When I hear someone tell me that they're spiritual, but not religious, my first reaction if I'm not smirking is something generally like, "really?"
Someone who is religious believes in a God who is a superhuman controlling power and a belief in something greater than them self.
Someone who is self-described as spiritual, but not religious is someone who believes in the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul, as opposed to material or physical things. Sort of sounds like the definition of a Socialist, but that might be for a different discussion. According to Wikipedia the term spirituality originally developed within early Christianity.
Someone who is religious is also spiritual. I mean, what do you think houses of worship are for. You could be someone who practices a certain religion but doesn't believe in God or is simply neutral when it comes to God like an Agnostic and be spiritual in that way. There's this growing movement with young people (meaning Millennial's) who don't want to be religious or at least seen as religious with people they hangout with or respect, because they believe those people will think they're not cool or something, but they also don't want to be identified as Atheists either. So they try to thread the needle (so to speak) and self-identify as spiritual.
Spirituality is very common and popular with hipsters especially in Hollywood who believe religion is not cool, or at least their followers believe religion is not cool, but they're not comfortable identifying themselves as Atheists, because they come from religious families or perhaps just don't want to be known as an Atheist. In case it isn't obvious, Hollywood is about perception and not reality. Style over substance, which is something that they have in common with politicians.
If someone tells me they're an Atheist, I can respect that. I mean really, who can honestly actually say they've seen God before, let alone met the man. I mean, we don't see any sightings of Jesus Christ, or Moses, or Allah, except maybe around Halloween.
Its the fundamentalist Atheists who I have a problem with who look down upon people who are religious simply because they're religious. Or the faux Atheists who claim to be Atheists, but only critique Christianity especially fundamentalist Protestant Christianity because of hard-core stances that Evangelicals take on social issues and bigotry that they show against gays and other religions, women's place in the world, but never critique other religions that have similar, if not identical stances on the same issues.
Or so-called Atheists who label people as bigots even when they accurately critique Muslims for their regressive views on the same social issues that Evangelicals are known for having. And of course I'm talking about how the so-called politically correct Far-Left went after Bill Maher a few years ago for his stances against Islam. Bill Maher is a real Atheist and doesn't just call himself to sound cool with hipsters.
I'm an Agnostic myself simply because I don't know if there is a God or not. As a Liberal I base all my political beliefs as well as non-political beliefs on reason, evidence, and facts. Instead of having faith in some so-called higher being who supposedly always has my best interest at heart. Even though I never met this supposed person. And I'm someone who tends to not have faith in things or people, unless there's good reason and evidence to have faith. But just because you don't know that there is a God, doesn't mean you know there isn't a God. Which is where I separate from Atheists.
A big problem with America especially with young people (I know I sound like a grandfather now) is faddism. This need to be seen following whatever the current trend is especially with whatever fad young cool people are following. If walking down the street or showing up to work wearing nothing but a t-shirt, underwear, and cowboy boots, became a regular thing with whoever the current hot celebrities are supposed to be, you would see thousands if not millions of young Americans doing the same thing. And we would probably see a spike in the unemployment rate as a result, at least with young adults, because those people would get fired right on the spot for completely breaking the company dress code. Spirituality along with Scientology, is a Hollywood hipster fad and when its no longer seen as cool is when it will disappear. But not a movement that I respect or even take seriously.
|Source: Koi Fresco: Religion Vs. Spirituality|