Wakey Wakey.
reveille precedes revelation

Now, with less rambling!

(The lack of rambling, like most things, is only temporary.)

OK, so here’s the question of the month: What is spiritual?

A few popular options:

  1. Nothing is spiritual. Only matter exists. The existence of matter and the way it’s configured itself can account for everything human beings experience. People make up spirituality to account for things outside themselves (like the weather) or inside themselves (like conscience) that they can’t explain. But these things can be explained by evolutionary processes.
  2. Everything is spiritual. All is God and God is all.

  3. Spiritual and material are two different things, but everything material has something spiritual “in” or “behind” it.
  4. The world is full of different kinds of things. Some are spiritual, some are material. Some are a little of each.
  5. God is transcendent, above everything created. God created the universe (which does contain material things, and may contain spiritual things as well—but these things are still all created, and beneath God), but maintains a relationship with what God created.
  6. God is transcendent, above everything created. God created the physical world. God has no relationship with the physical world other than having created it.
  7. The spiritual and material are different things, completely separate and opposed. A person can seek and attain some form of higher spiritual life through disciplines that ween him or her off the demands of his or her physical existence.

So there are some perspectives painted in very generic and broad strokes. Here are some questions you can answer to turn this into a discussion: Which one do you tend towards? Or do you believe something altogether different? A mix of two or three above? And since a broadly painted worldview can’t really summarize yours, nuance it a little bit so we understand where you’re really coming from, why you’re coming from there, and how your beliefs might impact the way you see things or how you live.

See you on the boards and/or at Gray’s, 8pm, on Thursday.

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10 Responses to “Now, with less rambling!”

  1. Everyone has to believe in something…I believe I’ll have another beer. (sorry, couldn’t help myself) I’d prolly be closest to 2 myself. –Doug

  2. Your question is to broad. The word Spiritual is found in my bible search in 31 verses. In the old testament it is found 5 times and the word is used as “spiritual prostitution” or “spiritual adultery”. Realtively speaking God did not use that word(or rather whatever word or wordsthat have been transpated into the word spiritual) to describe anything good. Paul used it in Romans and First Corinthians as a Adjective and a Noun. In my translation Jesus never once used the word. So to answer your question I would have ot say that when the word spiritual is used in the bible an accurate definition would be to paraphrase Webster’s dictionary with this; Anything of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit. Anything not temporal. Or more simply, anything that exists that we cannot experience with our five physical senses.

  3. Much apologies. I should proofread what i type four badd speeling erurs.

  4. Doug–sounds good to me! Let’s talk over one tonight.

    lawmar–hee. Thanks for stopping by. I guess my question is a bit broad, and you’re right, Jesus and the biblical writers use the word “spiritual” in many different ways, just like people today do. Add that to the fact that different words in the biblical texts get translated into English as “spiritual”–then my question gets *real* broad for a biblical word study. I wasn’t really asking for a definition, though. Maybe I could rephrase the question by saying, “Do you believe in anything out there besides the physical world? If you do, what’s the nature of that reality?” And of course that question begs the question, “Why do you believe that?” Is that question broad too? Well, yes. Yes it is.

  5. Oh, or perhaps you’re not the Doug I thought you were–if you live in Berkely, CA as your blog states. I thought you were a Doug that had RSVP’ed for the meetup tonight. Anyway, cool blog. I will have to do some more reading on unitedcats. Thanks for visiting mine.

  6. Finally, a thought from me (in case you were waiting).

    Mostly I’ve been feeling insecure and out of my depth and hoping I know which one of these is the “correct Christian one.” 😉 I kind of feel like “none of the above,” but I don’t know why, exactly. I’m leaning toward a mixture of 3 and 5, honestly.

  7. What of the option that that which is termed “spiritual” is merely an aspect of the physical universe? In other words, the known universe is made up of matter and energy, so perhaps the “spiritual” consists of some form of “energy” as well. If quantum physics has shown us nothing else (!), it is that things get very odd and counterintuitive at the quantum level. Perhaps what human beings somehow encounter or experience as “spiritual” is simply an ability — due to our higher sense of awareness, both of self and other, courtesy of the complexity of our brains — to “pick up on” aspects of matter and energy around us that less complex brains cannot. While this smacks of “pantheism”, it need not invoke the existence of a god and could simply be a brute fact of our universe. On the other hand, perhaps a divine mind is indeed behind this possibility, and perhaps that mind is organized energy itself.

    In the spirit of David Chalmers’ book, “The Conscious Mind”, consciousness itself is argued to be naturalistic and yet something other than matter itself, nonetheless emerging (as it were) from the complexity of a material system.

    So, perhaps, just maybe, spirituality and the natural universe are simply aspects of the same reality.

    Just my two cents! I would love to join your group some night for discussions!

  8. There’s something about agnosticus’ idea that is really intriguing and rather likeable to me. I was thinking about it while walking this morning.

    On the other hand, pronouncing “agnosticus'” (in the possessive form) out loud is really hard. Too many sibillants.

  9. Yay, fun conversation going on, sorry for neglecting it so long. I overcompensated, though, in my most recent post. This overcompensation perhaps fits what the other Jenn refers to as a conversation bomb. Ah well, I put it in another post, so people can continue to comment on your insights here.

  10. […] So for this month’s meeting I wanted to take a break from terribly controversial topics like the existence and nature of God (though that was really fun). I’m thinking about the tension in our culture between our […]


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