Hyper-spirituality and self-deification

I know many spiritual people, most of you do.  You know the ones, “spiritual…but not really religious”.  Most of the ones I know were borne out of a feelings-oriented Christian church, the kind where how you feel is more valuable that if what you feel is true. I actually have the most difficult conversations with ‘spiritual but not religious’ people — they are the most resistant to having their views challenged, they take offense to even the suggestion because of the feelings-centeredness.   This is because there is a real lack of foundation for their belief system.  Their religio-spiritual beliefs are chosen buffet-style and amass a collage from different worldviews and mixed with a few of their own alterations.  And this is the problem.

Whichever religious snippets they happen to cull, essentially it’s just a collection of desires — how they wish God to be.  These desires they then foist upon the object of their worship giving no thought as to whether the their god is actually true in any real sense.  I think this belies an underlying assumption that religion/God is not something which can be really true.  Think of it this way, if you can pick and choose, affirm or deny at will what your ‘higher power’ is like and can do, it can’t exist outside your mind.  Unless of course, you have the power to create God.

I’m sympathetic to this to a point.  People have an innate desire to relate and be connect to God.  However, when you create — rather than discover — your higher power, you end up determining how the spirit realm works.  But if you can manipulate spirits and the spirit world through spells, chants, rituals, or a deck of cards, you’ve made yourself the ruler of the spirits.  In worshiping their desires and ideas disguised as God, they worship themselves.  They’ve made themselves God!


  1. Whole heartedly agree! In fact I have more respect for neopagans than I do for the “Spiritual but not religious”. Neither have a anchor of truth but the neopagans are out there worshiping trees and the moon and the earth, they’re worshiping the creation rather than the creator. However by making their own god the “Spiritual but not religious” are worshiping a creation of the creation rather than the creator. They’re one step further down the chain.

  2. paynehollow says:

    I think you have a point. There certainly are those who seem to approach spirituality and deeper truths from a rather light, buffet-style, “I like this and that…” manner.

    At the same time, I know plenty of “spiritual but not religious” folk who take their spirituality and walk with God very seriously. Who have read a huge amount about various Christian traditions and, believing in the old Baptist (etc) notion of priesthood of the believer – the notion that WE are responsible for striving to understand God, not merely accepting whatever some priest or preacher tells us – they do just that, try to understand God and righteousness the best they can, wherever that takes them.

    This, to me, is a very deep and rich approach to faith and I honor that.

    At yet again, the same time, I know plenty of traditionally religious people who don’t take their walk that seriously and just swallow whatever they’ve been taught without prayerfully, meditatively seeking out the Truth for themselves. This wouldn’t be “self-deification,” but it might be “tradition-deification” or “preacher deification.” Not good either, seems to me.

    I think the take-away would be to encourage us to take our spiritual health as seriously as we should take our physical health.

    One man’s opinion.


  3. Dan,
    You gave me a good laugh to start my day.
    There certainly are those who seem to approach spirituality and deeper truths from a rather light, buffet-style, “I like this and that…” manner.

    This is YOU, Trabue! “God couldn’t have said all homosexual behavior is wrong, so I think I’ll drop that out. Oh, and Genesis can’t be REAL history – it must be some epic story to teach us something, but it can’t be real. God couldn’t have had Israel wipe out those other nations with all that killing, so I can’t accept that either. Oh, and Paul didn’t mean homosexual behavior in general is wrong – he meant if it wasn’t natural for the person then it was wrong.” yada, yada, yada.

    You’ve made yourself into a god and made the God of the Bible in YOUR image.

  4. paynehollow says:

    May God surround you with his love and grace, today, Dear Glenn, and provide peace in your heart.


  5. This is an attempt to corner people who on principal will not allow themselves to be constrained. There is a massive amount of latitude in every religious tradition. That’s why there are countless denominations. There are so many people who attend services who feel no spirituality – ‘just paying the premium on their life insurance policy.

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