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Old 20-07-2011, 05:39 PM
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Critical Thinking Discouraged in Spirituality?

One of the things that has been bothering me lately with the new age/spirituality/etc. culture, is the lack of critical thinking. I am not necessarily talking about any one person in particular, or even this forum in particular, but just my overall experience over the past decade.

It seems that there are always new bandwagons to jump on whether it is a new conspiracy theory, meditation trend, guru, etc., The problem, at least for me, is that when someone critically questions the validity of these new claims/movements, or demands proof, they are immediately attacked for not being “open minded” or “compassionate enough”.

To give one example, I had an acquaintance recently post an article stating how important marijuana is to Buddhism. Of course you at the end of the piece you had several marijuana afficionados give the obligatory, “way cool” “awesome”, etc. statements. Then several Buddhist oriented people (including myself) chimed in that he was off his rocker, and demanded some sources for his information, because taking any kind of intoxicant/mind altering drug is against the 1 of the 5 precepts of Buddhism. Therefore, there may be fringe groups who use marijuana, but as a whole any kind of intoxicant (even including alcohol) is discouraged. Almost immediately those of us who demanded actual proof for the claims, or back up sources, were attacked by other people as being mean, self-centered, too mainstream, not spiritually advanced enough, too closed minded, etc.

I for one am all for being open minded and compassionate, but I also think that you should apply the God given gift of reason and critical thinking to some of these claims. I have seen far too many people get burned and turned off of spirituality completely because they bought into a fad, or followed a charlatan guru, where just a little critical thinking and fact checking would have saved a lot of pain and grief. To me, poking holes in potentially bogus fads and claims in order to expose them as false, and to help people not run down the proverbial rabbit hole, is no different than me telling someone not to walk into a burning building. If the claims are true, they should be able to stand up to critical thinking, and be able to offer some proof.

Thoughts? Experiences with this?
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Old 20-07-2011, 05:39 PM
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Also Mods, if this is the wrong section, please move. I was not sure where to post this, but since I was talking about spirituality in general, I figured it fit here.
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Old 20-07-2011, 06:54 PM
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agree with you.

There are just some things that are quite ...how do i put it...Unlikely.

For example i talked with some person a while ago.
I mentioned that there may be life on mars in form of bacterias or other micro Organisms. He agreed with me and went on...

That the NWO goverment Send people to mars to sign a treaty with the "aliens" to enslave us. He then went on and on and when i objected to it. I got the same response as u got.

I know spirituality is no science it doesnt demand proof but COME ON! I mean this is usually how a good idea gets perverted or dragged into obscurity over time.

But how to fix it?

If we demand proof then what happens then? We should all actually study Astrophysics, Genetics, Neuroscience and mathematics? It is certainly very nice to know this things and they can open eyes to dimensions never conceived before but still. (Good) Science is self Correcting, but it also is without emotions.

We can study emotions and learn that they are mere chemical responses to a certain situation. Then again this restricts us to the things we know. Religion aswell as spirituality has one great advantage.

It doesnt have to be correct, its vague. Its good its vague because we can explain in this way so much more things in a very short and compressed (brain friendly) Form.

The bible for example, if u take it for real in todays age and time then people wont take you very serious (also chances are you become president of the richest country in the world and history of mankind and drive this country into Bankruptcy ^_^ )
If you use the bible as a guide for things you dont know so well (for example morals, or emotional distress) then it can be MUCH more helpful then any neurology book explaining how the brain creates a depression and why.

Its similar with spirituality the burden of proof is not necessary. It helps people, they can talk freely their perceived reality its liberating.

An old phrase says "never change a running system" this doesnt apply to the Computer world anymore but it does apply to spirituality. We dont need to fix something that isnt broken. Most people want to feel in touch with something we just cannot explain yet. Proving something that isnt there is hard...VERY VERY hard. Take dark matter as an example, you cant see it or touch it but it interacts with the matter around it. This idea still gets alot of scepticism from the scientific world.

We may or may not explain all what we are, we may be able to finally prove if there is a god/devil/[insert your Deity here] or not but aslong we cant explain it we have to A: ignore it (never solved anything) or B: Go with our Guts.

I mean i belief in things i should not believe in (as a modern scientific human), i experienced things that are 100% explainable and dont have any supernatural causes. So i guess if u

But still i am here (on spiritualforums^^) and i go with my guts and those gutsy guts have given me quite the insight.
Still i think that a certain "DUH" and scepticism is always good.

So ur question i am afraid leads to a devils circle. People WILL get burned over and over again. The only way to stop it is to stop believing. Which doesnt really end well too often. There will be new fads and maybe in 1000 years a core doctrine of Buttism (powered by "4 Loko") (formaly known as Buddhism) will be Pot smoking.

PS OH my gawd im WAY off topic
PSS it could also be that l im an idiot who is self contradicting herself to fit her ideas into her Dillusioned reality.
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Old 20-07-2011, 06:59 PM
Emmalevine Emmalevine is offline
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There has to be a balance. Spiritual thinking has taught that we are spirit in human form but that doesn't change the fact we are still human and living in a physcial world...quantum physics or no. Spirituality can lose credibility if we become too focussed on certain ways of being. It's like the chakra system...in a balanced system we can embrace our spiritual side as well as the material world and all its experiences. Personally, I'm a psych student and love to think and analyse. I take nothing at face value. But I also feel in tune with my spirituality and like to believe I remain balanced.
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Old 20-07-2011, 08:22 PM
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Biases In New Some Age Writing


This can be removed.
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Old 20-07-2011, 08:27 PM
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Biases In New Some Age Writing

You are perceiving a real bias about critical thinking in new age writing. It goes much deeper than this, but fortunately this bias is not shared by all new age writers. Some have some really excellent in depth articles that use both the heart & brain.

In the first wave of new age writers often used concepts that borrowed heavily from organized religion even though often they didn’t realize this. This is not unusual as these type of developments develop. Some of these concepts were about disrespecting our earthly presence.

Some also felt obligated to write in a stylized manner that clearly was not normal writing, that would have an obvious mark of the mystic. LOL. This stylized manner of writing could get a bit tedious. It is fairly dated that one must write ~~~ you know ~~~ ♡ dear ones ♡ ~~~ in a manner ~~~ always ... disjointed ~~~ like it is coming in ~~~ dribs ... drabs ~~~ directly from above ~~~ just barely getting it ~~~ not a really good connection ~~~ nearly floating off ~~~ can barely press my keyboard keys ~~~ never a cogent complete idea or sentence ~~~ just from the heart ♡♡♡ ~~~ never the hated brain (yeah, we can tell!!!). This stylized writing may still be valid for some. To each their own!

The first wave of new age old schoolers (pun intended) focused almost exclusively on the message of love to the extent of being love-bombers. While love is an important part of consciousness, IMO the core feeling is more JOY rather than love. There are many other elements to raising consciousness (moving past fear, discharging undesired energies, etc.) as many found out when they only added love to the mix, yet didn’t get good results, still remaining fearful, & not matering their energies. This was at least a starting point for exploration though.

Unfortunately in their love-bombing heart based fervor this crowd saw fit to demonize our beautiful & NECESSARY mind/intellect when this is just as God-given or Universe-given as our heart energies. In the zeal to advance spiritually the unfortuntate & flawed theme that everything to do w/ 3D including us & our experience in it is NOT OK was promoted. Many contemporary new age writers have moved past this flawed trusim. This heart vs mind business is a classic Piscean era energy, being the Either Or polarity, not recognizing that the option of heart + mind (Aquarian energies) is just as accessible as heart vs mind. Despite preaching unity, often it was lost on this crowd that this unity applied to our emotions & intellect. The artificially generated battle of heart vs mind is really showing THEIR internal battle w/ their own energies. This supposed battle is utter fallacy as BOTH our emotions & intellect do completely different things & BOTH are ✦✦✦ absolutely necessary ✦✦✦ in our energetic/spiritual journey.

Another characteristic of the old school new agers is that they seldom stood in their own authority, feeling that the highest wisdom was to be a scribe, a channel. Many have moved on from being transcribers to connecting more directly w/ their HS to provide this information as they establish their own energetic sovereignty.

Although some of the information the old school new agers provided was valid, some of them made the same missteps of organized religion not maintaining the most useful strength of new age thought, that of being flexible & changing their beliefs. Some beliefs became rigid dogma, just as in organized religion, requiring followers to follow what they thought was valid. It is hoped that some of those whose beliefs became rigid can regain the flexibility & delight of exploring new territory that was their previous strength.

While there are some stumbles the first new agers made, they also opened up a new way of thinking for the masses, just as movements like spirituality or theosophy did 100 years ago. They have been part of the expansive process that is currently accelerating exponentially.

The Dalai Lama on the wisdom of using both our heart & brain, “It is important to join the practice of love and compassion with the practice of insight.
... A combination is needed: a good human heart as well as a good human brain. With these working together, we can achieve a lot.”
“How To See YOURSELF As You Really Are”, pg. 201 (My bolding.)

There are always those who are trotting out something that doesn’t stand up to the slightest investigation. Don’t let this throw you. We should ALWAYS use our discernment in evaluating ALL information. Some new & novel ideas may be ground breaking & worth considering, but some may just be totally useless, delusional, fear mongering, or at best, creative writing.

Discernment- http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/sh...ad.php?t=12105

Others can often go off on pathways that we don’t find useful, but they are responsible for their own journey. It is OK to state our opinion about it, but doing so from a position of nonattachment is very useful for our own energies. Appreciate that they may not understand our POV, but sometimes this may be planting a seed that will grow later. We need not be the one that waters the garden!!!

One of the spiritual missions that people take on is examining things that are highly flawed & problematic such as you mention in the last paragraph & publicly discussing them. This is greeted w/ varying reactions on various sites depending on how much they value open discussion. This is a VERY important dialogue to be having everywhere right now. We didn’t always have the ability to discuss these issues openly in the past & this is a very valuable right. Some on this planet still don’t have the ability to openly discuss spiritual ideas even though this is changing & hopefully will soon be an archaic relic of authoritarianism everywhere.

One of the really important things to challenge right now is the fear mongers. Virtually all messages that are using fear to push or support their position are highly questionable & merit using the utmost discernment. Some of these who are challenging flawed things are involved in paradigm change as well even thought this is a little bit different mission.

Don’t hesitate to speak your mind in the manner that is natural for you. Many messangers are being called as how one writes can be assumed to not be what everyone will relate to.
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Old 20-07-2011, 08:29 PM
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Thanks for the responses so far.

What I meant by demaning proof is in to regard fantastic claims, or outright false information, that could be tested and proven/disproven

For example, if someone says they can raise the dead, levitate, control the weather, etc.... then prove it! If you espouse a crazy conspiracy theory.... then prove it! If this new fad diet/meditation/practice is going to cure you of all your diseases.... prove it! If Jesus/Buddha/Krishna/Muhammad did or said something, then back it up with a source.

I understand that by its very nature spirituality is in many ways unprovable, because it is dealing in matters and realms beyond the material realm, and each persons experience is different. However, my problem is when people are making claims that could be proven/disproven; however, when you seek to prove or disprove them with facts and the scientific method, you are berated by other "spiritual people". for not being (insert favorite New Age buzzword here) enough.
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Old 20-07-2011, 08:33 PM
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Great post Mattie!
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Old 20-07-2011, 08:37 PM
Spiritlite Spiritlite is offline
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I agree with the fact that people tend to try not to critize in spirituality. I just think that spirituality is personal belief and when one tries to critize personal belief no matter how wrong you think it is, it gets on people's nerves........that's all :)
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Old 20-07-2011, 09:11 PM
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It is my process to maintain an understanding of what 'works', that is what is consistent with humanity's most stable and scrutinized relationships.. additionally, i intend to experience new information directly, by suspending the thinking process so as to have relatively unbiased information to compare with the processes that have survived scrutiny.. new information that 'works', or that is consistent with processes known to work, this information is 'conditionally integrated' into working processes to evaluate effect.. and, if the effect is undesirable, the new information is not 'rejected', it is set aside for future evaluation relative to new information or revisions to existing processes.. I know this seems like a fairly sterile process, but i have learned, in my many trips around the sun, that without a framework for understanding the understandings lack a structure for advancing and evolving the human experience.. that being said, i am told that i have a fairly broad scope of fundamental understandings, allowing for an organic 'structure' compared to a rigid structure..

I realize i open myself up for substantial scrutiny, and i welcome the opportunity revise understandings that are inconsistent with Life..

Be well..
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