I am always late for The Buzz. I just can’t blog on command.
Jason, Jason again, Mike, Mark, PZ and their numerous commenters have chimed in on time.
But the “sprituality” buzz is long gone and I am only now getting to the topic. Ah, well.
Anyway, it’s late at night so I will be short and only semi-serious….
When asked “What’s your religion?” who answers with “I am spiritual”? Here is a Borges-like Chinese Classification:
A) People who really believe in ghosts, spirits, talking with the dead and Ouija boards.
B) People currently under the influence of LSD
C) People who get the strong emotional feelings of awe when contemplating the vastness of the Universe, the endlessness of Time, the beauty of a mountain, the elegance of a mathematical proof, the amazing adaptations of a tapeworm, or the complexity of the human brain.
D) People who get into a trance when dancing
E) Atheists when asked by an angry mob of aggressive, dangerous and heavily armed believers.
F) Believers when asked by an angry mob of aggressive, dangerous and heavily armed atheists.
G) Dogs after marking the fire hydrant.
H) People whose goal is to alienate the least number of potential matches on online dating sites.
I) People who bought into some New-Age crap.
J) Westerners who practice an Eastern religion.
K) People who read their horoscopes, burn the incense, use untested health products from Health-Food stores and keep their dentures under pyramid-shaped toys.
Jokes aside, the term “spiritual” is used by some people all the time and by other people sometimes. It is designed to deflect the conversation to another topic – there is no good follow-up question. If the answer is “Christian”, you ask “What church?” If the answer is “Atheist”, the follow-up question is “Do you really eat little children?”
But what do you ask a person who just stated he/she is “spiritual”?
“What kind of music do you like?”, of course.
Thus, it is a term used to avoid the topic. It is a polite way of saying “I’m not tellin’ you, buddy”, or “There’s nothing here to see, move on”, or “You don’t wanna know….”, or “Whatever you want me to be, as long as we can move to the next
It is a term used by people of vastly different religious persuasions. It means many different things to many different people, but most of the time it is meant to mean nothing. Purposefully vague. It is one of those words where it is up to the listener to fill in the blanks with his/her own assumptions, not a word that clearly states what the person using it really believes.
A word that means everything, means nothing.
But it’s useful when chased with pitchforks….