Anyone else know people who say this and find it really annoying?

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Mostly what "I'm not religious but I'm spiritual" really means is "I'm so bright that I made up my own religion. It's not one of the dumb religions other people believe that have names. It's MY PERSONAL religion."

I'm sure is speaking from his own experience. Is that not good enough? It certainly is for me. I don't expect one to have done extensive studies to enter a conversation with said person.

the word "mostly"... bothers you? What if I said mostly all Christians believe what they have learned from religion is all that they will ever need to know? That would be from my own experience as well.

When it comes to the word "spirituality" MOST people are thinking of or pertaining to the spirit. Do I have to perform a study and have this scientifically proven or can we just agree that i'm right?

Point is, none of the conversations on this board would get very far if everything needed scientific backing before you could say it. And what would be the point in discussing anything.. we would be better off simply sharing links to scientific papers.

When it comes to the word "spirituality" MOST people are thinking of or pertaining to the spirit. Do I have to perform a study and have this scientifically proven or can we just agree that i'm right?


That depends which of the couple dozen definitions of "spirit" you're using this time.

The soul...

Because by literal definition that's what it implies.

I think you know the most common definition of spirituality is the "of or pertaining to the soul..." one I think you are making a point more towards that you think that is irrelevant.

I think you know the most common definition of spirituality is the "of or pertaining to the soul

No. I don't know that. In fact, I've NEVER heard anyone use the phrase "I'm spiritual" in any way that implies "of or pertaining to the soul".

If that were the case, "I'm spiritual but not religious" would literally mean "I'm of or pertaining to the soul, but not religious" which is a nonsensical sentence.

Spirituality is a very difficult to define term. People who self-label as a specific religion use it. Non-religious believers use it. Non-believers use it. Obviously, they all use it in very different ways. There is no "most common" definition amongst all the groups of people who use the term.

If that were the case, "I'm spiritual but not religious" would literally mean "I'm of or pertaining to the soul, but not religious" which is a nonsensical sentence.

Yeah, but the word tends to be used by people who aren't very logical, engage in magical thinking, and throw words around more for effect than to explain themselves.

Besides, taking people literally is only one of several ways to take them. I think you'll find that most people who are self-proclaimed spiritualists also believe in some quasi-religious and hare-brained concepts like astral projection and channeling, both of which require a concept of the soul (or a belief in ghosts). They also often bandy about half-baked notions borrowed from Eastern religions, even though they might claim not to be religious.

...the word tends to be used by people who aren't very logical, engage in magical thinking, and throw words around more for effect than to explain themselves.

This has not been my experience. All the "spiritual but not religious" people I know tend to be more logical, and better critical thinkers than the majority of highly religious people I know.


Also, "spiritualist" and "spiritualism" is not the same as spiritual, much in the same way "gnostic" is not the same as "gnosticism."

let's look at urbandictionary.com...

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=spirituality

The definition i'm referring to has 69 up votes and 23 down.. surprisingly enough some form of the definition you attribute to spirituality is listed on the site. Unsurprisingly there are only 5 upvotes of people who subscribe to it... regardless... at the very least. According to urbandictionary.com the definition we're referring to in this thread is reigning supreme. As I think we all know it would in any other scenerio anyway.

Kris, no idea why I can't respond to your post but... for the record I think that's my personal favorite entry.

You do realize that the top voted spirituality definition according to the "urbandictionary" demographic also includes "This use of the word is so vague that it can be redefined to mean anything, even something that is completely materialistic.The writer of this entry then adds a rant implying "spiritual people" are actually atheists who do not want to adopt the label.

Also, as Kris pointed out, the top definition (115 upvotes 53 down) for spiritual is...What people on dating sites describe themselves as because they are afraid that nobody wants to marry an atheist.

This seems to imply the urbandictionary demographic understands the MAJORITY of people calling themselves "spiritual" are not religious and simply do not want to avoid potential mates by labeling themselves atheists.

So drago, if we want to use urbandictionary as a source of wisdom, perhaps we should be discussing why so many atheists consider themselves "spiritual" instead of assuming MOST people who use the term are actually religious and are referring to belief in the soul, as this is the opposite of your opinion on what MOST people who use the term actually mean.

I think herein lies the problem. "Spirituality" is an ill-defined, kind of inherently ambiguous word. People who want to call themselves spiritual because they meditate, or because they like to reflect on the beauty of reality, or whatever - these people I have no problem with. In these cases I just think that "spiritual" is a poor word choice, because it can bring with it all kinds of unintended connotations.

But I have likewise met plenty of people (such as the girl in question) who just posit unsubstantiated claims totally analogous to religious beliefs, but that are overly generalized, purposefully hazy, and irritatingly new-agey, and all for the sake of throwing off the religion label. This annoys me. 

There's a fantastic lecture from Neil DeGrasse Tyson where he mentions how "there's a kinship with the cosmos that resonates deeply with new age thinking" and compares his feelings about the cosmos to the feelings of religious people who have revelations. (around the 5:47 mark)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RjW5-4IiSc#t=5m47s

I think "spiritual" is the poorest word choice, except all the other words. Our language has no other word to describe this feeling. Perhaps skeptics should invent one.

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