I have pointed out previously that "spiritual" and "religious" are not necessarily synonyms but that they are inter-related to the point that they can be used in very similar ways. In effect if you are one then you are the other as well. Usually what is actually meant by those who say they are "spiritual but not religious" is that they do not belong to and/or identify with a specific organized religion. Generally, I am in favor of theists going the "spiritual" route if they find religion necessary. I do not, however, accept it as an excuse to further promote myths and stereotypes.
A recent post by Linda Mercadante on CNN's Belief Blog repeats a number willfully ignorant views. Unfortunately, her ignorance around two terms in particular are rather common. She has no clue what she is talking about when she refers to "scientism" or "secularism." Scientism is a rather bogus term that is analogous to "social Darwinism." Like social social Darwinism, scientism has no real connection to the term it is supposedly predicated on. Scientism is a refutation of science not an off-shoot of it. Science is in essence a tool and a self-correcting process. Scientism is a rigid ideology held by those who lack even a basic understanding of science. Mercadante may be right in insisting that the "SBNRs" oppose "scientism." but that doesn't necessarily mean much since they have no clue what they are talking about. In many instances, scientism has been used by a sub-set of theists to attack science. It is the straw man fallacy writ large; convenient bullshit.
The author also seem to misunderstand/misrepresent secularism. For instance she states:
"They are tired of being confined by systems and structures. They are tired of having their unique identities reduced to bureaucratic codes. They are tired of having their spiritual natures squelched or denied."
What?! That's what secularism is designed to prevent. Secularism allows individuals and groups to freely believe whatever they want without others interfering with those beliefs. Secularism seeks to keep government and religion apart so that there is no coercion or infringement on people's beliefs. If the "SBNRs" are opposing secularism then they are defeating themselves. It is the absence of secularism that allows larger and/or more powerful religious groups to harass and coerce others. It is also the lack of secularism that allows government or other non-religious affiliated groups to dictate to theists what they can or cannot believe.
From start to finish "Good news about the ‘spiritual but not religious’" is laced with all sorts of ridiculous nonsense. Most of Mercadante's bullshit seem to stem from her complete lack of understanding. It is almost as if she took a slew of terms and their defintion along with various myths and stereotypes and threw them into a spin-art. Reading it was both amusing and painful.