Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Criticism and spirituality

There are two very different forms of criticism that we should be aware of.  The first is the act of critical thinking applied to a specific thing like an idea, piece of writing, or artwork.  The other is simple meanness.  They should not, in my opinion be confused or applied together towards anyone or anything.

Being critical for the sheer joy of deflating someone else is not constructive   It is a bad energy spread around under the guise of giving advice.  While the critic may claim to have good intentions, there is little useful or unbiased in their criticism of other people.  They are simply complaining, tearing down others or spreading bad energy.

Real criticism acknowledges both the strengths and weaknesses or a thought, person or idea.  It seeks to answer questions, expand debate and truly understand the world around us.  Think of it like a refining fire that burns away impurity and dross, and it leaves behind a better, stronger product.  Curiosity isn't a sin, and ignorance should be eradicated whenever possible.

I think that religion and spirituality should be subjected to true criticism, just as I think art, literature, politics, and philosophy should be.  Without critical thought, we cannot grow as individuals or as a people or as a species.  Asking questions, if they are born out a desire to understand, not to mock, is essential to being better people.  Asking questions just to poke fun at someone's thought processes or beliefs isn't a route to betterment.  

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