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SpiritualityWhat It Is and Why It Matters$
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Roger S. Gottlieb

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738748

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738748.001.0001

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Spiritual but Not Religious?

Spiritual but Not Religious?

(p.80) 5 Spiritual but Not Religious?

Roger S. Gottlieb

Oxford University Press

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

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