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Are most modern spiritual movements a net positive?

Many people in the U.S. now identify as not having a religion. However, some of them do consider themselves spiritual. Most Atheists prefer hard-facts, non-superstitious thoughts.

However, is the cure for old religion, spirituality without religion? Does it ease people who need a certain crutch away from the worst parts of religion?

I know that most wouldn't find it ideal, but is it a step forward? Or, is it the same as being Christian, Muslim, etc?

By silvereyes8
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It certainly makes a smoother transition. I went that route, seeking to find the nuggets of beauty and truth in the things that others believe. Slowly, over the years, all the while identifying as an "eclectic spiritualist", I settled on being agnostic, while appreciating what others believe, as long as it improves their lives and makes them better people.

Meep70 Level 7 Mar 30, 2018

With spirituality they don't usually claim they know "the truth", and thus have a more live and let live attitude. I think it is less harmful, if harmful at all.

Rudy1962 Level 9 Mar 30, 2018

@WizardBill maybe. But people I know who are into spirituality do not disregard science


Well, I could be flippant and say as long as no one gets hurt and there's no property damage it's all good. In seriousness, if someone has a mindset/spirituality/whatever that works for them and it doesn't impinge on other people, then I don't see that there is a problem. Whatever brings you home to port, sailor.


Humans have emotions. Science doesn't deny that. Downwardly spiraling emotions can destroy us, or at least destroy the quality of our life experience. Science doesn’t deny that. Certain habits or disciplines can improve our emotional state. Science doesn’t deny that.

I claim that the original impulse to religious behavior was, and still is, at its deepest essence, simply an attempt to codify a practice that lifts human attitude and mood out of dysfunctional paralysis.

Every human institution is susceptible to corruption, but it does not make sense to me, for example, to campaign for the total abandonment of government simply because our government is rife with corruption. Efforts toward reform will always be required, but some semblance of order is better than total chaos.

Likewise with religion. Having mood-lifting practices led by institutions is probably more effective than leaving everyone to their own chaotic and ill-conceived devices, but massive reform of those institutions will be necessary, and they are among the most resistant to reform.

To me spirit is just mood or attitude. Religion is just whatever practice you use to keep that mood healthy. Don’t like those words? Use different ones. But humans are emotional creatures in need of constant mood management.
Science doesn’t deny that.

When someone says “I’m spiritual but not religious” what I hear is “I’m emotional but not disciplined”.

My response is “Best of luck with that”.

skado Level 8 Mar 30, 2018

I can be spiritual, emotional, disciplined in all and much more in moderation for my balance. Religion has the monopoly on emotions. I can claim to not know a mass amount of the unknown spiritual Universe.

Where much of Religion claims their God knows everything, and all he wants is to worship him in order to be a better person with rewards.

Your comment about the impulse to religious behavior is well put and I would add that in tribal ages before codified religion some shaman witch doctors realized the high position they could have within the group by claims of mystical powers. By the time of the Assyrians, all land was owned by the priests according to records from transcribed tablets. Religion is a power grab. The combination of religion and the state, each upholding the other, is so effective that unfortunately it may never disappear. In other words, like jealousy it will continue to poison human societies.


There is a group called spiritual atheist, I don’t believe there is a soul, and I don't believe in Spirits.
Spiritualism suggest that there is some kind of afterlife, and relies on metaphysics, and pseudoscience. Pure hookem.
Things created by man usually turn bad for someone.

Clare Level 7 Mar 30, 2018

If they are praying to something its the same.


Sometimes, the crutch is in the thinking of the religious because in their heart (brains) they have already made a decision that a particular person is good.
I had a coworker who read the bible several times daily. She never pushed it on anyone else. She simply asked to be left alone during her bible study breaks. Fair enough. When we later discussed my agnosticism, she declared I was "spiritual". She'd already decided I was a good person and needed a word to use that had positive connotations. Otherwise, she'd have to call me a godless heathen. I accept that use of the word since it brings people closer to acceptance. Baby steps, perhaps, but I'll take what I can get.

MrLizard Level 8 Mar 30, 2018

I'm good with HARMLESS spirituality. That is to say, you do not use it to push agendas that are not based in reality, you do not rely on it in place of medicine for your children, etc.
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of harm to be had in believing that crystals will heal your children, that science is an enemy of the natural order, etc. That is where the problems enter into things.
If you like to take a walk in the woods to connect with the spirits, go for it. If you take your children out of school so they can commune with nature, please reconsider.

Drewesque Level 6 Mar 30, 2018

I'm on the fence here, because on the one hand there's less dogma in being spiritual without religion, which I think is good, but on the other hand I think there's more openness to a lot of unsubstantiated claims on a broader scale (i.e., the epitome of "so open minded that your brain falls out" ). I tend to think it's a net gain, but marginally so.

resserts Level 8 Mar 30, 2018

It seems we all have different beliefs. I believe energy does not end at death. That is the part that I believe continues on after death with some semblance of our being embedded in it. If you believe that is a relic of religion, so be it--I don't. If you believe all of the "me" ends at death, so be it--I don't. If you believe spirituality is emotions, so be it--I don't. Any of these might happen. However, I think the biggest joke is that we spend so much time discussing proof for the nonexistence of god or looking for definitive responses about what comes after death when we could be going on with the life we have and making it the best for ourselves and those we come in contact with.

Here's hoping we can accept differences of opinion while alive better than many of those who have led our and other countries for millenium.

EllenDale Level 7 Mar 30, 2018

I know I'll probably get some pushback on this, but I really don't believe that being "spiritual" is any different that believing in gods and religion.
It's just putting a different name on it to make oneself feel better about it.
Fine, if that's what someone wants to do, I just don't buy it.

KKGator Level 9 Mar 30, 2018

The cure for "old religion" is education, access to information and empowerment - especially for women in developing countries. The term spirituality is so overused as to be denuded of meaning. It's not a "cop-out" per se, but seems to be a catch-all for our species' innate need for beauty, peace, art, music, (wine!), transcendence.

Has much more to do with the "human spirit" rather than the "holy spirit". Most don't make that distinction.


I've wondered about the meaning of "spiritual", what do people mean when they say they are spiritual? Is it a deep seated reluctance to move away from their early life experience? Human existence is filled with serendipitous events that are beyond explanation. I include these in my meaning of being a humanist. There is a part of life that goes beyond the simply physical world, yet doesn't prove or disprove a supernatural being.


To my way of thinking a "spiritual person" is either a sucker or a con artist.

Casey07 Level 6 Mar 30, 2018

I'm sure religion will grow out of modern spirituality, they are already beginning to pick soft leaders like Nassim Haramein and Deepak Chopra.

If a person picks a leader to guild their life rather then lead their lives themselves first. They will be a slave to limited thinking and to their own personal growth


Without a detailed explanation I see no "crutch" in using the spiritual and philosophical elements of buddhism, for instance, which I do on a daily basis.

On the contrary, I see it useful in many ways a dogmatic mind could never understand. I do have the benefit of in depth studies of several religions not only to understand what it is, but why and how it came to be.

Never having been religious I've never felt a need for a "cure" for religion, either. For some it may long as it's not merely trading one dogma for another.

Still, if the new dogma is less harmful to the planet and its people, that works as well.


A rose by any other name is still a rose.

MacTavish Level 7 Mar 30, 2018

No. It's the same religious guff brandished in a new way, with new age twaddle, pseudo science and feel good nonsense for those who want low-cal religion-light. Cut through it and that's what you find.

David1955 Level 7 Mar 30, 2018

I used to be in this category of spiritual but not religious. I don't think it's near as destructive as the dogmatism of major faiths, but I still bought crystals and incense and books. So I'd call it a step forward on a large scale, but probably not so much of a good thing for an individual.

Nebroxah Level 6 Mar 30, 2018

I think it's definitely a step in the right direction.

There are so many extreme or even moderate beliefs out there that make spirituality look mild by comparison that it's not much of a stretch to drop it altogether.

Paul628 Level 8 Mar 30, 2018

Spirituality without religion is possible but it is not differ from religion. Religion do believe in supernatural entity and spirituality is nothing but a product of religion. In premitive time human did not have religion but believed that there is someone who is controlling the natural powers. They were spiritual and they gave birth to the religion through spirituality.

FAIZ Level 5 Mar 30, 2018

I don't think spirituality is the answer. I think the vague notions that come along with spirituality can lead to individuals accepting other ideas with vague explanations, which can lead to real harm. Examples would be homeopathy, crystal healing, alkaline water, etc. The belief in these ideas can interfere with people getting the medical help they need, and occasionally cause direct harm through improper production, for example not actually diluting the ingredients in a homeopathic remedy.

Bdh1302 Level 2 Mar 31, 2018

i have no clue what a former believer needs in terms of crutches or rest-belief or whatever. i was born a heathen & always happy to be that. my spirituality originated in not-knowing what i saw & sensed a few times - call it entities, ghosts, spirits, i DON'T KNOW. energy seemingly doesn't get lost with death, & if i am keenly observant i can sense the state of being in someone else without the help of actions or words. i have no belief whatsoever, & some things i simply do not know. that is my spirituality.


I am the oddball again, by saying I am spiritual sided. Like when I bring up Nationaism being worst than Religion.

Spiritual is simply the 99 percent unknowns.!. Util it's manifest into our ego self. Sure enough we live in an over ego world. Religion is not spiritual because it is a broken parrot repeating ancient myths and legends that are not good enough for scientific or reasonably connecting. Rather a divider than all things connected


Well, actually I consider myself to be spiritual in a sense. Realistically I still need facts to back things up, and of course I have no hard facts to back up my belief. I actually didn't have this as an open question until something that happened to me multiple times over several years.

Many years ago, something happened to me that I couldn't explain. I passed it off as just a coincidence. That something came about when my Aunt passed away. She appeared to me in a dream and we had a rather lengthy conversation. She told me she had passed, but not to worry and to make sure to take care of family. She would be watching over us she told me and that she loved all of us. I found out the next day that she had indeed passed. Now as I said, I passed that off as coincidence. And like I know many of you will say, it was just a dream and it does not mean anything. You are all probably right.

If it did not happen to me in similar fashion over multiple years then I still probably would dismiss it. Each case was a family member and each time I somehow knew in advance they had each passed. I can't explain why and perhaps it is all just delusional. I don't know. I won't try to pass it off as something everyone should believe or have hope over. I don't even feel the need to believe. I only have it as an open question to which I still have no answer, and only based on my own experiences.

One other thing, I only brought this out because you asked the question. The idea does not change my outlook on life or give me a reason to believe that there is life after death. There probably is still a valid explanation that does not involve something superstitious. But until I can answer the question as to how I knew the things I knew in advance, I have to leave it as an open question and keep searching for the answer.

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