By Alan Miller, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Alan Miller is Director of The New York Salon and Co-Founder of London's Old Truman Brewery. He is speaking at The Battle of Ideas at London's Barbican in October.
The increasingly common refrain that "I'm spiritual, but not religious," represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious "movement" - an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect - highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.
Spiritual but not religious people are especially prevalent in the younger population in the United States, although a recent study has argued that it is not so much that people have stopped believing in God, but rather have drifted from formal institutions.
It seems that just being a part of a religious institution is nowadays associated negatively, with everything from the Religious Right to child abuse, back to the Crusades and of course with terrorism today.
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.
That attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that "feeling" something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more "true” than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us.
The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.
What is it, this "spiritual" identity as such? What is practiced? What is believed?
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
The accusation is often leveled that such questions betray a rigidity of outlook, all a tad doctrinaire and rather old-fashioned.
But when the contemporary fashion is for an abundance of relativist "truths" and what appears to be in the ascendancy is how one "feels" and even governments aim to have a "happiness agenda," desperate to fill a gap at the heart of civic society, then being old-fashioned may not be such a terrible accusation.
It is within the context of today's anti-big, anti-discipline, anti-challenging climate - in combination with a therapeutic turn in which everything can be resolved through addressing my inner existential being - that the spiritual but not religious outlook has flourished.
The boom in megachurches merely reflect this sidelining of serious religious study for networking, drop-in centers and positive feelings.
Those that identify themselves, in our multi-cultural, hyphenated-American world often go for a smorgasbord of pick-and-mix choices.
A bit of Yoga here, a Zen idea there, a quote from Taoism and a Kabbalah class, a bit of Sufism and maybe some Feing Shui but not generally a reading and appreciation of The Bhagavad Gita, the Karma Sutra or the Qur'an, let alone The Old or New Testament.
So what, one may ask?
Christianity has been interwoven and seminal in Western history and culture. As Harold Bloom pointed out in his book on the King James Bible, everything from the visual arts, to Bach and our canon of literature generally would not be possible without this enormously important work.
Indeed, it was through the desire to know and read the Bible that reading became a reality for the masses - an entirely radical moment that had enormous consequences for humanity.
Moreover, the spiritual but not religious reflect the "me" generation of self-obsessed, truth-is-whatever-you-feel-it-to-be thinking, where big, historic, demanding institutions that have expectations about behavior, attitudes and observance and rules are jettisoned yet nothing positive is put in replacement.
The idea of sin has always been accompanied by the sense of what one could do to improve oneself and impact the world.
Yet the spiritual-but-not-religious outlook sees the human as one that simply wants to experience "nice things" and "feel better." There is little of transformation here and nothing that points to any kind of project that can inspire or transform us.
At the heart of the spiritual but not religious attitude is an unwillingness to take a real position. Influenced by the contribution of modern science, there is a reluctance to advocate a literalist translation of the world.
But these people will not abandon their affiliation to the sense that there is "something out there," so they do not go along with a rationalist and materialistic explanation of the world, in which humans are responsible to themselves and one another for their actions - and for the future.
Theirs is a world of fence-sitting, not-knowingess, but not-trying-ness either. Take a stand, I say. Which one is it? A belief in God and Scripture or a commitment to the Enlightenment ideal of human-based knowledge, reason and action? Being spiritual but not religious avoids having to think too hard about having to decide.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alan Miller.
I post this as a Christian invested in getting to know the intracies of the New Testament Jesus. What bothers me most about the blog that Alan posted is the disinterest, or maybe lack of awareness, in acknowledging that at least a little bit of a lot of youth in America wandering away from the church is the churches fault. These are people that do believe in a higher power, that likely believe in sort of creation or guidance in development, feel that there are more important things in the world–and around us–than things we can sense, and for one reason or another they have found Christianity as a sytem wanting. The response from the church has been the simplest and best feeling for them (ironic considering that just doing what feels better is the complaint leveled at spiritual-but-not-religious), that there is something weak and flimsy and self-seeking in this group that drives their dissent. What isn't considered is that what the church is offering, religion and often times not Christ, is actually what is ineffective, flimsy, and uninteresting. We all have organizations with rules, we all commit to these structures. I don't think it is a problem committing to a system, it's the base of our society and is the base for most of our families. It's that most churches are just offering a system, they are offering a system that seeks to do the same thing we would seek to do on our own, to be rewarded monetarily through good business dealing, to be thought well of by the community around us, to have a peaceful home, to have an inner peace with ourself, among others. Religion sells us a system to get the things we want and does so in a Christ-esque. The problem is that these things–our sense of wellness, our wealth, our reputation–was never the point with Christ. The church is trying to teach us how to get the coins in the hand but has forgotten to remind us that the hand is what we actually need. As a church going, Christ loving, doctor sunk in science and rational thought, I have empathy for and commiserate with people who find the church empty at times. Christ is the point, not the system. As long as we are peddling a system, we will find ourselves competing with other systems. It's not what we were made for.
Christ is the point, not the system
What about humans born to a place in the world(not their choice) where they'll never hear about Christ? What's the point for them?
That's a wonderful question! I can't say I have an answer for that. In my heart I believe that there is a way to Christ and heaven for them. I can't imagine a world where Christ would create people he knew to be unreachable and unredeemable, he just seems to love humans too much for that to make sense. I have a few theories, I don't think there's a way for me to know exactly how that will work, but I do believe that there is a way for them. As a side note, though, a religious system won't reach them necessarily either and getting them to do what we do in our church won't necessarily get them to Christ. In reality, making our church and culture a requisite of their repentance could be a factor in keeping them from Christ–"church" is done differently in each country. I don't think there's a standard way to approach Christ, as long as approaching him is the point.
This is a question religious Christians can't anwer. Christ as a spiritual but not religious leader taught that all who love their neighbor as themselves are acceptable to God. This is the dilemma the religious find themselves in but spiritual Christians have no such worries. St. Paul will tell you that every man who obeys his conscience and does right is acceptable to God whether a religious Christian or not.
" he just seems to love humans too much" – how on Earth do you figure that? Honestly, if the human condition is any indication of Christ's love for us, then I sure don't want to see him when he's mad. Also, aren't we supposed to be talking about God and not Christ? Christ was a man and the bible says though shalt have no other gods before me as we'll as some strong words regarding idol worship. I've never understood how a man that lived 2000 years ago can be interchanged with God.
I guess in asking that, now that I've had a few seconds to think, that situation may be the most poignant example of where religion as a system fails and where Christ saves. A religious system could look at those people and say they can't be Christian because they can't follow the system. Christ can look into their hearts, see their intention, and consider them justified based on what they're able to know. A church can't do that, it's a beautiful thing. Sometimes I wonder if we aren't a victim of our own full awareness, what one writer of the New Testament may have called 'the awful grace of god'. I don't think we can be judged past our awareness of Christ. We have such a full access to scripture and religious theory we probably will have a lot more expected of us than they will. They're access to what happened with Christ is so limited, or non-existent, that I believe his expectation of their beliefs must be quite low. May not be the case, but that's what I think is likely if there is to be a way for them to the concept of a creator we call God or Christ in English.
I had a long phase where I wondered the same thing. It's a difficult thing to look at the world and imagine how something powerful and loving could 'supervise' this sort of place. It's hard to reply on here because I've had conversations into a few hours about this one thing. In short, I think we choose how we treat people, god doesn't force us to love others. The idea that we are a broken people and that we have access to his care and his presence is really the heart of Christianity, though. This access doesn't guarantee we treat people or ourselves well though, that's of course our prerogative. When it comes to Christ, his godness is really is the cornerstone of Christianity. You can't call him just a good person or a wise teacher. He stated that he and the father are one, that he would gather all people to him when he ascended from the earth, and that he was with us in the beginning of things and will continue to be. He's either what he says he is or he's a liar, arrogant, and maybe even a little crazy. I wish we could talk in person, it sounds like you have a lot of the same angst I had or still have. It's hard to thoroughly state many things on a blog.
CNN hijacked my name typing: what on earth is a "thepluloanThepluloan"?! Haha. I'll leave it so you know it's the same person. I appreciate your response. I was raised as a Roman Catholic. I guess I just don't see God as anthropomorphised as Christianity would have us believe. You can't say that God loves us as children but has left us to our own devices at the same time. He has created impossible rules to follow but breaking them leads to an eternity of pain and suffering but he does this because he loves us. These concepts don't make sense. Organized religion was created to keep the masses in check. The fact that many people find comfort in it is fine by me. i personally found that it was making me a frightened and guilt ridden person. I tend to believe that if there is a God, he got the ball rolling and now we're on our own. I do love my neighbor as I love myself. Frankly, quite a bit more so than many Christians I know and I do the best that I can to get through this crazy world. But that's another story altogether. It would indeed be interesting to talk more about it in another venue.
This is a question religious Christians can't anwer
ICU and Nii, yes I realize this is not an answerable question, and that is kind of the point. It presents a logical problem, and for me, is the reason that no religion can claim itself to be the "1 and only way", as they do. I don't buy the notion that individuals would be "judged" based on their level of exposure to Christ, with those being exposed being held to higher expectations. That notion suggests that the christian way is the "right way", and that's what I'm saying........that it can't be the right way, if not all humans have equal exposure to it, and an equal chance to learn of it and follow it.
great discussion and you can tell me to but out but i was wondering if you have had any of these discussions with Jehovah's Witnesses?
please go to jw.org or watchtower.org or the next time one stops by just ask and it will not cost anything, yes really free.
@justme – I have in fact had a discussion with someone who came to my door. It was interesting but in the end, what she believes is not what I believe and any amount of showing me scripture to "prove" her beliefs won't work. She then showed up at my door again a few weeks later with her husband in tow and children in the car out front as though I might ask them in for coffee and biscuits (I'm working from home right now and I had told her that). When I said "we had a nice discussion now let's please leave it there." She handed me more literature and said she'd come back again to which I finally just had to be rude and said "please don't". Another woman came by not long after and I finally put a "no soliciting" sign in the window. Honestly, how would you feel if someone from a different faith (or none at all) knocked on your door uninvited and said "I want to tell you what I believe." Isn't that a bit presumptuous and rude?
ICU Guy, you seem nice enough. It's nice to be nice. Why do you need an excuse to be nice?
"In my heart I believe that there is a way to Christ and heaven for them" - and that's it exactly.... in your heart but not your head, because its all bullshit. You make it all up to make yourself feel lovey-dovey and groovy, and you'd hate to think others would be left out of the lovefest, when very clearly, by your own religion's rules, everyone else will go to hell simply for not believing as you do. Why play that game?
Religion is a manmade club like any other, with rules and perks to make the club feel special from other clubs. The club gets together periodically to reinforce the delusions of members. Many branches of this club have dues which most call a tithe.
You've chosen the club that aligns best with your own fantasy concerning how to minimize your fears in life. You and others in the club are afraid so you've made up a god that soothes you by making decisions for you, helping you feel less alone in the universe, and promising you life everlasting. The various club gods offer perks to induce membership such as seeing dead relatives, virginal sex partners, planets to rule or even one's own god status.
Jesus never existed, was and is king of nothing. You don't have to be afraid. You do not need religion.
Deal with the lack of afterlife by celebrating life and family in the here and now. Be responsible for your own decisions. Be kind to the earth and others on it. Forge a path with determination, or "go with the flow" and let life determine the course if you're the lazy type. Either way, you don't need a god or a club for any of that.
theplu etc....actually that is what Jesus and his apostles did and taught, see Mt. ch 10 and Mt 28:19,20. also the first century christians went house to house and any other way they could reach people (see Acts 5:42 and 20:20) there are too many scriptures to site here but if you want JWs to not come back just let them know and they will list you with others who do not want to be called on. they will keep calling if you show any interest but being polite but firm should do the trick. if not then i apologize for those who are not following Jesus teachings. he also made this firm.(Mt.10: 11-15) and thanks for your response. not too many serious responses to JWs. we just want to share what we have learned and free of charge.
@justme – I realize that is your belief... but, from my perspective, it is rude and presumptuous to think that it's ok. I once had a visit from some Jehovah's Witnesses on Christmas morning. Having random people knock on my door to preach their beliefs on a day that they know people are spending their limited time off from work with family? just rude. Also, the world is not the same as it used to be. If I'm home alone, as a female, I don't appreciate people showing up uninvited. You see? You're only thinking about what YOU want and that's not very Christ-like.
plu... christlike is exactly what it is and if you will read the scriptures i mentioned you will see why you are visited at the most opportune time to reach you. and if you would have a serious discussion with JWs you might learn what a true christian is and what the bible really teaches. like i said before tell them not to call again if that is what you really want or maybe we can continue this tomorrow and i will be glad to answer any questions you ask or listen to what you may want to teach me. thanks again for a civilized discussion
also if you think we are doing this selfishly you are mistaken. this is not a paid job nor does anyone get any points for this work but it is a worldwide work to do as Jesus commanded to make God's name and kingdom known and what his will is for this earth and the people on it. please don't be too hard on those who get up early to try to help those who want or need it. if you think about what it takes to do this work you may wonder, why.? if you do i will be glad to discuss this further and save you from standing at the door. i will check back and hope you will give it some thought. thanks again. peace.
@ justme – I have nothing more to say on the matter. I respect that these are your beliefs. Please respect that they are not mine. Peace.
"i mentioned you will see why you are visited at the most opportune time to reach you. and if you would have a serious discussion "
I want to stop by your house to discuss Allah or how about Mohamed? Or even better why should become a white supremest because we need to save our people and our race. Oh, that's right it's only ok if it's YOUR religion but not if it's something else right? You belong in a cult just like all the other nut jobs out there but in your stupidity you're to ignorant to see it which is why we don't want your kind knocking on our doors. If you do then recognize all the other cults deserve the same rights.
so? and the plu and all others; i come here to share in spiritual encouraging discussions. sometimes like at doors we are told "not interested" and many other quotes. it is always nice to find kind intelligent people. but there are always others who may be mad at something and feel they need to take it out on someone they do not know. I know why! and that is why we go door to door. in this world many are looking for the truth and we believe we have found it and it is important enough to share as did Jesus. we have good news for any who listen. for those who want to talk, we listen, and i have had many come to my door and i listen and enjoy those discussions. i know this world is getting to people so just stop and have an interchange of ideas and maybe being nice to one another just might help.(Mt.22:37,38,) (#1 and2) i am moving on and if we cross paths again please just be kind as Jesus and many others taught. but it is most important to make Jehovah's name and kingdom known and soon we will all see what kind of God he is. hopefully as kind to you all as you are to others.
@justso – I have not been unkind to you. Please do not lump me in with the angry poster who posted after I did. I simply stated my opinion. I'm sorry that it is not the same as yours but I have not been unkind to you in any way.
theplu, so sorry to have it look that way. my comment was to all and whoever it applied to. i thought you had moved on and so had i but when i looked back i had to reply to "so" and yes you have been very kind, actually one of only a few. that is why i do not usually stay or come back this often since i find a lot of those here are not here for a good purpose. again, thanks for the interchange and i hope you enjoy your discussions wherever they are. i will probably look again but I try to follow the advice at Luke 17:32.
Spiritual but not religious is most definitely a cop out. It means that you want all of the benefits of being a True Christian with none of the work. You want to go to heaven simply by saying that you believe in God without actually following any of His commands. Being spiritual but not religious means that you can fornicate, be gay, have abortions, look at p0rnography, steal, kill, and use the occult and still expect to go to heaven. But the joke will be on you and I will personally laugh as I watch you get taken to hell for eternity. There are rules and you are too sinful and lazy to follow them so you invent a new version of God who has no rules but God said "Thou shalt have no other gods before me".
I understand your frustration, but saying you'll laugh at people going to hell is well outside of Christ my friend. He was slain, made a criminal, and willing came to a very unhappy earth to die while you we're a sinner and worthy of hell yourself. I pray today that Christ's love may find you.
I am spiritual but not religious. It might interest you to know that I am a Lay Pastor and Bible Class Leader in my Parish. I also aspire to the Theological College to get ordained. Who is a spiritual-but-not-religious. A person who has understood the meaning of the Two Greatest Commandments, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, the Parable of the Two Sons, the Speech at the Last Supper and the Parable of the Unjust Stewards. He is the person who understand 1 Cor 13.
I don't know why I would think my religious duties make me a better Christian. It only makes me proud. I prefer being spiritual but not religious because Christ was spiritual and not religious and so were His Apostles. If you learn this you have saved your soul.
TparTpunk: Your god is a vindictive petty pr1ck. I think you find comfort in this because you appear to be a vindictive, petty pr1ck. Get on your knees and beg like a good little slave
"Being spiritual but not religious means that you can fornicate, be gay, have abortions, look at p0rnography, steal, kill, and use the occult and still expect to go to heaven."
No, d-bag....it means that your view of god is a personal one, not taken from iron age comic books
Two of the seven deadly sins are Wrath and Pride. You are practically a living representation of both.
Are you aware that there are OTHER spiritualities and faiths out there in the world? Most "spiritual but not religious" folks I know have absolutely no desire to be a "True Christian"....whatever that is.
And? Laughing at those about to spend an eternity in torment...how, exactly, is that Christ like?
David: To many, TparT is just a mouthy punk
Nii, I am an ordained minister in the Church of Beer & Universal Life Church. Maybe 10 years ago I legally married 2 friends of mine. All religion is a fraud. If you suffer from a brand of this delusion, it is no less crazy than any other.
Reblogged this on Dispirited and commented:
Thought I may as well reblog the whole thing..
A lot of it echoes what is in the Dispirited book – as does the reaction to it!
JesusNotReligion, in all due respect to your beliefs, if you think the sword, fighting, and warfare the way to the love and grace of God, you may want to reconsider not only other passages of the bible;
One of them ... drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus ... Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.
The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ.
So you can quote from a book of fairytales someone wrote. I suppose I could quote from Norse or Greek mythology if I had wasted time thinking they were real like you have with your source. Would that make it so? Maybe I should grab a Dianetics book and quote a few Hubbard lines–it would have as much credence as the lines you quote.
Spewing lines from a an old text doesn't mean much one way or another except that you don't think for yourself.
Please learn to walk in the many footsteps of Bilbo. In His name as I pray.
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty wet hole, filled with the ends of earth worms and an ozzy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole, with nothing to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort."
From the book of Bilbo, 1:1
An Ozzy smell?
Were there Osbornes, Australians at Bag End?
Heresy! Heresy I say!
Awake! Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake!
You have mistranslated the canon. For Shame!
the book of Bilbo is infallible but I am not... :)
There is no treat from you to me. I speak of your attempt to "know" what's better for others. Be sure of your beliefs for yourself, not for others.
Referring to other peoples beliefs as satanic or wrong will not bring forth any good, or win followers to Christ as you may wish. Most likely it will only feed your ego, or momentarily temper your insecurities.
I see no wrong in your beliefs, I respect them even.
But as soon as you encounter someone of a different belief that thinks to "Know" what your beliefs should be, like you think to "Know" for them, it becomes the a seed that will only borne the fruits of hatred.
It's called faith, and not "fact" for a reason my friend.
Prissy is all ego.
I don't think Prissy wants converts as much as he wants subjects. He wants to play god. It is obvious in his tone
Oh my.... attendance is dropping. Time to write on BlogNN.
There is only one real GOD and His one true RELIGION
that is revealed in an absolutely matchless, Superb and Magnificent MATHEMATICAL LANGUAGE!
So it is time to be Spiritual, and yes, also rightfully Religious!
=UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES=
I do agree with one aspect of the author alan's complaint that there is not one main book (or bible, etc.) for the spiritual not religious group that can be found today apparently. If you want to read just one book to understand all that there is to understand that comprises all the books that this group have access in order to decide for themselves their beliefs – there probably is not one. Is there? anyone know?
It would have to include the true scientific geological, socioeconomic, political, and migratory, etc., etc., history of the human species with updated knowledge gathered from modern scientists and any others that contribute valuable understanding to the complete picture of this group of 'spiritual not religious'.
It would have to be update-able on a continuous or periodic basis to include new information and understanding as they became more aware and/or available.
This would be a very interesting book indeed – one that would include the histories of all religions – and the debated and researched and verified facts and theories and conclusions, etc. about and from every religion.
It would not judge as to the validity of any religion as far as respect for it's being – and for it's importance to whomever these religions affected in whatever way.
This would be a book definitely worth reading in my opinion. Is there one?
I wonder if anyone would go to war because it is written?
You don't need a book to describe the books; you only need one short sentence:
"It's all make believe."
no – this book would contain all things so they can be compared – not just this book or that book – but all knowledge – some of which is not in books per se.
like – the earthsong that you can now listen to on the website spaceweather.com
things like that which now would need to be incorporated into the debates.
There is the internet – but you still have to search – and there is no real verifiable – cohesive debates and facts and conclusions etc. that can be readily trusted nor believed to be other than what it portrays to be – based upon its current relevant knowledge as it is displayed.
There is not this thing that is just one thing as Alan laments – so no way to actually control nor understand the minds of these people – which others lament in echoed complaint as to the need for such control of thought and belief.
so – in that sense – Alan is correct to lament the lack of one central store of knowledge, understanding, and belief that this group basis their thoughts upon – like for instance – the bible, etc.
it would be a very interesting read indeed.
The spiritual don't need a book.There's only one sentence to know, understand and practise. That is "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF"
Maybe it's the time for thecollegeadmissionsguru to go the way of all flesh like the library of Alexandria.
After reading the many posts made concerning this article, as well as to other posts, I agree in part with what has been said. Choosing to be spiritual but perhaps not religious is not a bad thing. I, for one, am of the opinion that each one of us came to earth for a reason and have the opportunity and responsibility to make choices according to the dictates of our own conscience. I also believe there is life after death where we must account for our choices. In sharing opinions at both ends of the spectrum with vicious and hateful words neither motivates or instructs. Expressing our difference in opinions should be celebrated and encouraged, as long as it adds to the discussion. Faith in God can be compared to faith in an athletic coach. The outcome of the sporting event is still in question. Choosing to act according to the direction of the coach may seem questionable by outside observes. But the end result can be victorious, and if it is so, is it not worth it?
Faith in God can be compared to faith in an athletic coach. The outcome of the sporting event is still in question, hahaha. It sounds to me like you are spiritual but not religious. Either way I may be wrong but comparing God to a athletic coach...where to start with commenting...God is the absolute absolute, th all mighty and you compare that to a coach
This is still going? Sheesh. Here's a bit of reality for you folks, just for the fun of it.
Some people believe in things that they can see and feel. They like evidence. Everything else they take with a grain of salt if at all. And, well, that's fine. Call them the Atheists and Agnostics.
Some people need guidance, they need someone else to show them or teach them what to believe. They need a set of rules to follow and a reward promised if they follow them. Call them the believers (of whatever flavor) And, well, that's fine also.
Some people feel a need to be a part of a larger cosmic something but have not found a group that works for them. Call them "spiritual but not religious) And, well, that's fine also.
The SBNR's are the offspring of the fake(socialist) members of the WCTU. Gumit approved and certified. Included in Health Care. Pay up.
Allow women to hold high public office, like Secretary of State? R U Nutz? They'll try to shove sodomy down the throat of the world, and go to WAR for it.
Ah, sodomy is not about shoving anything down anybody's "throat". :-)
Louis, actually, you should look up the word "Sodomy". Oral is included.
Hillary and Monica are soul mates. Bill? Just a rapist.
You sure seem to be obsessed with stuff being shoved down your throat. Is that closet a bit too restricting?
Allow women to vote? R U Nutz? They'll kill 20% of the population and tell the fathers to take a hike.
This article is what's wrong with people. Where do people get off telling other people how to worship/what to believe in/etc? Religion is what each and every individual makes of it for themselves, and they don't deserve to be judged by some one who thinks they know better than everyone else. The author has no right telling people they are worshiping wrongly, just as no one has the right to tell the author that his belief in organized religion is wrong. While I appreciate strong religious beliefs (religious, atheist, or otherwise) there is no empirical evidence showing one belief or belief system is right, and until there is people should not impose their religious beliefs (or judge others on theirs).
Great way to think about religion, but if you read or study any organized religion you will find that it is NOT ok for everyone to do their own thing, hence the reason that some people get in such a snit over this post. Thanks for posting what you did, though, it was reasonable and rational.
I am happy to see more people expressing "spiritualism" rather than religion. Organized religion has been responsible for more evil in the world than ANY other organized group. Billions of people died during the Dark Ages at the hands of the Catholic Church's henchmen. It is time for religion to die.
Agreed...So what's keeping you from worshipping JesusNotReligion?...Are you saved? Have you been, as Jesus said, "born again"?
THE BIBLE RECORDS THE FOLLOWING WORDS OF JESUS SPOKEN TO THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL IN JOHN 4...
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
The Bible is nothing.
As an intellect and a man able to think for himself, I simply do NOT believe in ANY god or gods. I think that the bible was written by barely out of the bronze age men, who were fairly illiterate, for the most part. I believe that MANY if not all of the stories in the bible are literature, not historical. IF Jesus were a real man, which I do not believe he existed, why did he leave NO writings of his own, nothing that would be considered historical evidence of his existence. Why would a man who had the ability to ease the suffering of one man not ease the suffering of EVERY man? Why did he perform his miracles to so few people? I could go on, but you get the idea I hope.
And Further JNR, I do not think that a single "quote" attributed to "Jesus" in the NT was actually uttered by a man named Jesus. They were the construct of writers, whom we have no ability to identify, that wrote decades after Jesus "lived and died" So, you ability to "Quote" the NT has no impression on me.. sorry.
OK...If that's what you BELIEVE...
Oh, by the way...Have you ever gotten a prescription filled by some white coat behind a counter that you've never met before...trusting that he or she knows what they are doing back there....trusting that they don't have sleep deprivation...trusting that they aren't mad at the world...trusting that they actually filled your prescription correctly...? Sure you have. And then you went home and took the pill by faith, didn't you? Well, you can actually know more about the historic character of the Biblical writers than you did of that Pharmacist you trusted...or the doctor you trusted...or the mechanic you trusted...Just something to think about, or not. The fact is that faith is an every day way of life in our daily experience and decsion-making...You should not ne surprised by that...EVERYOHE HAS FAITH, BUT NOT EVERYONE HAS SAVING FAITH.
Equivocation fallacy on your part.
hawaii5-O...Actually it may be non-sequitur...but you get the point, don't you?
First of all, I can simply look behind the counter and see the credentials of said pharmacist, thereby KNOWING who he/she is and where they went to school. We do not even KNOW who the writers of the NT gospels are, no idea at all. Of course your an alogy was simply flawed and quite common. Try again.
Non-sequitur may apply, but your also interchanging several different uses of the word "faith", and implying that all require the same leaps, which would constitute equivocation.
And NO, I do not "get the point" at all. The Bible is perhaps the most studied book in HISTORY and yet, there are still NO real agreements on how the bible was written, how the books were selected, what may or may not have been an interpolation instead of historical writing, and WHO actually wrote most of the books in the bible. After that, there is the veracity of the claims in the book.
By jove I think you're funny! Will someone please tell this person how many people have falsifed being doctors of all sorts of practices. So just because you see some supposed credentials doesn't prove anything, my good man.
SEE THE FOLLOWING FROM LUKE THE PHYSICIAN AND HISTORIAN: Luke 1
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
OK So you are one of those conspiracy guys in addition to a whacky Christian.. No wonder I'm having issues with following your "logic." Of course, I was waiting for the ad hom post, it was inevitable, it always is.
And your quoting the bible doesn't really match up with what you are attempting to sell here, nor do they answer the question, which you seem to keep begging.
And by jove and my good man, what are you suddenly an eighteenth century Brit?
hawaii...I dont agree...all faith requires an OBJECT...My object is the Bible, and the Jesus of the Bible. So, in that sense, all faith is categorically the same...Catch up next time. Heading out now...JesusNotReligion
"By jove I think you're funny! Will someone please tell this person how many people have falsifed being doctors of all sorts of practices. So just because you see some supposed credentials doesn't prove anything, my good man."
By your own argument, you are proving that the bible itself can not be trusted at all. IF, by your argument, so many credentials are being falsified, then surely one so important as the bible that has been translated, copied, re-copied, retranslated, and because we have NO copies of the original writings, then we have to conclude the bible is falsified.
guru...Just having fun. You are coming across as some self proclaimed Oxford intellect so I became a bit satarical...sorry. You are probably a very nice guy (or gal...?)...I apologize...Have a good night...thanks
If you still worship Jesus as divine then following him is still "religion", my friend.
@JNR, I am just a lowly VP for Enrollment Management at a fairly exclusive Northern University who has been doing this for the past 30 years, hence the name.... I did attend Oxford in 1995 for a short while, even lectured there on race relations in America because of my work with the desegregation of public colleges in the South back in the 1980's. And forgive me for taking things wrongly.. Peace.. oh, and I think I'm a pretty nice guy, thanks.
Cq...real quick...I dont agree, and neither would Jesus...He died to form "relationships" not another "religion" that requires mediators, altars, special buildings in a special land, along with all the external religious trappings and ceremonies. There is definitely the act of worship even though Jesus calls us "friends"...keeping that in balance is very important...Good night
guru...apology accepted...Funny about the Oxford thing...I was in about 7 Teen Magazines for 2 1/2 years in the 80's, and then the Lord got a hold of me one night after opening up for John Waite and I have never been the same – and no drugs or alcohol were involved.You'll have to take me at my word on all that, as I you...Ya see, it's really not that difficult to excercise faith afterall...You should apply it towards Jesus some time...Good night my good man :-)
Sometimes I almost wish that your fantasy were true - pretty simple stuff - but I do not find any evidence that it is. Shall I PRETEND?!
@JNR I do agree that the concept that is Jesus did indeed begin not as a building or as a tenent based on what has become Christianity in the world today. That is the problem with all religions, the "god" doesn't lead or speak to his followers. Wouldn't it be so much easier if Jesus would just come back, or if God would simply speak to his followers? See, the absence of god is evidence enough for the non existence of god, at least for me it is. I would love to hear more about your time in the 80's. And, I have never said that faith does not exist, it simply doesn't exist for me where religion is concerned...
You may not agree, but that doesn't change that what you're doing with the word faith is an equivocation fallacy.
hawaii...Look at it this way...If I built a chair and asked you if you believe it can hold you up, you'd examine it and then probanly say, "Yes, I BELIEVE it can hold me up." But WHEN will that "statement of faith" of yours prove itself true? When you sit in the chair, right? The Bible/Jesus (the Word made flesh of whom all the prophets had written) is the chair, hawaii, examine Him and then come to an end of yourself and your life-justification that tells you who you are, why you are here and where you are going when you die, and trust in Jesus...place all your weight, your entire being on Him. I hope you will, but I can not make you, nor am I supposed to...it's really between you and the Triune God of the Bible...believe it or not. Remember though, it unequivocally takes a form of "faith" to say you don't believe what the Bible claims in and of itself. Sorry
Listen, I was a believer for close to 50 years. I finally had to admit that there is no-one out/up/over/under/around there. The Bible is not holy nor divinely inspired. The Emperor has no clothes. Sorry.
Once again, there are multiple meanings of the word faith, and you're using a single meaning with multiple situations that it wouldn't apply to. Perhaps to clear this up, I don't have faith a chair will hold me, I have a reasonable expectation that it will. The statement will work with a particular meaning of faith, or the word I use, and it will mean the exact same thing. The faith you're talking about is belief without any evidence, and that's not what I have when I sit in a chair.
As to reading the bible, been there done that, found it incredibly divisive, immoral, self contradictory, and at some points, flat out refuted. I was raised Christian, and even went to a Christian school for about 11 years. I have examined the bible, and found it to not only be untrue, but also just plain evil.
hawaii...You are, I believe, grasping at straws, and straining the fundamental, categorical meaning of faith: i.e. OBJECT and TRUST...So let's play a little game...
Jesus asked, "Who do YOU say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15 emphasis added)
1) I was born of a virgin and called Immanuel (lit. "God with us")...WHO AM I?
2) I was born in Bethlehem; One who came from eternity...WHO AM I?
3) I, the King of Israel, humbly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey...WHO AM I?
4) I was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver...WHO AM I?
5) They pierced my hands and my feet; they cast lots (gambled) for my clothing...WHO AM I?
6) I was pierced in my side and mourned for as one mourns for an only son...WHO AM I?
7) I was pierced for sinners; the chastisement for their peace was upon me; by the whippings I received they (who believe) are healed (lit. Forgiven); I was Sovereignly sent to be put to death but I saw the light of day (resurrected) because the grave could not hold me...WHO AM I?
***If you or any of you fine, loving people said the above passages (just 7 out of 300+ that could be cited) referred to "Jesus", you would all be correct! But I do have a secret for you. ALL of the above references are from the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) dating 450-1000 BC (Before Jesus was even born). The gospel of Jesus (Messiah) was preached from the Old Testament BEFORE IT WAS EVER WRITTEN DOWN IN THE "NEW". (caps for emphasis)...
Now I'm not saying that you have to believe in what I wrote. It's not my responsibility to make anyone believe. You can receive Jesus by "faith" or you can continue rejecting Him by "faith"...But you just heard/read the gospel...
Here are the above Old Testament PROPHETIC REFERENCES I cited, all of which were fulfilled in a real Historic PERSON...
1) Isaiah 7:14 (700-800 BC)
2) Micah 5:2 (700-750 BC)
3) Zechariah 9:9 (450 BC)
4) Zechariah 11:12 (450 BC)
5) Psalm 22:16-18 (1,000 BC)
6) Zechariah 12:10 (450 BC)
7) Isaiah 53 (700-800 BC)
Thanks for the opportunity to share my faith-based "worldview". So who do YOU say that Jesus is? JesusNotReligion >
And this is a problem, why? Historically, both of the American Great Awakenings, not to mention the Protestant Reformation, were preceded by a mass rejection of organized religion and a preference for home-based faith or itinerant preachers. The Jesus People who came out of the 1960s-70s were also motivated by a search for a personal relationship with Jesus. Given the choice between spiritual revival and dead religion, you betcha I'd choose spiritual but not religious.
The people of my generation, and even the one of my children are part of that dead wood however. The real revival seems to be with the younger generation of 20 somethings who aren't concerned with taking on stupid battles with gay marriage and evolution like their parents. The old Jerry Falwell generation has dried up, and the kids want a spiritual "relationship" that doesn't include everyone else as "enemies."
Alan Miller – you mention as appreciation for The Bhagavad Gita and the Quran, so obviously you're aware there are other viable religions to become a part of, then you make a statement to Moby about God/Scripture or New Enlightenment being the only options? When you say God/Scripture, do you mean ONLY Christianity (with your references to the bible) or any religion that has a scripture (such as Islam or Hinduism)? When you say "New Enlightenment," what exactly do you mean in regards to making said choice?
So many people don't understand that any spirituality that excludes God, our Creator and His son Jesus Christ, whom He sent to redeem fallen mankind, IS OF SATANIC ORIGIN.Some may even "include" Him, but only to be one among many "ways"
But there is only ONE God, and ONE truth about Him. Jesus Christ is God's Son, being Himself God in the flesh, to declare and explain the Father. He came to restore mankind to God, and to give eternal life to all who will put theri trust in Him and recieve Him as their personal saviour and Lord. Anything else – is lie.
Satan doesn't mind you being "spiritual", dabbling into shady unknown, even into some religions that sound so good and harmless... he doesn't mind whatsoever. In fact he'll shower you with ideas HOW TO BE spiritual, just leave out Christ, God's son.....because he knows that there is only ONE WAY for mankind to be saved, and without Christ, he's got them all wrapped around his little finger... Now, why don't' so many see that? Because of what Christ said in John 3:19-21 Go see, if you care to know!
How the hell do you know all this? And don't give me the "bible tells me so" bullshit. Get off your knees and spend some time getting educated.
I have to ask. Why would Satan, if he did exist, give a rat's ass what people believe or feel. That people are hugely important to God is weird enough, but why would we also be important to Satan?
Your post that's less than 2 lines long reveals WHY YOU don't know it! If YOU got down on YOUR knees and humbled your wretched soul, before God, your Maker, you may get up from your knees much wiser and a ton of load lighter!
because humanity is in a spiritual battle.
There is a war in heavenlies.
God vs. satan.
Satan hates God
Satan hates human beings
Satan envies human beings
God gives way of salvation to human beings
Satan does everything to keep human beings from coming to God.
That's how he gets his satisfaction
That's how he gets back at God
God loves human beings so much that He gave the ultimate sacrifice just to redeem us.
I tried that when I was little. All it did was make my knees sore and make me ashamed for wasting the time. The whole concept of having to grovel and worship some imaginary boss is totally repugnant to me. Apparently not to you.
Hey Athy...Did you get saved last night? Did the Spirit blow like the wind and cause you to be born again or not? If not, there's always today because "today is the day of salvation"...Today you can be born again...Today you can be set free, forgiven, redeemed and reconciled...just like the thief on the cross who got saved at the end of his life....Now that's GRACE...Amazing, loving, merciful GRACE...wooooosh.....
Prism, I respect you Beliefs, and those of all other people. We should all be free to have them. But when you start imposing your faith upon others by trying to make your personal beliefs theirs, that respect ends.
And this very same blatant disregard for others, is the very same kind that has been strive, conflict, and even wars through-out history to this very day.
It strikes me that certain people are so overly sure, or insecure, they have a strong tendency to impose their views. Jesus will not the lord and saviour to a Buddhist monk, or a Shinto.
Your views simply breed intolerance, and in a worse case hatred. So my advise is, share what you think with others, without disregarding other peoples beliefs by. Have conviction in your faith, and leave you brothers and sisters in this world theirs.
prissy.....what incredible hubris, purporting to speak for god.
I can see that we are, at least at times, at war with our imperfect selves and with each other. If we could see ourselves as pawns and victims in a struggle between Satan and his God we might feel ourselves less to blame, less responsible, for what we do.
When you see me or any other Christian threaten you to convert to believe in Christ or put a gun to your head and force you to deny your Buddha, muhammad or whatever god you pray too, then you can say what you said in your post. If I know that God of the Bible is Lord of all creation, and His son Jesus hrist is who He said He is, and if I know that the future without Him is death to human soul, it would be crime, I repeat, a selfish , cruel crime not to let my fellow mankind know. Many ar poor, opressed and f in meed. They know they need Christ. We hare in the west are well fed, self sufficient and full of f pride. We don't need God , so we think. But to those whose hearts are longing to know, I and my fellow brothers and sisters will always reach out to. You simply don't have to do anything... Now , does this sound like shoving my Go down your throat? I think NOT!
Thesoul...With all due respect, I hope you don't mind me interjecting...Jesus isn't looking for patronizing "fans", He is calling people out to become worshippers and followers of Him. The Roman Empire was one of the most pluralistic societies. You would have fit in well there, and you can read how "tolerant" theu were of Jesus...
Look what Hitler said below:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.
I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;
anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Oh, wait a minute, did I say that was Hitler?...No...I meant Jesus. Yes, those are the recorded words of Jesus. And the reason you posted what you did is because you unfortunately have no idea WHO the Jesus of the Bible is...You think Jesus is just some good and moral teacher like the rest. He wasn't horribly crucified because He healed peoplea and taught them to love their neighnor as themselves..No, that's not why they put Him to death. They pounded nails through His flesh after beating Him beyond recognition because He claimed to be the Lord God, the King of Israel, who alone is God, and wno alone to be worshipped. If you lived in His time, guess what? You would have been screaming 'Crucify Him! Crucify that pig who says everyone other religion and spiritual way is wrong!'
Now try and respect that by repenting and trsuting in Jesus who died for rebellious, ignorant sinners like you and me...
I apologize for my many typos. Im on my tablet and it is not easy to negotiate at times...
Since there is no "soul" or "sin" then Jesus wasted his time on the cross. And no, I'll respect no deity who thinks everlasting torment is a good idea. That's terrorism, and we just can't let terrorists win.
So many people don't understand that any spirituality that includes God, as Creator and His son Jesus Christ, whom He sent to redeem fallen mankind, IS OF DELUDED ORIGIN.Some may even "exclude" Him, but only to be one among many "ways"
But there isn't any ONE God, nor ONE truth about Him. Jesus Christ is not God's Son, being Himself not God in the flesh, to declare and explain the Father. He did not come, either to restore mankind to God, nor to give eternal life to all who will put theri imaginary faith in Him and profess to receive Him as their personal saviour and Lord. Anything else – is less of a lie.
Satan doesn't exist, and so doesn't mind you being "spiritual", dabbling into shady unknown, even into some religions that sound so good and harmless... he doesn't mind whatsoever. In my best guesstimation which I call 'fact,' he'll shower you with ideas HOW TO BE spiritual, just leave out Christ, God's son.....because for some crazy reason I think he knows that there is only ONE WAY for mankind to be saved, and without Christ, it makes me giddy to imagine he's got them all wrapped around his little finger... Now, why don't' so many imagine that as I do? Because of some words I was told from a friend of a friend of a friend that Christ said in John 3:19-21 Go see, if you care to know!
Mobyyyyyyyy!....You pagan, you...Still screaming 'Crucify Him!' in your sinful rebellion...Still swinging the hammer and pounding the nails into Jesus' hands and feet....Still tearing the flesh off His back with your defiant words...Still mocking Him with the rest of the crowd while He is praying, "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do."....Still pitching the same ol' schtick that reveals your wicked heart that I once had. My confidence, however, is that if Jesus wants you to give your life to Him, you will. YOU WILL...and not by "external coercion", but rather "internal conversion"...wooooosh!
End Religon...The more you write, the more your ignorance is revealed. Take another swig of your beer and go back to watching The Flintstones with your bag of Goldfish...and contemplate how often you make blanket statements in your posts as if your the almighty, all knowing goonie guru. I have faith and so do you, but your faith is in the empty abyss of YOURSELF! Wilmaaaaaa! That Barney Rubble, what an actor, eh? And how 'bout that Betty, she's hot, huh? I'll let you get back to your Cartoon Network...Don't expect anymore replies to you...You've heard enough of the gospel to repent or perish...
I could scream at the altar of a church, with a crucifix stuck deep up my asshole, that I fuck Jesus Christ hard through the hand holes and cream on his crown of thorns, and I will never hit the level of blasphemy that’s required for someone to pray to god for their family’s pet dog to return home. The idea that someone can claim that they know there’s a god because they feel it, because they trust a book that they were raised with, because they had an epiphany, and then ask this god to change its mind about its plan for the universe is arrogant. Once you say you have the answer to everything, but you can’t prove it to anyone else, I don’t think you can accuse anyone else of being arrogant. I think you are the king of kings of the arrogant assholes.
And you can go back to your 1st century super-hero comic book... which those guys didn't even have the skills nor creativity to illustrate with even one single piece of on-the-spot evidence.
Hear This...All I can say is WHATEVER...Isnt that your worldview statement? No absolutes....no meaning...you really dont know who your are, why you are here or where you are going, do you...Just kinda feeling your way through this world, looking to get the most out of it until one day you are without strength and youth, lying on your death bed asking yourself, "What the hell was this life all about about?" You will be hoping the Bible isnt true, and that all of us followers of Jesus who were offering His salvation, the forgiveness of sins to you were really all delusional. See you on the other side if you repent...Now let me go finish the last few pages of my Green Lantern comic. Love that guy...but he really has a strong will...Later
Why can't the "one truth" about Jesus be that he was far less intolerant than you give him credit for?
Or you could be lying on your death bed wondering whether God was actually real and, if not, would people think all your judging just made you a jerk who liked to make people miserable?
God could just get rid of Satan as an influence, but he chooses to play this game with him, with us as the "chips", right?
"See you on the other side if you repent"?
Pretty sure of yourself, eh JNR?
I was raised Catholic and abondoned my faith when I became an adult, mainly because of the church's stand on women as priests, birth control and a total disregard of the overpopulation problem facing our planet. Organized religion is not, nor has it ever been, the answer to our problems. We need to look within to find the answers to who we are and why we're here. It's not complicated yet we make it so hard.
Congrats, Sharon. Best of luck to you in this adventure we call life!
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.