Moving forward: spiritual but not religious


posted on May 24, 2022 | Author DR. SARTAJ AHMAD SOFI

The created universe is intended for a better survival of humanity. Man was sent to earth with the laws and regulations called “religion”, which have supported mankind for centuries to create an atmosphere conducive to life with peaceful coexistence across the world. Change of era, change everything. Religion which was once a beacon of hope for the destitute and the afflicted is today the main source of human suffering. People are now striving to isolate themselves from the ties of religion and are trying to discover the ways of esoteric closeness and solace.

In the modern world, mainly in Western societies, individuals are breaking away from religious traditions. Detachment is alarming in a more vibrant way. Studies have been done that describe but demonstrate the distorted demographics primarily in American societies. A study by Pew Research (2012) shows that the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion rose from 15% in 2007 to 20% in 2012, and this number continues to grow. One-fifth of the American public and one-third of adults under 30 are believed to be unaffiliated with any religion, but identify as spiritual in some way. Of those Americans with no religious affiliation, 37% classify themselves as spiritual but not religious, while 68% say they believe in God and 58% feel a deep connection to the land. (Funk, Cary; Smoth, Creg. “Nones on the Rise: One in Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation”, The Pew Research Forum on Religion and Public life, 2015). Demographically, the research found that the population with no religious affiliation is younger, predominantly male, and 35% are between the ages of 18 and 29.

The studies are pretty clear that people shun “institutional religions” and are concerned with “personal religions” called “spirituality.” Spirituality has become more detached from “religious affiliation” to what is now called “spiritual but not religious”. Today, “spiritual but not religious” is a fairly common usage of individuals who are anyway dissatisfied with either conservative and so-called religious supporters, or “divine” religions. From there, the problem of defining “religion” and “spirituality” evolves, which creates even more confusion among the masses. The “associates” try to define and defend their faith in their own way and the “against” hold the same position and define their belief.

Religion and spirituality are two distinct overlapping realities in the world. It is difficult to define the two either separately. Both have immense importance in the life of an individual. Religion is seen as man’s discovery resulting from the conveniences of life, while spirituality is man’s need to attain original purity and form.

Religion is about doctrines, dogmas, and ritual practices, while spirituality is about the heart, feelings, and experience. To be religious is to bow before the authority of others, to believe in doctrines determined in advance for oneself, to read ancient texts only as they are transmitted through interpretative traditions. existing ones, and blindly performing formalized rituals. For the spiritual, religion is inert, arid and dead; the practitioner of religion, consciously or not, is at best insensitive, at worst insincere.

Religion and spirituality are seen as overlapping realities, but modern man is obsessed with religion and associations of religions. Therefore, he discovered what is terminologically called “Spiritual but not religious”. The term spiritual but not religious has gained momentum around the world and people associate with it willingly. Spiritual but not religious is the trend of the contemporary world. Not only theists, but also atheists and agonists are also influenced and motivated.

The alarming problem is that if the same thing continues, the concept of religion will not continue in the near future. Therefore, it requires a high alert responsibility for all of us as adherents of religions. With regard to the religions of the world, the need is to revisit, revise, re-examine and regenerate the religious doctrines, practices and even the propagators of the religions. Demonstrate the intensity of religions and increasingly welcome and edify “spreaders” and “advocates” with intense knowledge, wisdom and depth to attract people to religious enthusiasm and spirituality.

(The author is Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Studies, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri. Email: [email protected])


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