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The spiritual but not religious likely to face mental health issues, drug use, study says
January 9th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

The spiritual but not religious likely to face mental health issues, drug use, study says

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Can being spiritual but not religious lead to mental health issues? The answer is yes, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the January edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry, says spiritual but not religious people, as opposed to people who are religious, agnostic or atheist, were more likely to develop a "mental disorder," "be dependent on drugs" and "have abnormal eating attitudes,” like bulimia and anorexia.

“People who have spiritual beliefs outside of the context of any organized religion are more likely to suffer from these maladies,” said Michael King, a professor at University College London and the head researcher on the project.

Thirty percent of respondents who identified as spiritual said they had used drugs, a number that was nearly twice as much as the 16% of religious respondents who said they had used drugs, according to the study. Among the spiritual respondents, 5% said they were dependent on drugs, while 2% of religious respondents identified as dependent.

On mental health issues, the study said spiritual but not religious people were more likely to suffer from “any neurotic disorder,” “mixed anxiety/depressive disorders” or “depression” than their religious counterparts. Overall, 19% of spiritual respondents said they suffered from a neurotic disorder, while 15% of religious respondents responded the same way.

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The practice of being spiritual but not religious is difficult to define and has a number of gray areas. The phrase is generally used to describe people who do not attend church, atheists who believe in some sort of higher power, free thinkers and the unaffiliated. It is also used for people who blend different faiths.

In short, King writes, “People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.”

King, who said he has received a substantial amount of hate mail over the study, defended his findings, “If you take drug dependency, they are about 77% more likely than religious respondents, 24% more likely to having a generalized anxiety disorder. These are quite obvious differences.”

Opinion: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out

The study was conducted with the government of the United Kingdom, which asked the questions as part of a larger psychiatric study.

With a sample of 7,403 British people, the study found that nearly 19% of England’s population is spiritual but not religious. That number is higher in the United States, where, according to a 2002 Gallup Poll, in a sample of 729 adults, 33% of Americans identified themselves as "spiritual but not religious.”

Past academic studies in the United States have come to similar conclusions, said Tanya Luhrmann, a psychological anthropologist and the Watkins University professor at Stanford University. Most academic research about religion and well-being, said Luhrmann, has found that religion is good for you.

According to Luhrmann, organized religion provides three outlets that benefit churchgoers' well being: social support, attachment to a loving God and the organized practice of prayer.

“When you become spiritual but not religious, you are losing the first two points and most spiritual but not religious people aren’t participating in the third,” Luhrmann said. “It is not just a generic belief in God that works; it is specific practices that work.”

People who identify themselves as spiritual but not religious push back against the notion that they have no community to fall back on or impetus to help the poor. In an interview with CNN in June 2010, BJ Gallagher, a Huffington Post blogger who writes about spirituality, compared spiritual but not religious people to people who complete 12-step programs to beat addiction.

“Twelve-step people have a brilliant spiritual community that avoids all the pitfalls of organized religion,” said Gallagher, author of “The Best Way Out is Always Through.” “Each recovering addict has a 'God of our own understanding,' and there are no priests or intermediaries between you and your God. It's a spiritual community that works.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Heather Cariou, a New York-based author, identifies as spiritual instead of religious. She told CNN last year that she adopted a spirituality that blends Buddhism, Judaism and other beliefs.

"I don't need to define myself to any community by putting myself in a box labeled Baptist or Catholic or Muslim," she said. "When I die, I believe all my accounting will be done to God, and that when I enter the eternal realm, I will not walk though a door with a label on it."

Younger people identify as spiritual but not religious more frequently than their older counterparts. In a 2009 survey by the research firm LifeWay Christian Resources, 72% of millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) said they are "more spiritual than religious."

The phrase is now so commonplace that it has spawned its own acronym ("I'm SBNR") and website: SBNR.org.

Traditionally the words "religious" and "spiritual" were closely linked, but over time the latter word began to describe an experience disconnected from the traditional confines of religion, particularly organized religion.

A widely discussed survey of adult Americans by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released in October found that the religiously unaffiliated both believe in God and define themselves as spiritual but not religious.

Sixty-eight percent of the religiously unaffiliated believe in God and 58% say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the Earth, in a spiritual way. Additionally, the study found 37% classify themselves as "spiritual" but not "religious" and 21% say they pray every day.

As expected, the practice of being spiritual but not religious has been roundly criticized by those who participate in organized religion. Jesuit priest James Martin told CNN in June that the phrase, "I’m spiritual but not religious," can boil down to egotism.

"Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness," said Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic magazine based in New York. "If it's just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"

– CNN’s John Blake and Richard Greene contributed to this report

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Spirituality • United States

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soundoff (1,269 Responses)
  1. scmaize

    This sounds a lot like one of those studies that proves absolutely nothing!

    January 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • ME II

      Just to be picky, studies rarely, if ever, "prove" anything.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  2. PB

    The study as reported suggests that being spiritual without an organized religion leads to drugs. This is the classic confusion of correlation with causation. Nothing suggests being spiritual without being religious causes drug use. It is just as likely that people who are searching for meaning in their lives, but have rejected organized religion, use drugs for the same reason they are looking for meaning through spirituality: They are in pain and will do anything to relieve it, whether it be a search for higher meaning or drugs. Their rejection of organized religion demonstrates a logical rejection of spirituality that has proven itself unworthy of people who seek real truth. All three major religions are brutal and based on the fear of an angry, spiteful god. Logical people everywhere reject these false stand-ins for spirituality. The idea that these people are missing community is a red herring. Community for those committed to a religion is but a way of stifling doubts. After all, a billion people cannot be wrong can they? (Well, yes. Yes they can.) But the ones who need spiritual meaning still search. It would be logical that many turn to anything that helps their pain, including drugs.

    January 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "The study as reported suggests that being spiritual without an organized religion leads to drugs."

      No, it really doesn't. The report does states that: "People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder."

      Which might lead people to think they imply causality. Perhaps it should more accurately state: ""People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework have a statistically higher incidence of mental disorder."

      January 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @I'm not a GOPer

      But it also points out that atheists (i.e. not spiritual not religious) tend to either drink excessively or use drugs.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Really??

      Those that have no direct religious affiliation, such as atheists and those who believe there is something, but we do not know , have been shown in studies to be of higher initelligence than those who show direct religious affiliation, also, those of higher intelligence are also more likely to use various chemicals to induce altered states, and experiment more.

      The two are likely unrelated issues, only common ground is the intelligence levels of the people. There is no direct link between spirituality and drug/alcohol use.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Bob

      "But it also points out that atheists (i.e. not spiritual not religious) tend to either drink excessively or use drugs."

      L4H keeps skipping over the part where it excludes atheists. "says spiritual but not religious people, as opposed to people who are religious, agnostic or atheist"

      January 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,
      Actually, it says "to have ever used drugs" or "be a hazardous drinker".
      Not sure what a hazardous drinker is, but drinking rum while firefighting might be hazardous.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @L4H,

      "But it also points out that atheists (i.e. not spiritual not religious) tend to either drink excessively or use drugs.

      Bull. You are incredibly disingenuous here.

      The study clearly says that [the religious] "were less likely to have ever used drugs or be a hazardous drinker" than those who are neither spiritual nor religious.

      Specifically this means that the incidence of occasional drug use and problem drinking is higher for atheists/agnostics versus the religious. It DOES NOT measure prevalence. Your assertion of "tend to either drink excessively or use drugs" is a demonstrable fabrication.

      If you look at the odds ratios you will see much lower numbers for this conclusion than for the comparisons on mental disorders experienced by the spiritual but not religious which itself is only a 4% variance from the religious.

      January 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Lie4Him. I only see "... as opposed to people who are religious, agnostic or atheist, were more likely to develop ...". Where do you see your claim?

      January 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Atheist all day

      @ Live4Him,
      UM.. I am an Atheist, and well.. I have no mental issues.. Never used drugs.. Drank at parties when I was in my rebellious 20's, but now only drink once or twice a year(last year I didn't have drink at all).. I raise 2 little girls on my own, who are both honor students and age 7 and 9. Have worked at my job for 11 yrs doing the same thing as a manager. I graduated High School and have a college degree. I have a nice home, alot of nice stuff, and I help out everyone I can without cutting my own throat to do so.. I have no need for false truth to make me happy and I have no need for "release". Those people who do drugs and say they are "SBNR", just say that so they can do what they like without feeling guilty for taking of those pleasures.
      I been an Atheist for nearly 22 yrs.. The first 2 yrs of that I was Agnostic, but had never heard that word before, so I was unaware of that label. So I just called myself an Atheist, who didn't know to believe or not to believe. Which is the definition of Agnostic. Till college I had never heard that word. I was very sheltered in my area. Social media wasn't around then like it is now. The internet wasn't even around then here.
      But at that age, I just felt inside there was no truth to church.. I have never seen any "miracles". I have seen people be very lucky. And people be very unlucky. Never have I had a conversation with god or the devil. Never have I seen a demon, nor an angel. Nothing in nature or in a book can tell me there is a god. I do believe there are other being's in the universe.. It is too darn big not to. I believe there are very advanced races out there compared to us.. And some NOT so advanced. Do I take that on Faith? YES! Because I have never seen them. But they are more plausible than an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, invisible, immortal(14 billion plus years old)being(takes deep breath), that is his own daddy, and son, and architect of the universe. I think comic books are more plausible than the bible(yes I did not capitalize bible)..

      January 9, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  3. One Love

    Religion (Christianity) was created in 325 AD...Spirituality outdates Religion by Several 10's of thousands of years...Wake Up...Oh Yeah I don't do drugs guess I wasn't available for the study

    January 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      Nope.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Live4Him

      If you're going to re-write history, why don't you just pretend nothing existed prior to your birth?

      January 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • ME II

      There is some basis, although very debatable, for claiming the doctrine of Christianity was formalized in 325 AD, the council of Nicaea being the first one supposedly represent all of Christendom.

      Although, even if one disagrees, that is nowhere near as big a whopper as all of the book of Genesis. Just for perspective.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • SUMMARY?

      One religion, Christianity, may have been started in 325 AD.

      Spirituality existed before 325 AD.

      Thus, being spiritual out dates being a follower of Jesus Christ.

      {something about not doing drugs disqualified the poster for the study?}

      January 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Bayou_Disqus

      That is a bone-headed comment. Would you call the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian pantheons unorganized and nonreligious?

      January 9, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  4. manningbowl88

    ive been saying this for yearrrrs. i also been saying thats probably what ancient civilizations have been using when they predict things, or they see aliens or floating things in the sky or they come up with some religion bec they heard voices tell them to.. 3 words.. THEY ARE HIGHHHHH!

    January 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Quetzlcoatl

      I always figured it was some ancient tribe of cave people who experienced an earthquake, thought it was some being punishing them, and some clever cave man realized the power of saying he was able to interpret and influence the earthquake god. And nothing has changed since except the name of the god.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • conrad

      What church did Jesus belong to?
      What church did the Buddha belong to?

      Ahhhh .... the ever persistent effort to keep us from looking within ...

      January 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  5. It's so hard to find your cash when you go to the cigarette store naked

    Obviously Randy Travis was not included in the "religious" group this study.

    January 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  6. JFCanton

    Maybe one thing that the -comments- on this study are proving is that people who don't like organized religion are at least as likely as average to make allegedly objective judgments based on hearsay and anecdotes.

    January 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Hike Muckabee

      U mad, bro?

      January 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • JFCanton

      I'd be happier if those same people displayed some understanding of the pros and cons along the lines of Asimov in the first Foundation book. You know, deeper than the average high school Young Republican's understanding of economics.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  7. Sharon B.

    This sounds terribly skewed. Who paid for the study?

    January 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Follow The Money

      Justin Beiber

      January 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  8. moiraesfate

    lol. Of course. Because this article was written by religious people. For some reason, whoever writes these articles likes to pretend the religions are always perfect in every way.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  9. yoopahcabra

    Soooooo, organized religion will keep me from doing drugs and keep my eating habits regular?

    Not sure if Ghandi got that "eating habits" memo.
    Come to think of it, Catholics didn't either. Don't they sip on wine...I mean...Jesus every Sunday? Alcohol, isn't that a drug?
    Hmm...guess I am a little confused by this.

    I guess all us Pagans need to be worried.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • John

      Yes, you do need to be worried – but apparently not for the reason you think.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Hike Muckabee

      HAHA I guess John is trying to be SUBTLE and remind you to TURN OR BURN.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  10. bostontola

    I would be inclined to think that the author misinterpreted the study and cherry picked a quote.

    The religious claims that SBNR leads to self centeredness is just baseless conjecture.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  11. palintwit

    Sarah Palin is the only one who can heal and re-unify our country. But first she must return to her motorhome and resume her cross country tour. She will have to visit cities both large and small, speaking only to "real Americans", dispensing her sage advice and folksy, homespun common sense solutions. We can be a great nation once again but we must all follow the "Palin Path".

    January 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Elmer Fudd, Sarah Palin's Helicopter Pilot

      Kill da mooses! Kill da MOOSES!

      January 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Hike Muckabee

      You betcha.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Satan

      Bill Clinton is the only one who can heal and re-unify our country. But first he must return to his motorhome and resume his cross country tour. He will have to visit cities both large and small, speaking only to "real Americans", dispensing his sage advice and folksy, homespun common sense solutions. We can be a great nation once again but we must all follow the "Clinton Path"

      January 9, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  12. CosmicC

    Maybe the mentally ill are drawn the to concept of being spiritual but not religious because organized religions have failed them.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Miriam

      Yup. Got it in one.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  13. akismet-644a9f5b6ebbf6d9fd5e92552ee1ba7a

    Religious people are far more dishonest(the numbers are clearly wrong about usage), racist (slaves in the south while religion is present, kkk, jim crow, etc.), intolerant, ignorant, oppressive, violent, the list could go on and on...

    Spiritual people don't hurt anyone, believe in love and equality, do their drugs quietly (who cares, Christians enslaved a human population for nearly half a millennia when they should have been high), last I heard Moses didn't much like slavery, but I guess Christians didn't really read the bible

    And mental disorders, what kind of mental state must one be in to justify slavery? but theyre all Christians, going to heaven, good people really.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Toljaso

      Chip on your shoulder? I take it you've never read Slavery in Massachusetts.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • toobad

      95% of African slaves went to locations other than the US. S. America, Carribean, Middle East.
      Christians in England and USA pushed for a hundred years to abolish it. It started in the west.
      The muslims of Saudia Arabia under pressure finally signed the global law making it illegal in 1967.
      All womens rights have originated in Christianity.
      All of the arts and music flourished under Christianity.
      Quit drinking the hate koolaid of the anti christian spirit of the world.
      Jesus said if they hated me they will hate you because men love darkness and evil more than light and truth.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Pete

      "All womens rights have originated in Christianity.
      All of the arts and music flourished under Christianity."

      Another lying xtian – 15!

      January 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Miriam

      toobad, many churches are still keeping women OUT of leadership positions. I don't think you understand the concept of "women's rights".

      January 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Actually most good music has been written by people who were high. Music has its roots long before christianity though. Music was a way to bring people together and still is.
      As for women's rights...wth??? Women's rights are oppressed through christianity. Read your buybull again or maybe start reading it, you'll soon see how wrong you are.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  14. Stein

    Correlation is not causation. It could be that some people with mental health issues turn to both drugs and spirituality as a way to self-medicate but don't feel they fit in with more organized religions. As stated in the first paragraph, atheists and agnostics don't seem to suffer as much. Calling people with mental health issues "egoists" or selfish doesn't really help anyone.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  15. lionlylamb

    I am religiously spiritual and do not attend manmade churches because I believe a person's body is but the temple of the Godly. I am also spiritually religious based upon my beliefs in the triune cosmologies which are the atomized and the celestial and the cellular cosmologies.

    There could be no celestial of cellular cosmologies without the atomized cosmologies and likewise there could be no cellular cosmologies without the atomized and celestial cosmologies. These three cosmologies are intertwined and are all held together by Nothingness which is the Holy Spirit, the God Being who holds all material matters together.

    Believe what one wants for my beliefs are just that, mine to hold onto.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Frumpy The Elephant

      Okay, that proves the mental illness assertion . . .

      January 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  16. Chadwick

    Did the order of Luhrman's points get mixed up? She appears to be saying the SBNR have access to organized prayer, but not a loving God, which makes no sense. (The "having access" to part- whether a loving God makes sense isn't really for me to determine.)

    January 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      You can tell the researcher is clueless and bungled the results by believing there are "atheists who believe in some sort of higher power."

      Garbage in, garbage out.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Incontinentia Buttocks,
      I think you might need to get out more. There are plenty of atheists who don't believe in a "god" (a powerful conscious ent'ity) but do believe in a life force ordharma or are budhists or believe in the infinite good. There are a whole diversity of beliefs among those who just don't believe in gods specifically.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Incontinentia Buttocks

      I thought all humanists held to a standard higher than themselves – caring for others.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bob

      "I thought all humanists held to a standard higher than themselves – caring for others."

      Your religion didn't create that standard.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Oh dear. Hard to believe I have to explain this, but atheists by definition do not believe in anything supernatural. The claim that Buddhism is atheist is false because it asserts numerous supernatural elements such as karma and reincarnation that are supernatural. It only lacks a creator god.

      You are not atheist if you believe in gods, fairies, karma, magic, ghosts, or other nonexistent non-phenomenom like that.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      @Live4him: That is not a higher power.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Incontinentia Buttocks

      You're talking about philosophical naturalism. Your definition of atheism is merely a synonym for that, and completely wrong to boot.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Incontinentia Buttocks : atheists by definition do not believe in anything supernatural.

      A higher power doesn't indicate a believe in the supernatural. If just means that SOMETHING is larger than the individual – nation, values, etc. Not all atheist are self-centered.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • hehe

      > Not all atheist are self-centered.
      Just the ones that spend all day here failing to disprove God.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Atheism is a disbelief in gods and the supernatural. If you have some other accepted definition, I would love to see it. I personally cannot imagine an atheist who believes in, say, karma. That's just not an atheist.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      @Live4Him – no. The phrase "higher power" was invented by the guy who started AA, and it was always meant a divinity. He actually shifted to it after people heard the word "god" and walked out on him. It was a deception.

      A "higher power" by definition is a supernatural force. It is the god of your choice/invention. An elephant is bigger and stronger than you, but it is not your higher power.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Incontinentia Buttocks, Seriously, look up the word "Atheist". Heck, do the etymology. You're WAY off base. Additionally, as people point out, higher powers needn't be supernatural. But even if they were, as long as not gods, one could still be an atheist.

      OED
      Definition of atheist
      noun
      a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods: he is a committed atheist

      January 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Your definition proves my point. Higher powers and imaginary forces like karma are forms of deities. Atheists don't believe in deities.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It is interesting how often the definition of the word athiest / atheism is an issue as used by:

      1. believers – who will insist that the word only means a positive believe in the non-existence of God (and layer pejorative extra definitions like Godless / Jesus hating etc)

      2. non-believers (in an anthorpomorhic God) – who self-identify with atheist and have multiple nuanced definitions, that span:

      – an overlap with 'spiritual but not religious' by including belief in universal spirits, karma, Spinoza's God etc
      though a the essentially middle ground of
      – agnostic athesism "I don't believe in God or a universal spirit but can't / won't / don't have to prove there isn't one
      to
      – the declarative: "All Gods are categorically imaginary".

      I like the OED with it's emphasis on disbelief:

      athesism, n
      Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God. Also, Disregard of duty to God, godlessness (practical atheism).

      Besides customary usage, there really isn't a right and wrong here.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Incontinentia Buttocks

      Are you a poe? I have trouble actually accepting someone could be that stupid.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Explain your comment. I have defended my point quite clearly, and you are just being abusive. State your position.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      @ I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I basically agree with you, but I find it quite difficult to believe that OED spells it "athesism"?

      January 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Incontinentia,
      ;) Indeed not!

      While I pasted the definition, I clearly made a transcription error on the word. I beg pardon.

      January 9, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @IB

      You have defended nothing. You have merely said "this is what atheism is" and when it is pointed out that atheism is merely dealing with a god claim, you merely spew out "mine is correct because I say so". You say to give you a different one that's accepted, but accepted by who? You? We already know what you define it as.

      January 9, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      I don't understand your hostility and abusiveness, Hawaii, but I actually was inviting you to have a discussion of your point. If you would rather flame, so be it. Honestly, if you are blasting me about definitions but refuse to provide one because of some straw man claim that I will say something I have not said, well, it's tough to have a discussion.

      What got you so pissed? Is it that you still hold beliefs in things supernatural but still want to claim you are atheist? Okay, can't you support that position without abusiveness? Which superstition do you believe in? Karma? Ghosts? Why is the standards of proof and logic that an atheist would apply to the existence of a deity not also applied here?

      Philosophical naturalism? Kind of like saying veridian and blue-green are totally different.

      I would have preferred an interesting debate to your behavior, but perhaps you are having a bad day and are just taking it out on me.

      January 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @ID

      What a lovely passive aggressive way of completely avoiding everything that I pointed out.

      January 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  17. Joey

    This British Journal study is a crock!

    January 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  18. Bootyfunk

    omg, someone used drugs! aaaahhhhh!

    can we talk about drugs like adults instead of parent to child conversations like this author is giving. doing drugs is automatically bad? i wonder if these guys counted alcohol as a drug? i bet they didn't... pretty sloppy results. christians don't' do drugs? aside from the beer and wine? oh, just illegal drugs - drugs our gov't says is bad. this study is a farce.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • JFCanton

      According to another poster who posted extracts from the study, alcohol was included.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Emmanuel Goldstein

      so only 16% of religious people use alcohol at all and 30 some % of SBNR? Yeah, right. Either alcohol was not included or the study is a TOTAL crock.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      I'd like to know what drugs these people are using. While they may have religious one upped on this, something that only directly affects them; christians still have a much bigger one-up...75% of the prison population in the US is christian and those people are more more harmful to society then the ones using drugs.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  19. MylesJ

    I'd rather be known as vulnerable to a mental disorder than prove that I have a mental disorder by exhibiting blind faith in what somebody else thinks is most important.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  20. Nesus of Jazzareth

    Well...time for me to imbibe some caps and go meditate on a mountain somewhere. Have fun at church, silly lemmings.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Will S

      Have fun reflecting on the pointlessness of your life when you are on your deathbed, chameleon.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Will S: Been beside a dying Atheist to know what they are thinking on their deathbed?

      January 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • one for the road

      I'm with you Nesus...I am going to the bar and pray that Happy Hour lasts longer tonight...spiritually and physically
      and then see if I can slip in a prayer for him to send another spiritual person to buy my beers

      January 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      Will S: Have fun begging for salvation for eternity

      January 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
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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.