Although this starts of as a question, but I presume it will lead to some debate and so I put it here rather than in GQ. Mods are free to move it as they deem appropriate.
When religion is discussed, very often I have come across the use of this word in its various forms – ‘of the spirit’, ‘spirituality’, ‘spiritual’ etc. Atheists are told, and quite often condescendingly, that religion is ‘spiritual’, that it is a matter of ‘spirituality’ and so looking for hard evidence will not, and does not, help. I therefore would like to get a better understanding of this thing called ‘spirituality’.
From what I read about its definition in the dictionary, it appears to be ‘relating to sacred matters’ or ‘ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal’ or ‘concerned with religious values’. As far as I can see all of these relate to ‘religion’.
So, is the religious person when claiming that his or religion is based on ‘spirituality’ implying that he is religious because he is ‘religious’(I have replaced the word ‘spiritual’ here)? Is there any great difference between religious and spiritual. In so far as I can see they are almost the same.
Moreover I would like to get some more insight into what exactly it is that is ‘spiritual’? Why does one necessarily have to be ‘spiritual’ which it seems to me is something near opposite of ‘real’ or ‘secular’, the latter appearing as the antonym of ‘spiritual’? Spiritual, belief in divinity, belief in the supernatural are all the same and so are these also the chracteristics of the ‘faith’ based religion.
In essence therefore, it can be reasonably conculded that a religious person believes in the supernatural.
No doubt religion is a matter of faith. But the question that an atheist has is “where does the faith come from and why is it needed”? Is it impossible for the religious to be what they are if they do not have what they call as “faith”? And if not, why? If they think they will be a different personality without it, then again why? Why does it take a religious person to be of faith or have faith in the supernatural to be what he is?
I am quite sure that humans were not harming other humans before the advent of any of the religions. Why is it not possible to be the same now?