"Spiritual But Not Religious"
Nancy Rosenbaum, associate producer
"I think in a way that kind of cliche ‘spiritual but not religious,’ which apparently is a thing more and more people say to describe themselves, is in a way an attempt to reconcile in some cases with science. In other words…if I say I believe in this highly anthropomorphic God, if I’m religious and too old-fashioned in a sense, or buy into specific claims of revelation, that might not sit well with the modern scientific intelligence."
—Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God (February 2, 2010)
New research from the Pew Forum on Public Life reveals that a sizable slice of the Millenial population (people born after 1981) does not affiliate with a particular religious denomination or faith. We’re aware that people of all ages are defining themselves under the expansive umbrella of “spiritual but not religious.” We see this, in part, through the weekly listener emails that flow into our inbox.
Our contact form includes a question: “What faith tradition, if any, do you belong to?” Here are examples of some recent responses we’ve received:
- none now
- I defy labels ;)
- Christian, Baptist… though I refer to myself as a “recovering evangelical” currently not affiliated
- atheist, with emerging theory of spirituality
- the teachings of Christ, the Buddha, and my dog, not necessarily in that order
As you can see, it’s quite a spread. In his recent public conversation with Krista, Robert Wright provided some helpful insights about how this “spiritual but not religious” trend might relate to a concern with what he calls “modern scientific intelligence.”
If you consider yourself “spiritual but not religious,” can you help us understand what this term actually means to you? Does science have something to do with it? Is it primarily a youthful Millennial trend, as the Pew Forum report suggests? Are there other terms that you would add to the list above to describe yourself on this “spiritual but not religious” continuum?
42 Notes/ Hide
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- francesca C. answered:My feeling is that “spiritual rather than religious” really does not allude to sciene; it alludes to not “believing” in organized religion.
- bsides answered:Yes, science, but also the awareness of the ways that humanity has abused and distorted religion leaves me trusting only my heart for truth.
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- Andrew Grose answered:Religion exists to orient us in the universe as it is understood. As this understanding evolves, so must our spiritual life.
- Rachelle answered:For me, it has nothing to do with science and everything to do with the fact that all gods are one and love is the law of the universe.
- Karen W. Gronau answered:Older people are spiritual but not religious as well. I fit this category. Sometimes I call myself a humanisitc seeker who is spiritural.
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- mayme answered:Don’t believe in organized religion.
- Sally Brown answered:At 63 I use spiritual as awareness of energy permeating through and beyond humans & earth. Religions are doctrinaire, judgmental & exclusive.
- Maughn Gregory answered:”Naturalism” is more positive than “atheism,” & “wisdom” is more naturalist than “spirituality”
- Scott Inglett answered:For me the term “spirtual” means that I’m continually cognizant of the fact that I’m a “sojourner” on this planet, not a permanent resident.
- Courtenay Allyn answered:Religious ritual of Congregational youth had no deep personal meaning for me. I believe there is SOMETHING more. Science&Spirit can co-exist.
- marnie leinberger answered:Not about science for me. “Religious” is dogmatic/rigid. “Sprititual” implies growth. There are spiritual churches though. i go to one ;)
- almaswithinalmas answered:To me, spirituality means searching for constant peace & a Divine Presence without the need of specific religious law or texts
- Karen MacKenzie answered:non-exclusive
- Wayne Jayes answered:I am religious (attend anglican church regularly) but I do not believe in God (that is the Old Man who lives on the other side of the sky.
- Sam Morales answered:SBNR means to me a seeking of spiritual experiences and connection with mankind and the universe withough going through the religion box.
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