Comments about ‘CNN Belief Blog: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out’

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Published: Sunday, Sept. 30 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

I read the entire CNN column. I believe the author makes a mistake in assuming that Faith can only operate properly in an institutional setting. The author also assumes that those who follow their own path are somehow arrogant for not belonging to an organized religious body. This is the same mentality that has led some to insist that Mormons are not Christian because they do not associate with the "right" religious institutions. For me, being "spiritual but not religious" is a matter of personal choice, not an attack on those who find solace in an institutional Church.

American Fork, UT

Nonsense. Spirituality can thrive without the veneer of ritual, corruption and made up stuff organised religion imposes on it. Surely we can believe in a higher being without having to respond to it's cash flow problems.

Harwich, MA

A significant number of people believe in God, but not "religion".
It's not a "cop-out", it's common sense.


"Big religion" has become political, the meetings (and manuals) are so dumbed-down, and the membership ranks are so filled with "authoritarian follower" personality types, that many young people (and non- authoritarian personalities) are repulsed.

Wally West

re: Henry Drummond

I can't help but wonder what the author thinks of Deism & Taoism? Those 2 schools of thought have brought me more peace than Org Rel ever did.

Columbus, OH

Neither Jesus nor Joseph Smith aligned themselves with existing religious institutions. Both touted instead a personal relationship with God. Interesting how the followers of these two figures now denigrate those who would seek to do the same.

Salt Lake City, UT

"I'm spiritual, but not religious."

These people are both fools and lazy. That's all. They want to think there is some wonderful afterlife that awaits them because they fit their own definition of a "good person".

I immediately disregard a person when they say this. Everything else that comes out of their mouth afterward is childish, vacuous, pretentious, and arrogant. They think their opinion is just as valid as somebody who has spent years studying religion/theology. They think if they frame it with words like "I feel/believe/think" then everybody else needs to validate it as being just as valid as the experts.

I don't believe in any religion, but I will always regard the opinion of an expert in the field (priest/rabbi/imam/theologian/Mormon seminary teacher) higher than some Barrista, Housewife, construction worker, student, etc.

Mister J

per 1aggie...

Agreed. Lets talk about evangelical christianity; shall we? It IMO is nothing more than a psychological crutch.

Specifically, the *it doesn't matter what I have done, will do, or may do because I've been saved* mindset. Its pretentious, arrogant, & naive.

West Jordan, UT

I believe you can be both "spiritual" and "religious"...creating a powerful force for good.

Dietrich, ID

I read an article several years ago were the late Truman Madsen said God without religion is like language without words paraphrasing how is that possible?

Woods Cross, UT

One does not find the core of any religion, which many call "spirituality," without a great deal of discipline.

I predict that the pendulum will swing on this issue. True spirituality doesn't come with serious commitment, and "cafeteria-style" religious philosophies do not provide that commitment.

Provo, UT

Being "spiritual" doesn't mean you don't believe in a higher power, a god or some or something beyond this realm.

Being "spiritual" means that you believe and feel that our being is more than just our flesh and bone body.

Being religious means that you might believe in a god, higher power or something beyond this realm but ALSO means that you subscribe and follow some other human's view on a god or gods or higher power.

I don't need to follow some other human's view on god, or whether or not there is a higher power and that we have a substance within our being that is more than just our flesh and bone body. No human knows there is a god or higher power. No human speaks or is lead by a god or higher power any more than any other human.

Therefore, I'm not religious and yet, still spiritual and therefore, my happiness and peace comes from me and no one else and by not subscribing to someone's religion, AKA, view on god or a higher power.

Huntsville, UT

Religious Spiritual

The two are not the same.

Religious = Religious

On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

Joseph Smith, Sr. was spiritual but not religious until his son founded a church.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

New religious thought begins in solitude. Moses was no religious leader when he a mysterious voice told him to return to Egypt. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness before he began announcing in Galilee that the Kingdom of God was at hand. Mohammed was visited in the night by the divine messenger and Joseph Smith was a farm boy when the heavens opened to him.

In each case, millions would come to follow. That’s the true miracle.

Maybe strange things happen to people who spend too much time alone in the countryside. Or maybe discontentment with existing creeds is a beginning on ones personal journey. In any case, dismissing the personal spiritual quest as inadequate or a cop-out leaves institutional religion at odds with its own claims to legitimacy.

sandy, ut

I have seen plenty of examples of people who are religious, but not spiritual. They like to go to church to be seen there, but are not spiritual at all. So it would make sense to me that one can be spiritual without being religious. You don't need to walk into a building once a week to be a spiritual person. You also don't need to be affiliated or associated with a certain religious group to have a valid spirituality. Spirituality comes from within... not from the outside. Some people need religion to be spiritual, some don't and there are many inbetween. Do what works for you.

layton, UT

To; Craig Clark Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and Joseph Smith was a farm boy when the heavens opened to him?
Interesting comparison, Jesus was tempted in every way but did not sin. He was confronted by the tempter, Mt 4:9 All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” but he defeated Satan by using scripture as we could. Jesus was faithful and demonstrated his qualifications to be Savior. Because Adam failed the test by the Tempter (you can be as God) and plunged the whole race into sin.
See Galatians 1:8 for Joseph Smith.

Salem, Utah

Some people are inclined to ask deep questions, others are not. Whether or not they belong to an organized religion is a separate question. There are "religious" people who are superficial and never ask the deep questions. There are "spiritual" people who seek connection with other "spiritual" people who share their quest and discoveries. Criticism of any of these people is not a productive part of the conversation. Ask the deep questions. Accept Truth where you find it. Life is too short to justify closing the mind because Truth is a lifelong quest. If an organized group shares the tenets you have discovered to be effective in your life, go ahead and affiliate. But pity those who live shallow lives rather than criticize. Some day they may face a personal quest, and welcome to it!



"These people are both fools and lazy. That's all. They want to think there is some wonderful afterlife that awaits them because they fit their own definition of a "good person"."

"They think their opinion is just as valid as somebody who has spent years studying religion/theology."

Why are you attacking someone's personal beliefs so viciously? If they claim their spiritual but don't have faith in organize religion then it is what it is. You sound very arrogant here.

"I will always regard the opinion of an expert in the field (priest/rabbi/imam/theologian/Mormon seminary teacher) higher than some Barrista, Housewife, construction worker, student, etc."

Go ahead and regard their opinion for your beliefs. Why is this so upsetting to you?

Tell you what ... I don't have a religion either. I only believe in love for one another. Does that offend you? Am I copping out of something? I don't even consider myself spiritual unless I count my happy time playing piano. And I married a (recently) ex-Mormon ... all it takes is love to get past these kind of things.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

Neither does being "spiritual" nor "religious" = being "a good person".

In fact, the author of this article calls into question his own claims to being "a good person" by the way he mistreats his fellowman in the article!

There are good and bad people in every religion and every walk of life, including non-believers.

It just seems the religious people are more likely to blind themselves to their failings, excuse them ("Nobody's perfect"), or throw their sins on an abstract "scape goat" figure.

But non-believers have no choice but to own their "sins" and fix the problem.

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