Can you be spiritual without being religious?

Can you be spiritual without being religious?

Spirituality might be exemplified by this quote.
John 6 ; 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

One can practice spirituality alone. One cannot practice religiosity without a group/tribe.

Religiosity, I would define roughly, as promoting an organized or local church/temple/tribe etc.

Spirituality ignores our tribal instincts. Our religiosity demand that we cater to our tribal/fellowship needs.

If you are spiritually minded and have a working moral system that you think is the best, I think that you should want to share it and have others follow it. To share it should have you join a church or religion so as to promote your good thinking.

Does a spiritual mind, if truly spiritual, have to join a religion, even if not morally up to your standard, in order to share your view and perhaps help that religion rise up to your better standard of excellence?

If you answer yes to that question, is that why spiritually minded atheists and others now forming atheist churches or churches that take a more secular role within society?


To be spiritual, it seems to me, does not mean one is part of an organized religion, though I do think that one can be Christian and not go to church, even be isolated.
All spiritual means is that you are not a materialist, almost necessarily a dualist (with some distinction between spirit and matter) or and idealist of some kind (like all is actually Brahma). Someone who believes there is only matter cannot be spiritual - given the foundation of that word which focuses precisely on what is not matter and considers it both real and more important . A materialist can be moral tand have a philosophy of life but not be spiritual. Which means it is generally an oxymoron be a spiritual atheist, unless while not believing in God you do believe in non-material entities and facets of life.

Well put but I cannot agree with your “Someone who believes there is only matter cannot be spiritual”

Many have no supernatural beliefs and consider themselves spiritual.

1.relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

All that affects our spirit must come through our mind/brain/consciousness which is connected to our physical. Nowhere in the definitions I know is spiritual thinking dependent on the supernatural.

To suggest that only the religious can be spiritual would be silly. You do not have to cater to a tribal nature and be in a religion to be spiritually minded.

I think that the truly spiritually minded will see it as his duty though, to join some religion so as to help it evolve if it allows itself to do so.


It’s right there in what you quoted. Souls and spirit are not verified by science, they are almost universally considered non-material. Sure, some people who are materialists say they are spiritual, but it is terrible word usage. They could say they have a life philosophy or values they consider important that include other humans, nature, the world, etc. They can be wonderfully ethical. They can have ideas about humans should relate to each other, can have ineffable experiences of others or nature or whatever. But it would precisely not be spiritual since for them it would only invovle matter, and as you can see in what you quoted spiritual means something to do with soul and spirit AS OPPOSED TO MATERIAL OR PHYSICAL THINGS. That latter category is the only one to a materialist.

I don’t think I said only the religious can be spiritual. In any case, the point is that the word has to do specifically with dualism, stuff that is not material. Yes, some people use the word poorly. And here’s the thing, there have no need to. There are plenty of other words, such as my suggestions that precisely and without contradiction describe who they are. I have family members and friends who I love who fit this category. I am not say they are bad people or denying anything that they in fact are. I am pointing out that the word use is poor precisely because of what you quoted from my post.

I don’t agree, but that’s another can of beans. I think a good spiritual person need not join any religion. They can simply be good people and live life according to their undestanding. Perhaps engage religious people in dialogue if they want to.

Greatest I Am

That sounds a whole lot more to me like someone who has a strong religious mind set, someone who feels that it is necessary to belong, who has a strong desire to belong, to share a common bond of belief and worship with others.

The way I look at it true spirituality has no sense of being bound up (religare). It gives one a sense of harmony and relatedness with the Universe or if there is a belief in God, with God. It frees one and it transcends the sense of Aloneness or Togetherness which most organized religions cater to.

You can be spiritual without being religious. You can also belong to a religion but one’s own spiritually is paramount to one’s group mindset.

I think that a truly spiritual person can embrace the whole world without making him/her -self an integral part of it.

You can be spiritual without being religious though I do not use it in relation to myself as it is
a very woo heavy word with a lot of metaphysical baggage attached to it so I avoid it entirely

It comes with connotations? expectations of what others believe spiritual to be? spiritual being, different things to different people.

I have no problem with any one else describing themselves as spiritual if they want to as long as I do not also have to
As I prefer not to use the word at all rather than having to go into mental gymnastics explaining what it means to me

Exactly. It is a word with specific metaphysical ideas in it. If you do not believe in non-material substance of any kind - that is, if you are a materialist - it’s not the right word for you. There can be other reasons for it not being the right word. I think when someone says ‘you can’t be spiritual’ this is taken as meaning one cannot have a life philosophy or, noble ethical aims, or profound experiences of _______(nature, other people, whatever). But that’s not what I mean. I simply mean if your philososophy precludes the belief in the soul, spirit, etc., then you cannot be spiritual. You can be all sorts of lovely things but not that.