A Religion of One's Own, Q and A with Thomas Moore
Thomas Moore on his new book, A Religion of One’s Own
We’ve heard a lot about people now calling themselves “spiritual but not religious.” How does “a religion of one’s own” fit into this new paradigm?
I assume that people mean that they want to retain the heart of what it means to be religious without the external trappings: formal teachings, especially those that are forced on you; meaningless rituals; highly selective moral issues; male dominance; a tendency toward puritanism. I think we need a new, deeper, and more personally relevant religion that includes a strong spiritual component, one that draws from the traditions but is suited to the individual. This comes from men and women who are now the creators of their religion and not the followers.
What are some of the consequences you see of the diminishment of religion in our daily lives?
Many today have bought into the illusion that science and technology can answer all our questions and make life worth living. But there are many issues that are mysterious, that give us our human depth. We explore these issues in art and literature, and in religious writings around the world. If we lose religion, both the wisdom of the traditions and our own religious creativity, then we will become like our machines—soulless. We need a lively, inspiring, and guiding spiritual vision and practice to make a worthwhile future for humanity.
How can we create “a religion of one’s own” without losing that sense of fellowship and community that organized religion once provided?
Many people ask me this question, probably because “a religion of one’s own” sounds highly individual. But I think it’s time to stop thinking so literally about community, seeing it as a group of people around you who are alike in some way. It’s time to see that every human being is part of your community.