Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spiritual or Religious?

Are you spiritual or are you religious? That’s the question asked in a survey conducted by Life Way Research, and the answer of a majority of the respondents is compelling.

Spirituality, it seems, no longer refers to those who espouse New Age beliefs, burn incense, and participate in fire-walking ceremonies. Rather, the study found that those who regularly attend traditional religious ceremonies are just as likely to describe themselves as spiritual as those who follow no traditional religious doctrines.

How can this be?

In his article In the Courier-Journal, reporter Peter Smith quotes this portion of the report by Life Way: :

“Apparently, ‘religious' has fallen out of favor…[t]hose who trust Christ as Savior were particularly likely to describe themselves as more spiritual than religious. This is no longer a term that means ‘I don't have any particular beliefs but believe in spirituality in general.'”

Rejecting that “Religious” Word

I must admit that my own personal beliefs may mirror the results of this study somewhat. I have never described myself as religious, even when I attended regular Christian church services when I was a child. To be religious, to me, means following a very conservative set of rules that robs one of spiritual joy. But I do believe in Jesus even though--yes--I much prefer the word “spiritual” to describe myself.


I also have no particular religious affiliation today. Rather, my own beliefs are a mixture of many different spiritual belief systems. (My home alter, for instance, displays a figurine of Jesus Christ and Buddh, I read the Tao Te Ching, and I meditate to the musky scent of incense).

So…am I spiritual or am I religious?

Are you?

Image by Bill Alexander

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