The Spiritual Illusion

The Spiritual Illusion Abstract This article takes constructive steps toward redescribing an emic folk category that enjoys widespread use in contemporary Western discourse, but has proven problematic for the academic study of religion. On close examination, the term “spirituality” is demonstrated to be vague, essentialist, and narcissistic, though consistent enough in its usage to reveal a cluster of specific associations, assumptions, and normative judgments. Moreover, the purported dichotomy between “spirituality” and “religion” can be rendered more intelligible through an ironic and imaginative juxtaposition with the contrast between male and female reproduction organs, with regard to physical appearance and location, social dynamics, and ethical implications. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Method & Theory in the Study of Religion Brill

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0943-3058
eISSN
1570-0682
D.O.I.
10.1163/15700682-12341264
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract This article takes constructive steps toward redescribing an emic folk category that enjoys widespread use in contemporary Western discourse, but has proven problematic for the academic study of religion. On close examination, the term “spirituality” is demonstrated to be vague, essentialist, and narcissistic, though consistent enough in its usage to reveal a cluster of specific associations, assumptions, and normative judgments. Moreover, the purported dichotomy between “spirituality” and “religion” can be rendered more intelligible through an ironic and imaginative juxtaposition with the contrast between male and female reproduction organs, with regard to physical appearance and location, social dynamics, and ethical implications.

Journal

Method & Theory in the Study of ReligionBrill

Published: May 6, 2014

Keywords: definitions of religion; spirituality; theory; comparative religion; insider/outsider distinction; religion/spirituality distinction; redescription; classification; taxonomy

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