One of the things I’ve been hearing around campuses more and more from both students as well as faculty is phrases like, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” Here phrases like this often?
I’m not entirely sure what it means. It seems like a sort of in-between, socially acceptable way of saying, “I have my own deal going on so don’t try to influence me with your ideas.” I don’t know if that’s accurate, but this statement certainly says something while at the same time shuts down conversation from going further.
Accept if you ask more questions about their beliefs. And I love to do that.
What I’ve found through asking students more about their ideas (and even one of my neighbors who is a professor at a nearby college) is many of them actually have decent theology. Not entirely biblical, but there are some people that shock me (in good ways) with what they deem as “spiritual.” Having said that, I’ve heard very ambiguous things from believing in some sort of “higher power” to someone claiming to be Jesus Christ himself – I live in Portland so that can happen more frequently than I’d like to admit.
The phraseology of “spiritual but not religious” could also just be a negative response to organized religion in general. But, in my experience, I’ve seen that be used more as a surface, regurgitated and generic response more than a real heart-felt conviction. More often than not I’ve actually found college-age people to not be against structure and organizations as much as people often suggest.
CNN recently put out an article about this idea of spiritual but not religious that you might be interested in as well. For that, click here.