Spiritual but Not Religious?

Roger S. Gottlieb

in Spirituality

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199738748
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979349 | DOI:
Spiritual but Not Religious?

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines how and why millions of people describe themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious.’ To do so it describes the relation between ‘spirituality’ and ‘religion’ by exploring different senses of the concept of truth, the nature of belief, and the role of individuality and personal choice in spiritual life. As well, it describes some of the common criticisms “spiritual but not religious” people make of traditional religion. The basic thesis of the chapter is that the practice of spiritual virtues can coexist with a detached or metaphorical understanding of traditional religious claims; that religious belief is defined by the practice of virtue more than by intellectual acceptance; and that the common criticisms of orthodox religion (e.g., that it can be repressive and violent) are true, but apply equally to secular movements and ideologies as well.

Keywords: spirituality; religion; faith; spiritual-but-not-religious; truth; belief; religious violence; toleration; modernity

Chapter.  6291 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.