underthesun

"Spiritual, but not religious"

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I've known a lot of people over the years who have described themselves as "spiritual, but not religious," but I've never known exactly how to interpret that. It seems like everyone has a different meaning to the phrase, some with specific undefinable beliefs, and then some who seem to use it just as a way to avoid saying that they're an atheist or agnostic. 

 

So, I'm curious. What do you assume someone means when he/she identifies as "spiritual, but not religious"? Or, if you identify as that and feel comfortable talking about it, what does the phrase mean to you?

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I never really understood the meaning behind that myself. My guess is that the spiritual person in question believes in somewhat of a higher power or an afterlife but is unsure what it is and don't follow any particular established and organized belief system.

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I think some people use the phrase as a cop out from calling themselves agnostic, or as another way of saying that they're [what some people call] a "Moralistic Therapeutic Deist".  However, I do think that most of the people who call them themselves "spiritual" actually are theists, and that they're just not involved in organized religion.

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I would say it means that you have a relationship with God rather than just following rules that a specific religion set in place. I think you can be a particular religion and be more spiritual than religious. So therefore, if you were a person who was Baptist, for example but God revealed to you that something that your church believed and practiced was wrong, you would desist from that particular thing rather than just continue because that's what someone of your religion would do. 

 

Basically, your relationship with God is more important than rules set in place by a church or other organized religious institute.  

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I would say it means that you have a relationship with God rather than just following rules that a specific religion set in place. I think you can be a particular religion and be more spiritual than religious. So therefore, if you were a person who was Baptist, for example but God revealed to you that something that your church believed and practiced was wrong, you would desist from that particular thing rather than just continue because that's what someone of your religion would do. 

 

Basically, your relationship with God is more important than rules set in place by a church or other organized religious institute.  

 

This is sort of how I feel - I know that I believe in God, but I have absolutely no idea which denomination I fit into.  I wasn't raised in a religious family so I didn't grow up following a particular denomination.  It's quite hard as I don't know which church to go to - I've tried a couple and almost felt like a fraud or at least an outsider as I was not familiar with the teachings of that particular denomination.  I suppose this identifies me as being spiritual but not religious, as I believe in and have a relationship with God, but don't currently follow any formal religious practices.

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I would say it means that you have a relationship with God rather than just following rules that a specific religion set in place. I think you can be a particular religion and be more spiritual than religious. So therefore, if you were a person who was Baptist, for example but God revealed to you that something that your church believed and practiced was wrong, you would desist from that particular thing rather than just continue because that's what someone of your religion would do. 

 

Basically, your relationship with God is more important than rules set in place by a church or other organized religious institute.  

 

I think that's an excellent summary of how some people use the phrase. Out of curiosity, based on your capitalization, do you believe the phrase is mainly used by those following God (the Abrahamic god) or could it be used by those forming relationships with other gods, as well?

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This is sort of how I feel - I know that I believe in God, but I have absolutely no idea which denomination I fit into.  I wasn't raised in a religious family so I didn't grow up following a particular denomination.  It's quite hard as I don't know which church to go to - I've tried a couple and almost felt like a fraud or at least an outsider as I was not familiar with the teachings of that particular denomination.  I suppose this identifies me as being spiritual but not religious, as I believe in and have a relationship with God, but don't currently follow any formal religious practices.

 

I understand where you're coming from there, except I was raised attending several different churches depending on which family members I was with at the time (and we're talking switches between various Protestant denominations and Catholicism, so I was a confused little child for a while).

 

Anyways, if you're happy not going to any formal services, then that's grand, but just in case you're still looking to find a church to go to, you might want to look for something non-denominational. I'm fairly certain those exist?

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I'm spiritual. I believe in God, Jesus, the parts of the bible I have read. I just don't go to church. Never raised religiously so there's no church I can go to and feel at home. I genuinely don't want to go to church. Just no desire. I learn about God in other ways and to some people I know, it makes me less of a Christian. Whatever.

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My mom is an atheist, and doesn't believe in anything supernatural, but describes herself as spiritual. Not really sure how that works to be honest, but she says she gets spiritual satisfaction from going out in nature, gardening, etc....

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I am a good example of a spiritual but non religious person but it is very difficult to describe what spiritual means. You can't actually describe it, you either can feel it or you just can't, You can't choose to become one, it is because you are 'like this' that you are spiritual.

 

The belief I follow is a mystic, spiritual approach to the belief in love. The biggest mystery according to our spiritual teachers and masters is love. They spent their lives wandering in the mountains and forests to seek and find love. Such as Yunus Emre, Bektashi, Taptuk Emre, Mevlana and many more. But none could understand its depth, its intensity, its meaning to its fullest extent.

They all concluded that even if a person gave up on everything that not even then they could be close to finding it.

And it is through this quest to find love that they believe in God.

We believe that only 2 people could be able to reach the level of true love: Layla and Majnun. They both are in high regard to us and this is reflected in their poems, as they both transcended into a state of love that none could or ever will understand. They reached a level that didn't need the body to love the other, to keep on loving even after death. Majnun was still in love with herafter her death and always rejected her death by saying: Layla lives within me. He was with her, but not in body. How could he betray his love by being with another one?

This phrase is what makes this true love-story legendary.

 

To make it simple for you: a regular believer would act like this:

 

Holy book 1 says: Blabla is the prophet and anyone beside him claiming him to be a prophet is a liar

 

Holy book 2 says: Blabla was the previous prophet, the one whom we believe in is the last absolute prophet Lalala whose prophecy is proven by the uncorrupted Holy book 1.

 

Candidate chooses the religion he is convinced to be true. Candidate believes in Holy book 1 and doesn't question anything related to it since he is convinced. He may or may not know about it to its fullest extent. Rules of religion: pray like this, this many times a day on this hour. Candidate doesn't pray but believes in religion according to holy book.

 

A spiritual mysticist would act like this: the mountains, the flowers, the animals who roam the earth, it is an undeniable fact that there is something greater that created all this, why should we be the only planet with such beauties?

Yes it is God, but it is not simply believing in a 'God'. What is this God? Our belief teaches us that it is impossible to know what God is, it could be everything that exists, even the most destructive black hole, and that it is all acting as one body, leading and guiding us.

It could be that God is you and I, not in body or spirit, but in that we are part of it. What if what we call nature is God and it just is a being like a flower, not moving or speaking or talking like the image we have on our minds when we think about God?

The fight between atheists and believers is hereby useless, as both believe in the same thing, one believes in it as an incarnation and the other in something called science and movements. It is the interpretation that labels us as such things.

I am atheist and I am believer, and so are you. Come, whoever you are, come.

 

Who said that you can reach God by just praying to him? What if I can reach to him by playing my baglama as a troubadour? What less is it than a prayer who prays like he has to according to his religion? What is a prayer? Is it some sort of yoga to try to show your gratitude to God? Who said that the one who prays does it because it is not an obligation? What use has it if you do not even try to reach God while praying?

 

Our quest is to find the truth. What is the truth? Is it an undeniable fact that our planet is unique? Yes. Then what is that thing that makes this planet extraordinary? God. But what is it? And here comes the misinterpretations that divides us.

 

I am a cultural muslim who denies the quran and rejects Muhammad's teachings since I don't accept polygamy and many other things. I cannot deny the 'truth' that I cannot accept it. I also cannot deny the fact that his prophecy is doubtful. Nor do I reject or accept his prophecy. And on terms of his prophey, I'm an agnostic.

The truth is, that the quran is full of nonsense, like the geocentrism, the flat-earth belief, the fact that you can have sex with your slaves even if she doesn't want to (rape/coercion) and its dozens of verses about killing 'kafirs'. Yes, you.

 

The fact is undeniable that there are multiple variants of the quran, all written after Muhammad's death. Recent findings of mysterious palimpsests prove that the quran that exists today does not retain its originality.

We are believers in the cousin of the prophet Ali, our grand master and philosopher Mevlana and our teacher Bektashi.

 

Our belief is to find the truth, the mystery of love and walk the path of absolute justice.

 

It is this difficult to tell yet clear as to who we are. If you can feel us, then you can understand, if you cannot feel us, you can't understand. Even then, come. Whoever you are, come.

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ok i can't speak for everyone because this phrase can mean a wide variety of things, but ill put it in my perspective,

i would conciser myself spiritual but not religious, first of all, i was raised "religious" i know about all the rituals of the church and what not, however i was not saved. i practiced a lot of sin and was spending time with a lot of wicked people who would negatively influence my into trying stuff. i did not gain anything from being religions, i didn't feel any different, i did not make any changes in my life ect. i did not find the truth until i became spiritual.

 

Today, i do not agree with religion at all. the only thing religion does is find differences and causes war. the church can't save us, calling yourself __(insert form of christian here)_____  wouldn't save you. being a member of ____(insert church here)____ would not save you. The only way you will be saved is by have a personal relationship with Jesus. to do this we turn from our sins, repent, and follow the teachings of Jesus. i feel like people are getting too cared away  with "religion"  most religious people do not know Jesus, Jesus tells us, "my sheep hear my voice and they follow me" YES JESUS DOES SPEAK!!! instead of practicing all these rituals and ceremonies, why don't you yourself seek Jesus, i mean, he changed my life, and i only got closer to him when i stopped following the teachings of the church and what these so-called preachers claim, and started following Jesus. 

 

don't get caught up in religion, i came to understand that when you do you are following man, man can lie and deceive, however the Holy Spirit will never deceive you. when the holy spirit teaches you, you know for sure that it is the correct teaching. seek every day to be baptized with the holy spirit, and be led by the spirit of Christ.

 

now this is what the phrase means to me, however like i said in the beginning, it has a bunch of meaning. for example, i got a few friends who call themselves spiritual, but by this they mean that they have had a "spiritual experience" or "ego death" which happens when you take psychedelic drugs. (and please don't try it drugs only last a short period of time, the substance of God lasts forever) so though they too are also spiritual but not religious, the context is much different.

 

sorry for the essay reply, but hope some insight is gained:)

take care

-josh 

 

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I would say I'm something like that. I believe in God, but I'm not sure I believe in everything people say s/he is. I may see him/her differently to people who closely and precisely follow religious teachings.

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I have seen this defined two ways.

One is in sort of a hippie view or a view borrowed from Eastern religions of being in tune with the universe and in being more concerned with their own ideals of peace than in accumulating 'natural' possessions.

The other is perhaps how I could partially describe myself. A sincere believer, with a relationship with Christ. Not part of any church or denomination though, I have yet to find one that doesn't write off parts of the Bible they don't like or can't fully explain or control. Or that doesn't water down the Gospel so they can get more people in the door (and sadly by implication, more money). Or that doesn't add some of their own 'essential' rituals and routines to follow so that people can make worship a habit rather than a personal experience. Some would claim that not going to an official church regularly is a problem, but that's not where it's at. "Where two or three gather in my Name..." It is about getting together with other sincere believers, in Christ's Name.

It would be unfair and presumptuous to deny that many churches do some good. And it isn't an excuse not to learn more about Christ in a church if that's what works for you. But many churches can also limit people, either by never telling them there is more to be had than simple repentance (and in some cases their sin-repent-sin-repent cycle) or by actually telling them not to listen to people who would teach them more. It takes a lot of faith and humility to encourage people to go further.

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I consider myself a Christ follower, not religious. I haven't gone to church in awhile. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is far more important than religion. Jesus Himself did not like religion.  Right now I'm reading a book called Jesus is> than Religion by Jefferson Bethke. I would recommend it. 

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I was brought up in a Hindu family and I do follow certain traditions (read - festivals with tasty culinary celebrations). Me being religious goes as far as that. On a serious note, I follow certain traditions because they help me feel close to my heritage. At the same time my folks encouraged me to learn about other religions and their practices. I attended a Christian school as well. I believe in God, and I recognise that different people worship HIM / HER differently. I will be friends with a person, based on what kind of a person he/she is, not because of the religion they follow or they do not. Would I change my faith for any reason? Probably not and not because I am overtly religious, but because of my cultural links. Being a good human being is much more important to me than being a good Christian/Hindu/Muslim/etc. etc.

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I think it's just one of those nebulous terms like being politically "Independent" (as opposed to conservative or liberal) that includes a whole range of different beliefs & ideals. To me, "spiritual but not religious" probably means that these individuals believe in some sort phenomena that isn't yet explainable by using either science or religion, or at least not to such individuals' satisfaction. You might have to ask any given person who identifies as such about their specific beliefs, different people might have totally different or even contradictory beliefs.

 

 a "Moralistic Therapeutic Deist"

 

Seriously!  <_<  :lol:

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