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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:05 PM

Spiritual but not religious

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-nicolaou-religion-undeclared-20121228,0,4606917.story

One of America's growing number of 'Nones' is making it her mission to find out what she might be missing.

By Corinna Nicolaou
December 28, 2012

I'm a "None." That's what pollsters call Americans who respond on national surveys to the question "What is your religious affiliation?" with a single word: "None."

According to the Pew Research Center, the ranks of the Nones have ballooned in recent years, making the fastest-growing religious affiliation no affiliation.

Between 1972 and 1989, about 7% of Americans identified as having no formal religious affiliation. However, between 1990 and 2012, that figure jumped to 19.6%. Among people under age 30, just over 30% say they have no religious affiliation. At the same time, the percentage of the U.S. population that identifies as Christian has experienced a steady decline, and other faiths have experienced modest growth at best.

The number of religious services I attended growing up could fit on one hand, with enough fingers left over for a peace sign. I hardly know a Catholic from a Protestant, let alone the belief systems of other world religions.

more at link

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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply Spiritual but not religious (Original post)
cbayer Dec 2012 OP
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #1
cbayer Dec 2012 #2
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #3
cbayer Dec 2012 #5
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #9
cbayer Dec 2012 #10
okasha Dec 2012 #11
cbayer Dec 2012 #14
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #17
cbayer Dec 2012 #20
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #22
cbayer Dec 2012 #23
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #24
cbayer Dec 2012 #25
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #26
cbayer Dec 2012 #27
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #28
cbayer Dec 2012 #29
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #30
cbayer Dec 2012 #31
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #32
cbayer Dec 2012 #34
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #35
cbayer Dec 2012 #36
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #38
cbayer Dec 2012 #39
tama Dec 2012 #42
tama Dec 2012 #41
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #12
cbayer Dec 2012 #15
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #18
cbayer Dec 2012 #21
tama Dec 2012 #40
quaker bill Dec 2012 #19
pinto Dec 2012 #4
cbayer Dec 2012 #7
dballance Dec 2012 #6
cbayer Dec 2012 #8
msongs Dec 2012 #13
cbayer Dec 2012 #16
sanatanadharma Dec 2012 #33
meow2u3 Dec 2012 #37

Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:11 PM

1. The Nones are missing nothing

 

Go for a hike. Have sex. Drop acid.

Regardless of the order, you will experience more "spirituality" doing those things than most of the deluded church masses will in their lifetimes who are singing with arms outstretched towards nothing.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:15 PM

2. Right, don't seek to widen your knowledge base and experience in the area.

That would just be stupid.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:19 PM

3. When you finish the hike, sex and LSD

 

Then feel free to compare it to sitting in a pew and let us all know which set of practices really expands experience and knowledge

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:22 PM

5. One can experience many things if one has an open mind.

Many people will tell you that siting in a pew equals or even exceeds the other things you describe.

To each his own.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:29 PM

9. Many people in the pew don't know the difference

 

It is remarkable
that 67% of the volunteers rated the experience with
psilocybin to be either the single most meaningful
experience of his or her life or among the top five most
meaningful experiences of his or her life (Fig. 3). In written
comments, the volunteers judged the meaningfulness of the
experience to be similar, for example, to the birth of a first
child or death of a parent. Thirty-three percent of the
volunteers rated the psilocybin experience as being the
single most spiritually significant experience of his or her
life, with an additional 38% rating it to be among the top
five most spiritually significant experiences. In written
comments about their answers, the volunteers often described
aspects of the experience related to a sense of unity without
content (pure consciousness) and/or unity of all things.


Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:36 PM

10. Not surprising, but one does not invalidate the other.

A significant number of participants also experienced fear and anxiety.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:42 PM

11. I don't have a lot of patience

with folk who espouse what they call "chemical yogas." Maybe that's because one of them once called me up to announce that she had just dropped acid and was headed down the Dallas freeway at 60mph--to prove to me how harmless LSD was and how lucid she was. Or maybe it's because my grandfather, a shaman, never needed to ingest hallucinogens enter a spiritual state.

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Response to okasha (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:47 PM

14. Great point. To reach that state without the use of drugs would seem

to me to be a much more profound experience.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #14)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:54 PM

17. And it may take you a decade sitting cross-legged in a cave

 

If thats important to you and you have the time, go ahead.

But remember, what is and is not "profound" is really up to each person. Assigning value on a self-induced spiritual experience vs a drug-induced one is subjective and arbitrary. In such a case, it is you, and you alone, who is standing in your way of spirituality because you are wrapping it in pre-conditions (something that priests have long practiced, by cordoning off direct communications with God and acting as intermediaries). Likewise, a None can decide that sitting in a pew isn't a profound experience because of A,B,C. But Ill refer to your earlier appeal to open-mindedness.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:01 PM

20. Agree completely that what is profound is highly individualized,

which I initially responded to your idea that if people just took some drugs, had sex and hiked, no one would need to explore their spirituality through religion.

While certainly not the only way to go, it is the way for some, and I respect that. And the author's goal appears to be to explore this.

BTW, I have never heard of the concept of religious leaders blocking direct access to god. What group is that associated with?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:09 PM

22. "I have never heard of the concept of religious leaders blocking direct access to god"

 

Are you just being coy?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #22)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:16 PM

23. Not being coy at all. I have honestly never experienced a denomination or

religion where the congregants were told that they did not have direct access and had to speak to god through an intermediary, and am really curious as to what ones those are.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:21 PM

24. Its been widely practiced

 

One of the quickest examples that comes to mind is the Holy of Holies and the temple veil, though the other churches still acted as intermediaries after the veil was torn.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #24)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:30 PM

25. An ancient Hebrew tradition?

Okey, dokey.

See you around the campfire, NoOneMan. It's been a pleasure talking with you.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:43 PM

26. See you in confessional

 

It was but a quick example. The clergy have a historic track record of preserving their authority by acting as intermediaries between the laity and the divine.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #26)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:47 PM

27. Perhaps an intermediary or intercessionist, but I never saw this as blocking

access, just as facilitating it.

Some do it in good faith and others as a way of wielding power, as you say.

The difference between you and I , it seems, is that you don't really acknowledge that difference, but see them all as bad.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #27)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:52 PM

28. Not all bad, but all unnecessary.

 

Which brings us full circle. You don't need to talk to a man who has been sitting cross-legged in a cave for a decade to talk to God, understand God, receive divine knowledge or have a spiritual experience. You don't even need to sit in a cave yourself for a decade. You may (if you are like 7 out of 10 people) be able to effectively accomplish all these spiritual experiences immediately by taking a natural substance or even by engaging in mundane human behaviors like viewing nature, watching a child be born or engaging in sex.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #28)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:04 PM

29. Immediacy is not necessarily a positive, imo.

Some things take a lifetime to learn or experience.

And there may be inherent value in that.

Note also in the study you post that the results of the immediate spiritual experience tend to wane over time. That doesn't diminish their value, but easy come may also mean easy go.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #29)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:19 PM

30. And its not necessarily a negative unless you wish it to be

 

Placing value on the length of time it takes to have a spiritual epiphany/experience is arbitrary (and close-minded). And what does one miss out on in the mean time, while wondering in the woods? If I can learn tomorrow what it may take a lifetime to learn, and then apply that knowledge during my life, then surely that is a great benefit (in my opinion).

Note also in the study you post that the results of the immediate spiritual experience tend to wane over time

Yes, but that is likely true with any range of spiritual experiences upon their cessation without further reinforcement. I can speak first hand about this effect (in regards to both psilocybin and conventional religious experience). With psilocybin, certain revelations that are revealed do stick with you and change the way you view the entire world forever (knowledge). But, there is something indescribable that does fade; is like a peacefulness and harmony with the system around you. Its sort of like the ability to unconsciously utilize that knowledge in your thought process. You are given a path, but it is up to you to continue following it and that takes effort.

Its difficult to describe and I don't want to bound it with words. Give it a go sometime.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #30)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:38 PM

31. Wait a minute! Wasn't taking a hike the suggestion you started this all with?

Now I am very confused, lol.

I personally have a serious dislike of hallucinogenic substances, as do many others, and would not advise anyone take them on a regular basis. But whatever floats your boat.

Again, it's been nice talking to you. I hope your path leads somewhere you are wanting to go.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #31)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:44 PM

32. Why yes it is

 

Studies show viewing nature, sex and viewing births all induce "spritual" experiences in the brain, though, nothing so profound as hallucinogenics (remember that 7 out of 10 people thing?). And all do not require a priest or a ritual.

I personally have a serious dislike of hallucinogenic substances

You've tried psilocybin?

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #32)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:59 PM

34. I am one of the group that experiences anxiety and fear, so it's definitely

not my route. I have tried many things, including psilocybin. They are just not for me.

What you describe are experiences that many have following many different ways of getting there. Whatever works for someone is ok by me, as long as it doesn't infringe on my or others rights. The problem, as i see it, is claiming that some ways are superior and should be adopted in lieu of what an individual finds the best way to go.

No one holds the truth in this matter. No one.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #34)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:29 PM

35. Bummer

 

Remember, setting is everything and anxiety doesn't preclude a useful experience.


The problem, as i see it, is claiming that some ways are superior and should be adopted in lieu of what an individual finds the best way to go

"Superiority" is relative. But what I did find unsatisfactory about this article was the implication that people who do not practice religion are "missing out" on something, when I think we both agree such practices are not necessary for the full human experience. There are other ways (some quicker, some easier, and some potentially more enjoyable), and most people have already experienced them.

Also, what one perceives as the "best way to go" is not always objectively the most effective method to have a meaningful experience, but could also be simply dictated (erroneously) by culture. The person writing this article appears to be very much within the bounds of their culture, accepting unproven premises and looking into "worship directories". It bears some pointing out to other "Nones" that this is completely unnecessary (but to each their own).

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #35)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:43 PM

36. She does wonder whether she is missing something and it will

be interesting to hear what she experiences as she makes these visits.

I fully agree that religion is in no way necessary to have *spiritual* or *ecstatic* experiences or whatever one chooses to call them.

One thing that gets discussed in this group frequently is how those non-believers who want the sense of community a religiously organized group may provide might get that.

Some atheist organizations are trying to provide that and there seem to be a growing number.

Particularly interesting is the "celebrant" concepts in which a non-believer is trained and certified to provide things like officiating weddings or counseling people who are grieving.

Interesting times all around.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #36)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:54 PM

38. People are already trained to do those things

 

Justices of the Peace and Psychologists.

I do weddings.

You know, if it goes so far that atheists need their own "rabbis", I gotta wonder how many steps past that will be required before they just form an alternative religion.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #38)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:03 PM

39. It's a slippery slope and one that is not going to be crossed without

some interesting discussion.

There was a suit brought by an atheist group recently about marriage ceremonies being confined to clergy and some government officials. The group made a good case for their celebrants being excluded, but were still denied.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #30)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:12 AM

42. "results of the immediate spiritual experience tend to wane over time"

 

That's also true of e.g. Zen meditation. Experiences what they call "kensho" are very common, and they also wane over time. Permanent transformations come - if they come - through repetitive and gradually deepening impermanent experiences. And there is no end, no final transformation, in the worlds of experiences.

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Response to okasha (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:00 AM

41. There is huge variety of methodology

 

and also spontaneous non-intended events. And shamans are certainly not free from puffing up their preferred method and putting down other methods.

I have experience from several methods, including various psychotropic essences, and spontaneous events. It's all the same and the richness of variety is precious. With respect to the power of "spirits" of certain psychotropic substances, my best advice would perhaps be not too much too soon, better to wait and let them come to you when time is right, instead of actively seeking, if communication with them is part of your path. But each path goes as goes and my advice is seldom needed.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:43 PM

12. 7 out of 10 cited it within the top 5 most significant spiritual experiences of their life

 

Think about that. 4 hours with 1 natural substance ranks above almost everything they've done in their lives.

No, this experience does not validate people feeling spiritual after a lifetime in the pew, but it does cast doubt on its efficiency as well as illustrate that pew-sitting isn't the only way. It may rather be a very inefficient way to evoke low-levels of "spirituality", and has no monopoly on that human experience. As I said, have sex, take a hike and try some drugs; you don't need traditional "spiritual" practices to evoke feelings of spirituality (so not practicing them doesn't make people miss anything). That is really my main point.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:51 PM

15. So what? I can artificially change your brain chemistry and you will have

a profound spiritual experience. People have known this forever.

That does not negate the fact that some people have an equally profound experience from another activity, including a spiritual or religious one.

No one here, a most certainly not the author of the piece, that religion has an exclusive hold in this area.

Why would you feel the need to exclude it, though, from spiritual or enlightening experiences that some people have. Perhaps it is what some people need. What difference does it make to you?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:00 PM

18. Its not either or, no

 

But its definitely proof you do not need a church to get there, and a church may not even get many people to the same place 7 out of the 10 people in this study went to instantly.


Why would you feel the need to exclude it, though, from spiritual or enlightening experiences that some people have.


I'm not excluding it, but rather ruling it out as a necessary (or even effective) avenue for non-religious people to try in order to experience "spirituality" themselves. There is a whole lot more bang for your buck out there; many people have already felt it already and have missed nothing (as this article implies).

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #18)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:03 PM

21. Well, I certainly have never made the claim that one needed a church to have a spiritual

experience, and neither does the author.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:39 AM

40. So?

 

There are lots of fears and defense mechanisms etc. in our psyche. Is it better to face them and deal with them, or live as captive to your fears (which often makes to fearful also burden to his/her surroundings)? There's nothing to fear but fear itself.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 05:01 PM

19. Did all that and more first

good stuff all of it. I don't sit in a pew, I but do sit in a chair. There is far more to learn than you would apparently expect.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:21 PM

4. I love her plan to visit 50 different takes on religion / spirituality and her open ended approach

I decided to visit all of them. If these places offer tools to help their congregations navigate life and make the human experience more meaningful, then what do I have to lose? Regardless of whether I eventually "choose" a religion or remain a None, I do hope to gain a special kind of wisdom.


An ambitious, personal field study of sorts, I guess. (Fifty sounds like a year's worth of visits.) Could be an interesting travelogue.

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Response to pinto (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:25 PM

7. I did something very similar at one point in my life.

It was truly enlightening and, with only a few exemptions, very positive experiences.

I also look forward to following her on this journey.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:25 PM

6. I love the title of your post

I attended many services as a youngster and young adult. Every summer I went to vacation Bible school at my Baptist church. I was a young ambassador in my Baptist church.

However, none of that ever swayed me to be a very Baptist person in my adulthood.

It seems what they were selling really didn't add up for me. All the pomp and circumstance really turned out to just be that. Pomp and circumstance. Not anything one could feel attached to. I'd have to say I had just about the same feeling of sincerity from Amway salespeople as from Baptist ministers.

One can be very moral and spiritual without having to identify as a member of any religion. It doesn't take a religious text to teach us not to murder or steal. Those are just such common values for all people.

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Response to dballance (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:27 PM

8. Agree, and this group is growing by leaps and bounds.

What will be interesting to watch is whether they start "congregating" in some way or stay completely away from organized groups.

My hunch is that they will begin to congregate, possibly in more secular groups. I also think the the unitarian/universalists have a real opportunity to grow, if they can identify and speak to this group.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:46 PM

13. beware the priest/minister class, who are out for $$ and power nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #13)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:52 PM

16. More profound insights from you! Thanks again for stopping by.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:50 PM

33. I'm not a "none" nor a "no-one" nor a "no One" but rather a...

...Done. A knower that "ONE" only IS and THAT is existent-limitless-awareness

How ever one delves into the minutia of the mind or seeks to soar in consciousness or OM in the awesomeness of awareness, the striving to become (what?) doesn't succeed.
All practices and medicines, churches or chuckles, action or quietude only reveal the already achieved, here-and-now truth of the witness within (atman).
The seen, felt, experienced, sensed and cognized comes and goes.
The cognize -er is the constant.
The seeker is the sought. Stop! There is nothing to be done but to know the existent "I AM" irrefutable-constant-of-all. (brahman).
Not knowing it, you are THAT.
Knowing it, you are THAT.
Nothing changed.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:43 PM

37. Sounds like a 21st Century version of Deists

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