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01:54 PM on 06/04/2010
This seems the kind of article which explains the value of analytic philosophy. There is a lot of complaining here that terms are not well defined, but no coherent plan for making the question one with a concrete answer. As with many words what people mean by spirituality will differ from person to person, and will depend on whether the person is part of a community for whom the term has positive or negative connotations.

But if the goal is to really understand what people mean when they call themselves spiritual, the best starting point would be to try to understand what they would mean if they claimed that someone else was not spiritual. The closest we get to this above is the claim that one can be religious but not spiritual because one can be religious and not consider oneself spiritual. But that reduces being spiritual to thinking oneself to be spiritual.

But if you really want to know what someone means by saying they are spiritual, ask them how they would be different if they were not. The religious person who does not consider herself spiritual would probably have a very different answer than the person who prides herself on her spirituality.

My guess is that two main factors are in play here. In the former case it is a distancing from something touchy-feely that is seen as at odds with religion. In the latter case it is a dissatisfaction with a purely physicalist worldview.
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JohnFromCensornati
Wake up! It's 1984.
01:49 PM on 06/04/2010
"Maybe its nebulousness contributes to its appeal."

That squishiness *is* its appeal.
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HeevenSteven
20 Minutes into the future.
06:07 PM on 06/04/2010
We're all spiritual now;-) Maybe there should be a badge..