SBNR Watch 1: The Hunger Games

[SBNR = Spiritual But Not Religious.. I will be keeping an eye on the use of this phrase  – where I stand on this term is fairly clear.]

In a blog at the Washington Post, an author (Diana Butler Bass) discusses the absence of religion from the recently released film ‘The Hunger Games’ (which I have yet to see), and titles her piece: ‘The Hunger Games: Spiritual But Not Religious’.

She discusses the film’s exploration of sacrificial violence, love, violence and non-violence and such matters (which she notes, rightly, are often themes of theological reflection). Then there is this concluding section which made me wonder – did the author choose the SBNR title? -She writes:

“The Hunger Games” points out that the world envisioned by spiritual leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King is infinitely preferable to a world of “bread and circuses,” where the many are controlled by the very few. The future hangs between these two visions: Will we be Panem or some other sort of world?

No religion in “The Hunger Games”? The story eschews religions that glory in crusades, jihads, nationalism, militarism, and imperialism. In Panem, there is no place for religion that supports injustice. The enslaved neither want nor need such a religion. Banished are religions that celebrate bloodlust. There is too much of that already

She mentions a ‘spiritual world’ – but then she seems to imply that just because the world here envisioned is not drenched in innocent blood and injustice does not mean that it is not a religion – just not a certain  type of religion… Of course, one might argue that such a world is not spiritual at all – and that what the author calls “the hard-earned hope that human beings can create a better world based not in sacrificial violence but in sacrificial love” can be carved out in a world with neither religion nor spirituality…

I will say no more till I actually see the film…

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