The video on CBS News claims that religion and spirituality is always changing. As a part of this report, it claims that religion and spirituality change according to the context. In other words, religious and spiritual practices and expressions adapt to the surrounding environment; the situation shapes the phenomena.
My immediate reaction to this claim is agreement. I affirm that spirituality and religion adapt to the surrounding environment. However, I also disagree, or at least wish to qualify that conclusion. While some religions have undergone severe change in modern times, other traditions retain their age-old values and practices. So I would say that some spiritual practices and expression alter according to society but not all of them do.
My reaction was primarily cognitive, considering whether I agreed or disagreed with the statement and why. I did not primarily react emotionally, by getting angry or sad or joyful. However, I was a bit frustrated with the news report, because it seems that the news consistently claims an authoritative position on religion and spirituality. They champion some parochial or ultimate view of religion and offer no disclaimer or alternative perspective.
This reaction stems from my academic tendencies, which tend to analyze situations and only secondarily respond emotionally. This derives from my cultural background. Growing up in the Western academic world, many people claim that reason reigns supreme over feelings. When we approach a topic, we are taught to think, consider and reflect, and then respond. Teachers discourage us from generating a load of feelings and then reacting based upon those emotions. The cool, collected and thoughtful response takes precedence in the academic context and thus shaped the way that I responded to the news.
In terms of my reaction of frustration, this stems from personal values and a bit of prejudice. I value an equal hearing, where everyone gets to have their input and say, along with fair judgment. Furthermore, I hate when people are misrepresented; in other words, I hate lies. So when CBS News makes authoritative claims about religion and spirituality, claims that I find disproven based on other evidence, I feel that the news misrepresents certain religious groups. So this response stems not from a favoritism towards certain spiritual positions, but rather from a value for truth and proper representation.
This reflection shows that I need to determine ways to better incorporate my feelings. Although I was frustrated, religion is a very person issue in our society, and I need to develop convictions or at least express those convictions when interacting with news sources. Maybe I should get angry, maybe I should rejoice. While I see the strengths of reason and thinking before speaking, as demonstrated in this reflection, I also need to see the strengths of emotion. Emotions are human, and I need to feel them and use them.
This provides a path for further growth. I might watch more videos and read more reports regarding religion and spirituality. This class can help, as I will explore my emotions in future assignments, asking myself how I actually feel about something and also what that feeling leads me to do. Focusing on the connection between feeling and action may provide fruitful growth in my personal and professional development. For these issues span not only private society, but also professional culture, where everyone holds some view on religion and spirituality. I need to navigate that arena with wisdom, and that entails a proper grasp on my internal world. It influences my own life, my immediate relationships, and the world at large.