How To Protect Yourself and Others in the Spiritual Marketplace of Ideas

How To Protect Yourself and Others in the Spiritual Marketplace of Ideas

Every form of spirituality we can identify
whether it’s traditional religious forms of spirituality, a kind of a materialistic,
scientific world view or progressive spirituality in all its many phases as in the last 50 years
that have emerged within American culture and elsewhere have both dignities and disasters,
right. The spirituality brings out the best and the worst in humanity. And so every one
of these major categories, the religious, the secular and the progressive have very
beautiful and important expressions. And they also have dark expressions which we do well
to avoid. And I certainly feel that scientology is a dark expression of progressive spirituality
or maybe even secular spirituality. It’s not really clear how to categorize it but
it is a cult and we see cults of all kinds. Whenever you’re dealing with something that’s
ultimately true and real people can go astray. They can be pulled into forms of organization
which are diabolical. The signs of a cult include a particularly strong personality
who wants everyone else to conform. It can include intense commercialization in which
it seems more like a business than a form of spirituality. I think that the best way
we can protect ourselves on the spiritual journey is by taking an integral view of spirituality.
Seeing how spirituality evolves and seeing how it can become stuck, how it regresses.
And so if we look at scientology we can see that there’s a lot of negative fruits. A
lot of lives have been ruined. A lot of falsehoods have been projected. And so using this test
of their fruits we’d be able to determine right away that’s a kind of spirituality
we would do well to avoid. Ultimately I think spirituality is a personal affair and while
we can socialize our spirituality and being part of a spiritual group, spirituality in
its essence is really about our own spiritual growth and our own experience of that which
is beautiful, true and good. And so maintaining our prerogative as agents of evolution and
as indeed agents of our own spiritual growth is one way we can protect ourselves from the
ways that we can be led astray in the spiritual marketplace of ideas.

Comments (94)

  1. A lot of lives have been ruined and lies have been told by Catholics and other Christians.  Also by Muslims and Jews and Buddhist and Hindis.  Just ask any gay person and many women.   The entire "spirituality" concept is bogus since it's based on whatever you make up at the moment.  It's not science.  The difference between a cult and a religion is when you do it it's a religion, and when they do it, it's a cult.

  2. A more effective method is avoid such nonsensical tripe in the first place. It's all unsubstantiated superstitious bullshit.
    And what is this? We trying to set up some sort of false equivalency here by calling a materialistic scientific worldview a form of spirituality? Yeah, I don't think you know what the word means. If you want to talk about mental well being or psychological health, or ethical/moral philosophy, let's go ahead and use those words instead.
    So every form of organized religion then.

  3. I particularly don't like the idea of "spiritual growth" or "evolution" in the sense of progress. It's like there is a special law telling that all things should better in the nature.

    That is OUR CONCEPT, let's not confuse what nature IS with how WE WANT it become.

  4. Spirituality is great and most people will experience a need for some form of spiritual growth. As a human being it's a part of our inherent desire to self-actualize. Having said that anything taken to the extreme is most likely gonna lead to lack of long term fulfillment and happiness. For those that wanna nerd out check out Aristotle's writings about the Golden Mean as a way to re-affirm the much needed balance in life.

  5. any group that isn't looking to include everybody, that doesn't want everybody to know about this great truth that they know, no matter how you look or how much you have in your account or who you sleep beside, any group that won't take everybody AND not try to change them imo is dangerous

  6. I disagree.  Spirituality can be about the group, rather than the individual, if that's the path you choose to be on.  I do think that religious institutions which use deceptive marketing and place emphasis on monetary payments, such as Scientology or televangelists, are certainly dangerous, though not as dangerous as violent or suicidal cults, such as the Manson Family or Heaven's Gate.  That being said, even organizations which have a business-like model can be beneficial to the individual or the community, such as church parishes in the parochial sense, or colleges in the secular sense.  It really comes down to intent and execution.  There really isn't a list of checkboxes to identify, THIS is a legitimate religion, but THAT is a cult.

  7. 100 followers = cult
    1,000 followers = large cult
    100,000 followers = large cult you can still mock and ignore
    1,000,000 followers = small religion you can ignore
    10,000,000 followers = medium religion you have to respect
    100,000,000 or more followers = a belief you have to respect so much it affects society, laws and science.

  8. Learning about and understanding the scientific method saved me from religious and "spiritual" grifters who want nothing more than to lead me down a path of silliness and nonsense, while trying to separate me from my money.

  9. Can you define "spirituality" and "spiritual"? I hear people say this all the time, and I still have no fucking clue what it actually means. They either don't/can't define it, or their definition doesn't match up with other people's definition.

  10. Spirituality is superstition, just like religion.

  11. I thought cult was just another word for small church. As far as I'm concerned, all churches started as a small cult. Popularity just changes perspective but all that really changes are numbers.

  12. How to Protect Yourself from Bullshit:

    If asserted without evidence, dismiss without evidence.

    Simple as that.

  13. The scientific method is the most sure way method to protect yourself against falling into dogmatic thinking.
    If you take it to heart, you are aware that any information you have in the moment is up for revision based on new findings.
    You follow the most likely explanations of reality like any reasonable person would do, while knowing in the back of your mind that the information might be imperfect.
    You follow the information because being as close to reality as possible (regardless of how uncomfortable it is for you personally), is the moral thing to do. You do not choose your own comfort above the well being of others.

  14. There isn't any big thinking in this video.
    A materialistic scientific spirituality? What the hell are you talking about?
    I heard a bunch of sounds come out of your mouth and none of it was worth the air it took to make.

  15. Sooo… all religions then.

  16. lol at the dumd people in this comment section who are so offended when they hear their brillant science way of living that they have to mention to everyone every other fucking second might be a cult


  17. Bigthink peaked 2-3 years ago.

  18. We don't need spirituality. That kind of thinking is small.

  19. Scientology can never be described as secular.
    This guy doesn't grasp the specifics or nuance or the broad picture of what he's talking about.
    Vague bullshit, really. 
    "How to protect your faith from meanie smart atheists? Safe spaces!" That's how I interpreted the ending.

  20. Some advice for staying away from cults:
    If asserted without evidence, dismiss without evidence.
    If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
    If they demand you to change your lifestyle, or give up some of your rights under the treat of exclusion, beat them to the punch and get the hell out of dodge.

  21. need to spell check your title.

  22. Secular Spirituality? ? ?? ?
    What??? What is this guy talking about?

    Here is a better idea to protect yourself: Skepticism!

  23. "spirituality is a personal affair and while we can socialize our spirituality and be a part of a spiritual group,spirituality in its essence is really about our own spiritual growth and our own experience"
    Totally agree,its something personal

    I'm me,just because I have the same nationality or religion with someone else that have absolutely nothing to do with my personality,stop grouping me with anyone/anything, just because you know my religion/nationality/race etc you act like you know every single thing about me!? that way of thinking is just ridiculous and disgusting,even I dont know everything about myself tho that wont change the fact that I know my self better than anyone else.
    Long live Jedi! Jedism is the way to go! 😀

  24. why does scientific absolutely have to mean materialistic? pfft.

  25. Ive never heard dance talking at this level before.

  26. All spirituality is such fucking non-sense. GROW UP.

  27. Spirituality should be based on experience in the same way as science is based on experiments.

  28. I know the quality of Bigthink videos has decreased a lot, but seriously? You don't even check the video name for typos anymore?

  29. Anyones belief system is respectable, to me.
    Until the point where they are persuading, convincing, or enforcing their beliefs on other people – at which point it becomes a degenerate cult.

  30. So we can work out what spirituality to avoid by looking out for "negative fruits" like the "projection of falsehoods"? By that criteria all spirituality would be rejected. All forms of spirituality make claims about the world which are demonstrably untrue, or utterly unprovable ("not even wrong"). A big letdown to this series having such meaningless drivel on such an important topic.

  31. You've said nothing practically useful for people avoiding cults. How about this;
    – Maintain social connections. Many cults encourage members to isolate themselves by cutting off family members and friends, who may be characterised as "bad influences". This increases dependency on the cult for support and makes it more difficult for a member to leave. No reasonable group would ever force you to choose between family and faith.
    – Maintain empathy with those of differing worldviews. Cults often seek to foster fear, hate or disghust of non-adherents. If a faith group is encouraging you to hate or fear those who believe differently to you, this should ring alarm bells.
    – Reject any group who's practices, rites or rituals threaten your bodily health or integrity, or those of others. No reasonable faith system should put spiritual health before physical health and integrity.
    – Reject any group which undermines your self-esteem. Cults seek to do this to trap members.

  32. People need to understand the limitations of spirituality and its flaws. There is a reason there are thousands of different religions and thousands of different spiritual beliefs. but I agree with this guy, "you can judge by its fruits"

  33. C'mon Big Think… at least fix the grammar of the title.

  34. Realize that religions are failed attempts to explain a scary world with unknown causes with magic. There's no need to constantly defend religion against scrutiny, critical thinking, and evidence against it. God isn't real.

  35. Do the mentally ill really need to hear the word "Spiritual"? It only feeds thier fantasy. My senses are telling me this guy is not genuine,

  36. Cloaking a Christian bias by using the word 'spirituality' is pretty insulting. The harm done by the Catholic church easily surpasses Scientology.

  37. I love love LOVE what he says in the end. Spirituality is something we can share and socialize with but ultimately spiritual growth lies within the individual and is a profound personal relationship.

  38. I don't know much about Scientology, but what I do know is… SCIENCE is all around us!

  39. How many people has Scientology kicked in their name?
    How many people has Christianity killed in their name?
    How many people has Islam killed in their name?
    "In the spiritual marketplace of ideas"? And here I was believing that "Faith"was something that couldn't bee changed – and yet it's a marketplace???

  40. Seems to be something about the name McIntosh that makes its bearers idiots.

  41. Secular spirituality, sounds like an oxymoron.

  42. So long as we blame the spiritual for the darkness in humanity, instead of blaming ourselves. Because it's not our fault, is it?

  43. There is a way… Joe Pesci ! 😉

  44. A Bosnian philosopher put it pretty simple: Follow those who seek the answer. Run from those who claim to have found it

  45. He seems uninformed. He failed to tell us how to identify destructive cults. It has to do with undue influence, and mind control using the method of coercive persuasion. There is a list of criteria.

  46. only difference between cults and religions is number of subscribers.

  47. Some people need to be in cults, people are weird

  48. Summary: All ideas on religion have good and bad points. Scientology is a cult. To protect yourself, think for yourself. Also, avoid Scientology… Totally a cult. Additionally, think for yourself.

  49. Does he know what secularism is?

  50. Wait… What? Scientology is a cult because it acts like Christianity?

  51. who's idea was it to let stuart smalley do a vid on big think?

  52. Why are there people that believe that science is answer to everything and also believe everything about it?

  53. How is any form of materialism spiritual?

  54. While I believe organized religion is bullshit, and should be avoided, I also think spirituality is worthless.
    Also, the most important attribute in defining a cult, in my opinion, is the cult will ostracize you from family members or social networks. Scientology certainly does this, and muslims to some extent.

  55. Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult. Research them before you joining them.

  56. never trust chinese
    hong kong ppl
    even taiwan
    dont trust anything from china
    like kung fu

  57. i watch youtube on daily basis since years and ot get wors and wors. the new shity thing is that on a smartphone when you watch a video from the subscribtions it takes you back to the begining and you spend time searching where have you ben

  58. +HOLyPumpgun | Gaming unfortunately, I think that's the problem with some of these groups….they forget to treat people as humans and equals instead of less thans.

  59. all religions are cults.
    -99% of people that believe in god is because of greed for heaven and/or fear of hell. it is easy to sell lies when they are free

  60. spirituality is bad, rationalism is good. When you are rational you think for yourself and stop believing in fairy tales.

  61. Maybe I've just been ignorant to the dark side of scientology but what lives have been ruined by it? Is he talking about specific examples in his own experience or was there some media coverage I missed

  62. We would do well to avoid spirituality in all its manifestations. It is just feelings.. I couldn't care less about spiritual feelings. What I care about is what's true.

  63. The only thing that differentiates a "cult" from a "religion" is membership count.

  64. Wait…the secular is spiritual? Is this guy a nutbar? Secularism is the rejection of ALL spirituality and just what is revealed to us in the natural world.

  65. The only difference between a cult and religion is the number of people who share in that delusion. Think about it!

  66. People talk about Spirituality like it is a real thing.. very strange !

  67. Funny how you have just exactly described modern particle physics. The cult of quanta. Which, at this point, is no better than religion itself. Much bigger than the Roman Catholic cult ever was, it is now the largest to have ever existed. "Modern" physics is nothing more than a modern creation myth, specifically designed and orchestrated for the just slightly more intelligent than average mind. A mind that is not actually intelligent enough to do the math itself, and therefore relies on the belief in the math of others. The definition of faith.

  68. Western civilization has undergone a major shift from religious to secular over the last two generations, but now non-religious cultism seems to grow stronger and become more accepted every year. Moon landing hoax, 9/11 truthers, anti-vaccine movement, etc.

  69. Yes, materialism as a world view is something you can peddle, just like religion, because there are underlying metaphysical assumptions about the world that you have to make without actually being able to verify them through evidence. It's faith based.

  70. really awesome video

  71. All religions start as a cult and then spread through indoctrination through intimidation


  73. I don't think any intelligent person should have an issue recognizing cults.

  74. Do not believe anything on insufficient evidence. If you don't know, allow yourself to remain in that state of not knowing.

  75. Scientology is secular spirituality? What a tool. Read his Wikipedia entry and have a laugh. Big Think, leave the woo woo behind and get back on the track of reality please.

  76. one more video like this and i'm unsubbing. Deepak Chopra was bad enough but apparently i'm pretty forgiving

  77. This just contains jargon that I just don't get. Is this the time I should invoke Penn and Teller?

  78. In the words of Aron Ra. "If you can't show it, you don't know it. " The scientific method is the best way to get at what is most likely true.

  79. how about just not believe on bad evidence. there is nothing to believe on bad evidence to feel a " spiritual" experience. hence why bad ideas are creates by religions

  80. Stay away from anything spiritual.

  81. I was a brainwashed member of the cult: USA

  82. Ah, the Big Think comment section. Never will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy…

  83. The Christian religion is a doomsday cult.

  84. All religions are cults. Simple. Can't see it, can't measure it, cant prove it, then don't believe it. Unless you are a scientist on the cutting edge of their field.

  85. Just what the hell do you mean when you say "spirituality"?

  86. I would hate to have a face to face conversation with this guy. His facial movements are so threatening like he's constantly snapping at you.

  87. Finally somebody that real speak something…Amazing dont worry i will not workship you ^^ Lets rise together…peace

  88. Stay away from soka gakki of America. It is really a cult that destroyed my life.

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