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Dalai Lama calls for humanity to move beyond religion

Sep 10, 2012

What do you call the head of one of the major world religions calling on humanity to progress beyond the shortcomings of all organized religions? As Redditor PocketHobbit put it, you simply call it “boss.”

Here’s what His Holiness The Dalai Lama posted on his Facebook wall earlier today:

Screen Shot 2012 09 10 at 2.11.54 PM Dalai Lama calls for humanity to move beyond religion

See what he did there? He separated “inner values” from “ethics” (at least until right at the end, where he mentions spirituality, but let’s ignore that for the moment.) The key reason for this separation, as he writes, is reality.

“Inner values” necessarily exist in a subjective, albeit meaningful, way. Ethics, on the other hand, exist in the relationships between people and must be predicated on shared, or objective reality. And asking someone to accept a religion’s mythic tales of reincarnation or resurrection as the basis for reality, and thus ethics, just isn’t fair.

Hence the wisdom of separating church and state, not praying in school, etc. You want to pray in church, more power to you. But as far as ethics goes, it’s time for humanity to progress beyond religion as a basis.

As for spirituality, we’re all on our own, there. But might we suggest Oliver Sacks’ excellent recent essay for The New Yorker. It’s a hell of a ride.

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