December 5, 2022

Spiritual Bypassing

by Interfaith

Are you familiar with the phrase “Spiritual Bypassing”? My understanding is that it refers to using spiritual or religious concepts to justify to oneself and others why one does not acknowledge and confront one’s own shadow side in behavior.

An example from Buddhist circles: Using the concept of the “Emptiness of Phenomena” to justify unethical behavior.

I think it happens to a majority of people. I myself am certainly no exception.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it useful to engage the spiritual fallacies involved, to talk sense into people? In the Buddhist example above, one could point out that to the Emptiness used for spiritual bypassing is not empty at all, but rather, full of self-justification. What are your experiences with arguing along such lines, in whichever tradition? Do you know other ways to approach this?

(Cino Nov 26, 2022)

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