CNN profiles the growing “spiritual but not religious” population, contrasting the views of some who fear that the spiritual turn is symptomatic of a decline in meaningful commitments with those of others who are more sanguine, if not enthusiastic, about its significance:
It’s a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that they don’t need organized religion to live a life of faith.
But for Jesuit priest James Martin, the phrase also hints at something else: egotism.
“Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness,” says Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic magazine based in New York City. “If it’s just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?”
On the other hand. . .
Heather Cariou, a New York City-based author who calls herself spiritual instead of religious, doesn’t think so. She’s adopted a spirituality that blends Buddhism, Judaism and other beliefs.
“I don’t need to define myself to any community by putting myself in a box labeled Baptist, or Catholic, or Muslim,” she says. “When I die, I believe all my accounting will be done to God, and that when I enter the eternal realm, I will not walk though a door with a label on it.”
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