Monday, February 17, 2014

Deepak Chopra is Full of It!

According to Deepak Chopra, "Religion is belief in someone else's experience. Spirituality is having your own." Chopra, in my opinion, is full of crap. Let's go to the dictionary.

A "religion" is a system of belief shared by either a group of people or professed by an individual. This system of belief informs ones actions and behaviors. A religion may be practiced as part of an organized church or association of practitioners. It may feature a belief in a deity, but it does not have to. Atheism, for instance, could be said to be one's "religion".

The term "spirituality" on the other hand, lacks a definitive definition that everyone accepts. Social scientists call spirituality "the search for the sacred" which pretty much means anything you want it to mean. In practice, spirituality generally is treated as a vague feeling of some nebulous connection to some higher spiritual plane by those who claim to be spiritual.

Look, I can buy spirituality as the "search for the sacred", if it results in your actually finding something sacred to believe in. If on the other hand, spirituality is a catch-all term for "believing God, if he happens to exist, approves of pretty much anything you do and most likely won't extinguish you from the university by refusing to prolong your wishy-washy life any longer than the usual threescore and ten, then I don't find being "spiritual" of any practical use.

Every person primarily sees himself or herself as one who serves or one who is served. We either see our primary duty as either to give to the world or to take from the world. The servant, who follows a religion, serves his beliefs whether it be the Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments or whatever tenets his faith offers him as guidance for his life. One who is merely spiritual may drift with whatever winds blow down from above or below as the case may be. Because he has not tenets to his faith, the so-called "spiritual" man may, as Chopra puts it, create his own beliefs from whatever handy materials that suit his own inclinations.

The spiritual man has the luxury of believing whatever is convenient and rejecting anything that doesn't make him "feel" that vaguely self-satisfied emotion that seems to be a primary feature of being "spiritual".  We are in the midst of a paradigm shift where things related to the spiritual life are concerned. We seem to be moving away from a belief that one's spiritual life should be based on reasoned principals which shape our actions and behaviors accordingly. What is being offered instead is a spiritual life based upon, not reason and principal, but upon feelings and opinions  created by our own actions and behaviors, prejudices and personal comfort.

One way, the spiritual life derives from God's guidance. The other way, the spiritual life derives from ourselves and what feels right to us as though we were the god, providing ourselves with guidance. That's pretty much what Chopra says in the quote I led with.

The world is being turned upside down. Soon those whose religion comes from God rather than from themselves, may fall off the planet. I suspect the Second Coming will be timed to catch them.

© 2014 by Tom King

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