"I am not religious."
Translation:No soy religioso.
Think of "ser" as marking essence: a state of being, something that's a part of who you are and how you describe yourself to others.
Think of "estar" as marking existence: a state of existence as transience, which either means a temporary state of being or a change (which can be either gradual or sudden).
A good rule of thumb is thinking about writing an essay where you describe the stuff that defines you outside of a given moment - skin color, height, weight, gender, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, tastes ("to be a fan of"), other physical characteristics (to be hairy, to be stinky, to be bald, to be flat-footed) and ingrained psychological traits (not a mood, something you'd qualify yourself as being in general). All of that is essence, and all of that is marked with ser.
Transient states are marked with estar:
- changeable moods ("to be + adjective" to describe a mood is "estar + adjective");
- changes in degree: I am a pale man (skin color): Soy un hombre pálido vs. I'm paler today than usual (a momentary change): Estoy más pálido hoy...
Good explanation - thanks. I am retired, hopefully for good, but one never knows and I may have to get another job if I run out of money :-( ! Am I "Estoy or Soy jubilado"?
Definitely ser. Retirement is the same as employment: it's a part of who you are, even if that might change tomorrow.
It's the same reason estar is used with death: Whenever we think of someone who has passed on, we're really remembering how they were when they were still alive. Being dead is just their current state; it's not an essential quality of who they used to be.
Many of the characteristics mentioned by Luis like weight do vary. Death to the Spanish mind is a condition, la araña esta muerta! So forget all idea of temp v permanence or any Spanish rationalisations; they end up with masses of exceptions to the native English mind. Religion football team & politics use ser. Friendship & relationship use ser, except marital status. Professions use ser, but retirado is estar The adjectives you have to know if they are tener/ser/estar, good practice is to learn a typical phrase using a word, shortly after learning the word.
Ser = DOCTOR d - description (aqui' "religioso") o - occupation c - characteristic (inherent qualties) t - time (and date) o - origin r - relationship (an possession). This may not solve all your ser vs.estar dilemmas, but it will give you a good start.
@Joe Sabo Religion is described with ser. Forget the temp/perm rule of thumb except when you are guessing. I have had several lessons with Spanish pro-teachers and there are far too many exceptions. Inherent characteristic v condition works better eg) estar muerto/roto/casado/cansado and ser padre de/inteligente/alto
One is religious, or one is not religious. Nothing 'temporary' about it. That permanent/temporary 'rule' (which many people think should be abolished because it is, as you say, confusing) applies primarily to moods and states of health.
I agree. In the U.S., religiosity often is a temporary trait, something that defines you in the here and now, but which you might shed in a week, a month, or a year.
That's the whole point of the distinction. "Ser" applies not just to things that you can't change, but more generally to things that define you right now (and that you use to define yourself outside of a single moment), not temporary moods - that includes all political and religious affliations, including "I'm an atheist", "I'm not religious", "I'm not a political person".
It's kind of sad, actually. There once were days when most people (in the words of C. S. Lewis) "still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning." Nowadays in America it can be quite hard to find "belief" paired with serious all-or-nothing commitment - especially in American Christianity, which is in the curious position of having a large percentage of those who claim to follow it ignorant of or ignoring some of its most vital and most repeated teachings.
I wrote, no estoy religioso, because at this current time in my life I am not religious, where in the past I was. In this case would that not be correct instead of using No soy religioso?
I live in Spain and have after the standard perm v temp explanation given, soon found it totally fails in practice. Despite some language (reliable) sites saying permanent non-recoverable illness could use ser, in practice you just get "corrected", "no estar". My advice would be to forget all of that, then find SpanishDict's explanation, get comfy .. do the quiz. Then you can look for the corner cases, which catch ppl out. LIke estamos en el de or the rarely seen passive, where a condition like injured, broken or killed goes with ser. https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/ser-vs-estar