What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Why is it hip to be spiritual these days without being religious?

James Martin:  It’s very hip to be spiritual, but not religious.  Almost everybody I know says they’re spiritual.  Now that is good.  I mean spiritual is good.  Spiritual means that you have a relationship with God.  Spiritual means that you connect with God, that spirituality is an important part of your life.  You try to lead a good life.  You try to be in concert with what your relationship with God tells you, which is terrific.  You have to have that.  Religious on the other hand in current parlance is bad because that seems to say that oh, I believe in this organization that has all these hidebound dogmas and beliefs and I would never be able to belong to an organization that tells me what to think.  The problem with being spiritual, but not religious is that you’re not part of a community in a sense and so there is no one to bump up against to tell you when you might be a little off track.  As well, you’re not really able to connect in your spiritual life with other people.  There is a great saying from Isaac Hecker who is a nineteenth century American priest and he said, “Religion enables us to connect and correct.”  So we connect with other people.  We’re naturally social animals and we like to worship in common.  That makes sense.  We connect with one another and we’re corrected.  If I have a direct line to God that means that by definition anything I think or say is from God, right?  And that’s as we know a problem, so being spiritual without being religious means that you’re lacking the wisdom of the community as well as the support of the community when you’re struggling.  Being religious without being spiritual is just as bad.  Being religious without being spiritual just means all you’re doing is following rules.  You’re just following rules.  You’re just listening to the community and you’re not reflecting on things yourself.  So the one thing is what Jesus was warning against, being religious without being spiritual you know to some of the religious authorities of his day.  What I’m warning against is being spiritual without being religious, which is much more common today, so I think it’s not an either or. 

Recorded on March 26, 2010

 

The New Holy Hip

Newsletter: Share: