“I’m not religious. But I’m a very spiritual person.”

“I’m not religious. But I’m a spiritual person. Very spiritual. I’m not into organized religion.”

Can’t think of a claim I’ve heard more often in my interviews with filmmakers, actors, and artists.

I’ve always wondered, if you reject any kind of organization of your spiritual convictions, if you don’t have any kind of shape or definition to what you believe, what is your spirituality made of? Of what use is it? And if you believe spirituality is arbitrary, and that we feel a need to agree on anything fundamentals about good, evil, God, and morality, are we then stuck in suspicion of any group of people that affirms the same basic convictions?

Here’s Jason Morehead exploring these questions in response to a post by Eric Tonjes:

Should we be spiritual?




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  • Yes, Peter.

    To call me “anti-impressed” by such a claim understates my reaction … I think it’s a near-infallible sign one’s dealing with a self-absorbed nitwit.

  • petertchattaway

    “I’m not married, but I’m a very sexual person.”

    “I don’t believe in organized/institutional relationships.”

    And so on.

    Me, I’ve never understood why people think being “spiritual” is anything to brag about. You might just as well say, “I’m a very physical person.” Well, yeah, duh. Bodies and souls — that’s us, all right.

  • I think these people usually mean to say “institutional” when they mistakenly use the word “organized”.

  • an interesting – if old – argument. personally, i believe both are required, but the devil’s in the details. if someone’s set of experiences, beliefs and spirituality has led them to reject any one particular organized religion, that should not make them evil, morons, groundless, or any other derogatory term. and let’s suppose we share many of the same beliefs, but not all, *and* i exercise them *very* differently than you. so what? why is difference such a bad thing? what’s so black and white that it’s worth fighting over?

    sure it’s a slippery slope, but i think a little more balancing of the heart, mind and soul, as we examine spiritual truth, would prevent…i don’t know, maybe a few holy wars. and that would be really nice.

    i know this is jumping off track a bit, but for me, this is the underlying issue. many who are “spiritual but not religious” are seen as standing for nothing, when that’s patently untrue.

    btw this is my first time to comment – only been reading a few days – good stuff.

  • There is a facebook group named “I am religious, not spiritual”

    In reality though this is one of those false dichotomies that show a mistaken understanding of the virtue or religion whose purpose is to render to God the worship due to Him.

  • I think perhaps this kind of statement says more about our religion (Christians in particular) than the beliefs of the person making the statement. In other words, I think they are rejecting what they see as religion but acknowledging a desire for something great and even a sense that they have a connection with the “something greater.”

  • “Religious” seems to me to define what people do on the outside. Some religious activities are detrimental because they are intended to accomplish the impossible‚Äîimpressing God or earning merit. On the other hand, some religious activity is an expression of the heart. In other words, there is no categorical answer.

    The same can be said about “spiritual,” for surely Wiccans are spiritual, as are Hindus and Buddhists and those engaged in New Age belief. There is no merit to believing that there is a spiritual realm and that there is spiritual power apart from humans. However, belief in the spiritual seems to be a prerequisite for belief in the tenets of the Bible, so it appears to be a necessary ingredient in finding Truth.

    I guess the point is, I don’t think “being religious” or “being spiritual,” either one, is something, of its own or even together.