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Entry 817, on 2008-07-21 at 19:10:31 (Rating 3, Religion)
The Pope has just finished leading the World Youth Day recently held in Sydney, Australia. He closed the event with a warning that the world needs more spirituality and needs to reduce its emphasis on materialism and suggested joining the Catholic church would be an appropriate way to help forward this aim.
I would have to agree with him to an extent. We do need more spirituality and most people would agree with this. But do we need more religion? I think the answer to that is no. Of course the Pope might disagree, because he presumably equates spirituality with religion, or more specifically Christianity, or even more specifically Catholicism.
My dictionary has two definitions of the word spirituality. One specifically links spirituality to religion but the other is less specific and mentions an emphasis on the human spirit. Of course defining spirituality as something which is related to spirit gets us nowhere. My dictionary has 15 definitions for the word spirit, and even then none of them quite fit the way I use the word in this context.
While there is a link between wealth and happiness it isn't as simple as it might seem and wealth beyond a certain limit doesn't enhance happiness. So there does seem to be some merit in pursuing material wealth but letting it become too important probably isn't the best way to enhance a person's quality of life.
So I think the world is becoming a spiritual desert (just like the Pope has said) and we should pursue more spirituality in our lives, but I would suggest that should take the form of engaging in artistic, musical and social activities instead of going to church. Its true that religion does help some people but its not the right answer for the majority and there are plenty of other ways to be spiritual.
So thanks to the Pope for the idea of reducing the spiritual desert. He just needs to be a bit more realistic regarding its exact form.
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