it’s important to learn to be an intelligent (read: critical) thinker on the internet

The other day, a friend posted a link to this Slate article — rather, these two paragraphs posing as a blog post on Slate. She was rightly indignant about how ridiculous it seemed that it was seemingly a worse fate to be spiritual than not at all.

I wondered about the concept myself, and certainly about the offering Slate was presenting (the whole two paragraphs that I don’t even want to give juice to, but feel like I should to be fair and let you check it out yourselves — be critical thinkers and all). That what? That there was correlation between being spiritual, yet not religious, and a higher incidence of having HAD used drugs before? Being more likely to be mentally ill? Because I certainly saw no proof of causality as such.

Instead, what I saw, even in the British Journal of Psychiatry’s abstract (look, as critical as I want to be, I’m not paying to write this blog post), is at best, a Venn diagram. And it seems to show that there’s a place where the “spiritual, but not religious” and “drinking/drug user/neurotic” tend to overlap. I was pretty interested in the fact that they were specific about the fact that they used the past tense when speaking of these malcontents, however.

I really do wish I could read the whole article to see if the possibility that any or all of these people were recovering addicts/alcoholics might have something to do with their new attitude on life. That the fact that they used to drink/do drugs/have mental issues found them in search of contact with something bigger than themselves (=spiritual) but without the need for much in the way of telling them how it must be done (=religious). If anyone let the researchers in on the concept of “12-step programs.” They work for those pesky eating disorders, too.

My point being, that it seems weird to throw down a headline and the assertion that if you have spirituality, but not religion, well, you’re just more likely to do drugs. Maybe, it’s the other way around, yeah?

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