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Can you be "spiritual" without religion?

VIBE
VIBE Members Posts: 54,384 ✭✭✭✭✭
I seen this come up on my FaceBook feed, one of the pages I "liked" brought up a book written by an atheist, "Spirituality without Religion".

He said that he doesn't agree with that. That spirituality does have to do with religion. So, he cannot relate with that idea. He can only relate to reality and nature.

In the comment section there were lots of opinions, here is one of them;

"I see spirituality as simply a psychological state grounded in the real world, a state of mind fixed firmly in the biochemistry of the brain and unrelated to an actual spirit."


What are your thoughts on this? Can you be spiritual without being religious?

If not, why?
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Comments

  • Lou Cypher
    Lou Cypher Make Reasonable Choices. H. E. Double Hockey SticksMembers Posts: 52,521 ✭✭✭✭✭
    They're called hippies vibe.
  • MARIO_DRO
    MARIO_DRO Members Posts: 14,425 ✭✭✭✭✭
    OF COURSE. ..DUH
  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2014
    Spirituality seems to be a word that gets thrown around and redefined every time someone mentions it. What is it exactly? Spirit can be defined as a ghost (soul) or Zeitgeist. Some people say it's becoming in-tuned with the universe. It seems everyone as a different aspect of how you go about doing that with meditation being one of the main aspects. I suppose you would have to give at a less broad definition because it can also be thrown in with religion. Are we talking energy or feelings here?
  • Ajackson17
    Ajackson17 On the shoulders of Giants and Elders in history UniverseMembers Posts: 22,501 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Spirit means breath so its life in a sense and vitality. Religion is dogma and rules and beliefs and etc. You can be simply intune with yourself and still be a spiritual person. Most people can't take it apart from religion its due to their limited grasp of spirituality and the entomology of it is.
  • Focal Point
    Focal Point Kushite descent... wandering child from Meru of Old TrentonMembers Posts: 16,307 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes and that's how it should be
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2014
    Both of those words have different meanings depending on the person you ask.

    IMO, spirituality seems to begin with you; it is looking within.
    Religion, on the other hand, deals with your relationship to that which is without.

    Modern dictionaries define "spiritual" as related to religious beliefs and define religion as the belief in and worship of 🤬 or gods.

    Maybe a person should look inwards first before attempting to define their relationship with the universe around them.

    My question is, should a spiritual person who manifests their spirituality through volitional action be called religious if that person does not believe in 🤬 or gods? Given the modern definition of "religion", a religious person has to believe in some sort of 🤬 , however that 🤬 may be defined.

    A non theist, then, may have a "philosophy" and not really a "religion"..
    A religion to a theist would be a theistic philosophy.
  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Oceanic wrote: »
    Both of those words have different meanings depending on the person you ask.

    IMO, spirituality seems to begin with you; it is looking within.
    Religion, on the other hand, deals with your relationship to that which is without.

    Modern dictionaries define "spiritual" as related to religious beliefs and define religion as the belief in and worship of 🤬 or gods.

    Maybe a person should look inwards first before attempting to define their relationship with the universe around them.

    My question is, should a spiritual person who manifests their spirituality through volitional action be called religious if that person does not believe in 🤬 or gods? Given the modern definition of "religion", a religious person has to believe in some sort of 🤬 , however that 🤬 may be defined.

    A non theist, then, may have a "philosophy" and not really a "religion"..
    A religion to a theist would be a theistic philosophy.

    Your defining religion narrowly. You don't have to believe in a 🤬 to be religious. This is why you have things called the cult of personality. One can worship and idea or a man and that man or idea can create a religion. This is why the new stealthy argument that science is a religion has come about. The practice of science is one of application of tools to investigate and discover but people can make a religion out of what's discovered. Spirits to me has always been applied to energy or manifestations that were once human alive or which exist within certain elements of life. Many religions dealt of tree spirits for instance. A spirit can also be attached to the theory that we have souls. Is this what you are saying? You would need to show me proof before is start agreeing with such things. Looking inwards requires introspection rather then spirituality. Meditation is good at focusing in on senses but it's still all physical.
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    FuriousOne wrote: »

    Your defining religion narrowly.

    As previously stated, I'm going by modern dictionary definitions in defining religion as such.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    Meditation is good at focusing in on senses but it's still all physical.

    Meditation is a spiritual practice.
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    "Spirit" is the vital essence of a person. In meditation, you focus inward on that essence. You can define that essence in many ways depending on your beliefs but ultimately whether you believe in a soul or not, meditation is spiritual at its heart.

    In vipassana meditation, we focus on the breath; the interconnectedness of body and mind.

    Science is not a religion; the argument that it is one usually comes from theists who attempt to lower science down to their level of understanding.

    Systems of thought classically defined as "Religions" (like Buddhism and Taoism) are now considered philosophies rather than religion because they are not theistic.
  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    Oceanic wrote: »
    "Spirit" is the vital essence of a person. In meditation, you focus inward on that essence. You can define that essence in many ways depending on your beliefs but ultimately whether you believe in a soul or not, meditation is spiritual at its heart.

    Science is not a religion; the argument that it is one usually comes from theists who attempt to lower science down to their level of understanding.

    Systems of thought classically defined as "Religions" (like Buddhism and Taoism) are now considered philosophies rather than religion because they are not theistic.

    The dictionary tends to have multiple meanings.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion
    an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
    a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

    Scientific discoveries can become the center of religious worship. People tend to take a discovery and run to the finish line with their own conclusions. This is how Sudo Science is born and i find that it has an airy semblance to theist religion. Baseless arguments are usually born in a glimmer of truth. For instance, people worshiping a discovery is immediately thought of as the practice of science being a religious practice even though the two situations are not mutual. People like to fill in the blank do to impatience with arriving at a genuine conclusion. I would rather define things by tangible definitions then speaking on an essence in a broad barely graspable sense. What do you believe an essence of a person is? Are we talking about learning about the traits of your personality or easing ones mind by quieting thought and memories? I just don't think we should apply these keywords when they don't lend to exact definition. It leaves too many openings to confuse peoples philosophy.
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You said that man can worship ideas or other men and that can create a religion; thus, science has been argued to be a religion. But your statements after that showed that it is not science that can be defined as a religion but that scientific discoveries can create religions.. which is true but the definition of religion remains the same.

    Anyway, I got that definition of religion from the dictionary.

    Essence is defined as the intrinsic nature of a person. Some believe in a soul. I believe the essence is the five skandhas but that is because I am a Buddhist.

    Definitions depend on the people using the words. What are you confused about?
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    The reason the dictionary has multiple meanings for one word is because the definition of the word largely depends on context. This works for a lot of words in English, even words as simple as "of".

    Someone can say, "football is my religion". That usage would be in line with the dictionary reference you've given but that is not the correct usage of religion in the sense that were using it in this thread.

  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Oceanic wrote: »
    You said that man can worship ideas or other men and that can create a religion; thus, science has been argued to be a religion. But your statements after that showed that it is not science that can be defined as a religion but that scientific discoveries can create religions.. which is true but the definition of religion remains the same.

    Anyway, I got that definition of religion from the dictionary.

    Essence is defined as the intrinsic nature of a person. Some believe in a soul. I believe the essence is the five skandhas but that is because I am a Buddhist.


    Definitions depend on the people using the words. What are you confused about?

    I specifically said.
    This is why the new stealthy argument that science is a religion has come about.

    I never lent credence to it's accuracy. Words still have relative definitions unless you decide to redefine it wholly do to language and period differences. That hasn't occurred with the word religion or spirituality. Both have relative definitions but i find spirituality to be more vague because people are trying to take religion out of it when it is obviously attached to religious aspects when you are honest about the definition of religion.

    You probably missed the definitions that i posted that goes in line with what i am saying. Religion is not strictly defined even in the modern dictionary as one worshiping a 🤬 . Science is argued as a religion because people jump to that conclusion and confuse the overall methodology of science with scientific discoveries. It of course makes no sense but this is how people draw broad strokes and one has to actively argue these points because they are steeped in confusion. I'm just noting how we've come to this point. When you say the intrinsic nature, some find that letting yourself go and becoming mass murderer is truly becoming one with mans nature. Careful how you use those terms.
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    I specifically said.

    You said that to elucidate your frustration with the "narrow" definition of religion. Your argument was that religion is and should be defined more broadly. However, you failed to grasp that the definition was used in such a strict way specifically because of context.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    Words still have relative definitions unless you decide to redefine it wholly

    Words in the English language may have a number of different definitions depending on the context in which they are used. Check your dictionary for proof of this.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    i find spirituality to be more vague because people are trying to take religion out of it when it is obviously attached to religious aspects when you are honest about the definition of religion.

    You are agreeing with my original post, here.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    Religion is not strictly defined even in the modern dictionary as one worshiping a 🤬 .

    In the context of this thread, it is.

    re·li·gion
    noun \ri-ˈli-jən\
    : the belief in a 🤬 or in a group of gods

    : an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a 🤬 or a group of gods


    Here is what the OP said:
    VIBE wrote: »
    I seen this come up on my FaceBook feed, one of the pages I "liked" brought up a book written by an atheist, "Spirituality without Religion".

    He said that he doesn't agree with that. That spirituality does have to do with religion. So, he cannot relate with that idea. He can only relate to reality and nature.

    ...
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    When you say the intrinsic nature, some find that letting yourself go and becoming mass murderer is truly becoming one with mans nature. Careful how you use those terms.

    Again, you're using the word out of context. Nature, in this instance, means the basic constitution of a person. Vital means necessary. In other words, what is necessarily required for a person to be a person. That is the vital essence. As stated above, some believe in a soul. I believe in the five skandhas.
  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    I'm looking specifically at this statement.
    Modern dictionaries define "spiritual" as related to religious beliefs and define religion as the belief in and worship of 🤬 or gods.

    Whether you made this statement in relation tot his post or not, it is not accurate that modern dictionaries only define religion as a belief in and worship of 🤬 or gods. When i say spirituality is attached to religion. It isn't necessarily speaking in terms of organized theistic religion. My argument is that religion should be applied more appropriately. It is actually far less broad then the aspect of spirituality which seems to have the ability to be applied to whatever the day calls for. Regardless, it is very not well defined and is probably one of the more loosely defined words we have because keep restructuring the definition to suite them. Regardless, it is still modernly broadly attached to theistic worship and concepts such as the holy spirit or spiritual. A differing application of the definition would be more in line with changing the word structure like spiriting.

    You also said
    My question is, should a spiritual person who manifests their spirituality through volitional action be called religious if that person does not believe in 🤬 or gods? Given the modern definition of "religion", a religious person has to believe in some sort of 🤬 , however that 🤬 may be defined.

    Nope.
    an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
    a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

    You created the context for my argument.

    The modern dictionary defines it to include practices without a 🤬 applied which is why i bought up the worship of scientific discoveries. It is lazy reasoning that has the same origin in the desire to co-opt the word spirituality to to apply to aspects of being that are as controversial as a belief in 🤬 . The five Skandha does not have to be defined as a spiritual approach. Buddhist didn't when they first defined it. Western culture decided to add that overtone. It creates confusion and allows for other unproven concepts to taint the well.
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    I'm looking specifically at this statement.
    Modern dictionaries define "spiritual" as related to religious beliefs and define religion as the belief in and worship of 🤬 or gods.

    Whether you made this statement in relation to his post or not, it is not accurate that modern dictionaries only define religion as a belief in and worship of 🤬 or gods.

    Modern dictionaries do define religion (in the context of this thread) as belief in 🤬 or gods. The reason I gave that definition was to explain why there seems to be a problem with separating spirituality from religion given the definitions of both words and their relationship to each other.

    I also gave my own personal definition of both words prior to that.

    FuriousOne wrote: »
    spirituality ... seems to have the ability to be applied to whatever the day calls for. Regardless, it is very not well defined and is probably one of the more loosely defined words we have because keep restructuring the definition to suite them. Regardless, it is still modernly broadly attached to theistic worship and concepts such as the holy spirit or spiritual. A differing application of the definition would be more in line with changing the word structure like spiriting.

    ^^^ This is what I said in the opening sentence of my first post (however more succinctly):
    Oceanic wrote: »
    Both of those words have different meanings depending on the person you ask.

    That is why I gave my personal definition and the dictionary definitions to give two different perspectives to compare and show the relationship between each concept.

    FuriousOne wrote: »
    You also said

    ...

    You created the context for my argument.

    Actually, I was still within the context of defining religion as belief in 🤬 or gods. That's actually explicitly stated in the quote that you referenced.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    The modern dictionary defines it to include practices without a 🤬 applied which is why i bought up the worship of scientific discoveries.

    And I showed you how using the word religion in that context for this thread makes no sense. In that context, painting or powerlifting can be someone's religion but that makes no sense when applied to this thread.

    Per your definition:
    an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

    "Can you be spiritual without believing in 🤬 or gods being very interested in powerlifting?"
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    The five Skandha does not have to be defined as a spiritual approach. Buddhist didn't when they first defined it. Western culture decided to add that overtone.

    That's because Buddhism doesn't come from Westerners and thus was not expounded in a Western language.
  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    @Oceanic People claim things like painting and bodylifting lifts the spirits. See what i did there? People speak on things touching their soul all the time. They actually especially project the deepest thoughts and furthest reaches of human perception and vigor. If you want to conquer the word and change it's application then so be it. The definitions that i used were indeed in a modern dictionary and are modern applications of religion sense people realized that people can join cults unrelated to Theistic belief which is a very modern concept. Just because people don't believe in 🤬 , that doesn't give them a pass to create other theories without proof. I find spirituality when applied in that sense to have the same issue as how it was defined in the "past" (or in greater abundance, now).
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    @Oceanic People claim things like painting and bodylifting lifts the spirits.

    I see exactly what you did there. You are continuously misusing the terms. "Spirits" in that sense has nothing to do with the topic of the thread, which is spirituality concerned with the vital essence of a person and in some cases what can be called the supernatural.

    In the context that you're using the word, it's defined differently, as:

    : temper or disposition of mind or outlook especially when vigorous or animated <in high spirits>

    We're talking about a different "spirit" here. In the OP, a contrast was given that helps us determine what the author meant by spiritual. He said he can only relate to reality and nature, implying the rejection of its opposite, unreality and the supernatural.. which to an atheist is worship of 🤬 (s) in religion and thus raising the question of the possibility of spirituality without that (religious) aspect.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    The definitions that i used were indeed in a modern dictionary and are modern applications of religion sense people realized that people can join cults unrelated to Theistic belief which is a very modern concept.

    Except the definitions you are using are out of context.

    In order to be considered a "religion" a cult must be in line with the definition of religion as belief and worship of 🤬 (s) as stated in the dictionary.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    Just because people don't believe in 🤬 , that doesn't give them a pass to create other theories without proof.

    That is not the issue.


    Put this into perspective; What you are doing is similar to this:

    If I say the sun is bright, what I mean by bright is specific and limited by one definition of the word although there exists several.

    I do not mean that the sun is intelligent which is one definition of the word bright. Nor do I mean necessarily that the sun is beautiful, which is yet another definition. In context, I mean that the sun produces light.

    You are debating me about multiple definitions that do not fit the context surrounding the words.

    These things can be confusing but only to one that does not fully understand context and how definitions are drawn based on how a particular word is used. The problem is not in the words or the concepts but rather in your inability to comprehend how they are applied.

    My suggestion to you would be to look up a word at any time you are ever confused about its meaning and then study all definitions for that word and their possible relationship with the rest of the text. Then use critical thinking to determine which usage best fits the surrounding paragraph or sentence.
  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    @oceanic In all aspects of using the word bright, it's foundation means to illuminate. Weather you are illuminating your intelligence (bright meaning showing or displaying ones intelligence) or you have a bright idea (signifies a light bulb to spread forth your idea). It's called etymology and most words unless they were butchered have a foundation that is similar no matter the context. Spirit is metaphysical regardless of how you push it. Whether it's the culmination of thought energy or some manifestation of ones inner being bought out (spirited from ones body) or expressed through spirited exuberance (expressed energy) it has a foundation in a root definition. What that energy is and whether it can exist beyond our physical form is the heart of the argument. I can't see how it can be applied differently. it still finds it's way into other religions (not 🤬 based) that express theories of existence and push them as absolute truth. I'm not speaking on individual religious approach to doing things. I'm speaking on people using the word to express their thoughts on what man is and forming cults around that. Are you saying cults can't exist without a 🤬 aspect?
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That's all and well but we aren't debating the etymology of words. We are discussing the definitions of words as used today and how the context in which they are used changes those definitions. Regardless of what the etymology of the word bright may be, it has different meanings depending on its use.
  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    Oceanic wrote: »
    That's all and well but we aren't debating the etymology of words. We are discussing the definitions of words as used today and how the context in which they are used changes those definitions. Regardless of what the etymology of the word bright may be, it has different meanings depending on its use.

    I'm saying that the meaning for that particular word bright hasn't changed much and the root definition would tell you that. It's still illuminating something. Spirit is still speaking on the expression of energy regardless of its context. It's how something is illuminated and expressed that matters but if what is being described does non of those things, then it is described wrong. I don't see how the definition has changed other then people attempting to put a spin on it. The word 🤬 was taken to mean ignorant which was a completely incorrect definition even when it was spoken in ignorance. Also, with all of your talk of the dictionary, you were in here yourself giving your own definition of the word. Are we about that dictionary life or aren't we?
  • Jabu_Rule
    Jabu_Rule Members Posts: 5,993 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Here is a more focused write up to summarize what I'm speaking on. Not saying he is absolutely write, but there is an argument to be made on the concept of the word.

    http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/Spirituality.htm
    The problem with answering whether atheists are spiritual or not is that the term "spiritual" is so vague and ill-defined most of the time. Usually when people use it they mean something similar to, but nevertheless very distinct from, religion. This is probably an improper usage because there are very good reasons to think that spirituality is more a type of religion than anything else.

    So what does this mean when it comes to whether atheists can be spiritual or not? If the general usage is mistaken and spirituality really is best described as a highly personalized and privatized religious belief system, then the answer to the question is clearly "yes." Atheism is not only compatible with the adoption of a public, organized religious belief system, it is also compatible with the adoption of a very personal and private religious faith.
    In the end, all of this vagueness prevents the concept of spirituality from carrying a great deal of cognitive content. It does, however, carry emotional content — much of what people describe as "spirituality" seems to have much more to do with emotional than intellectual reactions to events and experiences. So, when a person is using the term, they are more likely trying to convey something about their emotions and their emotional reactions to things than a coherent set of beliefs and ideas.


  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    I'm saying that the meaning for that particular word bright hasn't changed much and the root definition would tell you that. It's still illuminating something.

    The etymology does not matter. I'm showing that depending on context, a word has different meanings. When saying the sun is bright, I don't mean that the sun is intelligent. To say that makes no sense. However, that is still what the word bright means when used in such a manner. The etymology of the word is irrelevant.

    In addition, if you look up the word illuminate, you will see that that word, too, has various meanings, again, depending on context.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    Also, with all of your talk of the dictionary, you were in here yourself giving your own definition of the word. Are we about that dictionary life or aren't we?

    I'm only speaking about the dictionary because those definitions you had a problem with were pulled from the dictionary. Had you spoken on my own personal definitions, I suppose we wouldn't be talking about the dictionary.
  • Bodhi
    Bodhi Members Posts: 7,932 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2014
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    Spirit is metaphysical regardless of how you push it.
    Not necessarily. Spirit can also mean:

    a : prevailing tone or tendency <spirit of the age>
    b : general intent or real meaning <spirit of the law>


    Which has nothing to do with spirit in the sense of

    : a supernatural being or essence


    The etymology of spirit is breath or to breathe which is quite different from its multiple definitions in usage today.
    FuriousOne wrote: »
    What that energy is and whether it can exist beyond our physical form is the heart of the argument. I can't see how it can be applied differently. it still finds it's way into other religions (not 🤬 based).

    As previously stated, my definition of spirit would be the vital essence of a person which as mentioned earlier, does not necessarily have to relate to an eternal soul or the supernatural.

    That is why I used vipassana meditation as an example of a spiritual practice because it is an observation of that which is within -- the vital essence, which in this case, is not supernatural and is neither religious.
  • Ajackson17
    Ajackson17 On the shoulders of Giants and Elders in history UniverseMembers Posts: 22,501 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Spirituality is implied by the kundalini or chakra energy. In essence its meditation which does not mean to be religion or dogmatic thinking.