Over the past couple of months, and then again this week, I have read articles about two varying sides of a debate. The subject is people who define themselves as “spiritual, but not religious”, or SBNR for short!.
To simplify it… It goes something like this: People who are religious, believe that people who claim to be spiritual, but who don’t belong to a particular religion, lack the fortitude and discipline it requires to follow the tenants, expectations and guidelines of religion. As a result they lack the guidance and structure to have a strong moral fiber… and as a result, can be easily thrown off course and succumb to earthly temptations! They end up doing bad things because they don’t have the structure of religious teachings behind them.
On the other side of this debate about SBNR people are the atheists who believe that people develop their moral fabric through family, community and education. They believe the decisions made between right and wrong or good and evil are part of each individuals character. They have a notion that the person who describes themselves as SNBR, is an atheist who is afraid of social disapproval or is someone who wants the “theoretical benefits of faith, including hope of eternal life, without the obligations of actually practicing a religion”.
There was even a recent study out of England that theorized that “People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.” ( Michael King, a professor at University College London).
Once again, I find myself in the middle of a debate that includes me.., yet, doesn’t feel as if it has anything to do with me. How did that happen?
I have never been drawn to an organized religion and have actually been repelled by some. I don’t have a fear of being defined as socially unacceptable because I don’t believe what others might believe. And I am not behaving a particular way today, because I think it will matter to me (or God for that matter).., when this body has died and is no longer a vessel for my Soul and Spirit.
I use the term God to describe All-That-Is… Which of course includes me.
I have read moving and inspiring words from many teachers, including Jesus, the Buddha, Rumi, Dr Carl Calleman, Bruce Lipton, Anne Rice, J.R. Tolkien, Howard Falco, and MANY others! I have also had the great fortune to work with amazing teachers, coaches and mentor. Each of them resonates and affects or shifts my perceptions and becomes part of who I am, in the scheme of this life.
For me, being spiritual has always meant developing the ability to hear and trust my own internal guidance. This has taken a lot of time and practice. I assume it will take a lot more too. You see, finding our connection to All-That-Is is an ongoing and evolving journey. We are here to shine our Light… And be all that we can be. Some of us use the beautiful disciplines of science or religion to understand this journey. Others, like me, are simply exploring and discovering and we are SBNR!