What is the clarification?
I only find it annoying if somebody insists that his or her belief in an unpersonal higher power which governs the universe intentionally be more rational than the creeds of religions believing in a personal higher power which does so. I do not mind using ‘spirit’ or its grammatical deviants in the sense Carl Sagan pointed out.
I hear it all the time. I do find it somewhat annoying but only because it doesn't really mean anything.
It find it somewhat bothersome for the same reason. And also because it gets them a pass as spiritual but also as "other than" religious...a bit of both worlds. Sometimes I think people say that when they're not sure what kind of company they're in and they want to avoid controversy by being honest about their actual beliefs. Dunno.
I think it's mostly because they want to believe in "the soul" which to me is the foundation of all the major religions. The major religions would not exist without this concept of living after death.
It's the fear of death that brought rise to all of this...
Wouldn't it be nice to believe "i'm going to a better place, where I can see my mother and father again" Not a difficult think to sell to people! But it is also the source of MUCH irrationality in the world today. Including religion and the other supernatural crap that has enticed so many pointless killings.
I don't like it because it means they believe in souls... and the SOUL is the source of religion.
When someone says it, I realize this is someone I can't talk serious philosophy to. It's a very hippie-dippy softheaded thing said by people who, in general, aren't very rigorous or skeptical thinkers.
So.. maybe you should just ask them why they are spiritual.. question why they believe in the soul. Ask them WHY? Point out that all the major religions and the concept of the soul share the same amount of evidence. And if they aren't religious maybe they shouldn't believe in spirits. Then again. Semantics could also come into play... maybe they consider their "spirit" to be just their personality. In that case... say you should consider just using the word personality instead of spirit.
Of course, at the same time, these aren't the people you can really have a deep discussion about theology with.
See, for you... you just want to be able to live your life in peace not believing in god without being rejected.
For me,... that's not nearly enough... I want the WORLD to believe in rational things for the betterment, progress and longevity of humanity and all life on earth.
The only sense of "spirit" you'll find me using is the one that goes along with expressions like "school spirit" or "team spirit." In other words, enthusiasm. Oh, I guess there's another one, come to think of it. Certain liquids, like alcohol, are referred to as "spirits."
Don't many of the "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual" people take that position to have a kind of religious experience without having to adopt a catechism?