A favorite social category that sophomores who have been through their first religion class use to describe themselves is "spiritual, but not religious." This is a hard category to pin down, especially since religion and spirituality are almost identical except for what they imply about your connection to a religious institution.
Recently the Higher Education Research Institute complete a massive survey (40,000+ respondents) on “Spirituality and the Professoriate.” If any group would be interested in adopting such a nuanced identity, it would be professors. So, what did the survey find?
The study defined the highly spiritual professors this way:
Seeking out opportunities to grow spiritually,
considering oneself a spiritual person, and
having an interest in integrating spirituality into one’s life.
By this standard, 43% scored high, 15% low.
They then asked how many professors considered themselves religious. Not surprisingly, more than two thirds of the highly spiritual professors also considered themselves highly religious.
Only 13% of the highly spiritual professors said they were not at all religious.
13% of 43% = 5.5% of all professors consider themselves "spiritual, but not religious."
Five and a half percent ain't zero, but it sure doesn't look like a sign that "religionless spirituality" is the next big thing, even among this unusually irreligious group.