A Phrase I Love to Hate

“I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.”

Or, its converse, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”

I’m sorry if I offend some of you reading this, but I find those phrases annoying as all get out.

I realize that most people have the best of intentions in using them. I get that they are trying to say that they reject the official dogma of any particular established religion. But, I would suggest that anyone using that phrase still believes in dogma, even if it’s only the “I believe in energy” kind. (Another phrase I find annoying, by the way).

What I do find valuable in these “phrases that I love to hate” is that they point to the human desire for a deep sense of meaning, awe, and transcendence in our lives. I happen to think that humanity would be better served, not by replacing rigid dogma with vacuuous dogma, but my a search for truth that is grounded in empirical evidence. For me, it is this search has deepened my sense of awe, wonder, and transcendence without postulating the need for something other than the natural universe.

I just posted a quote by Steven Pinker on my facebook account. And let me end this post by quoting it here:

“we should seek truth through reason and evidence and not through superstition, dogma, and personal revelation.”

Now that’s a phrase I can love.

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1 Comment

Filed under Athesim

One response to “A Phrase I Love to Hate

  1. Geoff

    Nicely put Scott as usual.

    Carl Sagan used the term ‘spirituality’ to define that sense of awe and wonderment.

    I think the term is a bit too ambiguous and I never think to challenge people when they use it.

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