The problem with being spiritual but not religious


As someone who’s counted himself a spiritual atheist for many years now, I read with much excitement this article in Time by Rabbi David Wolpe:

According to the latest Pew report almost one in five Americans identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.”

There’s hope yet!

In other words,

Oh boy, here it comes.

they have some feeling, some intuition of something greater, but feel allergic to institutions. Yet as we approach Passover and Easter, it’s important to remember that it is institutions and not abstract feelings that tie a community together and lead to meaningful change.

Yeah, doesn’t it suck when people think for themselves?

Spirituality is an emotion. Religion is an obligation. Spirituality soothes. Religion mobilizes. Spirituality is satisfied with itself. Religion is dissatisfied with the world. Religions create aid organizations;

Absolutely, I can’t effect change or help people because I’m not religious. Glad the Rabbi sorted that out for me!


From @Yaakov on Twitter:

@Rubenerd while i’d take what a ‘conservative’ rabbi says with a sack of salt, I don’t see where his post conflicts with your one from ‘08

I thought it was pretty obvious, but for the sake of clarity: the Rabbi’s argument is spiritual people can’t institute change or help the needy, you need religious institutions. As evidenced by non-religious people doing good things, this premise is obviously absurd, hence this post!

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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