Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Allow me to quote one of my new favorite authors, the late Flannery O'Connor.

"One of the effects of modern Liberal Protestantism has been gradually to turn religion into poetry and therapy, to make truth vaguer and vaguer and more and more relative, to banish intellectual distinctions, to depend on feelings instead of thought, and gradually to come to believe that God has no power, that he cannot communicate with us, cannot reveal himself to us, indeed has not done so, and that religion is our own sweet invention."

I have written before about one of my pet peeves, that being people saying that they are "more spiritual than religious." Indeed, we discussed it at our prayer group last night. The best I can come up with is that these people are looking for fact KNOW something bigger than themselves is out there, but simply cannot bring themselves to submit to any sort of religion (which comes from the Latin word religare, "to bind," and refers to the bond between man and God, by the way), or have it known by their social circles that they have. Pride, especially the American version of Pride, is a nasty ugly thing.

The Aug. 29 - Sept. 5, 2005 issue of Newsweek has a number of articles on spirituality and religions, including the cover article, "In Search of the Spiritual." The bottom line, once you cut through all of the anecdotes and admiring talk of how "diverse" Americans are when it comes to believing (and believing nearly anything), is the insistence that "spirituality" is more popular than "religion."

Ignatius Insight sums it up thusly:

There is much that can said about what this means, but I'll keep it short. First, the terms "religious" and "spiritual" have been so corrupted, sullied, and otherwise distorted that they've lost nearly all of their traditional meaning. In post-modern lingo, such as Newsweek seems to be using, the two words can be defined roughly as follows:

• religion, religious: organized worship of a mean, male God who makes unrealistic moral demands, hates women, and hopes to send 99% of the world to hell. Created by old, white men in order to dominate women, oppress Third World countries, and make Republicans rich.

• spiritual, spirituality: refers to openminded, loving people who seek direct and intimate contact with the Divine (She, He, It, Whatever) without being weighed down by dogma, ritual, leaders, structure, commandments, rules, beliefs, or rigid Western notions of reality, truth, logic, or religion.


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