Friday, October 30, 2009

Spirituality ... for some HASSNERS the synonym is 'humane' or 'free spirit' or 'holistic'.


I talked before about my dislike of certain words that have a religious context. The word 'Spirituality' is one of my pet hates!

From the BHA private forum.

One the BHA forum a contributor Oliver R said in May 2009:

RE: Atheists are not fully human

I am in two minds about this one, as I find the word 'Spiritual' quite meaningful still since I became atheist and Humanist, but you don't seem to acknowledge at all that there is a potential problem with the word in that it has traditionally been associated with the literal idea of a literal spirit/soul. I agree that it has become somewhat broader, but the possibility for confusion is still there, and I would say for most people is linked to supernatural beliefs - as when people say "I am not religious , but I am spiritual" - they usually mean they do not follow a particular dogma but think there is some sort of God and soul etc. or as when Ofsted inspectors are asked to check that schools are encouraging children's "spiritual development". It is a rather vague term, which I have heard often leaves  teachers unsure of exactly what is required and whether it is to do with religion or not.

I was just looking in my Chambers dictionary, and for "spirit" it suggests a plethora of meanings, some of which would work well for us, others definitely not:

vital principle, the principle of thought, enthusiasm, animation, verve, courage, mettle, real meaning, essence, a breath, vivacity,  the soul, a disembodied soul, a ghost, and incorporeal being, a subtle substance in the body,

for spiritual:
 relating to spirit/the mind/the higher faculties/ highly refined in thought and feeling/ habitually or naturally looking to things of he spirit/
 relating to spirits/the soul/incorporeal/eccelsiastical/ religious

 I was thinking that maybe one alternative is humane -- "havings the feelings proper to man, kind, tender, merciful, humanising" highlights comments

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