Spiritual but not religious

I was wondering the other day whether or not there are any religions that recognize synchronicity. Maybe they all do, but don’t talk about it. I was trying to think of  a biblical story that exhibits meaningful coincidences. Maybe it could encompass the miracles ie. wine from water, walking on water, but those examples go far beyond what we normally think of a meaningful coincidences. Not being very knowledgeable in biblical lore I can’t think of any clear examples of synchronicity. Maybe someone can help.

Certainly there is a mystical element in all religions—or they wouldn’t be religions—but it seems that the supernormal side is buried. Maybe it was something that happened in the past, but it doesn’t happen now…and it certainly doesn’t happen to you. That’s my biased assessment of modern religion, which seems on a personal level more about social interactions, and on a priesthood level,  more bout structure and safeguarding the religion’s integrity against the questioning and doubts of  disbelieving outsiders.

We see this doubting and questioning religious authorities and their established churches and temples especially strong among the younger generation. Certainly there are still many who follow the religion of their parents or take up a new religion, but there is also something else going on.

There can be little doubt that traditional religious frameworks are no longer speaking to new generations as they have in the past, especially in the West.

In an article in the LA Times,  Philip Clayton, former dean of faculty at Claremont School of Theology, writes that the fastest growing religious group in the United States is “spiritual but not religious,” embracing a shocking 75 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29.”  Clayton argues that young people are not necessarily rejecting a sense of God, rather they feel that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in the structures of the political status quo.

That’s an interesting conclusion and one that must leave religious leaders puzzled. Clayton wrote the article in 2012, and if anything the trend has continued and expanded. My guess is that younger people, especially those with mystical leanings see that religion has largely abandoned its mystical roots. When that happens, it’s like toothpaste. Once out of the tube, its out. Rather than trying to put the mystical back in religion, young people see that we are all spiritual beings, that it’s our essence, and we don’t need a priest or preacher to tell us how to act when so many of them have acted so poorly themselves.

My guess is that synchronicities resonate with this group of young people more than established religion does. They are finding their spiritual roots right at home inside themselves, the very essence of their beings.

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6 Responses to Spiritual but not religious

  1. lauren raine says:

    Recently I attended a conference on Pagan theology (which I do every year) at Claremont School of Theology, and I have to say, I think you would find an interest in synchronicity (and all things mythical and mystical) among the Neo-pagans, a group that is still trying to be accepted as a real “religion” by the mainstream, as well as still trying to define what the heck we are as well.

    One of the problems with established religions is, of course, that they become, on the positive, community and ethical organizations, on the negative, social control mechanisms, and as such slip very far away from mysticism and intuitive spirituality, not that great mystics and philosophers don’t arise from all religions. I suppose the other problem is that religions that become deeply embedded in culture arise from times that are not necessarily relevant to the problems of today. I tend to think that the new spiritual paradigms are the ones that are developing on the margins of culture.

  2. blah says:

    walking on water… the first “wow”…no substitute for the “word”

  3. Adele says:

    Well the I Ching is a philosophy, not a religion and I follow it religiously. It, of course , is a tool based on synchronicity. Is it spiritual? I guess that depends on the person inquiring.

    • Trish and Rob says:

      At their core, all divination systems are based on synchronicity. I agree with you, Adele, about the spiritual angle.

  4. Darren B says:

    I think you will find people of a more religious bent using the word “serendipity” rather than referring to a “synchronicity”.
    I’ve read quite a few of the “God Winks” books of SQuire Rushnell’s and from memory I’m sure he would refer to what I would term a synchronicity as something serendipitous.
    He seemed to be trying to replace the term serendipity with his term “God wink” to make sure that he was clear that “God” was steering the ship and not something as ambiguous as “the universe”.
    I would consider myself in the “spiritual, but not religious” camp and I have no problem if someone wants to use “God wink”, “synchronicity” or “serendipity”.
    Of course his idea of what “God” is to him probably wouldn’t be the same idea of what “God” is to me, but I’d take it that we would be in the same book, but just on different pages metaphorically and I’m not talking about The Bible either, as to me that is mainly just man-made writings to control the masses.
    But ultimately we are all from the same “God” in my books.
    If SQuire starts calling them “Jesus winks” then he has lost me using that term though. 😉