I get Christians. Because my beliefs used to be their beliefs, I understand their insane leaps of logic and the constant justifications. I can understand other religions that follow holy books as well as I know where they are deriving their understanding of a god. It might not make sense, but at least you can see where it is coming from.
I don't understand the "spiritual". I have a close childhood friend who knows about my atheism. We often have interesting exchanges regarding religion since we grew up in similar households, with similar mothers, who believed very similar things. While I have abandoned religion and spirituality all-together, my friend has created an odd mish-mash of religion that relies heavily on Christianity, but ignores anything she deems ridiculous or constrictive. This means that while she likes the concept of a god being in control and having an ultimate purpose, she had no problem with pre-marital sex or regularly getting drunk, despite how we were both raised. She talks about prayer in more of a meditative way, but is convinced that if people pray/meditate enough or know someone is meditating/praying for them, they can be healed. For example: She has a horrible narcissistic father who runs hot and cold and often treats her like an afterthought. One day she was so angry with him and then, when she prayed, it was like a switch was flipped and she was able to forgive him. So that must be god because there is no way, in her own power, she would ever be able to forgive him like that.
Even though there is no evidence for this kind of prayer working other than what Christians (and the spiritual) like to claim. Actual scientific studies have come away with no evidence that prayer helps anyone, whether they know they are being prayed for or not. I questioned her (and this supposed divine being) as to why there are babies with cancer? People starving to death every day? People dying in hospitals, sometimes of curable diseases that just weren't caught in time? And considering the statistics of people who pray and believe in a god, it is safe to assume that many of those people are crying out, desperate for divine intervention, and never receiving it. If this unnamed deity cares so much about your relationship with your father, why is that caring not extended to other people? "Don't you dare say God works in mysterious ways," I warned. "If we are saying there is a god, but he isn't the Christian one, then we cannot use Christian-isms to explain behavior of a deity." She tried to say, well human beings have free will and those people who are starving are starving because someone took their food or won't give them food or they made a choice that brought them to that point. What about babies born with diseases or disabilities? I asked. They didn't do anything wrong and often disabilities have nothing to do with anyone's choices. Why would a loving deity who cares about your relationship with your dad, allow a baby to be born with Progeria?
That whole free will thing falls apart rather quickly if you don't have the Bible to back you up by the way. Because if you don't believe in Adam & Eve, Original Sin, a fallen world, redemption, Jesus Christ, and the resurrection, then there just isn't any reason to believe that a god cannot act because of "free will". If you are letting go of any written god, then you begin to understand why the Greeks and Romans believed the way they did. Because if we think of a god as being petty and not caring about humanity's problems, it makes a lot more sense then an all-knowing all-powerful god caring but not doing anything. But with the "spiritual" it's like they are writing their own god rule book and pulling from other religions. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how new religions are born. Some goober with some sense of a god starts spurting out gobbly gook in an effort to explain the world around them and even though it doesn't really make sense, they still convince themselves it is true.
My friend, for all her good traits, is not a thinker. She wants to believe in a god because she wants that hope in her life, but also knows that the other faiths available to her are not right either. So she makes up her own. And I don't get it. Why make up your own religion? What is the point? If you truly believe that there is something out there, but is unknowable, then why try to create rules for it? Why try to define it using a holy book that you don't believe in?
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.