Morals

Eastern spirituality is not a substitute for Abrahamic religion

The purpose of this article is not to admonish the religious traditions of the east, nor to discount any meaning or truth their spiritual philosophies may have, but rather it is to address a growing misunderstanding in the modern world as to their purpose and place. It has become common for those who have left their respective Abrahamic faiths to find total nihilism, materialism, and atheism to be a dissatisfactory and empty way of life. Upon finding themselves in a deep need of spiritual understanding, they refrain from turning back to their Scriptural traditions and instead they seek out exotic and foreign cultures for the answers they seek. These are not limited to the eastern world, but also includes the religious traditions of tribal peoples and spiritism in other parts of the world.

When these modern “seekers of spiritual truth” find in these distant teachings a connection to the divine which they apparently never found in their Abrahamic upbringing, they are often quick to dismiss the Abrahamic religions as if they were an inferior form of religion the whole time, and conveniently they can also dump all those pesky moral codes that the Abrahamic religions are such sticklers for. Finally, they think, they have a working formula for themselves, spirituality without morality, a free and easy connection to God. Where all those foolish Jews, Christians and Muslims were wasting their time with duty and virtue, they have the real key to the diviner life which is apparently meditation, intuitive feelings and “mindfulness.”

Perhaps the above language is a bit condescending, but the naiveté of this line of thought is too brazen to be excused. Were these spiritual seekers to do a bit more research they would find that in all these eastern and primitive traditions there is a moral code to go along with the spiritual philosophies equally as strict, if not more strict, than that of the Abrahamic religions, and these moral codes were the means of organization by which these societies were able to survive and perpetuate their tradition. That these modern “seekers” feel no need to take upon the moral code which accompanies their spiritual philosophy is rather curious as to how they manage such a customized cultural conversion and fusion.

Additionally, since these other traditions either have no strict Scriptural foundation or that foundation being ignored by those who take them up, the adoption of these spiritual philosophies may be a buffet of sentiments and ideas which imposes no maxims or requirements upon the adherent. Even the mysticism has to be reconstructed and re-tailored so much so that it isn’t always clear if these modern “seekers” have any interest in the original tradition or if they are attempting to create an entirely new philosophy out of borrowed forms.

In either case, nothing is produced which can substitute the enduring moral foundation which was left behind. The resulting situation is perhaps even worse than being stuck in apostasy. Whereas, the materialist holds no morality and is disinterested in the distinction between good and evil, the false spiritualist openly condones immorality as good. When such notions become widespread they tend to replace the foundational morals as we see happening in recent years. Then, as should come to no surprise, the eclectic mystical and spiritual systems come as no consolation to people when their lives fall to pieces as a result of their bad decisions.