Spiritual vs. Religious


I happened to encounter this interview on CBC radio about how current idea of spirituality is making people celf-centered. I found it is very interesting argument.

David Webster recently published a book Dispirited. I haven’t read the book, but I just sign up for the wait list at VPL! According to the official website:

Dispirited argues that contemporary accounts of spirituality are a dead end for human potential, a threat to intellectual rigour, and opposed to social and political engagement. Rather than accept the “Spiritual, But Not Religious” response as the only alternative to either formal religion or egotistical, shallow consumerism, Dispirited argues for a post-spiritual response to the existential realities of life.

CBC radio Tapestry link: Spiritual but not religious…and totally self-obsessed.

In the past (and maybe still today), many of Canadians might have identified their religious affiliation like this: I am Christian, but I am not religious.

I think many of Japanese people would say: I am Buddhist and Shintonist, but I am not religious.

As non-religious spiritual form emerges, people started identifying like this: I am spiritual, but not religious.

Webster suggests that many people started establishing their own spirituality which he defines as a “buffet-style approach, where everyone builds a different platter.” This shape of spirituality does not make people seek the truth, think about the world critically and creates self-obsessed, self-centered people for the sake of “self-development.”

I look forward to reading his book to find out more about his argument, however, I think this change is driven by North American individualism society as well. As our society is getting more and more competitive, self-development/improvement becomes a major focus and it would be unavoidable outcome that spirituality affected by this.