What’s faith all about? Can I be “spiritual” but not “religious”?


We all have faith. We understand that in small ways—we’ll wake up in the morning, or trust in our spouse and children to be there with us and for us. And we have faith in big ways. There will be something that happens to me when I die (or that nothing happens). Faith is to trust in our assumptions about life. It’s also a set of hopes we have (or don’t have). It’s about things unseen but that we “just know” to be true.

So each of us has a spiritual life. We live in a body with a brain, and have a mind that learns. And we have a spiritual side as well. Even the most literal of us finds a spirit in us. We just know something. Sometimes that’s called “intuition” or a “sixth sense”. The spiritual side of us is based in relationships with others and our being connected to the world around us. In relationships, the spiritual side is best found in love.

So we have a spiritual side, and that spiritual side is curious and wants “to know”.  That spiritual side is the part of you and me that asks “Why?”. You and I have assumptions about how that question can get an answer. If you’re reading this page, you realize, at some level, that those assumptions aren’t working anymore.

Being “spiritual” is about the inner life. Being religious is about the outer life. When you take it apart, the word “religious” really means, “to have faith again and again.” It’s the practice of faith in some organized way. Christians call that way the “church”. A religion has a set of teachings and a spirit of self-discipline and a path to know God (like Communion). It’s a “both/and” and not an “either/or”. You’re healthiest and happiest when you are both, and where one part of a holy life builds on the other.