Tim Freke & Richard Cox, UFOs, 9-11, Climate And Truth |391|

Do you believe it is fraudulent for a person who does not believe in Spirituality to sell it?
No. But do I think Tim does not believe in spirituality? No. But I can see why you think he doesn't. I haven't read his books for years. All I know of him now is his appearances on Skeptiko. I have not been impressed, because I think he tries to solve problems that exist only in his imagination. I also think he is searching for something on a personal level - and this brings me to an issue I have with professional authors.They publish stuff they shouldn't and their publishers do not give a damn, because they make money so long as the author has marketable credibility.

Tim's apparent materialistic spirituality is essentially no different than Christianity's evolution into a theological construct which closed out 90% of human spirituality. It was trying to manage a diverse body of 'faithful' who retained connections with traditional ways - or at least made those links unappealing to more respectable believers. It was, finally, a failed strategy.

Tim isn't a theologian, and I don't find his arguments convincing. But evidently others do.

So let me reframe your question: Do I think that people who put a personal spin on spirituality should sell their version of it? No. Absolutely not. That is why I am not at all happy with the business of flogging books on spirituality and religion when they are written by people whose primary motive is to publish. It shouldn't be a business. The moment it becomes that there is a conflict of interest that is almost never disclosed. That does not mean I do not think that books on spirituality and religion should not be published. We need them - but as acts of service only. However it is a worthy endeavour to publish competently conducted research as a business proposition. What I am concerned about is opinion - as a theory or an interpretation.

I think opinion is important. I write my blog and participate in this forum. I have no interest in publishing for commercial gain. My opinion is coloured by these values. In Tim's case I think his problematic ideas arise from his role as a commercial author. I say this because I am aware that some thinkers incubate their deep ideas for a decade or longer - and my take on his theories is that they still have the umbilical cord attached. Some will say I am harsh and unkind in my assessment. But its my opinion - gratis.

A problem with being a professional author is that not a lot of people get to look at your argument before it gets published. Academics tend to be more cautious, often because their intended audience is fellow academics. I have been reading books on spirituality and religion for over 40 years, and I think I have developed a decent sense for the spirit of a text. There are only a few authors whose subsequent works attract me now. Tim isn't one.
 
But do I think Tim does not believe in spirituality? No.
You should listen to Freke's most recent one-on-one Skeptiko interview wherein he admits to being an Atheist Materialist.

...Christianity's evolution into a theological construct which closed out 90% of human spirituality. ...It was, finally, a failed strategy.
I do not share your belief that the goal of Christianity is or should be mass appeal.

Do I think that people who put a personal spin on spirituality should sell their version of it?
There is nothing wrong with authors like Dr. Joseph Farrell, Tim Freke, or George Harrison selling as many books as they can. Nobody forces people to buy those books. It is up to each individual to decide if the book is good or bad.
 
There is nothing wrong with authors like Dr. Joseph Farrell, Tim Freke, or George Harrison selling as many books as they can. Nobody forces people to buy those books. It is up to each individual to decide if the book is good or bad.
Again I agree, in principle. Hence the interrogative nature of my observation. While I generally an okay with the caveat emptor principle among people of good will, I am not so sure when predatory passion is invoked. I do not personally think Freke has a product fit for purpose, and I say it is his duty of care to assess that before flogging it to folk who are in no position to know better. This is not an argument against fair profit, more whether profit should be a primary motive in selling 'spiritual' content, as opposed to a fortunate consequence. I see Freke as straying into profit for its own sake, rather than benefiting by virtue of a genuine solid product. I am being hard on him because I see he has a primary responsibility of self-awareness i do not think he has discharged. By all means he can offer his ideas for free in a community capable of evaluating them - but selling them to people who cannot?
 
I am interested in your POV on then goal of Christianity.
I am a poor and unreliable apologist for Christianity because I am very new to it, and very uneducated about it compared to many other good posters here.

I was raised by Agnostic parents, and I spent decades learning to promote hard-kore F.U. Atheism because it seemed an effective way to rebel against a hated Texas Bible Belt Societal System I deemed unfair, unjust, and hypocritical.

That caveat being said :), my initial impression upon recently beginning a non-adversarial study of Christianity is that seeking mass appeal is a doctrinal error.

Right now I'm comparing various flavors of Christianity; Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, fundie nutter Literalism, ...almost everything.

One thing I notice right away is the Ecumenism and Universalism historically lead to failure. Churches which adopt those doctrines wind up becoming tools of Evil, serving Elite gangsterism, and financially and politically corrupt.
 
By all means he can offer his ideas for free in a community capable of evaluating them - but selling them to people who cannot?
I think we agree that earning a Fair Profit when selling Spirituality is not morally wrong.

I think Caveat Emptor applies more strongly here than you believe. Freke's customers are grown-ups. It is their duty to detect by employing Logic and Reason that an Atheist selling Spirituality is fraudulent.

Freke has a moral obligation to be honest about what he is selling. The fact that he dances wildly to avoid confessing that he is an Atheist indicates he is fully aware his customers would be displeased by that intelligence. Deception = Awareness of wrong-doing = greater Moral Culpability.
 
Freke has a moral obligation to be honest about what he is selling. The fact that he dances wildly to avoid confessing that he is an Atheist indicates he is fully aware his customers would be displeased by that intelligence. Deception = Awareness of wrong-doing = greater Moral Culpability
I am not sure what he thinks he is selling and what we think he is selling would fit together.
 
I think Caveat Emptor applies more strongly here than you believe. Freke's customers are grown-ups. It is their duty to detect by employing Logic and Reason that an Atheist selling Spirituality is fraudulent.
They may be adults, but not always good at reason and logic, duty or not. This is so often the case with spirituality and religion. But there is no by-passing personal responsibility - just going through the pain of being misled until you figure it out.
 
That caveat being said :), my initial impression upon recently beginning a non-adversarial study of Christianity is that seeking mass appeal is a doctrinal error.
Charlie, I never took you for a mystic! Virtually all Christianity that is not mystical is the fruit of the desire to dominate other ways of knowing. Read Tom Harpur's The Pagan Christ before you are persuaded it is the work the devil. Freke did do some earlier good work with The Jesus Mysteries - before he decided to invent his own system and become a de facto atheist.

I am not saying believe the content those 2 books without critical evaluation but they do add a dimension to the source of ideas in what became the Pauline line of the faith - the main one that survived. You actually have to work very hard to find non-doctrinal origins of the faith. Scholars have been arguing about it for ages. Nothing is settled or proven, despite claims otherwise (on all sides) - and perhaps that's the way it is meant to be - because if you are not working for insight and understanding you will get nothing of value.
 
if you are not working for insight and understanding you will get nothing of value.
Well said!

I read The Jesus Mysteries many years ago and already know all the Christ-Myth stuff from Acharya S. and Bart Erhman, et al.

My research method is to begin investigating at the extremes, and work my way to the middle. I adopted this method when evaluating governmental policies as part of my Master's work in Public Policy at University.

The benefit of this method is that it leaves nothing out. Perhaps the Bolsheviks were right? Perhaps the Monarchists are right? You can't know unless you A/B test them all.

Regarding Spirituality, I already have a good handle on the extreme Atheist / Mythicist side of things. I am just now beginning to sort through the extreme other pole.
 
Well said!

I read The Jesus Mysteries many years ago and already know all the Christ-Myth stuff from Acharya S. and Bart Erhman, et al.

My research method is to begin investigating at the extremes, and work my way to the middle. I adopted this method when evaluating governmental policies as part of my Master's work in Public Policy at University.

The benefit of this method is that it leaves nothing out. Perhaps the Bolsheviks were right? Perhaps the Monarchists are right? You can't know unless you A/B test them all.

Regarding Spirituality, I already have a good handle on the extreme Atheist / Mythicist side of things. I am just now beginning to sort through the extreme other pole.
Persistent method-driven inquiry is, I think, the only really useful approach. It cuts through the noise and glamour - eventually. It may leave you with nothing to know for sure, save what really ain't so.

As a long serving bureaucrat I wish many of my colleagues had done your masters work in public policy. Unfortunately faith and belief based thought permeates our psyches, culture and its institutions - unless countered by intentional effort to rise above it. I have just listened to an audiobook of J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy. It is sobering reminder of how it should be the fruits, and not the intents, of policies that are measure of our compassion - and hence show us the magnitude of failure. Ditto our faiths and beliefs. It takes courage to ask 'what have we achieved?' - and then listen to the answers.
 
Top