c) 2012' name='copyright'/>Michael DeShane Hinton: True Spirituality

Friday, April 20, 2012

True Spirituality

Spirituality begins with a perspective on the nature of the world.  It is called dualism.  It is a Western worldview that depends on belief in a supernatural God.  It stands in contrast to monism, which is Eastern, and says the whole universe is one integrated and interconnected reality.  The two views are diametrically opposed to one another and cannot be reconciled because 1 does not equal 2.

“Spiritual” has become a popular word in religious self-description today and people actually misuse it to describe an Eastern supposed serenity that comes from recognizing no essential distinctions between objects or experiences.  They mean moral and cultural relativism, and refusing to say someone is “wrong."  In monism, there is no right vs. wrong because it all depends on “personal truth,” as it is sometimes called, for which one must allow absolute tolerance.  John Lennon’s IMAGINE expresses this sentiment the best, I think:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today.

It’s a beautiful song and we can wish such things, even imagine them to escape reality for a few minutes, but true spirituality means, firstly, to recognize categorical distinctions between good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, truth vs. falsehood, heaven vs. earth, righteousness vs. sin, spiritual vs. carnal, eternal vs. temporal, et al.

Spiritual means, secondly, to choose those thoughts, words, feelings, and actions that correspond to that constellation of doctrines and virtues related to the supernatural God, whom Jesus described as “spirit.”

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