Spirituality makes life enjoyable

Spirituality with or without religion

"Somehow you can get such a nice feeling."

And how do you get that?

"It can be amazement at nature or something."

Paul Schulz:

"No, the easiest way with young people, for example, is when they put a sensible rock band up there and they really sound the alarm. This unbelievable unity of the feeling that goes over there, everyone raises their arms and shouts and cheers, and they sing along upstairs offer a real first class feeling. "

Or would you prefer something quieter, something religious? What is it - Spirituality?

"Basic experiences of faith" - "spiritual feelings" - "something like happiness" - "a human term" - "always refer to God in a transcendent way"

Everyone makes something of their own out of it. With today's statements about the spiritual "state of feeling", dozens of philosophers from two millennia would rotate in the grave, who are mentioned in the entry "Spirituality" in the philosophical lexicon. But they too have all defined the term differently, starting with the pious Pelagius in the fifth century. What these philosophers and theologians wrote and said is, however, almost irrelevant to today's ideological controversy over spirituality.

The German-Egyptian political scientist and author Hamid Abdel-Samad experiences "it" as an indescribable state.

"Spirituality is something like you've never eaten mango, and now I have to describe a mango taste to you. That doesn't work. You've experienced it, felt it, and that's it! You don't have to tell anyone about it."

"Spirituality is not a religious term, but a human term", ...

... says the Hamburg atheist and doctor of theology Paul Schulz.

"Unfortunately, the churches began to say early on that feelings could only be conveyed by religion, i.e. the grandeur of the world, or a religious feeling, that is the highest that the church can offer, perhaps with the addition of this feeling of grandeur, The greatness, the omnipotence, that is the direct access to God. That has disqualified normal people because one then denied them these feelings. And now it comes down to saying: Even a person who does not believe in God can have feelings , can find sublimity without God. "

So a place is being filled here. And the others want it too. But do the churches really still claim a monopoly on spirituality for themselves? Yes - and somehow not, if you ask Ralf Meister, the bishop of the Evangelical Church in Hanover. Because on the one hand he says about the statements of the atheist:

"You have to accept that, everyone is defined for himself."

And on the other hand, the bishop emphasizes:

"Spirituality always takes hold, I would say it directly, always accesses God, or God always accesses me through spirituality. Where I experience it directly is in the life of spiritual communities, for example in monasteries. I also experience Spirituality in spiritual communities that exist in church communities, so in prayer circles. And I also experience it in a wide circle that people have basic experiences, i.e. basic experiences of faith that they experience in completely different places, for example in an oratory or a passion music by Bach. "

Transcendence. Is the spirit, the spirit, outside of myself? Can spirituality only be experienced in connection with something that transcends the boundaries of one's own body and mind? So isn't it such an individual feeling? Is that why the religions are responsible for it? The philosopher and writer Michael Schmidt-Salomon denies that.

"Actually, religions are even agencies to prevent spirituality. Although I don't really like this word, because it always sounds like the body-mind contrast, we shouldn't assume that. Above all, almost all mystics were monists, for them there was no dualism between body and mind, between good and evil, between God and the world or between the subject and the object. In mystical experience, all of this coincides. "

That was exactly one reason, says Schmidt-Salomon, why the church started heretic proceedings against the Christian mystic Meister Eckart - which might have ended with a death sentence had Meister Eckart not died beforehand. Because religions tried to interpret the mysterious that the mystic wants to keep open. Like the non-religious philosopher Schmidt-Salomon. He rejects the book religions, but not mysticism.

"You just have to compare, that is, the cosmological story of a 13.7 billion year old infinite universe and this wonderful evolution that we had on this planet, that is, compare this story in its mystical content, with the baking cake myth of the creation story. Yes, here a real secret, an infinity, is actually broken down into something very banal. Actually, these religious stories are comic strips, compared to the poetry that actually prevails in this cosmos. "

Opinions differ on spirituality - including those of atheists. It probably depends on whether they are "religiously musical", as Schmidt-Salomon says, or not. Michael Steudten, for example.

"No, I've never experienced that, spirituality is completely alien to me. I can be happy about things, about nature or something, but I don't feel that I need anything like spirituality."

Because of his beautiful solo singing voice, he joined the Windsbach boys' choir as a child. At the boarding school, he endured the beatings - and he enjoyed singing. But he remained insensitive to religion and spirituality, says Steudten.

"When I stand in front of spiritual people, when they make any contortions or something like that, I smirk. And I have certain suspicions - yes, that something is wrong in the frontal lobe or somewhere."

The book market is well stocked with books on spirituality. Anselm GrĂ¼n already says on the cover of a current book that only with her are you a whole person. Another author writes an "instruction manual" on "digital spirituality". Diakonie lets research into what spirituality could mean for the nursing staff - there are 14 types of spirituality in the literature. Social psychiatrists worry about whether it is good and healing for the mentally ill or bad because it only confuses the patient further. And the Hamburg bishop Maria Jepsen already found in her doctoral thesis that there were advantages to replacing piety with the term spirituality. Similarly, her retired colleague Wolfgang Huber: Spirituality is the lifestyle of the Christian people. Bishop Ralf Meister:

"A bit of restriction in the use of this concept of spirituality, that would be very important. We have now charged everything spiritually in some way, and I ask myself what is the core, what is it actually about. What was previously, what do I know, Called evening prayer, or, I don't know what name it had, it's suddenly a spiritual evening, or whatever you call it, so you should be a little more careful there too, more carefully with these terms. "

The evangelical bishop advises restraint. One should not consciously create spirituality, for example through rituals in groups. And he is in agreement with the non-religious critic of Islam, Hamed Abdel-Samad.

"You shouldn't worry too much whether people can do without spirituality in this freezing modern world. Everyone knows how to need spirituality. And the search for spirituality is actually much more pleasant than believing that you have reached some goal be."

And if you still need a recipe for a spiritual feeling, ask the atheist and ex-pastor Paul Schulz.

"Sit on a beach and the sun sinks into the sea. I have often done that with my wife. There we both sit next to each other and then there is this moment, this sinking of the sun at the moment when the sun touches the horizon It is a kiss. Not. That is a sublime moment, the sight of this unbelievable world situation, this sun sinks into the sea, that is a profound moment, and the person who is close to you then by your side. You can create something like that . Spirituality is a wide range of sensations. "