The statement "I'm spiritual but not religious" has become ever more ubiquitous as more Americans abandon absolutist forms of religious practice. As one spiritual advocate said, "I just got tired of all the judgmentalism going on... where this one idea took supremacy over all other ideas. In dogmatic religion you're forced to accept that God is the source of all things and that we must appeal to this higher authority. In spiritual systems of thought it is the Universe that governs over all things. This simple semantic translation has made a world of difference for me."
As one American Shaman stated, "The main difference between religion and spirituality is that religion twists facts to support supposed divine revelations contained in scripture. Whereas spirituality reinterprets scientific findings in order to validate claims made in channelled texts."
Another spiritual person stated, "I just don't like how judgmental organized religions can be... I mean they believe that people deserve bad things due to sinful actions. The concept of karma is just so much more liberating. Bad things happen to people because of their previous actions... it's just bad karma... we all get what we deserve. It's descriptive rather than prescriptive."
When asked about the concept of heaven and hell one New Age bookstore owner responded, "The Judeo-Christian concepts of Heaven and Hell just sound so harsh and uncompassionate... I mean, in the Eastern system, if you act badly in this life you just have to undergo five-hundred-thousand births as a maggot in stool as a natural (equal and opposite) reaction to your actions... it's not punitive punishment--it's Newton's third law of motion--which is so much more in alignment with the real spiritual and loving teachings of Christ, Krishna, and the Buddha."
In response to the question of free will one yogi answered, '