“I’m Spiritual, but Not Religious”

Home Page Forums Community Forum “I’m Spiritual, but Not Religious”

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #6112
    Dan Marcum
    Participant

    Consider the statement, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” Our evangelists often hear this statement when evangelizing college-age people. Often, people in college believe in doing good and avoiding evil, and they think maybe there’s a God (or maybe not), but they don’t go to church or think anything having to do with religion is really important.

    So, imagine you’re evangelizing at a college and you have the following conversation:

    Evangelist: Hi, would you like a free rosary?

    Other person: Sure, thank you!

    E: No problem, did you know the rosary is a prayer?

    O: It is?

    E: Yeah, it’s a powerful meditation on the life of Jesus. Are you Christian?

    O: Well, I was raised Christian, and I’m still spiritual, but I’m not religious.

    So, what would you say next?

Viewing 2 reply threads
  • Author
    Replies
    • #7335
      Allison Schoonover
      Participant

      I’m with Michael and Mark – the first thing I would do is to ask them to explain…I would think that people can mean very different things by saying that they’re “spiritual but not religious.” When my adult children say this (and they have), I’m pretty sure it means “I don’t really care enough to figure out what I think about God; I’ll worry about it later.” To be honest, I don’t know if I’m capable, as Michael said, of getting “into the issue of objective truth, and begin to explain why we believe Jesus is divine, a historical account of the establishment of his Church, and then show that the Catholic Church is that historical church.” I think I would spend most of the conversation listening and clarifying. Maybe at some point, I would find the opportunity to share the Kerygma. I read a really interesting article the other day about reaching young “nones” (no religious affiliation), and how some of them have absolutely no context for understanding ideas like sin and salvation. That’s kind of overwhelming to me. One thing that occurs to me is that these people need to be encouraged to keep seeking; to keep thinking. There is real, objective truth; there are real answers to questions like, “Is God real?”, and “What’s the point of human existence?”. There is a right way to live and a wrong way to live, and they both have eternal consequences.

    • #6353
      Michael Miller
      Participant

      I like the way Karlo Broussard from Cathoilc Answers handles this question. Like him, I would ask some clarifying questions… “what do you mean by that?”, and “how does your ‘not spiritual, but religious’ view play out in your day to day life?” If they are willing to talk about their personal spirituality, they’ll likely share that they don’t think it’s important to belong an organized religion, but it’s OK to pursue “God” and spiritual truths (however they view truth.)

      At this point, I would get into the issue of objective truth, and begin to explain why we believe Jesus is divine, a historical account of the establishment of his Church, and then show that the Catholic Church is that historical church. If Jesus, who is divine, founded the Catholic Church, then we are obligated to be a part of it.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Michael Miller.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Dan Marcum.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Dan Marcum.
    • #6352
      Mark J Hornbacher
      Participant

      I’d say, “Tell me about that. What do you mean when you say, ‘spiritual but not religious’?”

      After they give their answer, I’d ask them “How did you come to those conclusions?”

      Depending upon how they answer all this, I might do something different — but I think in some cases I would follow up with something like the following:

      “This is the way I think about it: Everybody, or most people, are spiritual in one way or another — but spirituality can be good, bad, or very often, it can be mediocre. Religion is organized spirituality. It helps us to be more consistent between belief and action, and accountable to others, in our spirituality. It gives us the insights of others — not just of some small group of individuals, but the collective wisdom of people over centuries. And then there’s the question of true religion and false religion: if spirituality can be good, bad, or mediocre, then religion also can be be good, bad, or mediocre. It’s not enough to say that we’re spiritual. If we want to benefit from our spirituality, we want to have the benefits of religion, and more than that — we want the benefits of true religion.”

Viewing 2 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.