Pet Peeve


I keep hearing this phrase, “I’m spritual, but not religious”.
Thats a contradiction. Where did this obnoxious phrase come from, and what kind of reply should I give to those who say it.
It basically means to me," I believe in my own thing" Where do people get off making up what God should be for them? Is this another form of protestantism? albeit agnostic protestism?


I agree, it’s pretty obnoxious. And it implies that following a traditional religion is incompatible with being spiritual, which makes no sense at all.

The people who generally say this, in my experience, are neo-pagans or some other followers of New Age-ish thought.


It is one of my pet peeves too. I agree with Dove, these people are usually new agey types. No serious Christian, I don`t think ,would make that statement.


I wonder if it is another way of saying “I live in the spirit of the law, not in the letter of the law”?


Yeah, I read about this, recently… it might have been in “This Rock” magazine.

The phrase “I’m spiritual” or similar… (i.e., “your spiritual”… “he/she is spiritual”) has really worked its way into the current “thinking”. Sad.

I have found myself saying it, on occasion. But after reading the article… I’m training myself to stop saying “spiritual” and start saying “religious”.

For some reason… being “religious” has gotten terribly unpopular. :shrug: A strange thing, indeed… since it is a deeply rooted part of all human beings… to be religious. It is something implanted in us… by God.

St. Michael the Archangel… defend us.:knight2:


Yeah, it’s annoying, but it seems like most people who leave organized religion either didn’t agree with the beliefs of their church (with each Protestant congregation having their own set of beliefs and interpretation of scripture, this isn’t hard to imagine) or they saw a lot of hypocrisy from people who claim to be good church-going people (I know someone who left the Church due to parishoners gossiping right after Mass) or if they were Catholic, they never received proper education in Church teaching (I know a few people who left because they thought the Church was intolerant to gays, women-priests, etc).

That would explain why non-denominational Christians make up the majority of Protestanism today and why 10% of the U.S. population is ex-Catholic.


I’ve heard the same. Although I must admit, I don’t understand why anyone would base their own faith on the behavior of others. :shrug: This makes no sense to me.

It seems to me… that true faith, should not be effected by our own perceptions of the activities of those around us. Even of clergy. Our faith should be based, on the promises of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Maybe my faith is simple. I don’t know. But I once heard a priest say something, that made a lot of sense to me…

“You don’t abandon Jesus… because of Judas”. I took him to mean, that you don’t walk away from the Church… because of the conduct of others. No. Pray for them!


Well, I think that’s why they call themselves “spiritual” because many of them still believe in God, but just not the Church or any other ecclesial community.

I mean, it is easy to shatter someone’s faith if that faith wasn’t strong enough to begin with.

For example, let’s say there was a teenager who wasn’t really brought up in a particularly devout household, but the family goes to Mass on Sundays. Let’s say he saw a lot of things wrong in that parish. Maybe the parish was affected by the abuse scandal, or maybe he encountered some people with racist or intolerant attitudes. When he sees other non-religious people and finds them to be more pleasant and ‘moral’ in a way, that may push him to reconsider his religious beliefs.

We need to be better examples to others and I think it would be best to reintroduce a lot of the traditional elements (e.g. altar rail, Communion in tongue, etc) to the Mass of Pope Paul VI in order to bringing about a better feeling of sacredness and the importance of the Eucharist. The Church had a better retention rate pre-1970’s.


Yeah, I see your point. And agree. Sadly, sometimes our human nature overcomes that which is implanted by God. So sad, isn’t it.

I’ve heard many times, that true faith is a gift from God… that not all possess. :frowning:

Well, this is a night to be happy. Merry Christmas!

MV :snowing:


Fr. Richard G. Malloy, S.J. wrote a pretty good article in the latest issue of U.S. Catholic entitled, “The World Made Digital: 7 Steps to a Church Worth Connecting To” where he addresses this problem:

One negative cultural value in the United States that muffles and mutes Christ’s challenging voice is the oft-repeated mantra, “I’m spiritual but no religious.” That’s like telling someone, “I want to marry you, but I’m not into monogamy.”

The practice of true love calls for full commitment. The practice of true and transformative spirituality entails the disciplined religious expression needed to make our spiritual desires and hopes real and operative in the world…The “spiritual” people often have been mistreated and alienated from church by soime ineffective priest or minister or some institutional rule that poorly or stupidly foists on people a practice at odds with the church’s main message of love. But just because I’ve run into a bad cop does not mean I’ll never call 911 when there is trouble. The few unscrupulous doctors and malfunctioning HMOs don’t mean I am going to try to cure cancer on my own.

The antidote to bad religion is not no religion. The solution is to discover spiritual disciplines (religion) that support our becoming ever more authentic.


I just graduated high school last year and talk to a lot of other kids about this online and noticed, as well, a growing number of my peers who say something like that, “I believe there is a higher power, but I don’t believe in what the Bible teaches.” I’ve even met a growing number of people who love Jesus and pray to God, but don’t believe “organized religion” is necessary or even helpful.

I even know a girl who tells me, “Sometimes I run into God, but I manage to push him away because I like being an atheist. It makes me feel more peaceful.” :confused:

I think what happens is people focus too much on the earthly manifestations of the religions and lose sight of the fact that the whole point is not to be among a group of people who agree with you (although that is nice sometimes) but to connect more deeply with the Lord and Savior who resides in a kingdom beyond this world. People tend to focus on the things that make religion divisive and, at times, hypocritical. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that faith and relgion are like nature itself. The metaphor I use is…

“For every volcano that erupts a million flowers bloom, the volcano just makes a lot more noise.”


My response to those people is usually, ‘what does that mean?’.

Typically, they don’t have a good answer, and when it falls apart, they do a quick back-peddle-tap-dance, but at least I don’t have to hear that any more. :wink:


I don’t know and since it really bothers me, too, I try to stay away from that kind of comment and pray (silently, of course) for people who say that.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:


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