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"Spiritual but not religious" (SBNR) also known as " Spiritual but not affiliated " (SBNA) is a popular phrase and initialism used to self-identify a life stance of spirituality that takes issue with organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth.
Spirituality places an emphasis upon the well-being of the "mind-body-spirit", The phenomenon possibly started to emerge as a result of a new Romantic movement that began in the 1960s, whereas the relationship between the two has been remotely linked to William James' definition of religious experience, which he defines as the "feelings, acts and experiences of individual their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine." Owen Thomas also states that the ambiguity and lack of structure present in Romantic movements are also present within spiritual movements.
To be "spiritual," in contrast, connotes personal practice and personal empowerment having to do with the deepest motivations of life.
As a result, in cultures that are deeply suspicious of institutional structures and that place a high value on individual freedom and autonomy, spirituality has come to have largely positive connotations, while religion has been viewed more negatively.
Professor of Theology, Linda Mercadante sees religion as a complex adaptive network of myths, symbols, rituals and concepts that simultaneously figure patterns of feeling, thinking, and acting and disrupt stable structures of meaning and purpose.Of these religiously unaffiliated Americans, 37% classify themselves as spiritual but not religious, while 68% say they do believe in God, and 58% feel a deep connection to the Earth.Generational replacement has been understood as a significant factor of the growth of religiously unaffiliated individuals.The field of Religious Studies cannot even agree on one definition.Critical theory in Religious Studies encourages a focus on the political nature of any attempt to determine what the "real" boundaries of religion are.