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Your Take: Author who calls 'spiritual but not religious' a cop-out responds to comments
October 2nd, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Your Take: Author who calls 'spiritual but not religious' a cop-out responds to comments

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.

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

I wrote a Belief Blog piece on Sunday called "My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out," which has received more than 8,000 comments, many taking up key points I raised.

My assessment is that the wider disorientation of Western society, the decreasing respect for many institutions and the disdain for humans alongside what Christopher Lasch has termed a "culture of narcissism" has played out both among the "spiritual but not religious" identifiers as well as among many "new atheists." Lots of the comments bear that out.

Some commenters accused me of outdated and dangerous dogmatism in sticking up for traditional religion. A commenter whose handle is spectraprism spoke to this view:

“The problem this author advocates is that of thinking anyone has the ONE COMPLETE TRUE WAY- and everything and everyone else therefore NOT advocating it completely must be wrong. This is dogmatic, archaic, leads to extremism and is completely incorrect. Not being challenged into blindly following whatever scripture is not showing softness of any kind - it's showing you have a brain to draw your own personal conclusions that work and make sense to YOU.”

I don't happen to believe in a religious "one true way" and in fact am not religious myself. My comments and observations are based on an increasingly common phenomenon in the past 20 years.

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It is telling, though, that this and many other comments converge on dogmatism and extremism and juxtapose them with the notion that an individual choice is immune to any of that. These comments speak to my point that not wanting to be held accountable to any set of ideas or principles is a very popular position among the “spiritual but not religious."

In recent decades, the demise of the notion that there can be universal truths and the ascendancy of relativism and the new preaching of "many truths" and the idea that "all truths are equally valid" has clearly had significant impact on that identity.

The disenchantment with belief and a commitment to some wider authority has also had an impact on the self-described new atheists, who are furious that anyone could have the audacity to believe in something bigger than themselves.

The end of the big ideas of liberalism and socialism left a vacuum in society. Atheism used to be a small component of bigger movements in society. Ironically, today what defines many new atheists is a shared outlook with “spiritual but not religious” views.

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

New atheists define themselves in negative terms, as not believing without any broader sense of a positive alternative, while those identifying with a "spiritual but not religious" outlook define themselves as not religious rather than according to the strong convictions that they do have.

This commenter summarized the sentiments that lots of others express on my piece:

Gina Hamilton
So I should believe in God because Bach did and it was the basis for his work? What Miller fails to understand is that most of us started out with a religious tradition in our lives, and gradually grew up and out of it. I can say clearly that I am a recovering Catholic who at the age of 16 became a humanist and freethinker, but that from the acceptance of the lack of a god proceeds a sense of the oneness of the universe and my place in it. It's not touchy-feely; it's science, and yet it is profoundly spiritual as well. Perhaps Miller, one day, will have this sort of understanding.

It is so interesting how so many people now use the therapeutic language of recovery - "recovering" from organized religion. The group American Atheists describes anguish and toil as the "first step" of "coming out," making the analogy with gays coming out the "closet," as though somehow atheists are oppressed today in America.

The therapeutic outlook is of far more concern with regard to human autonomy and freedom than organized religion. The idea is that humans are all "damaged goods" and in need of constant counseling and instruction.

These comments take off on that theme:

Paul Dykstra
Now you need to do an article on ..... "The dangers of being religious, but displaying NO spiritually aware behavior at all".....

Dustin
Major religions such as Christianity and Islam have proven to be nothing but damaging and vile to our world. I reject this notion that we have to "take a side" on the matter of a higher power. The basic truth about it all is that no matter how much we read or try to decipher life's mysteries we were never meant to have concrete proof of what put us into existence. What is the point in living if you know all the answers? I am spiritual but not religious because religion is a disease of manipulation and control. I can believe in a higher power while also believing that it was never meant for me to understand this higher power until AFTER I die.

honesty is paramount
As a scientist, I am neither religious nor spiritual. I definitely know right from wrong and one of the things that positively defines me: when I don't know the answer to something, I indicate "I don't know". Don't EVER call that indecisive or "wishy-washy".

It is interesting how "spirituality" seems to be thought of as "clean" and unimpeded by problems.

Dustin calls religion a "disease" - once again we see the therapeutic language. Striving for an understanding of the world is an important and essential human attribute, yet so many of the comments have reiterated a generality about "spiritualism" and "my choice" that it seems to endorse the point I made that what seems so paramount is in a determination not to be "labeled" or dictated to by an authority.

So what is left? The superstition and mysticism of some "oneness" and often a therapeutic notion of being "spiritual."

Here’s a comment from someone who identifies as 51yo:

I always had a hard time with the guy in the front of the church, he's a guy... I'm a guy, what's the difference? He will one day be proven as a womanizer or worse, I will never walk that path. After another guy (Constantine) put his hands all over the Bible, I have little faith it is any more true than words my neighbor might come up with. Like you said, I search for truth and read as much as I can, but the final analysis is my own; I'm not tied to someone else's redistribution of "facts" or their interpretation of great stories. I can do that and be a good person without the trappings of a traditional place of worship, or someone telling me to do something they are incapable of.

The commenter 51y0 doesn't want to be tied to anyone else's "facts." While we all have to work out our things in life, I am interested to know what “spiritual but not religious" facts are.

It can seem that on the one hand there's a reluctance to commit to advocating anything and also that words can end up losing any meaning if one simply says something to the affect of "spiritual means it's right for me." Nick says it can mean a lot of different things to people:

Nick Heise
The author of this piece, though he admits that calling the spiritual-but-not-religious movement a movement would be incorrect, still wrote this entire piece as these people were a united group whose thoughts and beliefs could be analyzed and criticized as a group. I'm no genius, but these seems to make his entire position quite flawed.

I put myself out there as a point of reference since, as I'm talking about my own person, I don't have to rely on complete conjecture like the above article. Yes, I have used the expression "I'm spiritual, not religious." But what does that mean to me? Surely it can mean a lot to different people, just like the same scripture of the Bible can be inspiring to many Christians in countless different ways. To me, saying that I'm spiritual but not religious highlights that I'm not a person who believes in the existence of God as a fact, but neither do I believe in his nonexistence as a fact. It's my assertion of the respect and awe that I have in the face of a universe that I can't understand, which contains forces (perhaps a God) that I can never prove to exist or not exist. For me, it's not an unwillingness to think and make a decision - it's the result of years of thinking and consideration with the conclusion that I haven't yet gathered enough information to make a definitive choice.

I’ll end with this comment:

JustAGirl_78
If you look at the definition of religious – even atheists are religious, they just strongly believe in NO God...this is from Webster's Online Dictionary: Definition of RELIGIOUS 1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity.

Maybe it's just that people are tired of being fanatical about church – and want to go back to a more open an honest approach to beliefs? Maybe the stigma of being a church member now has such a negative impact on how people think of you that people don't want to admit they go to church? Being spiritual means you believe in something (which I think is better than nothing) – the alternative is NOT only being an atheist....

Organized religious beliefs (even going back into ancient times) have caused more death and destruction than any other organization in the world ... and it's done in the name of (whomever your beliefs say to) – and has been since the beginning of mankind! Maybe choosing to say you're "spiritual" means you don't want to be associated with all the chaos and destruction – and maybe organized religions need to rethink their controls on individuals.

This remark will chime with many – the new atheists among them - who believe that being "spiritual" means you don't want to be associated with all the "chaos and destruction."

It strikes me that having an opt-out plan should have something more than simply a negative, whether it's a "spiritual" one or a "new atheist" negative. We live in an age where many are disillusioned with institutions and humans generally, yet not so evident is a positive alternative.

Thank you for the comments. The event we held last night, "I'm Not Religious – I'm Spiritual" benefited from some of them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alan Miller.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Opinion • Spirituality

soundoff (1,789 Responses)
  1. naturechaplain

    Interesting to me how the author continues to dance right passed some realities. What I find disturbing is that he claims to not be religious while showing some ignorance about what a freethinker or even atheist really is. Yes, there are
    The author cannot seem to acknowledge that there are honest (and yes, positive) people who have simply chosen to let go of the super-natural in favor of the natural cosmos. When he quotes the comment on the "faith" and the "devotion" of non-believers, he simply plays into the hand of those who want to make everything about faith. As a freethinker who used to be a Christian Minister, it seems most reasonable to accept that some believe and some do not. Now, what do we do about it? How do we build communities and do what needs to be done? I may be a non-believer but that doesn't mean I am "anti" reasonable collaboration.

    October 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Snoop Lion

    I am failing to see how Mr. Miller responded intelligently to any of the BS people called him out on. To boil this down, he simply prefaces his argument with the fact that he isn't religious, but that people still need to be "held accountable" for their religious beliefs. And he seems to think that this can only be accomplished by adhering to dogma.

    Then he proceeds to go into some unrelated tangent about religion being conveyed in medical terms (completely unrelated to the more substantive critique of his close-minded) to try and throw us off the scent.

    Am I missing something more profound from his statements?

    October 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Paul

      Nope, Snoop I think you're right on track. What I got from his second post is "Awww, I think it's cute how people interpret this information that I've presented" A person can't present such pointed statements, then back off and say "cmon man, I'm totally unbiased. I'm just saying"

      October 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • AWalker

      Dogma?...

      October 10, 2012 at 4:14 am |
  3. sg

    I identify myself as an athiest. My father tried to bring me into his goup; the Born Again Xians, but I never truly believed anything that they did. So what do I believe in then? I do believe in human nature, in human psychology, and in the idea that most people are pretty decent people. I am sort of spiritual, but not in the xian sense of a "spirit" that resides in each of us. I dont think that anyone needs to take a side because I dont think there are any sides to take in the first place. No one on earth can say for sure that there is one god, or no god or anything of that nature. I think the author is just trying to provoke thought but I feel his logic is off. Why must someone take a side? Why must anyone take a stand? That doesnt make somene less of a person nor does it mean that you dont know who you are.

    October 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  4. NOTME

    Religion = The Ultimate WMD

    October 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Created by hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, deniers of truth absolute, children of hindu Lucifer, filthy self centered by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute to make humanity their gentile, slaves.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  5. Rockafella

    I still don't understand what the author is trying to convey here; he seems to be generalizing that if you're "spiritual and not religious" the you are an "atheist"? And a cultural movement of narcissm?..I don't believe the majority of people who you are classifying in your article(s) are turning away from their fellow human beings and religious backgrounds for their own selfish needs. It's about trying a different path–by looking inside yourself and understanding yourself on a deeper level of introspection which in turn shows one how we are very much alike. When you come to this realization then you can empathize with others more than you could ever before and that translates into wanting to help others with service. Of course the end result is you feel good about yourself but it comes from a deeper place within. Good for you if found a few comments that make your argument all the more appealing...but what is the point? Or rather, I think you kind of missed understood some of the points people were trying to make.

    October 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  6. Paul

    Subjective much? Stop trying to effectively debate this issue or even shed light on it. Furthermore, organized religion is evil in my opinion, and yes I am a "recovering" Jehovahs witness. Imagine growing up in an environment where no one talks about anything except not messing up in the eyes of God...and oh yeah, the world is gonna end in a few days so don't invest in anyone or anything...oh yeah, and everyone in the world is inherently evil, so don't associate with them or they will corrupt you. Three meetings a week, two hours per meeting, same rhetoric. So yes, recovery is necessary from a religion that imbeds these dangerouos theories into children or even adults.

    October 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Know What

      Bravo!, Paul.

      I know from the experiences of a dear friend just how difficult this is.

      Best regards to you.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Huebert

      Paul

      I never knew how intense JW's were. Bravo for getting out.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  7. Cupcake

    Thank you, Mr Miller, for being willing to engage in a discussion that causes people to think about where they stand on this issue. Although I disagree with your generalizations I believe I can understand how you arrived at them. Too often people use 'spiritual' to mean unwilling, unable, or not interested in committing to an organized religion. I do not belong lumped into the category of fence-sitters, nor do many of the other people who took the time to comment on your opinion. But at the same time it perplexes me everyone is measured against organized religion. It's too narrow a perspective.

    I chose years ago to define my spiritual-ness in terms that are positive instead of negative precisely because so much of organized religion is negative. I have studied all of the world's major religions and not a few of the minor ones. I have found many commonalities; but I also found that no one religion is the right fit for me. My path is my own, and I alone am responsible for it. Of all the rights fought and died for in this country, this is my personal favorite (freedom of speech is a close second). Thank you for reminding me that I made the right decision.

    October 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Cupcake

      " Too often people use 'spiritual' to mean unwilling, unable, or not interested in committing to an organized religion. "

      That's o.k. Not everyone wants or needs to 'belong' to "organized religion."

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @therealpeace2all,

      yes, but the point is that belief should mean more than just "not organized religion". So not organized religion, what then?

      Yes, there are many people who embark on this journey and work at it. But there is also a group – a large group in my opinion – who on rejecting organized religion don't pursue it much further and just say they are "spiritual but not religious" (because this is very socially acceptable) without trying to decide what it is they really do believe in. This is the cop out.

      I suspect many of these people – who if they really examined why they abandoned organized religion would come to the conclusion (like I did) that they don't believe in God. Many of them don't want to consider this possibilty for the following reasons:
      1. Death remains an unknown
      2. It's not socially acceptable
      3. It doesn't address concepts like reason, art, beauty, etc.

      I agreed with the premise of Alan Miller's first article. In this follow-up he is very unclear and fails to take up the gauntlet he throws down in the first piece – that is to "take a stand". He is all over the map in his follow-up. It was written quickly and it shows.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      " yes, but the point is that belief should mean more than just "not organized religion". So not organized religion, what then?"

      Well, as you, myself and others pointed out... *belief* if other than organized religion can *mean* a full spectrum of beliefs for the individual.

      " Yes, there are many people who embark on this journey and work at it. But there is also a group – a large group in my opinion – who on rejecting organized religion don't pursue it much further and just say they are "spiritual but not religious" (because this is very socially acceptable) without trying to decide what it is they really do believe in. This is the cop out."

      I would agree in that there are certainly some people that may stop pursuit or exploration. I think where I'm not quite sure where you are coming from is where you are basically saying that they..."should" (is inferred) in your statement, "without trying to decide what it is they really do believe in. This is the cop out."

      On one level of an alysis, I would say... so what ? Not everyone "should" necessarily have to go on and try and find out what they 'believe' 'exactly.' My philosophy is to continually seek. But, that's not everyone's, nor do I think that everyone..."should have to" IMHO.

      " I suspect many of these people – who if they really examined why they abandoned organized religion would come to the conclusion (like I did) that they don't believe in God. Many of them don't want to consider this possibilty for the following reasons:
      1. Death remains an unknown
      2. It's not socially acceptable
      3. It doesn't address concepts like reason, art, beauty, etc. "

      Your hypothesis'... I don't really have any disagreement with you. I'm sure a lot of people are that way.

      " I agreed with the premise of Alan Miller's first article. In this follow-up he is very unclear and fails to take up the gauntlet he throws down in the first piece – that is to "take a stand". He is all over the map in his follow-up. It was written quickly and it shows. "

      I agree with your assesment. The only thing, again, we may differ a bit on is the need for everyone..."to take a stand."

      Regards,

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @therealpeace2all,

      there's nothing wrong with continually seeking.

      It's those who stop seeking without meaningful answers, or were never truly seeking that were being challenged here.

      October 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      " It's those who stop seeking without meaningful answers, or were never truly seeking that were being challenged here. "

      O.K., I understand what you are saying. And... still it may be just fine for someone to stop seeking, without meaningful answers, and have that person live a happy, healthy, productive, fulfilled, etc... life, right ?

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @therealpeace2all,

      I think it's about being intellectually honest with others and yourself. It's a cop out to claim you've found your own 'answer' when you really haven't.

      You said: "still it may be just fine for someone to stop seeking, without meaningful answers, and have that person live a happy, healthy, productive, fulfilled, etc... life, right?"

      Healthy, productive – certainly; even happy with the right relationships.

      If you stop seeking without meaningful answers can you be fulfilled?

      This is meant as an open-ended question, but it is not rhetorical. By definition, no one can *know* all the answers, but clearly contentment can be reached with a set of beliefs (or non-beliefs).

      I guess it depends on how important belief (or non-belief) is to your comprehension of existence. Presumably this is different for different people. Is it OK to be shallow?

      October 3, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      You Wrote: " I think it's about being intellectually honest with others and yourself. It's a cop out to claim you've found your own 'answer' when you really haven't. "

      If someone is alright with not having the answer or thinks they have an answer that suits them, I guess I don't really feel the need for them to be..."intellectually honest with themselves" nor with me, in the context of what we are talking about here.

      You Wrote: " If you stop seeking without meaningful answers can you be fulfilled?
      This is meant as an open-ended question, but it is not rhetorical. By definition, no one can *know* all the answers, but clearly contentment can be reached with a set of beliefs (or non-beliefs). "

      Well, 'fulfilled' is what we call in linguistics a 'nominalization' or 'fluffy' word. It is an intangible, and will *mean* different things to different people. So... some would say they are most certainly fulfilled, and... not seeking 'meaningful answers' anymore.

      Peace...

      October 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  8. Souvik

    It seems that the author of the blog has neglected the fact that most of the religions across the world are based on scriptures which were written by human beings and not by God. Humans created God....so far as I know there are no evidence that suggest otherwise. So if the religious belief system is based on some path created by human so is the new generation spiritual concept.....the difference is the new conceptual path is created by individuals who can think and come to their own conclusions. The new concept is not based on profit-loss system.....so where is the harm??

    October 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  9. OptingOut

    Not even sure why anyone would bother to argue with this author. Obviously he has the whole universe figured out and knows better than the rest of us. Or he is just an idiot.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Shane

      I think its both....

      October 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  10. ThatGuy

    The author continues to miss the point. And his philosophical gymnastics only further degrade his argument. This follow-up to his original piece only makes more true my comment to that first piece: his commentary does more to support the "spiritual but not religious" point of view than it does his own.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  11. Tensai13

    Belief in religion is the cop out, spirituality, if that means a sense of profound awe at the sheer majesty and wonder of our universe, is something innate in all of us, we can all agree on that. Belief in god(s) is an act of moral and intellectual cowardice.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  12. lpjart

    That's ok, Alan Miller... Even though you have no grasp of why I walk the path I do or what it entails, I will make the conscious choice not to regard you as an idiot just because your opinion differs from mine. I understand that you have seen and experienced certain things in your life, and that these experiences have shaped your perception of the world and your concept of what is true. It's only a shame that you have become so rigid in your notions that you are no longer flexible enough to accept new evidence that may lead you to a different conclusion.

    As for me, I will continue being that thing which you hate so much–spiritual.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  13. sativa619

    "as though somehow atheists are oppressed today in America." Sir, Atheists ARE oppressed in America. There are MANY examples, including polls that suggest that Atheists are more 'hated' in American than ANY OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC. Atheists live in the US, in a Christian society, among all the other religions that think we are crazy. We have to see gigantic crosses on public land, are immediately demonized when we advertise (see American Atheists billboards being vandalized, and protested against), and even though we are a larger demographic in the USA than Jews, we are consistently marginalized and dismissed as 'crackpots'. Accusing Atheism of being a religion is also wrong. Most Atheists do not go to 'Atheist church', we do not typically meet up for support groups, nor do we have rituals. Those are the tenets of a religion. Non belief and non action does not mean we put 'faith' in anything. The scientific method is a method that determines facts (which you may call 'truths', but that is a misnomer) in order to gain knowledge and understanding of our world and universe, and the scientific method SPECIFICALLY is 'anti-faith', meaning that you need EVIDENCE, EXPERIMENTS, and RESULTS in order to deem something true or false. Many religious people seem adamant on challenging science as an article of faith. It simply is not.

    This entire article, and response to it is silly. You posit the idea that absence of god, or 'light spirituality' is somehow damaging. If it is, it is but a teeny little scratch. I am unaware of anyone who has been so 'pro-science' that they bomb clinics, churches, or what have you in order to get their point across. There are no 'terrorist atheists' out there, no zealot humanists, and to assert that non-religion and/or light spirituality is in any way harming anyone is incredibly naive. Don't take my word for it though.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      No they are not, only atheist oppressed are hindu atheist criminal self centered having opted to commit hindu atheist ism criminal self center ism to commit hinduism, crime against other's and they are found in Jail's.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Ask the gubmint god for a special slot to be included in Affirmative Action for atheists. You are inclusive?

      October 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  14. N

    There's a simple answer to "spiritual but not religious", and this is born out generally in eastern philosophies (Hinduism comes to mind)– the idea that you can marry scientific fact with some a priori reverence for life/living things. It doesn't matter what custom you do to prove the relevance of that fact (is it tied to a higher power? a sacrifice? a prophet? an energy force? simply a moral truth?) - it's just simply a unifying part of virtually all moral systems.

    In other words, most people, "religious", "spiritual", atheist or agnostic would save a sentient or semi-sentient organism over an inanimate object, should both be in simultaneous harm's way. The reason why they each would do that and thusly elevate life over non-life is a basic underpinning of all philosophies. "Spiritual, but not religious" is, in effect, a philosophy that often strips away all of the customs of religiosity while simultaneously acknowledging that the notion that life is better and more worthy of saving than non-life is a matter of faith (which atheists would explain in a more utilitarian way).

    It's actually not that hard to understand, and has nothing to do with a culture of narcissism, or whatever the author is suggesting.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Please correct, hindu's pagans do not believe in spirit, truth but soul, desire by hindu ignorant faith, called hinduism, denial of truth absolute. Only a hindu, criminal can call denial of truth as some thing of holy nature. Please visit limitisthetruth.com to learn more.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  15. Mr. White

    To me, "spiritual but not religious" sounds like "I'm as afraid of the unknown as the next guy, but I'm not going to commit to a belief system." Perhaps it means something else to those who espouse it, but it sounds like ignorant indifference to me.

    I'm an atheist, but not one of the so-called "new atheists"; I believe nothing supernatural exists, but at the same time, I remain open to the possibility that I may be wrong. Absolute denial and absolute faith are the same thing: they close the door to possibility, and to discussion. Show me compelling evidence of the existence of the supernatural, and I'll consider it. Until then, I will stick with the compelling evidence of science. The universe around us is wondrous enough as it is without us adding magic into it.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Mr. White

      Let me add before it's pointed out to me: the Bible is no more compelling evidence for the existence of the supernatural than "The Lord of the Rings" is compelling evidence for the existence of orcs, trolls, and hobbits.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  16. Avdin

    here are some of my general impressions of how people here view one another's views.
    The impression is that
    Atheists think: There is no god but NO god.
    Agnostics: There is no god? I don't care. There is a god? I still don't care.
    Belibers: Dude! He threw up and kept going! Our Bebier reigns!
    Mormons: There is a God. There are three of them, and I'm gonna, kinda sorta be one too someday. ish.
    Christians: There is One God. He loves us and that means we can hate you for not loving Him.
    Muslims: Pretty much the same as Christians except we think their guy is only a prophet like our guy.
    Siritual/non-religious: Religion is for hypocrits. The only wars that are ever fought are religious. I wish I had fought in WWII just to show them all how dumb it is to fight. Peace man. I'm a good person so I can believe what ever I want to believe and don't need to be taught anything by anyone.
    Religious/non-spiritual: I believe but I dont actually act like I believe.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      You missed, Religions are hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by hindu Jew's, criminal secular s.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • N

      There have been more individuals killed in wars under secular regimes in the 20th century (think Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot) than non-secular ones. The idea that wars are caused solely by religion is false.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Avdin

      yeah. i know N. The goal was to point out the irony that each of these religions/beliefs often displays.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @N,

      you messed this up badly: "killed in wars under secular regimes in the 20th century (think Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot),"

      Arguably Pol Pot's was a civil wars under secular regimes. The vast majority of 20th century deaths by communism were the result of famine caused by gross incompetence and negligence. Most of the Soviet excess deaths in the 20th century occured in the second world war. If you recall, they were on our side.

      Notwithstanding that, I agree with the premise that not all wars are religious.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Advin,

      Atheists don't believe in God.

      This is semantically quite different to: "Atheists think: There is no god but NO god"

      October 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • snowboarder

      N – considering the use of modern weaponry and contemporary populations, that is not much of a statement.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Jose

      "The vast majority of 20th century deaths by communism were the result of famine caused by gross incompetence and negligence."

      The vast majority of 20th century deaths by communism were the result of the state having no use for these people. FTFY

      October 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  17. Mr Foobar2u

    I'm neither religious or spiritual.. Just follow a simple rule:
    Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.

    If there's a big guy(or gal) upstairs, hopefully, he'll forgive me for having doubts he/she exists, and knows that I left his/her house in better shape then when I found it (actually, that's my mother's rule)

    October 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Elizabeth

    I am someone who defines myself as "spiritual but not religious". I choose to purposefully separate my belief in God from the hypocrisy, misogyny and corruption that has traditionally shrouded organized religion. I believe in a higher power but do not condone the way it has been used by the Church to manipulate, enslave and suppress. To me religion = church, Spirituality = personal faith in God.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      You are frustrated and gone coco by watching hinduism, absurdity of hinduism corruption of truth absolute, called religions.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  19. ron

    The author is iinterested to know what “spiritual but not religious" facts are.
    What about:

    * the fact that these people dont fly planes into buildings or commit violence when offended? (vs islam)
    * the fact that these people are not forced to go door to door trying to sell their ideas. (vs jehovah's witness)
    * the fact that these people dont see contraceptives as abortion. (vs catholicism)
    * the fact that these people dont promote ethnic superiority (vs judaism)

    yes "spiritual but not religious" has no explicit positive expositions. but the good thing is that it has no negative exposition either.
    the author's problem is his choice to see it negatively when in fact it is but a NEUTRAL ALTERNATIVE.

    October 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • DavidA

      Wow, do you truly believe these things? You know when the American Medical Association releases information on a new drug and says something like "May cause stroke. In studies, .X percent of participants suffered serious side effects" that you're still probably ok to take it & the FDA passes it, right? Now when a similar percentage of Muslims behave badly you're ready to throw the whole lot of them off the bus? Your statements about these religious groups are just way removed from reality here Ron.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Avdin

      * the fact that Hitler was spiritual but not religious.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Avdin

      Good grief... "Godwin's Law" already on this thread ?

      And... your example is highly debatable.

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • N

      Again, many deadly dictators were agnostic or even atheists. There's no one philosophy that will cause irrational behavior to ceases - each person has a propensity to do good or evil and that's a choice.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Avdin

      Well peace it is no more debatable than ron's examples. Especially the one about Jews. I am not Jewish but i find the idea highly offensive that someone actually beieves that the Jews believe they are a superior race. While they believe they are chosen for a purpose they do not believe they are in anyway superior. Historically it has been the other way around. The Slavs, the Arians, the Arabs all viewed (and in some cases still do) themselves as racially superior to the Jews and spread hate towards them.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • ron

      David, you want reality? look at saudi arabia. Thats an entire nation that oppresses women.
      Reality is that major religions all have NEGATIVE expositions in them.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Avdin

      Hi -Avdin...

      " Well peace it is no more debatable than ron's examples. Especially the one about Jews. "

      I'm not commenting on -ron's examples, nor necessarily agree with him. Was just pointing out 1)Godwin's Law sprouted pretty *quickly* on this thread by your comment. 2)Hitler as 'spiritual' vs. 'religious' is debatable.

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • ron

      discussion thread?

      October 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @ron

      Hi -ron...

      Yes, your response to -Avdin was posted under the wrong discussion thread. You hit 'reply' to the wrong person.

      So... I have reposted your comment under the 'right' discussion thread.

      If I'm wrong... my apologies.

      Peace...
      ------------------------------------------–
      @ron
      Avdin, hitler was a catholic who was raised in an environment that hated jews. thanks to religion.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  20. Paul "Barry" Karn

    Tax the indians!

    October 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • ron

      Avdin, hitler was a catholic who was raised in an environment that hated jews. thanks to religion.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @ron

      You might want to post this response... I discussion thread up ?

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      *one* discussion thread up ?

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
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About this blog

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.