This article takes constructive steps toward redescribing an emic folk category that enjoys widespread use in contemporary Western discourse, but has proven problematic for the academic study of religion. On close examination, the term “spirituality” is demonstrated to be vague, essentialist, and narcissistic, though consistent enough in its usage to reveal a cluster of specific associations, assumptions, and normative judgments. Moreover, the purported dichotomy between “spirituality” and “religion” can be rendered more intelligible through an ironic and imaginative juxtaposition with the contrast between male and female reproduction organs, with regard to physical appearance and location, social dynamics, and ethical implications.
EckelMalcolm DavidPattonK. C.RayB. C.Contested identities: The study of buddhism in the postmodern world.A Magic Still Dwells: Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age2000BerkeleyUniversity of California5562
HermanJonathan R.GirardotN. J.MillerJamesXiaoganLiuDaoist environmentalism in the west: Ursula K. Le Guin’s reception and transmission of daoism.Daoism and Ecology: Ways Within a Cosmic Landscape2001CambridgeHarvard University Center for the Study of World Religions391406