Spiritual Not Religious: WTF is That Supposed to Mean?

Marty Hamrick
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Spiritual Not Religious: WTF is That Supposed to Mean?

   I usually hear this from New Agers who will blast Jihadist Muslims and Christian Fundamentalists with one breath, while in baited breath blather on about reptilian shape shifters who run the world's economy and last night's episode of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel. Can "spiritual" just mean "mental/emotional" or "deeply intuitive understanding"? Why does it have to take this supernatural or paranormal connotation? When you ask a "spiritual" person about this, the usual answer I get is,"Oh it goes beyond that.." Please explain. That's when they usually roll their eyes,get irritated and say something like,"You have to experience it to understand, it can't be verbalized..."pressed further you get something like, "You'll never find it with rational thought..." or "If you approach everything in life with rational thought, you'll miss spirituality.." Really. What else is there? intuition? Emotion? I have those, am I spiritual? "No it goes beyond that..." WTF? Here we go again.....

 

It makes as much sense as the scripture that Christians get all gooey and wet over about "evidence of things unseen and substance of things hoped for"....huh?Call me a materialist clod, but somehow I don't see that I'm missing anything.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


iwbiek
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you are missing something:

you are missing something: another's subjective experience.  but only an ignoramus would fault you for that, and anyway it cannot be remedied.

in general, i do not think it is helpful to make truth judgments.  if someone tells me they saw god, i have no reason to doubt them per se.  the problem i have with subjective judgments is when someone tries to tell me i should reevaluate my interactions with the empirical world based on their experiences.  i have no problem with mystics.  in a very real way, they are scientists of their own minds.  i have a huge problem with prophets, who are mystics that try to give objective status to their subjective experiences.

i have often classified myself as a "spiritual" person, in that i have an aesthetic attraction to experiences beyond the pale of empiricism.  if we're truly honest with ourselves, we can see that most of the decisions we make in life, including the decision to be an atheist, a materialist, a physicalist, etc., are based heavily on our aesthetic predilections--and that's ok.  i am not religious because i do not believe there is a fundamental existential problem to be overcome, which is what religion is meant to address.  religion is at base therapeutic, and i do not feel the need for existential therapy.  i have no problem with those who do, nor do i feel justified in saying they're "wrong" in any absolute sense (i don't believe in absolutes, nor do i believe in objectivity), but i have a problem when they say their experiences are binding on me and the empirical realm in general.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


Marty Hamrick
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 Good points, however it

 Good points, however it still just seems to be a matter of semantics and what words one has a preference for. "Psychological", "mental","emotional" May not present the connotations that "spiritual" people crave. It seems all the same to me. If you place a T bone steak in front of me, it will make no difference if its called " a juicy T bone" or the "segmented muscle tissue of a deceased bovine,"I'll still eat it and enjoy it.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


iwbiek
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Marty Hamrick wrote: Good

Marty Hamrick wrote:

 Good points, however it still just seems to be a matter of semantics and what words one has a preference for.

precisely.  aesthetic choices.  i take exception to theists who say i should follow their religious path or burn in hell.  however, i also take exception to atheists who say, for example, that my interest in those dimensions of psychology and perception that can be revealed by certain indian religious traditions is somehow deficient or delusional or contributing to mass delusion, or that the only really useful knowledge is to be gained from scientific articles and textbooks and that other sources are somehow "less" or "only placebos."  i do not think a truly "rational" person need be satisfied with empiricism and empiricism alone.  if he is, great.  if not, that doesn't mean he's less "rational."

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


Marty Hamrick
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iwbiek wrote:Marty Hamrick

iwbiek wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

 Good points, however it still just seems to be a matter of semantics and what words one has a preference for.

precisely.  aesthetic choices.  i take exception to theists who say i should follow their religious path or burn in hell.  however, i also take exception to atheists who say, for example, that my interest in those dimensions of psychology and perception that can be revealed by certain indian religious traditions is somehow deficient or delusional or contributing to mass delusion, or that the only really useful knowledge is to be gained from scientific articles and textbooks and that other sources are somehow "less" or "only placebos."  i do not think a truly "rational" person need be satisfied with empiricism and empiricism alone.  if he is, great.  if not, that doesn't mean he's less "rational."

Well that's just plain snobbery on either side. Yet lets say an Indian medicine man makes a substantial claim about a type of healing he uses that he insists works by tapping into the energy of the ancient spirits and let's say for the sake of argument it works. The scientific community will,of course, insist that the reason it works is not for the reason the medicine man thinks it does.Now, if it works and shows promise to be maybe be used for the general public, do we respect the old Indian ways  or do we send a team of scientists in to dissect his method and exploit it for the common good?

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


iwbiek
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Marty Hamrick wrote:iwbiek

Marty Hamrick wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

Marty Hamrick wrote:

 Good points, however it still just seems to be a matter of semantics and what words one has a preference for.

precisely.  aesthetic choices.  i take exception to theists who say i should follow their religious path or burn in hell.  however, i also take exception to atheists who say, for example, that my interest in those dimensions of psychology and perception that can be revealed by certain indian religious traditions is somehow deficient or delusional or contributing to mass delusion, or that the only really useful knowledge is to be gained from scientific articles and textbooks and that other sources are somehow "less" or "only placebos."  i do not think a truly "rational" person need be satisfied with empiricism and empiricism alone.  if he is, great.  if not, that doesn't mean he's less "rational."

Well that's just plain snobbery on either side. Yet lets say an Indian medicine man makes a substantial claim about a type of healing he uses that he insists works by tapping into the energy of the ancient spirits and let's say for the sake of argument it works. The scientific community will,of course, insist that the reason it works is not for the reason the medicine man thinks it does.Now, if it works and shows promise to be maybe be used for the general public, do we respect the old Indian ways  or do we send a team of scientists in to dissect his method and exploit it for the common good?

 

i'm not sure, because

a. when i say indian, i'm referring to india, not native americans, and

b. i'm not talking about folk healing.  i'm talking about highly developed schools of speculative thought (the indian darshanas), which make no empirical claims.

of course, any method that claims to be able to affect the physical world should lend itself to empirical verification, and if it refuses to submit to such verification, then it is highly suspect.  this is why, as much respect as i have for some hindu traditions, i have nothing but contempt for charlatans like maharishi mahesh yogi, who claimed to be able to teach people to levitate, yet would not allow any third party in to observe.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


Marty Hamrick
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 OK, I see where you're

 OK, I see where you're going. Nothing wrong with speculative thought and you're not advocating voodoo.Cool. Good post.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


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To me, in a nutshell,

To me, in a nutshell, "Spiritial, but not religious" basically means "I insist on interpreting things I feel as supernatural in origin". 

 

EDIT - Meanwhile, I'm just sitting here, typing this post, and listening to this (for any lover of classical music, click it!!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u0M4CMq7uI

No supernatural required. This is the beauty of art, a human invention. We did this. Don't credit god. Since there are no real angels, let's call those two equivalent vocally. 

Theists - If your god is omnipotent, remember the following: He (or she) has the cure for cancer, but won't tell us what it is.


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Jabberwocky wrote:To me, in

Jabberwocky wrote:

To me, in a nutshell, "Spiritial, but not religious" basically means "I insist on interpreting things I feel as supernatural in origin". 

 

EDIT - Meanwhile, I'm just sitting here, typing this post, and listening to this (for any lover of classical music, click it!!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u0M4CMq7uI

No supernatural required. This is the beauty of art, a human invention. We did this. Don't credit god. Since there are no real angels, let's call those two equivalent vocally. 

 

Beautiful. And I have is a mousy little soprano.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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