I'm getting hung up on words.
I don't like "spirituality" because I don't believe in supernatural spirits. But what else can I call the deep feeling I get from learning about cosmology or ecology?
I don't like "religion" because to me it implies belief in a personal, supernatural deity. But what else can I call the Humanist teachings that I try to follow?
Should I just knuckle under and say that I use these words but I have a different definition of them? Or are there better terms that I could adopt?
Please let me know your thoughts...
I can't say what other people should do, but you asked for my thoughts, so I can say how I approach it for my own peace of mind.
My first instinct is to educate myself as broadly and deeply as is warranted by the relative importance of the issue.
I think of 'how we use words' (communication) as a pretty important issue.
I feel, if I can align my thinking and my behavior with the most well-established facts and the longest view of history, I don't care much about what less informed people think... even if that means the whole world thinks I'm something I'm not.
Nobody said sticking to the facts was going to be easy (if they did, they were mistaken).
To the best of my ability to determine (correct me please) even though a popular understanding of the word "spirit" includes a sense of the supernatural, a quick trip to the dictionary shows many, perfectly legitimate alternate uses; such as:
Not an ounce of woo there.
Then I look at the origins of the word:
1200–50; Middle English (noun) < Latin spīritus orig., a breathing, equivalent to spīri-, combining form representing spīrāre to breathe + -tus suffix of v. action
Nothing Wooish about breathing.
Looks to me that the greater essence of the word spirit is really about the invisible (but real) qualities of life (air and attitude) and the use of the word in these contexts is probably at least as common as when it is abducted into the metaphorical world of fantasy.
If we let the ill-informed define our communication tools for us we'll soon find ourselves having turned over our rich linguistic heritage to them to drag through the mud and deposit unceremoniously in the landfill while we scramble to invent replacements that won't "offend" anybody.
I am a spirited soul, and my religion is simply whatever practice I use to maintain my attitudinal buoyancy (spirit) and if somebody thinks that means I believe in a fundamentalist/literalist interpretation of some ancient scribblings, then they can just sit on it!
Thanks for asking.
I think we are way to hung up on words. As a writer, I get that, but sometimes while searching for the "best" word, I find that the most recognizable word works best.
I say, if a word 'resonates' with you, feels good to say, then say it. I still use spirituality because it's the only word resonates with me when talking about world beyond the world I see. If the word "spirituality" does hold too many negative connotations, than look for one that feels better when you say it. It may take a while (and a few thesauri) to find that word, but, maybe also consider "redeeming" that word, and reclaiming it for yourself.
"Spiritual" and "religious" are solidly in the religion sector. When secular people use them to describe "wonderment, "astonishment," "awe," or "fascination" it is deferential to religion or at least to dualistic ideas. Unless you ARE religious or adhere to mystical concepts, you should definitely avoid describing yoursellf as "spiritual" or having "religious" experiences.
Wonderment? Fascination? Astoundment? Astonishment? Curiosity? Awe, as others have mentioned. Whatever words can capture the feeling that makes your heart leap in amazement of it all.
Perhaps there is some spirituality in the stars and the cosmos, but it hasn't made it to prime time. Perhaps there is a religion in the cosmos as well, but it hadn't been interpreted yet. For now, whatever human emotion that wells up in you when you are presented with the majesty of the night sky.
I see spiritual as the opposite of material. Or non physical if you like.
I accept there is most likely non physical shit going on we are unable to sense. This is how I see spirituality. No deities required.
The traits I have identified in humans that are spiritual (non physical) is our ability to create and love because they can't be defined, predicted, measured, replicated or sensed.
IMO, I think understanding Spirituality is not concomitant with Spirits. Spirits are ghost, demons, etc. Spirituality is that connection one knows they have with the cosmos, universe or Nature.. I think theist hijacked the term Spirituality to included their holy ghost etc..
"Transcendence" can be used to describe deep feelings of connection to the cosmos. "Spirituality" can be helpful as a term to approach subjects regarding values and moral principles without appealing to the supernatural. It does have many and varied meanings which can make it confusing. "Metaphysics" or "Ontology" are probably the most precise if you are trying to discuss the nature of reality and your beliefs. Context is always important, and sometimes nouns fail us. Occasionally I've heard "personal philosophy" but that always seemed strange to me as I think of philosophy as a collective endeavor.