What comes to mind when someone says, "I'm not religious but I'm spiritual"?

Would anyone care to comment on what you think, as an atheist, that a person is trying to say when they state that they are spiritual but not religious?  My own reaction is very negative; I'm usually expecting them to go on to talk about ESP or auras.  But maybe they are just saying they are interested in human values and emotions.

I think that being an atheist means recognizing that although we experience consciousness and emotions while our brains function, everything that we are comes from physical matter and will end when the brain fails and decays.  We have no "spirit" separate from our brains.

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I would say its code for "I don't like to define my beliefs in words, because then I sound stupid."

LOL   I think you may have a point there. 

I used to say that back when I was exploring and practicing some of the new agey stuff. What I meant was that I believed in a god, but didn't adhere to any sort of formal religion. Yes to angels, ghosts, existence on other planes, the power of the mind, quantum motorcycle maintenance, shamanism, animal guides, smudging a new residence with sage, navel gazing until it hurts to find your inner self, all of that.


Enjoyed this answer!

Here in Texas, that is usually an intro into a fundie trick used to say, "we don't have a denomination, just the bloood of jeeezzuussahh!!

When I hear it, I run;)

Hearing that all the time, I suspect I'd sprain my eyeballs from rolling them!

Very well put!

Gee... I never heard a fundie do the spiritual versus religious double talk.
Tried to say I never hear FUNDIES do the spiritual versus religious double talk.

A few years ago in Houston, Texas I heard a skit on the Hudson and Harrigan radio show where they claimed to belong to the Church of The Holy Frisbee. They said that when you die your soul goes up on the roof and you can't get it down. But seriously folks, B. K. is right. You don't have a soul. YOU are the soul.

Would I be religious if I had a church with an electric chair on the steeple? Maybe a "strap you in" gernie for lethal injections. After all, it is modern times.

I love that "blood of Jesus" one. How much do you bleed from a spear wound in the side? The gullible say all it would have taken was one drop. They forget that "out came blood and water." This is why some people think you are "saved" by water baptism. Let's go home and take a long shower.

Signs of alien abduction include missing time. Where did that 2 hours go? The other day I was running out of time to do my chores and my wife was coming home. Suddenly I gained over an hour. Does this mean there are no aliens?

"Being spiritual" could mean many different things to lots of people, but today ectoplasm has fallen out of favor. You never hear it mentioned these days. Maybe the spirits no longer need it to manifest. Maybe that helper in the darkness does it all.

FUNDIES don't do spiritual versus religious talk. It would show how disorganized they are, and they are bad enough all ready. Fundies know everything. Just ask them.

Fundies do spiritual vs. religious talk ALL THE TIME-I went to a nutty non-denominational school, so I know what they do. They've done it on television-that nutty SALT organization woman was on "Politically Incorrect" doing it with Bill Maher. "We don't need religion, we just need Jesus," etc. It really stems from an anti-Catholic sentiment. They think screaming and rolling in the floor and foaming at the mouth for Jesus is "being Spiritual" without the 'trying to work your way to heaven' stuff of "religion."

I hear it in Texas all the time. 

And yes, I have sprained an eyeball.


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