The Spiritual/Not Religious category is not only insufficient for our sin-streaked realm; it is also grossly unoriginal. A spirituality divorced from communal life and eviscerated of a deep tradition is a predictable product of secular American consumer culture. It’s custom-made, says Daniel, for a “bland majority of people who find ancient religions dull but find themselves uniquely fascinating.”
Firstly, you’ve gotta appreciate a good zinger. Secondly, while a lot of SNR themes tend to reflect bright-sided rationalism too much for my taste, I think it might be too early to dismiss it as insufficient. Time will tell. I think the neither-fish-nor-fowl, hybrid nature of the phenomenon indicates the fact that many people still have yet to fully grasp the significance of Jefferson’s razor.
March 19, 2013 @ 5:49 pm
As a misanthrope, I must ask why "communal culture" is so utterly great. Communal culture responds to the rape of a teen girl by gathering in support of the perpetrators. Communal culture insists that one profess belief in Allah or die. Communal culture says we must join in and kill kill kill the other.
Why is this so great, again? Why is tradition so fucking wonderful?
A pox on this dimwit's smugness.
March 19, 2013 @ 11:19 pm
That Jefferson's Razor essay should be on your "hall of fame" list, by the way!
March 20, 2013 @ 12:18 am
I figured it was a race between Brian and Shanna as to who denounced the dark side of provincial community first. Brian wins!
Occasionally, I accidentally write something that stretches against the boundary of mediocrity.
March 20, 2013 @ 1:28 pm
"A spirituality divorced from communal life and eviscerated of a deep tradition"… is on the right track. Rejecting tradition is the first step toward thinking for oneself (even though some go backwards again after that first step.)
March 20, 2013 @ 2:43 pm
Each individual should have that chance. SNR is better than creed because there it is an individual thing rather than reliance on authority.
March 20, 2013 @ 2:26 pm
But can that ever be true for more than a small minority of people?
March 20, 2013 @ 3:02 pm
A small-c conservative argument would be that, in a best-case scenario, authority and tradition are merely repositories of what has been shown to generally work well. Heuristics for how to live, you might say.
To be clear, I'm not arguing that each individual shouldn't have that chance. I'm only being my ever-charitable self and saying that perhaps individualism and communal authority exist in something more like a symbiotic relationship rather than outright antagonism.
March 21, 2013 @ 4:03 pm
I guess you see you're mixing "is's" with "oughts". Wouldn't you rather someone be SNR than religious? This affects us personally: the religious tend to vote for discrimination against gays, atheists, "others". The SNR, not so much.
March 21, 2013 @ 8:17 pm
I don't know if there have been any in-depth studies of the SNR phenomenon; it seems to have only recently started getting widespread attention as a "thing". So I honestly don't know whether it's fair to say that they are more politically liberal overall than religious people or not. I see where it would make a certain intuitive sense to think so, but on an anecdotal level, my mom is SNR. Like many baby boomers, she was raised Catholic back when the Church was much harsher, and as a result, she's adamantly opposed to "organized religion". She's also a raving right-winger.
My friend Jim is a deeply committed Christian. He studied at Liberty University. He and his wife have talked about joining the New Monasticism movement. Yet he's very progressive in much – not all – of his politics, and is very thoughtful and compassionate all around.
Both of them could be accused of lacking a certain internal consistency in their reasoning, and I wouldn't say either of them are necessarily representative of any greater whole. But I do think they're reminders that it's not so cut-and-dried. Other SNRs I know are vapid and self-absorbed. Other Christians I know are liberal-minded and contemplative. I would obviously prefer a political environment where gays and atheists aren't discriminated against, but I don't know whether certain metaphysical beliefs can be said to align neatly with such political preferences.
March 22, 2013 @ 1:32 pm
Don't know what planet you live on: most wingnuts lean toward Christian theocracy. SNL's reject organized religion and authoritarianism, two key components of conservatism.
March 22, 2013 @ 8:06 pm
Well, like I said, I wouldn't claim that my mom and Jim are representatives of larger trends. That said, most wingnuts may be Christian, but it's not necessarily true that most Christians are wingnuts. You know I've taken liberal Christians to task several times for what I see as internal inconsistency in their beliefs, but they nonetheless exist in large numbers.
Also, I've argued before that liberal is the opposite of authoritarian, not conservative. Conservative is the opposite of radical. Liberals may be ideologically opposed to authoritarianism, but prgressives often have no problem with it. Look at the people Glenn Greenwald lambasts for their support for Obama's policies, when they would have been screaming themselves hoarse over Bush doing them. Look at how the FTB/Skepchick/A+ contingent quickly became such a collection of petty tyrants.
I'm not trying to take the point too far afield. Basically, yes, I would like people to be more socially liberal and tolerant. I just don't think that's interchangeable with saying I want them to be more spiritual, less religious.
March 23, 2013 @ 6:36 pm
We're talking about tendencies and trends. I'm curious: Does your mom believe in evolution, discrimination against gays and nonchristians, and is she antiabortion? Then she is religious, not SNL. Rationales for those positions are religious (Yes, sometimes people claim otherwise; they are being disingenuous). And saying SNL's are usually liberal does not imply that Christians can't be liberal, but you'll find a much higher percentage of Republicans among churchgoers.
March 23, 2013 @ 6:42 pm
More church = more Republican
March 23, 2013 @ 6:54 pm
She doesn't deny evolution, but I suspect she probably believes in something like a mysterious "force" that guides it, which I believe is/was the official Catholic position, funny enough. And she's more socially libertarian, I guess you'd say. More of a "I don't approve of this, that and the other, but I don't care what other people do with their lives."
I've said before that an SNR society may be the ideal one for someone like me to exist in, given that I don't think that everyone can or will be an atheist materialist. I criticize a lot about the phenomenon, but I have no desire to convert people to being like me. I just think it's a fair question to wonder if a set of vague, rational principles will be enough to form the bedrock of a community with any staying power. Historically, race, kinship and religion have tended to be more durable methods for banding people together.
March 24, 2013 @ 12:45 am