Joe Bob's America

Spiritual But Not Religious, Just Inane

March 08, 2018

Ava Lee Scott, New York actress and “theater-maker,” studies ancient languages including Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic, reads Tarot cards, studies the cosmological principles in runes, uses cowrie shells for some kind of enlightenment that I don’t quite understand, and believes in “a higher power,” which is the old Alcoholics Anonymous term to avoid saying “God.” (I’m not sure what a theater-maker is, but I assume it does not involve construction on Broadway.) She also makes copious use of plants, Dead Sea salt baths, and herbs, which are “the magic healers of the earth connecting us to the spiritual.” (I’m going to assume she’s not talking about hemlock, nightshade, or snakeroot, although I guess you could say Socrates got majorly connected to the spiritual that way.)

Dain Quentin Gore, an Arizona artist, finds religious meaning in “creating powerful art.” “Making art and puppetry are my transcendent moments,” he says.

Megan Ribar, who works at a yoga studio where she finds “transcendence” through meditation and “personal ritualistic acts,” rejects the term “spiritual” (but somehow remains in the polling category) while keeping an altar of objects that are meaningful to her, sometimes performing rituals in which she calls on “deities” or “deity archetypes.”

Trish Richards, a dog walker in New York, needed a “private and personal” form of religion after feeling uncomfortable in her Lutheran church because she’s gay. It’s not specified what form this religion takes.

Scott Stanger, a New York photographer, was put off by his Jewish upbringing, which he considered outmoded. It’s not clear what he replaced it with.

So now we know what “spiritual” means. It means:

(1) Alone.
(2) Me.
(3) Making myself feel good.
(4) Not bothering with the messy business of screwed-up disagreeable people who show up at church and make you listen to their problems and ignore your own.
(5) Sociology class.

There’s a word for this. It’s a perfectly good word, tested by centuries of use. The word is “atheist.” Please use it. Then we won’t think you’re so weird. We’ll even trade a few cowrie shells with you on our way to your puppet show.

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