he/she/it is capable of manifesting to humanity is to put the same in a very small box. She's also a scientist, and pretty free-thinking.


    Obviously you are a fellow Episcopalian.

    From reading these posts, it is clear that not everyone means the same thing by "spiritual", and I guess that's OK.

    In many respects, I agree with our Presiding Bishop. Moreover, I think that God is more concerned with social justice and the way we threat each other than with exactly what we believe. Jesus and many of the OT prophets were very concerned with social justice, love, and fairness and less concerned with details.

    I have little in common with very pious people who are very concerned with theological details and have no love in them.
  • FRE0

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    Aug 11, 2014 4:42 PM GMT
    UndercoverMan said
    ShiftyJK08 said
    TO22 saidActually it is a more intellectual interpretation of God to say you're spiritual not religious; it means I am aware of a higher power than myself, however I am not conceited enough to think that any ignorant explanation that a human can come up with could ever come close to knowing something that is beyond human limits. It's called trusting the unknown.

    It doesn't matter what religion you have, it will never be deductively valid or provable. That's why some people say spiritual not religious; spirit is more sensible than an inductive story a bunch of people choose to believe, because they're afraid of accepting that they will never truly know how life started. Spiritual people just bypass all of the bullshit and acknowledge that.



    Except that theologians from an early age have said very similar things. The nature of God is that any attempt we make to explain him/her/it is inherently flawed.

    I personally don't get very caught up in attempts to surgically codify if/what/where God/higher power is, and belong to a faith community where there is room for that. I LOL at people I know who argue fine points of divine nature with such conviction, for just the reason you state above. Our Presiding Bishop, upon being cornered by fundamentalists and pressured to state that "Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation" replied that for us to think that our understanding of the Divine is the only way he/she/it is capable of manifesting to humanity is to put the same in a very small box. She's also a scientist, and pretty free-thinking.


    Then how does she explain Jesus' statement: "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life." He could have easily said that he was one of many ways, many truths, and many lives.

    "No one comes to the Father except through me."

    The ultimate choices one has to choose from about Jesus is (1) he is who he says he is and meant what he said (I AM WHO AM), (2) he never said those things (which calls into question everything attributed to him in the NT and Christianity collapses like a house of cards, or (3) he was an egotistical lunatic.


    How can we be certain that everything attributed to Jesus is accurate? The Bible was not even compiled until centuries after the crucifixion at the first council of Nicaea in 325. Votes were taken about what to include in the Bible. I don't doubt that much of what was attributed to Jesus was basically correct, but surely not all of it. It is likely that some of the early church leaders slanted things to enhance their influence.

    I think that we are on solid ground when we state that God's main concern is how we treat each other and that making Him out to be an egotistical being whose main concern is to find excuses to punish us is wrong. About other things there is less certainty.
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    Aug 11, 2014 4:44 PM GMT
    ^^ The you fall under option 2.
  • FRE0

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    Aug 11, 2014 4:49 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said^

    I wouldn't put too much weight into quotes by other people made thousands of years ago as being accurate. Who were these people that supposedly stood by and recorded all that was said and that occurred during the life of Jesus? And how could anyone have been present to record the formation of human life such as "Adam a d Eve" in order to write about it in such detail? They're just stories. Like Greek mythology, they're fictional stories created with the intent to explain humanity and also mold behavior for the sake of societal control/management.


    I think that we can forget about Adam and Eve, etc., from the literal accuracy standpoint. However, some of these stories, though not literally true, may make valid points.

    Much of the Bible is simply a reflection of ancient Hebrew culture much of which I am sure has nothing to do with the Will of God. For example, ancient Hebrew culture required a raped woman to marry her rapist and there are instructions on how a solder is to go about kidnapping a woman he finds attractive. Other parts of the Bible are a history of the ancient Hebrews and we know that when people write their history, they slant it to rationalize some of the horrible things they did. On the other hand, some of the prophets show great concern for social justice, fairness, and helping the poor. That, I believe, does express the Will of God.
  • FRE0

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    Aug 11, 2014 4:51 PM GMT
    UndercoverMan said^^ The you fall under option 2.


    Not really.

    The fundamentalist position, with which I do not agree, is that one must accept everything in the Bible or none of it. The fact that they say that does not make it true.