The Spiritual Life In Modern Times
What’s Hot and What’s Not
“…the Present is the point at which
time touches eternity.”
– C. S. Lewis
We’re interested in modern spiritual life: what’s new about it and what’s old; what’s thriving and what’s fading; what seems to be “on the rise” and what seems to be on the decline. After all, in matters like these, something being “old” might actually be a good sign – that it’s survived the tests of time; the latest-and-greatest might turn out to be a flash-in-the-pan fad that’s here today, gone tomorrow).
We decided to look into it.
So we conducted a biased, non-scientific, non-peer-reviewed, non-representative sampled internal investigation. (It doesn’t get more reliable than this.)
Still, we thought it was interesting, & at least could provide a starting point for a good conversation.
Here are the results of our non-scientific, non-peer-reviewed etc investigation. And by the way: we aren’t endorsing these situations; at this point we’re trying to report them. Every new turn seems to bring both opportunity and danger, and we figure right now, the best way to take advantage of opportunity and avoid danger is to first understand it.
Hot: Finding out for yourself
Not: Pre-packaged belief systems
Hot: Personal exploration
Not: Organized religion
Hot: Questioning, examining, and thinking
Not: Blind faith
Hot: The inquiry into something happening that is here, now
Not: Religion as a history museum lesson (Eg. “Jesus went here, did this; Buddha went there, said that”)
Hot: “Yourself” as the final authority (in regards to deciding beliefs)
Not: The minister/priest/book as the final authority
Hot: Clarifying and investigating core assumptions
Not: More and more and more information
Hot: Direct knowledge
Not: Indirect, secondhand knowledge
Hot: Trying to follow the lead of the founders of various religions.
Not: Merely glorifying the founders of various religions.
Hot: Religious tolerance
Not: “The religion I was born into is right, and the only one that’s right.”
Hot: Think for yourself
Not: “I’ll do the thinking for both of us.”
Hot: A rigorous investigation of spiritual truth
Not: Religion that’s antagonistic to (real) science; Science that’s antagonistic to religion
Hot: Alternative, “non-mainstream” spirituality
Hot: Asking, “What do you really know for sure?”
Not: Unquestionable assumptions/sacred cows that don’t allow questions
Hot: “Why do I believe this?”
Not: “This is what I believe.”
Hot: Who are we? We are either “evolving creatures” or “fallen creatures”
Not: We might well be both evolving and/or fallen creatures.
Hot: Inner peace, bliss, ecstasy
Hot: “Look what I’ve discovered.”
Not: “You should believe what I tell you to.”
Hot: Direct experience
Hot: Lively but respectful dialogue
Not: My religion/guru can beat up your religion/guru
Hot: Actively working
Not: Passively waiting (i.e. for “grace,” “faith,” “heaven,” the “second coming,” etc)
Hot: “Bridging heaven and earth”
Not: “The flesh at war with the spirit”
Hot: Friendship in the investigation of truth
Not: Sectarianism in dogma
Hot: Scientific skepticism in open investigation of spiritual matters
Not: Scientism as pseudo-religion
That’s pretty much it. While we could dive more deeply into each of these – and would like to – for now, we’re just reporting on what might be going on out there.
What do you think? We’d like to hear from you. Have you found other trends that are hotter, or notter?
If you have any to add, let us know. In the meantime, Our investigation will continue.
For more of our unscientific perspectives on spirituality in modern times…click here for “Spirituality In Modern Times.”