Its trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that they don’t need organized religion to live a life of faith. But for Jesuit priest James Martin, the phrase also hints at something else: egotism.
“Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness,” says Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic magazine based in New York City. “If it’s just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?”
Religious debates erupt over everything from doctrine to fashion. Martin has jumped into a running debate over the “I’m spiritual but not religious” phrase.
But what exactly does being “spiritual but not religious” mean, and could there be hidden dangers in living such a life?