Is Spirituality Enough Without Religion?

Author Lillian Daniel talks about her new book and what inspired her to write about spirituality and religion.

Everyone, at some point in their lives, seeks out God. The great thing about God is that he can be found anywhere because he’s a part of us. So we can find God in meadow, in a car, during a sunny day, a cloudy day – he’s always amongst us. But those instances are based around spirituality and not religion itself. Is spirituality enough or do we need the reinforcement of religion as a backing of everything we find spiritual? That is the question Lillian Daniel addresses in her book When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough.

What inspired you to write the book?

In some ways, I wrote this book to paint a different picture of the church, one that is open, inclusive, intellectual and fun. So church people who go to churches like that love this book. They recognize themselves in its pages.

But of course, I hope that the intelligent, inquisitive, seeking SBNR people might read it and realize that their perceptions of church are outdated. They may not like everything I am saying, but I hope they will be challenged enough to explore.

I’m also writing for people who have been wounded by the church but aren’t aware there are other options. 

Do you think people are more religious/spiritual than they have been in the past 5 – 10 years? Do you think that the recent violent tragedies have any influence over the reason people have chosen to become more religious or spiritual?


Violent tragedies can bring people to the church or a faith community. I had so many people talk about how glad they were to have a church to come to after the Newtown shootings. I had to rewrite my entire sermon to address it, and they knew I would. They didn’t expect platitudes, but depth., and community, and a way to express love and compassion.

Unfortunately, various blow hards in the church put all sort of ridiculous simplistic theories out there about why it happened, answers that blamed one group or another, or claimed to know the will of God. These people do not represent the average community of faith, but they get the air time. So someone without a community of faith hears the former head of Focus on the Family say something awful, and their worst fears are confirmed.

I wrote this book to put a different vision of the church out there, one that is reasonable, rigorous and real.

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