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April 7, 2006

Can Nonbelievers Be "Religious"?

Thomas Huxley, who invented the word agnostic to describe his and his friend Charles Darwin's variety of disbelief: thomas_huxley.jpg

"Religion ought to mean simply the reverence and love for the ethical ideal and the desire to realize that ideal in life.
"That a man should determine to devote himself to the service of humanity...this should be, in the proper sense of the word, his religion."

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at April 7, 2006 4:06 PM


Question for discussion: what's the difference between religion and spirituality? Can nonbelievers be spiritual?

My 2 cents' worth: what Huxley describes above is more or less what I would call spirituality. I think of spirituality as a personal working out of one's beliefs on what is most important to one, whereas religion, to me, connotes a top-down system where some authority figure tells one what to believe and think. But that's just my definition. Anyone else have comments on religion vs. spirituality?

Posted by: No More Mr. Nice Guy! at April 7, 2006 9:03 PM

"Religion" from Latin to re-gather or re-harvest (I think). "Spirit" from Latin to breathe (I think). One seems to conjure up an institution. The other seems to encourage seeing life and breath in the heavens, in the dead. Maybe, when naming our moral sense, we can do better.

Posted by: mitch at April 8, 2006 10:32 PM

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