Friday, June 1, 2012

Quotation Of The Day: Spiritual But Not Religious Edition

David Webster contends:
. . . the idea of being “spiritual, but not religious” is, at the very least, problematic. As I suggest in the book, mind-body-spirit spirituality is in danger of making us stupid, selfish, and unhappy.
Stupid—because its open-ended, inclusive and non-judgemental attitude to truth-claims actually becomes an obstacle to the combative, argumentative process whereby we discern sense from nonsense. To treat all claims as equivalent, as valid perspectives on an unsayable ultimate reality, is not to really take any of them seriously. It promotes a shallow, surface approach, whereby the work of discrimination, of testing claims against each other, and our experience in the light of method, is cast aside in favour of a lazy, bargain-basement-postmodernist relativism.
Selfish—because the ‘inner-turn’ drives us away from concerns with the material; so much so that being preoccupied with worldly matters is somehow portrayed as tawdry or shallow. It’s no accident that we see the wealthy and celebrities drawn to this very capitalist form of religion: most of the world realizes that material concerns do matter. I don’t believe that we find ourselves and meaning via an inner journey. I’m not even sure I know what it means. While of course there is course for introspection and self-examination, this, I argue, has to be in a context of concrete social realities. [Italics in original]

1 comment:

D.E. Bishop said...

Is he serious?

I am an ordained Lutheran pastor, and not a fan of dogma/doctrine/precepts/theologies/etc.

What Webster is saying is an echo of Christianity of the first half of the 20th century. It said something like, "There are rules, the rules are important, the rules impart a power structure, you must abide by the rules."

It is interesting that he used the term "relativism." That refers to relationships. In the past I referred to earlier, the relationship was individual as a poor, stupid, weak, and childish minion who lived in fear of an angry, vengeful, remorseless and demanding god.

Apparently, Webster likes that relationship. The great failing of that kind of dogma is that it leaves Jesus out and omits about 70% of the Bible in regard to what God is like. But it is great for maintaining control!

It appears to me that he has completely turned the last paragraph on its head. Is he complaining because he thinks Red-Letter Christians are not sufficiently focused on material consumption? OMG.

Well, at least Webster is crystal clear on his anger. He must be a Prosperity Gospel guy. (They are the ones who worship wealth and Joel Osteen.)