Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Sin of Religiosity

"One of the books I've been working through lately is Thomas Merton's Faith and Violence: Christian Teaching and Christian Practice.

This, along with a few other current reads, are stretching my understanding of "justice," or more accurately the prevalence of "injustice" in our world today.

The following two excerpts from Merton are particularly thought-provoking and penetrating. Especially considering they were penned in the 1960's.

"In other words there is a great danger in facile and thoughtless verbalizations of spiritual reality. All true spiritual disciplines recognize the peril of idolatry in the irresponsible fabrication of pseudo-spiritual concepts which serve only to delude man and to subject him once again to a deeper captivity just when he seems on the point of tasting the true bliss and the perfect poverty of liberation." (114)

"The sin of religiosity is that it has turned God, peace, happiness, salvation and all that man desires into products to be marketed in a speciously attractive package deal. In this, I think, the fault lies not with the sincerity of preachers and religious writers, but with the worn-out presuppositions with which they are content to operate. The religious mind today is seldom pertinently or prophetically critical. Oh, it is critical all right; but too often of wrong or irrelevant issues. There is still such a thing as straining at gnats and swallowing camels. But I wonder if we have not settled down too comfortably to accept passively the prevarications that the Gospels or the Prophets would have us reject with all the strength of our being." (117)

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