Imagine you were an ancient mariner trying to find your way to a new world, and every time you needed to go North you looked at your compass, then looked at the storm clouds or rough waters in that direction and decided to do whatever the heck it was you felt like doing. There’s a good chance that if you were magically transported to 2012 that you’d fit right in with the “spiritual but not religious” voters that President Obama won in a landslide:
[I]t bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term.
They’re the “nones” — that’s the Pew Research Center’s shorthand for the growing number of American voters who don’t have a specific religious affiliation. Some are agnostic, some atheist, but more than half define themselves as either “religious” or “spiritual but not religious,” Pew found in a recent survey. …
— In Ohio, Obama lost the Protestant vote by 3 points and the Catholic vote by 11, but he won the “nones” — 12 percent of the state’s electorate — by 47 points.
— In Virginia, Obama lost Protestants by 9 points and Catholics by 10 points, but won 76 percent of the “nones,” who were 10 percent of the electorate.
— In Florida, Obama lost Protestants by 16 points and Catholics by 5 points, but captured 72 percent of the “nones.” They were 15 percent of the electorate. …
“It was hard to think this was just Iowa,” Selzer said. “And it wasn’t. One of the reasons Barack Obama won was that he had the ‘no religion’ vote by a huge margin.”
Nationally, Obama lost the Protestant vote by 15 points, won the Catholic vote by 2 points, and captured 70 percent of the “nones.”
Saying you’re “spiritual but not religious” says almost nothing about you. Some people have a “spiritual” moment when they go to confession. Ancient Aztec priests would have said that mass executions and cannibalism were spiritual. There are porn stars who would say being used every-which-way-to-Sunday on film is a “spiritual” experience. Simply acknowledging the existence of a spirit says nothing about whether or not your behavior is beneficial or detrimental to your spirit.
When someone says they’re “spiritual but not religious,” what they’re really saying is that they tend to identify with driftwood. Religion gives shape to spirituality. It attempts to explain the nature of the soul, what feeds and nourishes it and what can poison it. And while man and his institutions are not perfect, over time a few religions have separated themselves from the pack.
The “spiritual but not religious” person doesn’t want to be held accountable for his actions. He believes that there is something beyond human comprehension that is responsible for the formation of the universe, but he wants to deny that there might be a set of rules that apply to him. The “spiritual but not religious” person wants to believe that he is part of something big and grand and interconnected, but that his participation in it all is beyond reproach. He wants to play in the ocean, but pretends that no one is watching the waves he makes.
Let us examine for a moment some text from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
What happens when we reach a tipping point, and a majority of voters decide that our rights do not come from a “Creator,” but from their fellow “spiritual by not religious” peers? It is at that point that the United States is officially and without-a-doubt over. The moment your rights are determined by the caprices of your fellow man is the day that you have no rights. In the absence of God your rights are a mutable mishmash of whims spelled out by the ruling mob of the moment. Living under tyranny is just as “spiritual” as living in freedom, because the spirit can feel itself being crushed just as easily as it knows when it is being elevated.
The spiritual state of our nation is: Disarray. Those with a working moral compass know that it is immoral to leave future generations trapped under mountains of debt. On the other hand, those who determine their own set of rules tend to have an azimuth that always points back to themselves. Your money becomes their money. Your property becomes their property. Your liberties expand and contract according to the definition of “progressive” or “forward” in any given election cycle, and the national credit card allows them to apply such unconscionable theft to your kids, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Some say that we have already gone over the cliff, and that it’s only a matter before it all crashes into a million pieces. $16 trillion. $17 trillion. $18 trillion. Those are numbers that are hard to argue with. If the worst-case scenarios unfold, the burden falls on those who can articulate the truth to scream it until they hit the pavement. When all is said and done, the survivors will need a digital instruction booklet to put it all back together again.