An increasing number of people say that they are “spiritual but not religious.” For some this is merely a trendy thing to say, but beyond making them sound hip and appear insightful, it is an empty platitude.

For others, claiming to be “spiritual but not religious” is an attempt to abdicate responsibility for their behavior and their soul. It is nothing more than a highfalutin way of saying, “leave me alone, and let me do my own thing.”

However, for most, a desire to be “spiritual but not religious” is a sincere yearning for more, while simultaneously dismissing the institutions spawned by earlier practitioners of their faith and acknowledging that the actions and attitudes of many “religious” people are indeed wanting. Formal religion is out; a personal, relevant faith is what they seek.

For Christians, this sentiment can be summarized by “We like Jesus, but not the church.” It is true that many people admire Jesus, but the institutions that his followers created leave them cold. They inherently sense that there is a better way — and they desperately want to find it.

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