Spirituality is an emotion. Religion is an obligation. Spirituality soothes. Religion mobilizes. Spirituality is satisfied with itself. Religion is dissatisfied with the world.
To be spiritual but not religious confines your devotional life to feeling good. If we have learned one thing about human nature, however, it is that people’s internal sense of goodness does not always match their behavior. To know whether your actions are good, a window is a more effective tool than a mirror.
No one expects those without faith to obligate themselves to a religious community. But for one who has an intuition of something greater than ourselves to hold that this is a purely personal truth, that it demands no communal searching and struggle, no organization to realize its potential in this world, straddles the line between narcissistic and solipsistic. If the spirit moves you to goodness, that is wonderful. For too many, though, spirituality is a VIP card allowing them to breeze past all those wretched souls waiting in line or doing the work.
Saturday, April 05, 2014
The Limitations of Being ‘Spiritual but Not Religious’
Rabbi David Wolpe nails the fundamental weakness of the "spiritual but not religious" notion: