About Me

Find out more about me here.

13 December 2011

Misunderstanding American Religion

A few thoughts here on this op-ed piece on the divergence of religion and spirituality. First, a quote:
If a certain spiritual practice makes us better people — more loving, less angry — then it is necessarily good, and by extension “true.”...By that measure, there is very little “good religion” out there. Put bluntly: God is not a lot of fun these days. Many of us don’t view religion so generously. All we see is an angry God. He is constantly judging and smiting, and so are his followers. No wonder so many Americans are enamored of the Dalai Lama. He laughs, often and well.
What religion is he looking at? This seems like stereotype. My church is not like this. Conservative Evangelicalism has managed to convince everyone--believers and nonbelievers alike--that they are the only game in town.
Religion and politics, though often spoken about in the same breath, are, of course, fundamentally different. Politics is, by definition, a public activity. Though religion contains large public components, it is at core a personal affair. It is the relationship we have with ourselves or, as the British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, “What the individual does with his solitariness.” There lies the problem: how to talk about the private nature of religion publicly.
Wrong. Religion is by definition social. It is not an individual pursuit. Private engagement with the divine is spiritualism, and this is the problem: the nones are growing because people are increasingly disinterested in collective engagement.

No comments:

Post a Comment