Tag: religious practice

Spiritual But Not Religious

 

I’m tired of people describing their spiritual lives as “spiritual but not religious.” I have little respect for people who wear the spiritual label to show how enlightened they are, and how they have freed themselves from the archaic practices of religion.

I know there are many people who have had painful experiences with religion and thus have chosen this narrow journey of spirituality. Many people have had difficult, emotionally wounding experiences with organized religion. They have been betrayed by a spiritual leader or were taught as a child a fearful or hateful version of religions. They were expected to follow rituals they didn’t understand or resented. All in all, early experiences left them empty, without filling their hearts and souls. Even my own mother felt rejected; she had wanted to join a synagogue, but we had limited funds. She left hurt and embarrassed after visiting the synagogue, when they told her they couldn’t adjust the fees for her poor financial situation.

There are also many people who, for one reason or another, never felt connected to their religion. A plethora of people and entities could be blamed for this lack of fulfillment. In many cases, parents didn’t know how to communicate the depth and meaning of the religion; often they themselves had been poorly educated, so that the religious observation was a perplexing combination of ritual, holy days, and practices to which they couldn’t relate. The mix of observances just seemed to interfere with everyday life and didn’t seem to provide a meaningful purpose.