Why do people say they’re “Spiritual but not religious”?

Believing in something greater than yourself is attractive. Being an extremist is not. “Spiritual but not religious” tries to get the best of both worlds.

Via communities.canada.com:

A sweeping new psychological survey has come to the conclusion that North Americans tell others they have spiritual beliefs to appear more attractive, especially to prospective mates.

People subconsciously paint flattering pictures of themselves by revealing they have inner spiritual beliefs, according to Constantine Sedikides, a social psychologist at Southampton University in Britain.

The strong link between spiritual convictions and social attractiveness is based on Sedikides’ overview of 57 different international studies, which recently appeared in the prestigious Personality and Social Psychology Review.The British scholar’s analysis of psychological experiments (which included a total of 15,000 subjects) explains to me why so many people -even those who attend conservative religious institutions -are now so prone to say they’re “spiritual, but not religious.”

The phenomenon is widespread in the United States and Canada, the two countries where Sedikides found it is most beneficial for people to let others know, as he technically puts it, they’re “intrinsically religious.”

However, desirability goes down, Sedikides says, if people portray themselves as “extrinsically religious.”

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