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Are There Dangers In Being `Spiritual But Not Religious`?

By: for CNN on June 17, 2010
World News
Photo Credits: www.anestaweb.org
"People seem not to have the time nor the energy or interest to delve deeply into any one faith or religious tradition. So they move through, collecting ideas and practices and tenets that most appeal to the self, but making no connections to groups or communities", Ann Greeley, a theology and philosophy professor at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut says.

"I'm spiritual but not religious."

It's a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that they don't need organized religion to live a life of faith.

But for Jesuit priest James Martin, the phrase also hints at something else: egotism.
"Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness," says Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic magazine based in New York City. "If it's just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"

Religious debates erupt over everything from doctrine to fashion. Martin has jumped into a running debate over the "I'm spiritual but not religious" phrase.

The "I'm spiritual but not religious" community is growing so much that one pastor compared it to a movement. In a 2009 survey by the research firm LifeWay Christian Resources, 72 percent of millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) said they're "more spiritual than religious." The phrase is now so commonplace that it's spawned its own acronym ("I'm SBNR") and Facebook page: SBNR.org.

But what exactly does being "spiritual but not religious" mean, and could there be hidden dangers in living such a life?

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/personal/06/03/spiritual.but.not.religious/index.html?iref=allsearch
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