Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Now in Newsweek

Oh, That Pat (Robertson)! Mrs. Brainwise tipped me to The Sin of Blasphemy, a Newsweek commentary by Patti Davis. In her column, she muses:
True men of God, of course, do not entertain such notions [assassination of foreign leaders]. They certainly don’t preach them. Men of blasphemy do.
Nice going on that one, Patti. She also mentions a 2003 Robertson gem that I missed in my prior posts:
Did Robertson lose his Bible? Or has he simply rewritten it in his own language? What happened to “Thou Shalt Not Kill?” This is not the first time Robertson has expressed a fondness for assassination. In October 2003 he suggested that nuclear weapons be dropped on the State Department.
I do recommend you read the entire commentary. But I've had enough of Mr. Robertson, the national crank. I actually bring up Newsweek because I want to direct you to this week's cover story. Spirituality in America
Newsweek - Search for Spirit
The latest Newsweek (on the newsstand until September 5th) has an important set of articles about "Spirituality in America." Yes, it is noticably slanted toward the Middle Eastern faiths (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam). But the core content confirms that folks are trying, striving, for a transcendant experience in their day to day lives. And, in many cases, perhaps the religion of one's birth cannot provide that experience. But that is OK, because you can find another path:
According to the NEWSWEEK/Beliefnet Poll, eight in 10 Americans—including 68 percent of evangelicals—believe that more than one faith can be a path to salvation, which is most likely not what they were taught in Sunday school. One out of five respondents said he had switched religions as an adult.
Pluralism -- as much as the Neo-cons and Theo-crats dislike it -- has been a party to religion and spiritual development in the US since the very beginning of the country. This desire for new or revamped religions (or just the practices) is a reflection of a search for personal religious experience, which is itself a reflection of that vaunted ideal of American individuality (Yes, Virginia, there is still a spark of individuality in the hearts of our nation's citizens. But, unfortunately most people are too afraid to fan that spark into a true flame. Alas, that is a topic for another post.) And that is a good thing. Religion provides guidelines, so that groups can work together. But the experiential aspect of spirituality -- otherwise known as the mystical path -- is completely individual. And I cannot invalidate your personal experience (unless, of course, you think your god wants you to correct my behavior or else! Again, that is a topic for another post). Check out the articles.

In Search of the Spiritual

Where Do You Stand on Faith?

Green Religion: A Shepherd Protects His Own Backyard

Islam: A New Welcoming Spirit in the Mosque

Pentecostals: A Passionate Voice and a Moral Vision

Tibetan Buddhism: Learning to Let Go

Roman Catholicism: 'Hail Mary' Is More Than a Football Play

Kabbalah: Feeling the Spirit of Prayer

A Scholar's View: The Long and Winding Road

A Dictionary of the Divine

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