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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. sumday

    This article claims that if you identify as spiritual but not religious you are more like to use drugs. Using that same logic that would mean that those who do use drugs are more inclined to be spiritual. I've met/worked with/known several drug users of different drugs and for the most part the majority of them don't believe in anything.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  2. orion7x

    Seems like an article for Southern Baptist. Just can't handle people with free will that aren't afraid of their own shadows like most religious people are. I suspect that KNOWING something is just hippie crap and BELIEF trumps it? Bas-akwards my friend.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • CHICKEN LITTLE

      I DIDN'T REALLY READ THE ARTICLE, BUT THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!

      January 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Actually it says that atheists and agnostics have similar incidences of mental illness as the religious.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Larry Hannah

      The writer of this article, and most people here apparently, don't have an understanding of what atheist and agnostic even means, so I wouldn't take it to heart.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Larry Hannah,

      so 'neither spiritual nor religious' doesn't correlate to atheists and agnostics to you?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  3. Ryan Dabest

    I like this research was done using a questionaire to determine the mental state of the subjects and not.....oh lets say......ACTUAL MEDICAL ANALYSIS. We have plenty of equipment that is readily avaible to determine brain ability (and inability) in humans. My guess is that medical research finance companies took one look at this study and said.....yeah well we have actual scientific research to do here at the facility sir so looks like your gunna have to stick to pen and paper for this one. CORELATION DOES NOT PROVE CAUSATION. Ill believe it when i see

    January 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • SImran

      While you are right in saying correlations do not prove causation, please note that mental health assessments are done by means of standardized questionnaires only. I am not yet aware of any other technology to assess mental health status! Unless of course, you are thinking neurological disorders are same as psychiatric disorders.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Enki

      @Slmran – yes but we should also recognize that if we did follow the DSM assessment process universally, without excluding religion, many would be diagnosed as delusional. Just say'n.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • SImran

      Enki,
      I agree there! And with a smile of amusement on my face!!!

      However, I find would like to read the full text of this article to see what explanation the authors put forth for the results (but have no interest in losing useful dollars)! This post of CNN suggests "lack of a social support group and loving god" as a problem with the spiritual group, but then doesnot explain why atheist (who also lacked these variables) were not affected! They need to look deeper into differences to come up with conclusions. The conclusion of the study is at best very inconclusive!

      January 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Surveys are not as good, but they are much, much cheaper and so will continue to be the main method of analysis. We can now get much better readings on race from genetic tests than from asking people, but the census and other studies will continue to just ask you your race because it's pretty good and a lot cheaper.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Enki

      @slmran – well, I don't assume, as the survey has, that atheists necessarily lack social network/support. That seems to be a fallacy IMO.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • SImran

      @ Saraswati,
      Observational, epidemiological and cross-sectional studies are very important in the analytical method (and cannot be looked down upon as cheap or easy). They help formulate a hypothesis to be tested by case-control, randomized and cohort studies. The latter are carried out to verify that hypothesis. But first of all, you need a hypothesis in place!
      Had it not been for these studies, who would have understood the association between diabetes and obesity?

      The problem I have (and I have not read the full text) here is with the concluding statement of this article. All it finds is a correlation between certain kind of spirituality and mental illness and fails to put forth a reasonable explanation for the results. Any paper has to put forth a hypothesis of how a certain observation can be explained.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • SImran

      Enki,
      What the author of this CNN article states is that followers of organized religion have a social group (implied church) who will watch out for them.
      The other social support group (of friends, family, colleagues etc) cannot be any different in any of the 3 groups studied here,can it? Unless of course, the authors dig deeper into social circ.umstances of the 3 groups and find some differences in divorce rates, broken families etc etc... But since none are mentioned, I will ass.ume, there were no differences, or that they were not studied! Which again makes me question the conclusions.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @SImran, yeah, but that's journalism.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @SImran, with regard to surveys all I am saying is that asking people if they have a mental illness is not the same as examining them and looking through their medical records. It isn't "cheap and easy" nor is is bad or ineffective. But it is cheaper and easier than actually doing the alternative, which would be impractical.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Simran

      @ Saraswati,
      I went through the study methodology reported in a previous paper. The study seems to have been conducted well. It wasn't just a simple survey in the form that " Do you suffer from mental illness or not?" but rather, individual face to face interviews were conducted for the over 7000 individuals in the study, and ICD-10 diagnosis were generated using standardized qestionnaires. That is a pretty exhaustive exercise!

      Looking through medical records is likely to have more flaws in a study bcoz a significant proportion of mentally ill will never be diagnosed, thus adding significant bias to a study.

      January 9, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  4. Live4Him

    Enki: 'The study did not indicate what you've claimed.'

    Let me quote it for you.

    Results

    Of the participants 35% had a religious understanding of life, 19% were spiritual but not religious and 46% were neither religious nor spiritual. Religious people were similar to those who were neither religious nor spiritual with regard to the prevalence of mental disorders, except that the former were less likely to have ever used drugs (odds ratio (OR) = 0.73, 95% CI 0.60–0.88) or be a hazardous drinker (OR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.69–0.96).

    Again:
    except that [Religious people] were less likely to have ever used drugs or be a hazardous drinker

    January 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • niknak

      Whats your problem with drugs and booze?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Enki

      Perhaps you could point me to the exact paragraph in the article above because I keep missing any mention of non-believers (i.e. not spiritual and not religious).....

      January 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • sam

      So are religious people better people?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • SImran

      Enki,
      Start from the top again. Read:

      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 atti.tudes,” like bulimia and anorexia

      January 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Enki: 'Perhaps you could point me to the exact paragraph'

      I quoted you the exact paragraph, so let me break it down for you.

      QUOTE:
      Religious people were similar to those who were neither religious nor spiritual ..., except that the former were less likely to have ever used drugs ... or be a hazardous drinker
      END-QUOTE:

      So, 'neither religious nor spiritual' is non-believers. A comparison between believers and non-believers reveal that non-believers were more likely to use drugs and to be a hazardous drinker.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Enki:

      I'm quoting from the link within the study (i.e. The Study ) in the first link.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "A comparison between believers and non-believers reveal that non-believers were more likely to use drugs and to be a hazardous drinker." ...
      but nevertheless had similar levels of mental disorders.

      What is your point?

      And we are talking about the UK. The drinking culture in the UK is different to the US.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Bob

      You missed this part L4H.

      "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."

      Notice the commas....

      January 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Enki

      Live4Him – I'm not seeing the percentages you are quoting – that' what I was referring to. You took one sentence from a previous response and reposted out of context.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Bob

      "Conclusions

      People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder."

      January 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • The Truth

      "Conclusions

      People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are (4% more) vulnerable to mental disorder."

      Wowy wow wow!! 4% more likely!! Soooo many more that it demanded a demeaning sounding pointless article...

      January 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Bob

      I quoted directly from the study where did you get the 4% from?

      January 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      This seems more like a survey rather than an actual study. It may show a correlation, but I see absolutely no causal relationship here.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  5. sumday

    so being gay is not a mental illness (even though it's claimed that it is a chemical imbalance in the brain), but believing in a G-d is? This is one of those things were you just can't believe everything you hear or read. I might not be able to prove there is a G-d but science has yet to explain how life started and evolved all by itself without thought, design, or intelligence. Science states that nothing just happens all by itself without a cause yet then claim life and a complex self balancing ecosystem miraculously self formed yet can offer not one single mathematical formula or test to prove this. I suppose someday in the future computers will one day also deny humans existed and created them.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Larry Hannah

      FYI I've never heard a scientist claim miracles are involved in formation of life or read a science journal that includes miracles. You should choose your words carefully.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • niknak

      When you want to rant sunday, it helps the rest of us understand said rant if you put some spaces and paragraphs in it.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • The Truth

      "I suppose someday in the future computers will one day also deny humans existed and created them." You don't know it but you have hit upon something the religious don't like to talk about and that is the problem with their theory of irreducible complexity. When looked at in reverse one can say that if our complexity proves something created us then that something by definition must be more complex than we thus creating the need for another more complex entlty to exist to foment the former and so on and so on. Christian fix this with giving God the power of "X" which is whatever they want it to be to claim they completed the puzzle of the universe and should be recognized as the "winners". Our computers could someday look back and ask those questions of how did they get here and if they found those answers, that of these strange water filled skin sacks that had all sorts of strange habits, one of which was building gadgets and doo-dads that enabled them to watch lot's of other water filled skin sacks but unclothed and engaged in some other carnal creation process. What will the robots of the future think when they find out it was often po.rn that drove human innovation...

      January 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  6. Romaestlux

    I believe that many people take up spirituality after going through bouts of clinical depression. Hence, the phrase "Religion is for people afraid of going to Hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there." This could account for the findings.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • The Truth

      Seeing as how there is only a 4% difference between the two I believe your assesment is correct.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  7. Steve

    Soooo... author might have wanted to Google "Atheist" before writing the article...FAIL.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What enlightenment would that bring?

      This is not about atheists. It is about spiritual but not religious.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Steve

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheist

      January 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Are you objecting to the line "atheists who believe in some sort of higher power"? He may have been off here, but I think he may just have meant atheists who believe in a non-conscious universal power – could be "The Force", dharma, the Way, whatever. Usually gods are limited to conscious enti'ties.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Steve,

      I prefer the OED:

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

      What's your point? You are still not making any sense.

      In this study those who are neither spiritual nor religious (atheists and agnostics) have similar incidence of mental health issues as the religious.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      yes, "atheists who believe in some sort of higher power" would be better expressed as "deists or believers in a universal spirit".

      January 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GOP, Yeah, I'd have broadened that a bit, but I guess they're going with the AA type definition. I'd be weary on Deism, as some uses of the word atheist apply also to (at least some) deist "gods". It's pretty hard to get this stuff down enough to cover everyone though. I wrote a survey in grad school and it was a lot of work to make it as broad as possible on the categories, and I still had people who fell off the chart.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • *

      Saraswati,

      * it's "wary", not "weary", although you might be tired of it too!

      January 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      yep. Deist is va-gue. It is mostly relevant in a historical context.

      There is a challenge for people who identify as atheists, and eschew God(s) or a universal spirit, yet want to describe a resonance with notions of love or a natural / artistic beauty without resorting to the word 'spiritual'.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I meant the former, but, yeah, both. :)

      January 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @GOP, I think what they really want to be is something like materialist pantheists, but can't stomach the word. Perhaps being a monist or spinozan or something would work. Or becoming a Unitarian and making their own view or "spirituality" withong that framework (I'm not sure whether Unitarians count as religious or SBNR).

      January 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Saraswati,

      interesting that you mention Unitarianist – I almost suggested them. I'd put Unitarian Universalism in the organized religion category. Pew puts them in their "Other Religions" bucket and counts them separately from the unaffilliated, but they'd most likely self-identify as spiritual but not religious.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  8. sativa619

    Spirituality or non-belief without guidance can always result in the person receiving or understanding the wrong or incorrect message. If you're an atheist you probably use science as your guide. If you're religious, probably you use the bible or your pastor/minister as your guide. With no guide in any belief system to point you in the right direction one way or another, you are the blind leading the blind. You are trying to self teach that which you do not know, and that can lead to crazy ideas, and eventually you end up doing something dangerous, or maybe get suck into/start a cult.

    It is important that if you are not 'religious' but rather, call yourself 'spiritual' that you are very careful. You might have opened your mind to new ideas, but the ideas that you accept can change you for the better, or mess you up. Conversely if you happen to be an Atheist or Agnostic, you can end up thinking you know what you're talking about but sounding pompous, especially if you read bad science. In any case, you should always know what you're getting into. That all being said, religion, non religion, spirituality, none of that truly makes you who you are. You are what you pretend to be in the end.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Larry Hannah

      Atheists don't just use "science". And not all atheists are all of the some world view. To assume we all think the same and follow some sort of guide is just wrong. Atheism ONLY address the god claim. It has nothing to do with anything else but that.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  9. Larry Hannah

    And using example such as fireworks and crime doesn't apply here because most people accept that fireworks and crime does exist and the claim would not be in question at all.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Larry Hannah

      woops wrong place..srry lol

      January 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  10. lionlylamb

    Religious socialisms without spiritualized developments makes for redundancies of non-regulative individualisms giving births to happenstance issues of wanton societal recklessness circulations of the governed disobedient.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • .

      more drivel ramblings from the belief blog pseudo intellect, just laugh and move on.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  11. ari

    people who feel "one with the earth" or whatever often use LSD or weed, which aren't the worst drugs in the world to use. i mean it's not like they're heroin addicts or anything.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Thomas

      Ever been around people who took too much LSD for too long?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  12. MIKEY

    I am spiritual but not religious. It is my belief that when groups get together then group interaction will get in the way of spiritual growth. Politics, power, who has the right answer, and the wrong, and other human interactions whih have nothing to do with spirituality come into play. Many individuals victimize themselves within the group and the larger group may seek to victimize other groups. Do not get me wrong, I do enjoy and have great respect for religious people- both those who are succesful and those who fail at developing their spirituality within the larger group. I also feel it is imperative that groups of people do pray and develop spiritually and it is good for society. The bottom line for me is not whether someone goes it alone or within a group in developing their spirituality but whether one moves closer to being a spiritual being that enhances us all in one way or another. As far as drug use and speaking of a minor difference of 2 to 3 %. Not really a significant finding in my view as there is probably a + or – of those questioned as to where they fall. Silly story in my view although there are many aboriginal religious groups who use drugs for their spiritual growth. Hmmmm...how would this study do if those were included?

    January 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • niknak

      I would like to be included in the study of aboriginal drug use.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  13. dave

    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?"-

    it is easier to help the poor when you do not have to keep up giant buildings full of gold

    January 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • MIKEY

      ZPeople fear with that they are not familiar be they religious leaders or secular. Self-centeredness is where it all starts. Is not seeking religion to escape Hell or to live forever in heaven self-centered? The beautiful dynamic of self-centeredness is that it brings us to an understanding that binds us all together. The fear should not be in those who are self-centered in spiritual growth but those who feel neglected by part of the group they seem as the group they belong to. The wrold will not cast us away but oter people can and will. Develop the self-centeredness of knowing how one belongs to the world and we understand how others do as well and there grow the lines of connectivity and empathy for others. Understanding ones suffering and the understanding that all things suffer bring us together. Thinking everyone else is free of suffering and we alone suffer- that is what may cause us to lash out at the world and others. Spiritual growth in a group or outside should bring us to a higher consciouness and throwing around misconceptions and ideas of self-centeredness really is a philosophical growth area.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  14. dave

    which comes first the drug use or the spirtiuality - isn't the spirituality part of recovery?

    January 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • SImran

      Good question. I have been wondering about that too!

      January 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      depends on the culture

      January 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • niknak

      Or the spirituality that caused the person to go on the drugs?
      Real chicken and egg issue here.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Rolph

      Do some types of drugs give the illusion of a spiritual connection? Yes, that is the whole LSD in the 1960s thing.

      Is spirituality part of the recovery? Not really. That is a fraud Bill Wilson perpetrated when he invented his massively unsuccessful AA cult. In reality, most addicts who successfully quit do it on their own, with no spiritual component at all. 12-step programs are staggering failures: 95% fail the first year, and it's 99% after ten years. The whole AA paradigm is commonly accepted as true, but it's pure groupthink. The truth is it gets results far below any other method. It's a massive failure.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • dave

      Rolph - do you understand that no medical treatment or thearapy in the history of the world ever worked when it was not followed? You should not get your knowledge from a hack magician clown

      January 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Dave,

      or both at the same time – like peyote and sweat lodges.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • BigMowma

      Here's a more accurate description: Organized religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • niknak

      Don't know what your experience with LSD was Rolph, but mine had zero spiritual aspects to them.
      And I had many.
      Really liked all of them. Had a blast, never had any issues and NEVER saw god or
      any magical dudes.
      Anyone who does see those kinds of things had issues way before they dosed.

      Wish Cid would be more available as it is a wonderful drug.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Rolph

      The results speak for themselves, dave. Moreover, it is clear that most 12-step and AA approaches have nothing to do with overcoming addictions. Case in point: Bill Wilson himself never ever did the 12-step program. He claimed God did magic on him (it was actually a hallucination from a very powerful drug he was given, belladonna). He was heavily criticized for it by other members. 12-step is really just Bill's grandiose ego, and he never did it himself.

      Sorry, but AA and 12-step is a huge failure, and the commonplace belief that it works severely inhibits the development of better approaches.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • niknak

      Where can I get some of that belladonna?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Rolph

      Stick to vitamin A. Belladonna has a really bad record of very unpleasant hallucinatory bad trips, like truly believing your dead grandmother is chasing you with a butcher knife. And it's really a poison at just-below lethal dosage, so it has a Russian Roulette charm to it.

      Did you know the founder of AA did a lot of acid and still claimed to have not broken his sobriety?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • niknak

      No, don't know anything about AA, except that is is for quiters.....Badda bing....

      Don't know how I would react if I saw my dead grandma chasing me with a knife.
      But people said the same would happen with Cid, like staring at your hand for hours etc.
      Nothing could have been further from the truth for me on it. Just great times.
      Music is taken to another dimension on it too. Saw F242 in the mid 80s on Cid and it was fantastic.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  15. dave

    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.” -- Actually AA has nothing against organized religion - the progam just says organized religion is not a requirement for sobriety. The text book encourages people to fo to church of they chose to, or chose a higher power of their own understanding. The important thing is to not go it alone

    January 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • niknak

      Yeah, but a system like that will never work because it cuts out the collection plate.
      Can't be a religion if the scammers don't get their cut.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  16. OOO

    Finally a real definition of a "spiritual" person. One who uses drugs.

    January 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • PPP

      On the other hand, the SDNRs have never caused wars or created oppressive theocracies, or created torture campaigns to enforce orthodoxy.

      They may be worse to themselves, but they are MUCH better to the world in general than religious people.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • ME II

      @PPP,
      "they are MUCH better to the world in general"
      Not sure you can make that statement. While they may not have done 'bad' things to enforce a religion, it doesn't mean they didn't do 'bad' things.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  17. The Truth

    What complete bull shlt. The headline could also read "Those with mental health issues tend to be spiritual but not religious and often use drugs" but how it will be used by the Christian taliban is "People who say they are spiritual but not religious are crazy!!" when the study showed "Overall, 19% of spiritual respondents said they suffered from a neurotic disorder, while 15% of religious respondents responded the same way." which means they are only 4% more likely than those who identify with a religion to have a mental disorder.

    This is a puff piece, pure and simple, written to make the religious feel better about themselves and none will even see the line "spiritual but not religious people, as opposed to people who are religious, agnostic or atheist" putting the atheists in the same camp as the religious, not in the "crazy" bin that they usually try to tell themselves we are.

    January 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @The Truth,

      What's so wrong with the idea that a group of people who search for 'meaning' without finding a deterministic answer, might have a statistically higher incidence of mental health issues spanning drug dependency, eating and anxiety disorders, phobia and neuroses and anti-depressive medication?

      Stated accurately it becomes almost self evident.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • The Truth

      My point is that creating a category separated by only 4% and then standing up and pointing at "the other guys" seem's patently moronic especially when viewed with a margin of error of 1 – 2%. It's like taking a study of beer drinkers and wine drinkers that shows that wine drinkers tend to be democrats and beer drinkers tend to be republicans and concluding that drinking beer will turn you into a republican. It's drawing a false conclusion from the data presented. The conclusion could also be that when asking people about their personal lives in a survey SBNR tend to be more honest about their state of mental health and/or drug use than do the religious.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  18. SImran

    So basically, the study concludes that either have faith in organized religion or have no faith at all! Don't hang in the middle.

    While the authors put forth the argument that spiritual (but not religious) did not have the social support and love of god as did people of organized religion, the article fails to explain why the atheists (who also did not have these said virtues) were not affected by the lack of them!!!

    January 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Simran,

      yes, that is an accurate assessment. I noticed that too.

      January 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  19. truth

    many very religious folks are koo koo crazy!

    January 9, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • The Truth

      15% versus 19% of the "spiritual". Not that large a margin. I'm just curious how the other 85% are considered sane when many believe the earth is only 6000 years old and that invisible creatures are watching us that they praise when things go right and blame when things don't? How is that not considered a mental disorder?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @The Truth,

      its is a survey based on correlation.

      Arguably
      15% of 35% = 5.3% (religious neurotics)
      19% of 19% = 3.6% (SBNR neurotics)

      and there are more religious people with neuroses in Britain than SBNR.

      What strikes me the most is the following:

      "Of the participants 35% had a religious understanding of life, 19% were spiritual but not religious and 46% were neither religious nor spiritual."

      The staggering number is the 'neithers'.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  20. lionlylamb

    The sociological upbringing of individualisms bears the fruits of commonwealth's agendas wanton ideologies in either religious or spiritual governing.

    January 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • steveb

      fancy yourself quite the intellectual eh?

      January 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • .

      No LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, just laugh and move on.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Rolph

      Yes, he's very self-impressed.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Not really an intellectual,,,, more an individual with an insight toward issues seldom viewed by commoners.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • trigtwit palin... America's favorite tard baby

      *drool*

      January 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • ME II

      @.,
      Don't you mean BB's psuedo english psuedo intellect?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • ME II

      sorry, "pseudo"

      January 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Thomas

      Is "psuedo" phoney suede?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Carl Perkins

      ♫ Don't you step on my blue psuedo shoes ♫

      January 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Canopy

      In other words, society breeds mentality types and some as a consequent will fall outside of those norms.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • ME II

      sorry, I blame my sociological upbringing of individualisms

      January 9, 2013 at 2:34 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.