CNN, Spiritual But Not Religious and being angry..

Reading like a summary of Dispirited (sort of), Alan Miller of CNN offers his take on the “I’m spiritual, but not religious”.

He writes:

The increasingly common refrain that “I’m spiritual, but not religious,” represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious “movement” – an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect – highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.

Later he says:

But when the contemporary fashion is for an abundance of relativist “truths” and what appears to be in the ascendancy is how one “feels” and even governments aim to have a “happiness agenda,” desperate to fill a gap at the heart of civic society, then being old-fashioned may not be such a terrible accusation.


It is within the context of today’s anti-big, anti-discipline, anti-challenging climate – in combination with a therapeutic turn in which everything can be resolved through addressing my inner existential being – that the spiritual but not religious outlook has flourished.



So far, I agree with much he says – but that is not the interesting thing.. He gets a reaction not unlike that got from some: even though he says choose between religion and full-on atheism, people see him as supporting organised religion.. One comment of the 6000+ currently on there captures this:

The author sounds like someone trying their best to keep the churches filled, and the money coming in. Churches are seeing their congregations dwindle, so they send out yahoos like this guy to try to change the thinking and guilt people back into those big old stone buildings with creepy old dudes giving long lectures – not gonna happen, sorry.

 Or this:

The article is not only lame, but also shows the author’s and the aim of the ‘religionists’ to create and make people conform to their predefined structures. Afterall, the conservative, narrow-minded bishops, imams are better judge of how to define your moral behavior than a reasonable, logical thinking man/woman. CNN keep up the good work, please publish more of such idiotic articles and play down to the dumbing of American thought process!

Seems the key feature of being ‘Spiritual but not Religious’ (SBNR) is being angry, easy to offend and not actually reading what people are saying..? 

2 thoughts on “CNN, Spiritual But Not Religious and being angry..

  1. drewm1732

    He also says:

    “Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent – by choosing an “individual relationship” to some concept of “higher power”, energy, oneness or something-or-other – they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.”

    -im spiritual but not religious and i take offense to that. Ive never put myself above anyone and I certainly dont belive that my idea of spirituality is deep or more profound than anyone elses. I do, however, know of many religions that would make that claim.

    “The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.”

    -spiritual but not religious offers no positive understanding for the individual? Says who….him? The Pope?

    “Moreover, the spiritual but not religious reflect the “me” generation of self-obsessed, truth-is-whatever-you-feel-it-to-be thinking, where big, historic, demanding institutions that have expectations about behavior, attitudes and observance and rules are jettisoned yet nothing positive is put in replacement.”

    -spirituality without religion offers “nothing positive”? And those who chose to follow that path do so because they are self-oppsessed and unwilling to conform to the rules and expectations of organized religion? DO I EVEN HAVE TO COMMENT ON THIS ONE? has this guy ever talked to anyone who claims they are spiritual but not religious?

    All in all, that article was offensive and poorly researched. If he’s going to espouse his opinion like fact on a major news organization he should try and come to some understanding of the subject matter. Not just rant.

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