Spiritual But Not Religious

I may be treading dangerous waters here, and I fully recognize that this isn’t normal Broke But Bougie fare, but hopefully it’ll stoke a conversation that will be edifying for all of us. So here goes: let’s talk about religion.

Or perhaps more accurately… let’s talk about spirituality.

You may have seen this Rolling Stones interview with Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford floating around the interwebs. In it, Marcus Mumford says, “I wouldn’t call myself a Christian” because “the word conjures up all these religious images that I don’t really like.” Okay. Fair enough. But on the other hand, “Mumford emphasizes that… his spiritual journey is a ‘work-in-progress,’ [and] he’s never doubted the existence of God.”

So what we have here is something that our generation seems to be embracing more and more: the idea of being “spiritual but not religious.” Buzz Marketing Group found that 43% of Millennials “worship alone” (though I’m not clear on what is included in the term “worship”) while “50% still attend some sort of worship experience” (which I can only assume means worshipping with a community of believers).

Now, I’m not naive. I know that a lot of people take issue with particular religious organizations because of the behavior of individuals within them. I also know that we live in a culture of relativism where you believe what you believe and I believe what I believe, and somehow we’re both right – and an organized religious institution that dictates what you’re supposed to believe rubs people the wrong way.

But is that really it? Does it really boil down to those two things? Or are there other reasons?

I’m genuinely curious because I like to understand what makes people tick, how they think, why they do what they do.

In any case, regardless of whether we identify ourselves as religious or spiritual, we’re apparently not afraid to talk about it – Buzz also found that “96% of Millennials are exchanging ideas and opinions, and having conversations about faith and religion.” So with that bit of encouragement, let’s talk.

I’ll start. Hello, my name is Tara Stone, and I was born and raised in a Catholic home. Today, I’m a Christ-professing, mass-attending, pope-loving Catholic woman. My religion influences pretty much everything I do, and I think I’ve turned out to be a pretty okay person.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Are you spiritual, religious, neither, both? Why do you think our generation rejects religion but still embraces spirituality? What chafes you about religion but doesn’t scare you away from being spiritual? Why is being spiritual still important?

What’s also interesting to me is Buzz Marketing Group’s assertion that online churches and social media will play a big part in the spiritual landscape for our generation as the trend away from religion (presumably) continues.

Okay, slow down. Online churches? I’ve never heard of an online church. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me – goodness knows everything else is online – but the idea intrigues me.

Again, Bougie ladies, I turn to you for insight. Has anyone out there had experience with an online church? What’s it like? Is this a big deal that I’m totally out-of-the-loop about? Do online churches fit the “spiritual but not religious” bill, or do they constitute organized religion?