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Friday, 4 January 2013

Religious but not Spiritual

Dearest God-lovers, as others have endeavoured to comment on this subject, then why shouldn't I?
The proposition is that people who claim to be "spiritual but not religious" enjoy worse mental health than those who claim to be religious. Causality is a hard thing to prove - did the Invoices Shed go alight just before the audit because somebody applied a match, or did somebody apply a match because the shed was full of invoices? So I shall ignore unscientific ponderings as to causality (although someone with more time should definitely get a grant) and explain my take on the matter.

Here at the Beaker Folk, we are very keen to embrace people who claim to be "spiritual but not religious". I find they tend to have very high discretionary spending levels, on things like self-help books, rosaries, tea lights and aromatherapy oils. Importantly, they aren't often involved in regular standing-orders to religious organisations - which can be so tedious to transfer across - especially without asking them.

So when they say they're spiritual but not religious (or SBNR) we nod wisely, and say we understand. Then we tell them that Pouring out of Beakers is at 7am or sunrise - whichever is later. That Filling Up of Beakers is at 7pm or sunset - whichever is later. That they need to be up for Full Moons, New Moons, Equinoxes, Solstices, Eclipses, Cross-quarter Days, Saints' Days, Diwali, Celebrities' Birthdays and whatever other festivals seem attractive. Then we give them a Standing Order and Gift Aid pack.

And because all those rituals are hedged around with pseudo-spiritual words and numinous terminology, what they totally fail to notice is that the Beaker Folk are - deep down - Religious but not Spiritual (RBNS). The thing is, I know some people say it's not the rules 'n' ritual, it's the spiritual attitude that counts - but that's like arguing you don't believe in keeping the Law, but you do have good intentions. Which was a line of argument that totally failed for Young Keith when he fought that speeding fine.

But the ritual and religion has an interesting effect. After a month or so of attending Pouring out of Beakers, people realise they are actually capable of getting up in the morning. They are more regular, more awake for the rest of the day, more reliable. I find that this brings with it the benefit that over time the Standing Orders get better.

Of course, we wouldn't like to come down all heavy and modernist. If people want to go mooching around believing that the stars are God's Daisy Chain, they can do that in their spare time. That's fine by me. And we let them know when their spare time is, so they never miss it. We recommend that they write in their "precious times" in their "Spiritual diaries" (aka "diaries") so they make sure they get them every day. That's what being RBNS is all about. Getting your free-form, free-roaming  spiritual nature under control.

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for raising the causality problem, I thought it rather important.

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    1. I've also added the link into your post, Stuart.

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    2. Thank you, means a lot to me for some reason...

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  2. She was a pretty enough girl in a droopy, blonde, saucer-eyed way, but not the sort of breath-taker that takes the breath.

    No, what caused this disintegration in a usually fairly fluent prattler with the sex was her whole mental attitude. I don't want to wrong anybody, so I won't go so far as to say that she actually wrote poetry, but her conversation, to my mind, was of a nature calculated to excite the liveliest suspicions. Well, I mean to say, when a girl suddenly asks you out of a blue sky if you don't sometimes feel that the stars are God's daisy-chain, you begin to think a bit.

    (Unless, of course, thinking a bit is exactly what you DON'T want to encourage!)

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    1. I sometimes wonder whether rabbits are secretly gnomes?

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  3. I used to be SBNR, then I discovered endorphins..

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    1. Endorphins are such lovely creatures, aren't they? I love the way they jump out of the water.

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