Religious vs. spiritual: Study says the truly 'spiritual but not religious' are hard to find

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  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Aug. 24, 2013 9:21 p.m.

    It's a category I see on single dating sites which causes me to immediately move on.

  • DeseretDebbie Corona, CA
    Aug. 24, 2013 7:51 p.m.

    I disagree with the premise that: "people who have abandoned traditional congregations in favor of a more solitary form of belief and worship." I don't believe people who have left traditional congregations are seeking solitary form of belief and worship, but more they have left traditional "organized" religion for non-organized worship. Where two or three are gathered so is Christ. You don't need organized religion to have a relationship with Christ.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 23, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    To Sceptic:

    re: "Most (all) religions are more cultural than spiritual."

    I beg to differ with your statement. Many people may be culturally religious vs spiritually religious. But my experience is that even most "cultural" adherents to a religion have deep seeded spirituality that others fail to perceive. Jesus said, "judege not..." for a reason.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 21, 2013 8:01 p.m.

    Talking about being "religious" and being "spiritual" without using a common definition df those words makes it hard for people to agree on how they classify themselves.

    To me, being religious is following the doctrine of a church and participating in the ordinances of that religion. It is the "practice" that allows us to begin to experience a God-centered life. Spirituality is being guided by the Holy Spirit so that living a religion is not the goal but following the principles taught by that religion and clarified by the promptings of the Holy Spirit to serve and assist others becomes the goal.

    In other words, much of being religious is like using training wheels to learn how to ride a bike. Being spiritual is like listening for directions on where to ride that bike to be of greatest service to others.

    The commandment to receive the Holy Ghost comes after we have practiced faith in our Savior, after we have repented, and after we have received the ordinance of baptism. The commandment to be spiritual takes us to a higher level.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 20, 2013 3:07 p.m.

    To be religious one has to accept pretty much the entire body of doctrine that are particular religion has adopted. This is difficult for independent minded people and people people that are used to thinking for themselves particularly if the religion it is a very authoritarian religion that does not tolerate differences in believe very well.

    Religion is also very much into socialization and interacting with others. A spiritual person is into meditating pondering and studying. Yes a person can be both but there are differences.

  • Daniel Leifker San Francisco, CA
    Aug. 20, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    I think these strange debates over religion and spirituality arise because "religion" has so many different meanings. The whole point of religion is to embody a set of lofty principles that people can commit to, even if the consequences of that commitment will disrupt their everyday routines and changes their behavior in ways that may be difficult at first, such as learning to forgive more or go through certain rituals. I know many people who claim to be spiritual but not religious. From what I observe, this often means that they are open to the possibility that the universe is more than dumb matter and energy, but that they are under no obligation to change their daily behavior beyond what they already find convenient and familiar.

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    Religious people almost never talk about themselves as spiritual. Instead, they call themselves religious, and everyone understands that religious is often equated with spiritual life. Aren't most religious people not very spiritual, or no more spiritual than those who don't consider themselves religious? I know atheists and agnostics who are just as kind and compassionate and concerned about alleviating and reducing suffering.

    Doctors Without Borders is a secular organization who don't push religious agendas as they do their great work. On other hand, religious people often push their religious beliefs on others, much of which contributes to suffering. The Catholic Church, for example, discourages education on condom use in Africa and even actively opposes it for those who are married, which results in ignorance, suffering and death. Why are they more concerned about people's sex lives more than saving lives? What is so spiritual about that?

    Why was this article published? To send the message that religious people are "spiritually" better off than non-religious people?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 19, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    Everybody gets to define themselves how they will, and in the same vein compare themselves to others. That's why religion divides us; we use it as a tool to define ourselves and judge others.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 18, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    Most (all) religions are more cultural than spiritual.

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 16, 2013 2:25 p.m.

    RE: Twin Lights, Likewise, the 'spirituality' being endorsed as an alternative is at least as widely practiced by those same religious people. True,

    New Age “Spirituality”, I am God. “Each of us has access to a creative, integrative, self-organizing, intuitive mind whose capabilities are unlimited, ”This is the part of our consciousness that constitutes our *God-likeness.” Most Cosmic Humanists state the case more forcefully ,supposedly channeled a spirit that spoke through her, claiming, “We are as much God as God is a part of us . . . each of us is God . . . together we are God . . . this all-for-one-and-one-for-all . . . makes us the whole of God.”Or,

    “As man is God once was, As God is man may be.”

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Aug. 16, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    "...Spiritual but not religious are hard to find..."?


    Could it be because the study has a...

    "...methodological issue...".

    as well as the fact that

    "...the sample was small — 95 people...".

    So let's go ahead and report the findings as though they were legitimate?

    What would be the point of doing something like that?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 16, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    As the article indicates, the concept that folks are spiritual without being religious is easily said but not so easily practiced.

    Also, two quotes from the article:

    Among those who have a negative view of organized religion, Ammerman's team found that claims of being spiritual but not religious were a way for people to draw moral and political boundaries rather than make a statement of belief and practice . . .


    Ammerman argues that her research revealed that both the affiliated and unaffiliated are misinformed about each other.

    "The 'religion' being rejected turns out to be quite unlike the religion being practiced and described by those affiliated with religious institutions," she wrote. "Likewise, the 'spirituality' being endorsed as an alternative is at least as widely practiced by those same religious people as it is by the people drawing a moral boundary against them."

    This has been my experience. Some reject religion because of the politics that have been infused into it rather than the actual dogma. Also, that some reject religion hold in their minds a concept quite unlike the religion as practiced by its adherents. Also, that the religious are, in fact, spiritual.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 16, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    “people who have abandoned traditional congregations in favor of a more solitary form of belief and worship.”

    I would take issue with the starting premise of the article.

    Most people I know who fit this description want a spiritual (loosely defined) community as much as anyone. They just can no longer accept the stories and superstitions of the old time religions. In contradiction, the next two paragraphs support my view – many don’t care what church they’re in (because beliefs are unimportant), they just want to feel connected communally and spiritually.

    After this we find some quotes by religious leaders that seem to draw exactly the wrong conclusions, but I guess that should not be surprising from people who thorough believe they are in possession of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Enlightening research by Ammerman though, but again not surprising that most people use the G word (God) when describing transcendent or numinous experiences since that is the prevalent language of our culture.

    And the responses under “Ethical” should give us all hope…

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 16, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    People who are "spiritual" AND religious are few and far between as well. There are so few of them, you could probably fit them on the head of that pin with the angels.