Just a quick post to note the book review at the American Buddhist Perspective blog:
Webster teaches Religion, Philosophy, and Ethics not far from me and as a fellow traveler on the road of Buddhist studies (Webster’s fist book is on Buddhism and Desire) and philosophy, I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time. At just over 70 pages, it’s written as a pamphlet almost, perhaps a manifesto: light on footnotes, jargon, and the kind of verbiage that can turn a lot of people off from intelligent writing. I highly recommend it.
That said, it may come as no surprise that the book seems to have been misunderstood by some readers. Perhaps this is due to its polemical opening words:
When someone tells me that they are not really religious, but that they are a very spiritual person, I want to punch their face. Hard.
Not exactly the best way to make friends. But Webster does explain. The problem is confusion: his own. Religion for him is deeply spiritual, and spirituality is inseparable from religion.
Thus the book reads less like an attack on ‘spiritual’ life (which Webster notes is multifaceted and not always pernicious – e.g. in Pierre Hadot’s “Philosophy as a Way of Life“) and more as an exploration of and ultimately an attack on a very pernicious marketplace of spirituality in the contemporary world. The problematic notion of spirituality is narrowed, in developing detail, to the kind of superficial, non-committed, materialistic nonsense which so often surrounds people proffering the above violent-desire-producing phrase.
In fact, despite his committed atheism, Webster praises.. CONTINUE READING