The Marriage of Sense and Soul by Ken Wilber: Book Review

Google Reader supplied me with this quote today:

Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.

Ha ha, look, he poked fun at religion. What a popular and savvy thing to do. So highbrow; religion is for the ignorant masses, and we intellectuals cannot make time for such ineffiency. Now, I know I’m probably not as smart as Bill Gates, but this quote is very depressing to me.

I can think of few things in life (other than work) where the absolute efficiency is the goal. In fact, when it comes to nearly any other activity, I prefer a great lack of efficiency.

Is it better to eat plain bread “on the go” and swallow vitamins because it’s more efficient? Not for me. I want to cook; I want to enjoy the savory smells and frantic sizzling sounds as I deglaze a pan. Is enjoying a home-cooked meal (or any meal eaten at a table) efficient? No. But the company of friends and family makes it enjoyable.

Is it better to take a snapshot of the sun setting, and paste it to the wall for “efficient” referral? No. I want to view it as the colors unfold. I want to sip a glass of good beer and talk with a friend as we inefficiently comtemplate.

Religion is the weary scapegoat of many a modern intellectual. There is a preconception that all of us- all billions and billions– are blindly following a broken, wrong path. Religious experience in their lives may not have always been good, so it is absconded, and all of it labeled “wrong.”

How sad.

In The Marriage of Sense and Soul, Ken Wilber discusses the fact that many people are quickly dismissing religion:

According to the typical view of modern science, religion is not much more than a holdover from the childhood of humanity, with about as much reality as, say, Santa Claus.

Wilber’s book requires deep introspection to read, and the stripping of personal paradigms. This is difficult to do for religious and agnostic alike, but provides for a great reading experience. There were several sections that I had to re-read in order to fully erase my previous assumptions.

I’m not the only semi-intelligent person who has thoughtfully integrated religion into daily life. I propose that the religious individual can be smart, savvy, and diverse in belief and practice. I propose that we don’t all try to impose a strict set of beliefs and judge those who don’t fit our ideas.

I propose that – hey! – we aren’t morons. And that our Sunday mornings, and Friday sunsets, and Monday fastings, and daily prayers (how pedestrian of Gates to suggest worship only occurs one day and time) are a gloriously inefficient but wonderful allocation of our time.

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