Spiritual fascism

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by foundationist.org, Mar 22, 2003.

  1. foundationist.org

    foundationist.org New Member

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    I have met quite a few people in life who claimed to be spiritual … even somewhat enlightened – yet these people I know have the very nerve to regard themselves as superior also – and even state that those who are not as enlightened as they have no particular right of life.

    This is Spiritual Fascism.

    There is a spiritual truth that we are all equal, despite our diversity – and that we should endeavour to love one another despite whatever faults we may perceive in each other.

    Those who claim to be spiritual, yet regard as worthless others for no crime other than being different to they, are not spiritual people – they are merely fascists with some limited measure of spiritual insight.

    Spiritual people may be regarded so, not for their beliefs, not for theor thoughts, but for their humility. The humble do not elevate themselves. Those who are humble are greatest before God.
     
  2. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web New Member

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    This is a definite concern within Christianity. One of the things that pushes me more from it is the high atitude of superiority, the judementalism, the legalism, and the general ignorance of the words of Jesus. Spiritual fascism as you call it is endemic, even among those who appear as moderates with a friendly smile and wave. Inside they know you're going to Hell and they are not. It is a terrible situation.
     
  3. maya

    maya New Member

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    I now people like this and theyre anything in life.It seems like anybody can be like that.its not just religion. We should all just be cool to all 8)
     
  4. mac1

    mac1 New Member

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    This is the most of the reason why I don't particularly care for organised religion. Most religions consider their teachings to be correct, and all the rest wrong. This is both arrogant and myopic, you will never become enlightened with an attitude like that. To anyone here that thinks I am going to burn in hell for that remark, no, I just don't believe the same as you, is that so hard to take on board. Sadly, for far too many people, it is.
     
  5. foundationist

    foundationist New Member

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    The trouble is, I see it everywhere. It really came to my attention in the "neo-hippie pot-smoking" crowd - and how they would speak of peace and love one moment, and then denigrate "trendies" and "townies" in a sometimes most incredible manner.

    I finally figured that the problem wasn;t one of specific belief, but of social groups - of the human animal defining those in its own social group as friendly, as allies - but those outside of that social group as "enemies".

    Religion certainly can play a part in it - but politics also espeicially - Hitler made the Germans redefine themselves emotionally and physically as a single unified social group - therefore all those outside of this were to be regarded as enemies. Of course, it helps to have a specifically targeted scapegoated enemy, and that's where the Jews and Romanies and others suffered for it.

    So essentially, the root to defeating this insular notion of social groups is by defining humanity itself as a single social group. Of course, I'm sure there are many people who do - but when I define Foundationism proper I really need to remind myself to make a specific point of adding this.
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    i would term this Spiritual Materialism which is where the ego coopts the spiritual process and progress to aggradize itself.

    Deepak Chopra has a great book called Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism that deals exactly with this and talks about how to prevent it from happening.
     
  7. Arch

    Arch New Member

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    "We are the chosen"
    Perfect reason for joining any social or religious group. And very enticing for the seekers of knowledge to be told that they have found answers.
     
  8. Blue Heron

    Blue Heron Gaurds the Gate

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    Anyone claiming they're enlightened and then looks down their noses at the rest of the world is lost in the arrogance of themselves. Enlightenment comes from finding and knowing your purpose in the world. If one is living on their spiritual purpose then the most likely outward example of that, is some sort of service to the rest of mankind or the earth. It is through service and purpose that one becomes enlightened.
     
  9. sachetm

    sachetm New Member

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    I'm certainly not trying to be antagonistic, but this sounds like you're doing the same thing you're lambasting others for doing--claiming moral superiority of a certain group over others. What you've said sounds like another version of "God loves us better than he loves you."

    Have I misunderstood you? Did you mispeak?
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    I make no personal claims to be humble. :)

    You make a very good point about judging others. Hopefully the point is more to prevent others claiming moral superiority for themselves, rather than anyone here making such specific claims for themselves.
     
  11. sachetm

    sachetm New Member

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    The "uber problem," IMHO, is one of judgmentalism. The way around it is ownership of feelings and beliefs.

    Therefore, "you're an idiot" becomes, "I don't agree" or "I really dislike your saying x." "Those who are humble are greatest before God" becomes "I believe God prefers people who don't assume superiority over others." "You're a sinner" becomes "I'm worried about you," etc.

    Granted, this is a difficult switch to make, but it is doable. Try it and see the difference for yourself.
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Certainly I quite agree - in my most spiritual phases, conflict is regarded as ultimately unnecessary and without purpose.

    However, from spirituality may come conviction of belief. This does not mean to say that judgementalism therefore must take over - as much as making some form of stance as to what is perceived to be right and wrong.

    Although there are different ways of expressing such views, ultimately a point remains - a spiritual truth, if you will - that we are all equal. If people claim to be spiritual, but advocate against spiritual equality, IMO it is like self-claimed peace activists taking to throwing petrol bombs.

    There are, of course, different ways and words for framing such objections. :)
     
  13. emong

    emong New Member

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    I think the real question is why are we offended by a display of superiority. Do we assume another is wrong because he feels he is right?
    Obviously on his journey he has found something that, whether right or wrong, has given him conviction enough to debase another.....in other words: he has fallen into wrong thinking and has taken the teachings of yet another as his own truth. To me this only means he has had a bad teacher who doesn't realize that his truth is not another's.
    The beauty of Buddhism is that in the study of one's self (which doesn't exist) that cannot happen.
     
  14. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Lifestyle speaks louder.

    I like to see Chopra adopts a frugal lifestyle, which can still be effective and even more effective in teaching people to cut through spiritual materialism.

    The same also with Billy Graham and the Vatican popes, and Pat Robertson, and all similar personalities.

    Can all these people who preach immaterial spiritualism live a life prescribed by Jesus Christ for his disciples: going forth without shoes and pockets and a second tunic or set of clothings? Yes, they can, but they won't because they are not. I will presume to judge them, truly, genuinly, non-compromisedly spiritual.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  15. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Physician, heal thyself!

    Touche (with acute accent mark at the ending 'e').

    Very true, I have to watch out for that in myself.

    Very often judging others to be materialistic is born of envy.

    About spiritual fascism, I think it is the most natural instinct of humans to feel themselves superior to others in any way they can fashion to find superiority in.

    What more convenient than spiritual standards whereby people believe themselves to be above others over criteria purely established by themselves that are advantageously to themselves beyond validation in the world of the laboratory.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  16. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Susma,

    why would a Buddhist monk, for instance, try to live a live that Jesus prescribed for His disciples?

    more over... why would a Christian live a life that Mohammad said was correct or a Muslim live a life that Jesus said was correct?

    these seem like completely unrelated sets of values to me.

    it would be akin to me saying to a Christian... well, if you don't live your life like Ganesha says that you should, you're going to be reborn as a slug. totally and completely different mind sets and views... in my opinion.
     
  17. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    common strand in religions

    Agreed that each religious system prescribes its own lifestyle. But I would want to maintain that there are common elements in most religions that go for asceticism as a ladder to spirituality. (That word again, and I am just using it in the Christian sense of not being worldly, materialistic, carnal, etc., but concentrated in the soul and in the after-world life.)

    Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism, don't they all preach detachment from physical desires and earthly cravings?

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  18. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    It depends, Susma... while there are ascetics in all religions you mention, there are also branches who follow other paths. Judaism is not in general ascetic in its approach to spirituality - renouncing the world has not been a favorite pastime. I'll leave Buddhism to your ongoing threads with Vajradhara...

    Nor are all Christian groups equally enamoured of asceticism - poverty is not a goal for most groups, although it is one path that can be followed in monasticism.

    I think it's part of human nature to think "it feels good, so it must be spiritually bad" - and most faiths have a subset that goes that way (sometimes to extremes). But that doesn't say that it's a common element of these religions - only that each has a subset that follow it.
     
  19. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    to add to what brucegdc had to say...

    remember... the Buddha tried the ascetic route intially and found that it was not capable of delivering him to the other shore, thus the advent of the Middle Way, between the extremes of asceticism and sensuality.
     
  20. Pamela

    Pamela New Member

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    Christ may have told his disciples to carry nothing but we also hear about the disciples picking grain on the sabbath when hunger dictated. Jesus was known to eat with the publicans and sinners, and considering the gracious man he was, I doubt he turned up his nose to the banquet before him and insisted on a simple piece of bread. As a matter of fact, in Matthew 11:18-19, Jesus wryly points out, “John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”

    Detachment is not the same as disdain. Detachment does not involve self-reproach, or recrimination.

    Asceticism, as well as other prescriptive practices, can be prone to spiritual fascism. It almost seems to defeat the purpose of detachment, by calling frequent attention to the practices it despises, while ignoring the virtues espoused and practiced by those criticised. I remember reading about vegetarian Buddhists complaining about the Dalai Lama’s eating habits, and shaking my head at the audacity.

    Spiritual fascism seems to love to tout practices, key phrases, stances, while of course claiming to be above it all. As others point out, it’s not found just in religion. Atheists are just as prone to look down on the ‘superstitions’ of the religious as any worshipper. The point is that spiritual fascism is a mental platform, a charade where we wield our beliefs- social, psychological, political, religious- as if they were facts, and scientific standards of inherent worth.
     

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