I’m not “religious”, I’m “spiritual”!

Bullshit. And here’s why.

People like to use this, I’d love to know when it started BTW, to mean
something like this. “You religious people have churches and temples and
whatever, and get together in groups, and do things as an institution.” Often
this is coupled with the idea that these institutions are authoritarian, and
thus a problem. The flip side is “I’m spiritual, I don’t do any of your
“religious” stuff.” You’re an individualist, you’re not connected with an
institution, you’re not controlled by no damn hierarchy.

The problem with this is, if you look at actual religion, this doesn’t really
work. It applies mostly to Christianity, and there poorly, in fact I suspect
the model, the sort of archetypal “religious” thing if you will, in all the bad
senses of that word, is the Roman Catholic Church. So not only does it really
not apply to much religious life, e.g. most Christian denominations don’t have
a hierarchy, Etc., the individualistic part is wrong too. Because essentially
what’s happening is, you’re doing everything you do in a religion, you’re just
not getting together with other people to do it, maybe. I say maybe because
this may or may not be true, you might get together with say, a Unitarian group
every once in a while, go hang out with a coven, Etc.

What’s really bizarre to me is that this smacks of Evangelical claims, like
Christianity isn’t a “religion”, it’s a “relationship”. Because “religion” is
some stuff people made up, and Christianity is like, totally true man!
Similarly, if my supposition that the RCC is the archetypal “religious” thing
is born out, the whole thing seems to look a lot like fundamentalist
anti-Catholic propaganda.

In any case, even if you’re totally off on your own, you’ve managed to somehow
never go to a group anything, religiously speaking, you still do all the sorts
of things that characterize a religion. Plus, you got that stuff from
somewhere, unless you want to claim you made your “spirituality” all by
yourself, uninfluenced by anything else. In that case, I’d like to explore that
claim. So really, the only difference between “religious” and “spiritual” is,
you don’t go to no meetings, and even that may not apply. I hardly think that’s
a reason to invent a whole new term.

Oh, there’s eclecticism too. A lot of “spiritual” people are eclectic, meaning
they borrow things from lots of different religions, e.g. monotheism from
Christianity here, meditation from Buddhism there, yoga from Hinduism, and so
on. Big deal. That just proves my point, all of that stuff, yes even yoga, is
religious. That’s my point, all this stuff you’re into is right out of
religion. I don’t see why that’s such a bad thing, myself.

So that’s why I have a gripe about the whole religious/spiritual subject.
You’re religious, because you’re doing religion, whether you get together in a
group or not. Deal with it. You’re not special, you’re not some crazed
individualistic trailblazer, you’re religious, like everybody else that’s
religious. In a related note, “dogma” just means “teachings”. This is another
favorite of the “I’m spiritual” crowd, they’re also “not dogmatic”. That’s
basically saying they have nothing to teach anybody, and I’d be inclined to
agree with most of them on that point. It also, not coincidentally, adds to the
probable anti-Catholic origin of this supposed distinction.

If you’re sitting here going, “dude, you’re an idiot, I’m totally spiritual!”,
that’s fine. It’s not like you’re required to agree with me or anything. But I
challenge you to demonstrate the differences between “religion” and
“spirituality”. It’s not teachings, because you get those from institutions,
and religious people don’t necessarily agree completely with their religious
institutions anyway, e.g. American Catholic attitudes towards birth control.
It’s not lack of hierarchy, because not all religions have hierarchy. It’s not
lack of community, because some “spiritual” people meet in groups, and not all
religion is done communally. It’s not eclecticism, because most if not all
religion is eclectic, to one degree or another. So if you think the
distinction’s valid, give me something to work with. Otherwise, I’m considering
you religious, and you just need to call yourself “spiritual” to feel special.

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11 Responses to I’m not “religious”, I’m “spiritual”!

  1. Henry Emrich says:

    Okay, I had to get in on this one (heh!): 1. "Otherwise I’m considering you religious". Umm, you do realize that the people you’re talking about probably don’t give two shits WHAT you consider them, right? More to the point, I don’t really see why they (or I) should, either. Let’s back this up a few steps: Google around for a while, and you’re sure to find a discussion about whether there’s "really" such a thing as bisexuality (as a seperate "orientation"), or whether self-described "bisexuals" are "really" just closeted or unsure gays. Personally, I view that entire debate as stupid because the entire notion of "sexual orientation" was basically creatin the 19th century, by people like Karl Westphal. Look it up. Why do I bring this up? Primarily because the whole thrust of the folks who don’t "believe" in bisexuality, is that they insist on considering self-described bisexuals to "really" be gays/lesbians who just aren’t "comfortable enough" with their homosexuality, such that they continue to do heterosexual sex, at least on occasion. So what the hell does this have to do with the topic at hand? Well, to be honest, nobody with anything even approaching self-respect is going to give two liquidy shits WHETHER you "consider them religious" or not. What’s more important, is that I think YOU KNOW that already. 2. "Not all religions have hierarchy" I’m going to call "bullshit" on that, too, just for fun. Any religion that recognizes a distinction between clergy and "laity" is, by definition, every bit as hierarchical as the Roman catholic church. Hell, even shamanic traditions recognize a distinction between shamans and "everybody who isn’t a shaman". However you want to conceptualize that, the fact that there IS any sort of distinction related to social status or "role", is necessarily a form of hierarchy. Hierarchy is basically anything involving differences in "status". To the extent that there is a distinct shamanic "role", you have hierarchy. Basically the only religion I can even think of, which lacks hierarchy as I’ve described it, is "eclectic Wicca", and even there, it’s probably not accurate to say that it’s non-hierarchical, because, for example, there’s STILL some level of status-perk related to those who write handbooks for eclectic Wiccans. (Silver Ravenwolf, for example). So go for it, show me a religion which actually lacks hierarchy (even the rudimentary one involving distinctions between shaman and non-shaman).

  2. Henry Emrich says:

    Wikipedia is your friend:"Whilst the terms spirituality and religion can both refer to the search for the Absolute or God, an increasing number of people have come to see the two as separate entities, religion being just one way in which humans can experience spirituality. Cultural historian and yogi William Irwin Thompson states, "Religion is not identical with spirituality; rather religion is the form spirituality takes in civilization." "Where religion ends, spirituality begins"-Babuji Maharaj."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirituality#Religion Don’t like the distinction? Take it up with Wikipedia 🙂

  3. khomus says:

    You really like the phrase "two liquidy shits", don’t you? It’s not shocking, it doesn’t gross me out, it’s just retarded. Please, for the love of everything quantum, knock it the fuck off. <br/> <br/>That having been said, let us press on. <br/> <br/>1. I don’t care if they care, as such. My contention isn’t so much, "ooo you people are dumb!", it’s that saying "I’m spiritual, I’m not religious", doesn’t tell us anything. It’s like saying, no no no, I work in THEATER, I do Shakespeare. Those improv people aren’t doing THEATER. Except yes, yes they are doing theater. The distinction is based on parochial notions of what constitutes theater, but if you look at theater as a whole, i.e. around the world, you find that yes, improv is theater. So the distinction that’s trying to be made doesn’t tell us anything significant. In other words, if I look at what a "spiritual" person does, they’re doing the exact same things a "religious" person does, with the possible exception of gathering in groups. <br/> <br/>2. You assume difference in roles equals a hierarchy. OK, so there’s a hierarchy between you and an auto mechanic? Because that’s basically what you’re suggesting, that anything that promotes a difference, social or professionally, automatically causes a hierarchy. I don’t really have the time or inclination to go into great depth proving that shamanisms, as an example, generally lack hierarchy, so you’ll have to take a couple examples, unless you want to do the work yourself to look up more information on them. That’s not sarcasm, it’s just a big topic. <br/> <br/>In general, shamans are part of their society. Thus, Tuvan shamans herd, or whatever Tuvans can do to make a living. In other words, shamanism is not a profession, in the traditional sense, they don’t live off of it. I should add for the sake of completeness, they didn’t anyway. Around the late 90s or early 2000s, there was a shamanic clinic set up in Kyzyl, so the situation might have changed. But traditionally speaking, shamanism was just this extra thing they did. SoAndSo was a good shaman, SoAndSo was a good musician, Etc. <br/> <br/>In South America, again generally speaking because I don’t know about every single group in existence, anybody could become a shaman, and in a lot of cases many people do it to a greater or lesser degree. So for instance, everybody might take ayahuaska, see visions, and so forth, but only some will have an aptitude for healing. Of course those people then get special training, but this hardly seems different from, say, the auto mechanic example I gave earlier. The fact that Joe is an auto mechanic doesn’t give Joe some sort of hierarchical authority over me. <br/> <br/>Shamans don’t seem to have any authority, as such, and they live the same way everybody else does, e.g. they care for their own gardens, for instance, unless they have an apprentice. Then in some situations the apprentice might do some or all of that work for them, while they’re an apprentice. But what I’m driving at here is that, generally speaking, shamans have no authority, outside of shamanism. That is, they can’t walk up to the chief and go "do this!", and have the chief go "oh OK". They rarely have political power, in fact they tend to live on the margins of society, because they are often feared for their powers, if they can heal you, they can injure you. <br/> <br/>Some references: <br/> <br/>DuBois, Thomas A. "An Introduction to Shamanism" <br/> <br/>Tedlock, Barbara. "The Woman in the Shaman’s Body" (I should note I don’t agree with some of her conclusions, but her firsthand and historical accounts of shamanism are perfectly fine.) <br/> <br/>Thomas, Nicholas, and Humphrey, Caroline, Ed. "Shamanism, History, and the State" <br/> <br/>Humphrey, Caroline, and Onan, Urgunge. "Shamans and Elders: Experience, Knowledge, and Power among the Daur Mongols" <br/>Since there’s a quote easily to hand from that last one, and it’s terribly expensive unless you manage to find it new, I’ll quote you something. <br/> <br/>However, the aim is not to reduce culture to psychology, but <br/>to see what psychological advances we need to know about to talk realistically <br/>about culture. This is especially important in shamanism, because, if we look at <br/>all of what Urgunge recognized by this term and not just the shaman’s performances, <br/> we can see that it often achieved its effects without language and <br/>without ritualization. So this book takes a wider view of what comprises ‘religion’ <br/> than is common in much of anthropology, and it does this because it is <br/>argued here that the most important validation of shamanic practice in all its <br/>varieties derived from the direct intuitive experiences of the participants, rather <br/>than from the authoritative social status of shamans or their pronouncements. <br/>This is why there was a constant slippage between elaborate, symbolic, and <br/>metaphorical visions of the world and commonsense, agnostic, or idiosyncratic <br/>versions. In fact, trance shamans had to embody this very distinction in themselves. <br/> They were at the same time ordinary people (farmers, parents, players <br/>of mah-jong) and people with special occult abilities and visions. <br/> <br/>That’s pretty much my mechanic example, you’re an ordinary person, but you also have specialized knowledge of how to fix a car. We’re not talking a Catholic priest set apart here.Further in the book Urgunge talks about the power of shamans in the community specifically: <br/> <br/>You are looking from a European point of view [said Urgunge]. Here in the West there <br/>are priests, and they have too much influence. But it is most important that we point out <br/>in our book how much influence the shaman had in the Daurs’ life. In my opinion, not <br/>much at all. The shaman is just like your GP [general practitioner, family doctor]. You <br/>go to him if you are ill, especially mentally ill or depressed, if you can’t cure yourself. <br/>Otherwise what can he do for us? Nothing. This is good, you see. It means that the <br/>shamanists have a much better religion, a religion without dogma. They are free, each <br/>person rules their own life.

  4. khomus says:

    Wikipedia? As an authority? Seriously? <br/> <br/>You realize that Wikipedia, like a dictionary, reflects usage, right? Of course it should document the distinction, because people are making the distinction. If anything it’s becoming more common, rather than less. I’m not getting in some sort of pissing contest with you though. Whenever I get, "take it up with Wikipedia", it’s a sure sign you’re pissed about something or other. I’ve stated my position, and I’ll happily explain and even defend it to a point, but you will recall that I said in the initial post you or anybody else should feel free to disagree with me. <br/> <br/>I’m not making some sort of proclamation from on high, I’m saying that in my opinion, backed by evidence, I don’t think the distinction means anything, or at the very least, nearly as much as people would like it to mean. The "spiritual person" who lights a candle and says a prayer in their house is doing religion just as much as the person who does so in a church, the lack of an institution notwithstanding. To put it another way, the "spiritual" person is just as religious as the "religious" person. The distinction tells us nothing substantial. <br/> <br/>Look at your quote, spirituality is where religion stops, basically. That’s just expressing this idea, again, that institutions are icky or at best steps, and what you really need to do is get all individualistic and "spiritual" and stuff. The real stuff happens when we’re out of our institution. <br/> <br/>So nobody’s ever found God in a church? Nobody’s ever gained enlightenment while meditating in a group of Buddhists? Really? People have been doing this for thousands of years. You’d think if large groups were such a hindrance, somebody would have figured it out by now. That’s not to mention that a fair number of religions don’t even have the sorts of institutions that quote is talking about, and you know it. <br/> <br/>OK, Christianity, for instance, is largely institutional. But if we look at religion as a whole, we have individuals doing prayers and such for themselves. Hence, my contention above that claiming that you doing a prayer at home means you’re "spiritual" and not "religious", doesn’t really tell us anything useful. You are in fact performing a religious act, i.e. an act that is intimately tied to religion and has been for thousands of years. <br/> <br/>People do prayers on their own all the time, even the very "religious", i.e. those who regularly attend a religious institution. Nobody says, oh they’re spiritual when they’re praying in their car, but religious when they’re praying in the church. No, they’re religious, period. When they’re praying, they’re praying, regardless of where they do it, and that praying is a religious act. The whole "spiritual" Vs. "religious" idea is just something to go, look at me, I don’t do that dumb institutional stuff! That’s as far as I can tell anyway, and if we’re going to use Wikipedia’s take on it, it seems to bare me out, the primary distinction is institution or lack thereof, where institution seems to mean any kind of group.

  5. Henry Emrich says:

    1. Why do you assume that I intend the phrase "two liquidy shits" to be "shocking", or to "gross you out?" As a turn of phrase, it’s no more pretentious than "by all the gods" or "fiddle-de-dee" or "oh my stars and garters", or suchlike. So you can blow me, 🙂 2. When Gail and I went to an auto mechanic to get our car fixed, YES, there was "a hierarchy" due to the difference in "roles": he knew a fuckload more about cars, and had the requisite tools. Now, keep in mind, this was a "functional" or "utilitarian" hierarchy, as opposed to an "authoritarian" one — if we chose to attempt to fix our own car, we were totally free to do it, or we could go to a different auto mechanic, and we wouldn’t be burned at the stake for "automobile-related heresy" or something. The Roman Catholic church tended to frown on folks choosing to use a different clergy, or suchlike. 3. Of course shamans were "part of their society", and did other stuff — herding and whatnot. The fact which you — conveniently — failed to address is that, while yes, Shamans ALSO did herding etc. — Herders did NOT also "do" shamanism. To the extent that the dual-role thing is non-reciprocal, there IS a hierarchy in place. The shaman was a "part-time" herder, in addition to his shamanic duties. The OTHER herders were NOT "part-time" shamans. Unless the "roles" are not merely equal — but reciprocal — there’s a hierarchy. Let me give you a more mundane example: if Both you and Sue take out the garbage, but you don’t cook — NOT because of an inability to cook, or even because she is BETTER at cooking than you are, but because cooking is "a woman’s job", then you’ve got a hierarchicical differentiation of the "social roles" within your particular two member group. Now address the point I actually raised: in Wiccan covens, do the priest and priestess actually have more "power" (or status than lay-members? I’d say "yes", and say that such status does, in fact, imply hierarchy. Likewise, eclectic wiccans who buy Silver Ravenwolf’s books are, at least in some sense of the term, treating her as "authoritative". This is personally, why I usually get at *least* two books, by different authors, as a starting-point, when I start to learn about a subject: Among other things, it helps me to be able to abstract the "subject matter" itself, from the particular author/instructor/presentation. 4. Now we get to the crux of your "argument": you complain that Wikipedia isn’t "an authority" because it’s "based on usage". So now you’re a prescriptivist, then? I pointed you to Wikipedia because (gasp!) yes, the distinction — which YOU’RE pissed off about and pretending doesn’t/shouldn’t exist — actually does. I’m not "pissed off"about anything, but I have to ask: why whenever someone doesn’t happen to agree with you, do you automatically assume an ulterior motive? 5. "I’m not giving a proclamation from on high". Again, I call bullshit on that. That is EXACTLY what you’re doing, and my point stands. Nobody gives a fuck, dude. Your petulant little tirade against the distinction between "spirituality" and "religion" was bad enough, but then to follow it up with REPLY TO YOURSELF, about how "you don’t really care" if people draw the distinction, is just extremely sloppy. So let’s be clear: why exactly doesn’t/shouldn’t Wikipedia be counted as a source? What "should" I have used? Brittanica online? So what have we learned? 1. You don’t happen to like a distinction which is nevertheless both widely-acknowledge, and actually "used" by a lot of people. As a result, since Wikipedia happens to be "Descriptive" rather than "prescriptive", you don’t much like my use of Wikipedia as a source. 2. Instead of admitting that you were simply wrong about this distinction, and examining your own motivation for not recognizing it, you then REPLY TO YOUR OWN BLOG with an addendum basically saying that "you don’t really care" what people think, but you still somehow want people to know that "you’ll think they’re dopey" for drawing that distinction. 3 You don’t like the expression "two liquidy shits". (I’llmake sure to use it in just about every reply to you, from now on, btw). You regard it as an affectation, and assume that it is either meant to "shock" you or "gross you out". I should also "knock it the fuck off". However, your use of terms like "by the gods" and "gods know"is NOT an affectation intended to demonstrate an ideological position. To be honest, I personally don’t see any difference between your use of "by the gods" or "gods almighty" or suchlike, and feminists who insist on mutilating the language for ideological reasons by writing "W-O-M-Y-N" or "her-story". So "knock it the fuck off!) 🙂 4. Disagreeing with you on this means that I’m "pissed off about something". Nice attempt at psychoanalysis, dude! 🙂 No. The distinction between "religion" and "spirituality" is both widely-recognized, and empirically useful. Get over it.

  6. Henry Emrich says:

    "Look at your quote, spirituality is where religion stops, basically. That’s just expressing this idea, again, that institutions are icky or at best steps, and what you really need to do is get all individualistic and "spiritual" and stuff. The real stuff happens when we’re out of our institution." My, my, we Do have a hard-on for institutions, don’t we? Some quotes for you (sorry if this happens to use Icky-Pedia!) :)"If you find the Buddha on the road, kill him""The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao" "So nobody’s ever found God in a church? Nobody’s ever gained enlightenment while meditating in a group of Buddhists? Really? People have been doing this for thousands of years. You’d think if large groups were such a hindrance, somebody would have figured it out by now. That’s not to mention that a fair number of religions don’t even have the sorts of institutions that quote is talking about, and you know it. " Oh, so now you’re going to back away from your "some religions don’t have hierarchy" thing from earlier, and make it about the "sorts of institutions" you think that quote is talking about? Nope. I’d say that under a goodly amount of circumstances, "large groups" CAN be "a hindrance" to genuine spirituality: I’m pretty sure that anyone who’se ever been tried/convicted/killed for "apostasy" or "unbelief" would agree with you. 🙂 (Okay, that was excessively "dawkensian", but you get the idea). Oddly enough, this dovetails nicely with a discussion over on Cleason’s message-wall a few days ago, about which was the "fastest-growing religion". I pointed out that, outside of Abrahamic monotheism, you really can’t define rigid boundaries as who, for example, who are Buddhist, and who are Taoists. You MAY be able to abstract a "system" which you can then compare to other systems (Hindu Vs. Buddhist Vs. Taoist, for example), but you’d be hard-pressed to actually find someone who wasn’t "syncretic" in either their beliefs, rituals, or both. So it’s pretty much impossible to determine whether Buddhism is growing faster than Taoism, because their membership likely overlaps fairly significantly. Honestly, dude: one person’s "enlightenment" is usually somebody else’s "demonic possession" (at least within the confines of Abrahamic monotheism). I thought you’d know that. The distinction between "spirituality" and "religion" DOES in fact, tell us something substantive, as well: A. It bespeaks the bad experiences a significant (and growing) segment of the population here in the West, particularly, have had in regard to so-called "organized" religion — Christianity, Islam, Judaism — the whole "Abrahamic monotheism" thing, in general). B. It serves to differentiate between "inner" states/processes (for want of a better word "belief") and the OUTER patterns of behavior — rituals, observances.), and more to the point, the power-structures who have historically CONTROLLED access to those rituals. (Examples: Roman Catholicism and "excommunication". The Amish and the "ordnung"/being "banned"). Valid distinction whether YOU want to acknowledge it or not. I’m not pissed, dude: you are simply wrong. 🙂

  7. khomus says:

    I’ll get to the rest of this later, but let me deal with point 4 quick. I’m not complaining that Wikipedia isn’t an authority because it’s based on usage. I’m complaining that you going "Don’t like it? Take it up with Wikipedia", essentially implies that Wikipedia is an authority, Wikipedia said it, so it’s valid, so go take it up with Wikipedia. <br/> <br/>My point is, Wikipedia has to describe what’s out there. That’s its job. I don’t have to take anything "up with Wikipedia", because it’s descriptive, not an authority. The fact that it acknowledges a distinction between "spiritual" and "religious" simply reflects the fact that, yes, some people make that distinction. I already knew that, otherwise, I wouldn’t be talking about it in the first place. And the reason I said you were pissed is because (random quote), "so there, go deal with that!", is the sort of stuff you tend to do when you’re pissed. It’s not really an argument, it’s basically saying, ha, this thing here shows you’re wrong, take it up with them! <br/> <br/>Actually, while we’re talking Wikipedia, let’s look at your quotes. One says that religion is the form a nation’s spirituality takes. <br/> <br/>1. How do we know that nations have spirituality? <br/>2. Accepting that they do, even though I’m not entirely certain what it’s trying to get at, doesn’t that pretty much imply one of two things, or possibly both? A. Spirituality is the form an individual’s religion takes. B. Spirituality and religion are synonymous. <br/> <br/>The second quote, or maybe it’s the other half of an entire quote, it was a bit confusing, is that where religion ends, spirituality begins. This is precisely the sort of thing i think is wrong. It implies that spirituality is the good stuff, and we have to get through or past religion, or transcend it or something, in order to get there. But why? <br/> <br/>Suppose we say something like, well, among a group of people, you just can’t focus the same way. OK, that leads us to conclude something like the following: when I pray/meditate on my own, I can be more effective. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re still doing the exact same activity, praying/meditating, that you were doing when you were doing "religion", assuming that means being in a group or such, I’m not really sure what he means by it so I’m guessing here. <br/> <br/>So to recap, the first quote attempts to make a distinction between religion and spirituality, but seems to equate them instead, and the second quote, well honestly I’m still not precisely sure what it’s driving at. But it certainly seems to imply that religion, if not exactly a bad thing, is a lesser thing than spirituality. To me this is like saying, blibbity begins where the water ends. What’s blibbity? Well you go past the water in the ocean, you know, deeper. Yeah, but that’s just more water, right? Yeah, but it’s deeper, so we have to call it something else! See because the water just ended! <br/> <br/>If you think it’s not saying that, feel free to explicate whatever in the hell it’s trying to say. Good luck with that.

  8. Henry Emrich says:

    Dealing with your points one at a time:"My point is, Wikipedia has to describe what’s out there. That’s its job. I don’t have to take anything "up with Wikipedia", because it’s descriptive, not an authority. The fact that it acknowledges a distinction between "spiritual" and "religious" simply reflects the fact that, yes, some people make that distinction. I already knew that, otherwise, I wouldn’t be talking about it in the first place. And the reason I said you were pissed is because (random quote), "so there, go deal with that!", is the sort of stuff you tend to do when you’re pissed. It’s not really an argument, it’s basically saying, ha, this thing here shows you’re wrong, take it up with them!" Okay, let me rephrase it then: Don’t take it up with Wikipedia — take it up with the WORLD that Wikipedia is (accurately) describing. The fact is, a distinction that A. a hell of a lot of people actually use (for good reason), which B. pisses you off to the point where you felt that your blog could benefit from TWO screeds about it. Now, yeah, it’s you’re prerogative to say "bwahahahah! I don’t regard spirituality as a valid concept! You’re all religious — bwahahahaha!", but nobody — least of all the sort of folks you’re targeting — is going to give a fuck. See, that’s what’s most inane about this whole thing: you’re ENTIRE gambit in dismissing the distinction between religion and spirituality is JUST so you can invent some sort of "justification" (or rather, excuse) to rub their supposed "religiousity" in the faces of people who actually DO maintain the distinction. So my first response is to question your motives for dumping "spirituality", and attempting to shoe-horn everything into "religion", at all. 2. You said "Wikipedia has to describe what’s out there; that’s it’s job". Well, yes: we SHOULD be looking at "what’s out there" — what people actually do, as opposed to trying to axiomatically derive models that are completely divorced from reality, simply to justify our own pet peeves or prejudices. We should ESPECIALLY be looking toward "descriptive" (rather than "prescriptive" sources in regard to human institutions, etc. Remember, dude: this isn’t about whether you believe that there "should"be a distinction between "religion" and "spirituality". This isn’t even about you advocating that such distinctions be dumped. This is — by your own admission — nothing more, less, or other than YOU issuing condescending screeds about how others are "dopey" for bothering to make a distinction that evidently pisses you off — all the while claiming that you "don’t really care" if they distinguish between the two, or not. Fine. I’ll concede that there is what Wittgenstein would have described as a "family resemblance" between "Religion"and "spirituality". What is really fascinating to me here, is that you understand the distinction just fine, but can’t brin gyourself to admit that face. You can also lie to me all you want about what the quotes are "implying" (which is really convenient, because then you don’t have to actually deal with the quotes themselves.) Basically, you can make the quotes "imply" whatever the fuck you want them to "imply". To be honest, the purpose of the quotes (and the wikipedia article) was merely to illustrate that the distinction YOU consider specious (with no grounds for doing so) does, in fact exist, and is, in fact used by vast numbers of people. If you’re trying to defend what other sources would call "organized religion" as such, it won’t work. There are truly horrible instances of "organized religion" (as you already know). Personally, I’m *all for divorcing spirituality from the institutions which would attempt to control it. How hard is this to understand, exactly? For example: the "Christianization" of Europe, and the way "Lamaism" (Tibetan Buddhism) was imposed on Mongolians bear a striking similarity:"Besides the killing of shamans, the campaign to wipe out shamanism had many strategies.First, Lamaist ideology spread by targeting shamans, their family, and their children by telling them they were reincarnations of great Lamas. They would then be encouraged to go to the monastery or send their children there, where they would be “reeducated” in Lamaist dogma. If the shaman was considered powerful or important, Lamaists would target their entire family.Second, shaman prayers were rewritten with Lamaist influences and dogma. People were forced to recite the new prayers.Third, Shaman ancestor spirits were “reincarnated” as Lamas or “converted” to Lamaism.Fourth, Lamaists labeled all shamans “Black shamans”, no matter what their tradition. From the 17th to the 19th century, this label was used to create confusion, spread mistrust, and break down the different shaman traditions. (See “Types of Shamans”).Fifth, Mongolian protector spirits were “converted” into Lamaism and were incorporated into what is called the Tsam dance.Sixth, sacred shamanic sites were taken over and monasteries and stupas built over them."http://www.tengerism.org/lamaism.html Honestly, I dunno why I’m bothering with this: by your own admission, your whole point in dropping the distinction between "spirituality" and "religion" is basically so you can sneer at people who you already know won’t give "two liquidy shits" (heh) about it, anyway! Good job, dude. 🙂

  9. Henry Emrich says:

    Some quotes to get you started on understanding (or at least aknowledging) the distinction:What is spirituality? Wright, Watson, and Bell (1996), in their book entitled, Beliefs: The Heart of Healing in Families and Illness, define spirituality as:A personal belief in and experience of a supreme being, or an ultimate human condition, along with an ultimate set of values, and active investment in those values, a sense of connection, a sense of meaning, and a sense of inner wholeness within or outside formal religious structures (p. 31).If Scriptures are read daily, and prayers and rituals are performed and memorized to perfection, but there is no deeper meaning to such practices, I would argue that is not being spiritual. Religious? Sure. Just about anyone can memorize, and go through the motions in performing such practices. But if such practices help to enhance someone’s experiences, and take on a more personal meaning, then such practices can be ways to express their own spirituality. And that is the point that is often forgotten regarding religion.Religion can be a way to express a person’s spirituality. If someone’s religious practices carry a deeper meaning,and they are not just going through the motions, and it helps to enhance their experience of a supreme being for example, then religion can be just as important as a person’s spirituality. In this example, someone could be using religion as a way to relate and experience their God, within their own understanding.Religion does not have to be negative. A person can be both religious and spiritual. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all preach helping and ministering to the poor and less fortunate. In Christianity for example, how often do people actually put those teachings to action, except out of guilt during the Holidays? Of course there are many who do what they can, when they can. If there is no meaningful action behind the teachings and rituals, and those religious beliefs are also used to infringe upon the beliefs and rights of others, then religion, as well as spirituality, does become negative.http://hubpages.com/hub/Spirituality-vs-ReligionSpiritualityThe concept of my spirituality is based in several philosophies. I believe spirituality is purely an inside job and all the rituals, church-attending, preaching, reading, meditation, tithing, and even fasting for some are simple to complex ways for many of us to get to that spiritual center. Whether one considers herself a religious person or not, I have found that religion has very little to do with spirituality but does have its place in the certain type of “God” you’re choosing to search for, hopefully with the goal to get to that spiritual center that I believe resides inside.My spiritual center happened first and then I learned the philosophies, terms, and names much later. (One could say that my spirituality happened first and then I found the different “religions” or “philosophies” that seemed perfectly aligned with me.) I think this could be an important distinction for the person beginning his quest. While religion is an external to internal guidance, spirituality could be the inside to outside guidance. As opposed to moral absolutism that we have to learn (think about memorizing the Ten Commandments) from the outside and hope it takes up residence within, spiritual fulfillment is already taking up residence and we then go questing to the outside to find where we seem to fit in it all.ReligionSo in my “religion”, to keep it simple, God is found within. I believe that as we connect with Prana, Holy Spirit, God, Higher Self, Life Force, Chi or whatever we choose to call it independent of religion, background, or culture, we are residing in a God-centered space. If I claimed a religion or abided certain philosophical tenants or precepts I still could not be forced into a religion. And believe me when I say that’s a hard pill to swallow for a person who has craved social acceptance a great part of her life! Fortunately, in my beliefs, when we find spirituality we don’t put so much importance on other people to accept us – we are fulfilled in knowing that God accepts us and that we accept ourselves. Radical isn’t it? :-)As you may have already guessed, I’m not religious – not in the traditional “Catholic or Protestant?” sense. I have disdain for many tenants of certain religious denominations and even movements. There is no room for religion in my quest for Spirituality. I make this distinction that Spirituality is how I relate to myself with myself and God; and that Religion is following certain tenants of moral absolutism while worshiping a specific idea of a specific type of God that I may or may not agree with. With that mouthful of words it comes down to what’s important to me: Is it more important I strive to stay in touch with that peace within or that I lie, pretend, or force a belief in something that doesn’t fit me?My serenity cannot afford this dispute. I will wax philosophical and religious beliefs for sport but my spirituality must remain fertile and intact. I believe it is a personal practice and discipline, as it is a personal relationship I have with ‘my god’ ~ whatever it is I define or understand that to be.http://samsara.ihostyou.com/spirituality-religion/ Have fun trying to explain this away, dude! 🙂

  10. khomus says:

    Ideas, not my own personal motives, which you haven’t managed to get correct even once. But since you’re done, I can thankfully be done as well.

  11. Henry Emrich says:

    Glad you’re done.As to your "personal motives" for this (and the subsequent post:Pretty obvious:"Otherwise, I’m consideringyou religious, and you just need to call yourself "spiritual" to feel special" Interesting cop-out, though 🙂

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