CBC Tapestry Interview: The Problem with “Spiritual but Not Religious”


Spiritual (Photo credit: songedeluxe)


“Spiritual, but not religious”.

It’s a belief description claimed by some of the “nones” – not affiliated with a specific religion, but claiming “spirituality” of some sort.

But what does “spiritual but not religious” mean? Does modern “spirituality” have any intellectual backing? And do these “spiritual but not religious” beliefs do more harm than good? David Webster, who teaches philosophy, religion, and ethics at the University of Gloucestershire, argues that not only are these beliefs undefined, but they can even make people stupid, selfish and unhappy.

Webster was interviewed this week by Mary Hynes on the CBC Radio religion program Tapestry. The fascinating interview can be found on the Tapestry website and is the first interview in the podcast.

Webster is also the author of Dispirited: How Contemporary Spirituality Makes Us Stupid, Selfish and Unhappy, which was published in 2012 by Zero Books.

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  • john zande  On 11 February 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Thanks for the link! I do find the idea of “Spiritual, NOT religious” a little baffling. The same problems of credibility exist in spiritualism as in theism. It’s a lovely thought, but….


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