Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:
While I agree that O-sensei's aikido was an expression of deeply held religious beliefs, and that in America things are a bit different, keep in mind that this whole issue is a lot more complicated than the binary of has spirituality / doesn't have spirituality. Omoto-kyo neo-shintoism, more common forms of shinto, Zen, Shingon, New Age, Christianity, Taoism, Humanism... I've at least heard of, if not seen, people genuinely try to connect aikido to all of these forms of spirituality, some more overtly than others.
To the degree that aikido is a vehicle of spirituality, it appears to be pretty agnostic about which form of spirituality it carts around.
This term "spiritual" is coming to mean something specific in the American mind. When polled, some large proportion of Amereicans stated that they were "spiritual" but not religious. So the term is starting to have a meaning that counterposes "spiritual" against "religious" which I take to mean having to do with the established religious faiths.
This certainly seems to be the way in which many people view Aikido... it's somehow "spiritual" but stripped of the overtly religious aspect which it had in O-Sensei's view. O-Sensei was clear, though, that he did not see Aikido "as" a religion but rather as a practice that enhanced all religions. It is that statement that seems to leave quite alot of leeway in defining what Aikido spirituality can be for different individuals.