The New Holy Hip

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

It's dangerous to be spiritual without being religious, and vice versa.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less