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Beyond Spiritual Correctness

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Beyond Spiritual Correctness:
Appreciating the DIFFERENCES Among Religions, Paths, and Saints, Part 1

by Chris Tong, Ph.D.

Practical Spirituality Series, Book 7
50 pages
Publication Date: December 2000
ISBN: 0717302377

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In this book we consider two tendencies that we inherit simply by virtue of living in Western culture — “spiritual correctness” and “spiritual anti-authoritarianism” — and we come to understand the liabilities they represent, relative to our own Spiritual happiness and liberation. Spiritual correctness.

There is an analog of "political correctness" that we might call "spiritual correctness". It goes something like: "all paths to the Divine or ultimate liberation are equal"; and anyone who suggests otherwise risks seriously offending or insulting whomever they are speaking with. But just as with "political correctness", "spiritual correctness" can be carried too far. We begin to presume that, in order not be discriminatory, we must cease to be discriminating. Everybody knows that all telescopes are not created equal! Not all telescopes are equally effective for determining the nature of stars and other distant phenomena. Just so, not all Spiritual means — for actually, tangibly linking up with the Divine — that accompany a given path, way, group, or sect are equally powerful, reliable, or revelatory. To find the Spiritual means that will actually most benefit us, amidst the myriad of possibilities available requires great discrimination.

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all.

A spiritually and politically correct holiday greeting

another humorous example of spiritual correctness


Observers spoke of the decline of authority, but how could it survive in a company of equals? Distrust attached to anything that retained a shadow of authoritativeness — old people, old ideas, old conceptions of what a leader or a teacher was meant to do.

Jacques Barzun, writing about the twentieth century, in
From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life

The tendency of spiritual anti-authoritarianism began with the Protestant Reformation, in righteous reaction to the corruption of the Church theocracy, eliminating potentially corrupt “priests” as necessary mediators between man and God. But this reaction too can be carried too far. We are all indeed equal in Spiritual “rights”, that is, in our Spiritual potential. But that is not the same as saying we are all equal in our Spiritual Realization. Vive la difference! Thank God that not everyone is equally Spiritually blind. Because the Spiritually Sighted are in a position to help the rest of us, and we should not be too proud to look for and accept that help since what is at stake is our own happiness.

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