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 My Breakdown of a CNN Article on Religion vs Spirituality

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PostSubject: My Breakdown of a CNN Article on Religion vs Spirituality   Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:12 pm

I read an article on cnn.com today titled “Are there dangers in being ‘spiritual but not religious’?” This article is horrible in so many ways. First the author, John Blake, follows the typical journalistic path of asking questions and accepting whatever answer he is giving without the slightest scrutiny. If “journalists” were even slightly curious as to the truth of the positions or stories that they covered, they wouldn’t accept and report unsupported assertions as legitimate arguments. Then there is the open ending, their desperate desire to appear to be unbiased on all subjects often means that they refuse to come to any conclusion, regardless of what the research indicates. In my opinion, reporting opinion as if it were equal to fact is irresponsible and an indication of hack journalism.

Another reason this article was a pathetic waste of time, is the senseless opinions of the people who were interviewed for the piece, none of which were critically scrutinized by John Blake. The following are some examples, they are direct quotes in the piece, followed by some real deep insight from this hack journalist.

Quote :
"I'm spiritual but not religious." It's a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that they don't need organized religion to live a life of faith. But for Jesuit priest James Martin, the phrase also hints at something else: selfishness.

"Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness," says Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic
magazine based in New York City. "If it's just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"


Really Martin? So the demands of God and the punishment of eternal damnation aren’t enough to get your fat ass in gear to help some poor people? But little ol’ Betty Sue down the street just scares the ‘bejesus’ out of you huh? Here’s another problem Martin, if you are only doing good to keep the neighbors off of your ass, you have no morals or ethics, and will most likely go to hell (if it exists) anyway.

Then you have the overgeneralization that spirituality leads to complacency and self-centeredness. First, how? Second, is it more likely to encourage these emotions then say…religion? Which often leads to people no longer questioning things because they just attribute it to god? God did it… it is god’s will…(sound like complacency?) or the odd fact that nearly all religious people believe in a god who shares the same exact opinions as they have, weird how that works out isn’t it? Especially since there are books supposedly authored by their gods and prophets that often dictate contrary opinions. (sound a little self-centered and narcissistic?) would’ve been nice if John Blake asked some of these questions…

Then there is the actual ‘spiritual’ morons, like Heather:

Quote :
Heather Cariou, a New York City-based author who calls herself spiritual instead of religious, doesn't think so. She's adopted a spirituality that blends Buddhism, Judaism and other beliefs.

"I don't need to define myself to any community by putting myself in a box labeled Baptist, or Catholic, or Muslim," she says. "When I die, I believe all my accounting will be done to God, and that when I enter the eternal realm, I will not walk through a door with a label on it."


How cute Heather. The problem is that if you’d like to be considered an adult, you might want to start thinking rationally. What do you base the religious beliefs that you hold off of? I hope that you are aware that just because something feels good, doesn’t make it true. You are not avoiding any of the land mines while you try to tip toe your way around the short comings of religion. While it may be nice to take the good stuff out of the bible, and get rid of that pesky little child rape issue (they take young virgin girls as slaves, hmm what for?), the massacre of infants, and god himself hardening the pharaohs heart (but wait I thought he doesn’t affect our free will? You know I’m starting to doubt if they were completely honest in this book.) and instead just keep the good stuff: Jesus loves you, love thy neighbor, ect. What is your basis for accepting and rejecting what you sometimes call “god’s word”?

If you only accept what you find morally tolerable, than why not just drop the religious pretense altogether and be honest about the fact that you are the arbiter of your own morality? (As you should be, who could be more appropriate for that position?) The problem with you is that you think you look smart by dropping the belief in all the ridiculous myths involved with organized religion, while also remaining deep and wise by accepting that there is a god and you somehow know he is a hippie. The problem is like other religious people, you have no basis for you original belief, that there is a god. Until you show some proof of a god you sound just as dopey as any other religious huckster.

Sadly there’s more, and it gets worse…

Quote :
BJ Gallagher, a Huffington Post blogger who writes about spirituality, says she's SBNR because organized religion inevitably degenerates into tussles over power, ego and money. Gallagher tells a parable to illustrate her point: "God and the devil were walking down a path one day when God spotted something sparkling by the side of the path. He picked it up and held it in the palm of his hand. "Ah, Truth," he said. "Here, give it to me," the devil said. "I'll organize it."

Wow, is that what passes for wit now? I think she won, I’m speechless. All I can do is refer her to the last two paragraphs, but it would serve no purpose, so let’s move on, she has another gem to share.

Quote :
“Gallagher says there's nothing wrong with people blending insights from different faith traditions to create what she calls a "Burger King Spirituality -- have it your way."

Ok that wins the prize for the dumbest religious philosophy I’ve ever heard. You stupid cunt, I’d make a joke about your initials but at this point I feel it would just be redundant, i hate when stupid people try to be witty. "get it its like burger king, have it your way... hahaha"

She has one last thing to say before I strangle her to death.

Quote :
"Twelve-step people have a brilliant spiritual community that avoids all the pitfalls of organized religion," says Gallagher, author of "The Best Way Out is Always Through." "Each recovering addict has a 'god of our own understanding,' and there are no priests or intermediaries between you and your god. It's a spiritual community that works.''

That’s right the twelve steppers got it right, the ones who believe that they are so pathetic and inept that they can’t accomplish anything on their own, and require the help of a god, even if that god is a fucking rock. She’s right, she won me over with this argument. That is a great point of view to hold. I cannot accomplish anything, but this rock cured my alcoholism. Conveniently, they also think that their addiction isn’t their fault. The “spiritual community that works” bit is ridiculous to, being as I’ve seen statistics that show that 12 steppers are not significantly more likely to quit their addiction than those who quit “cold turkey”, but why start worrying about facts now.

The only legitimate point the article makes (and I don’t think it was intentional) is about why the religious care about this new label.

Quote :
“The debate over being spiritual rather than religious is not just about semantics. It's about survival. Numerous surveys show the number of Americans who do not identify themselves as religious has been increasing and likely will continue to grow. Seminaries, churches, mosques and other institutions will struggle for survival if they don't somehow convince future generations that being religious isn't so bad after all, religion scholars warn.”

And that’s all they care about, because asses in the pews equal dollars in the collection basket.

The article ends with two different people saying that it basically boils down to laziness.

Being spiritual instead of religious may sound sophisticated, but the choice may ultimately come down to pettiness, says Martin, the Jesuit priest, who writes about the phrase in his book, "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost Everything)." "Religion is hard," he says. "Sometimes it's just too much work. People don't feel like it. I have better things to do with my time. It's plain old laziness."

Yeah that’s right, people are going to sacrifice their eternal souls because they didn’t want to spend two minutes praying every night. It has nothing to do with the fact that religion has yet to prove itself: valid, necessary, or worthwhile.
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