I’ve purchased a book called “all about love” by bell hooks (the lowercase in intentional by the author). I was mostly enjoying it up until the chapter on spirituality where she seems to basically blame the lack of love and emotional fulfillment in modern society on “secular individualism” and “materialism.” I think she says some things that make sense here about the need to step away from consumerism as a means of fulfilling our emotional needs. But it also seems like she is saying all “true” spirituality is love, and the opposite is secularism/consumerism/atheism/nihilism. And that chafes on me very badly. It makes me not to read this book any more. 🙁

Example quotes:
“A culture that is dead to love can only be resurrected by spiritual awakening. On the surface it appears that our nation has gone too so far down the road of secular individualism, worshiping the twin gods of money and power, that there seems to be no place for spiritual life… The crisis of American life does not seem to be generated by a lack of interest in spirituality. However, this interest is constantly co-opted by the powerful forces of materialism and hedonistic consumerism.”

“Organized religion has failed to satisfy spiritual hunger because it has accommodated secular demands, interpreting spiritual life in ways that uphold the values of a production-centered commodity culture.”

I don’t think she actually means to say atheism and secular philosophies are nihilist and void of love and meaning. I think she’s just using the terms to contrast with her own version of “true religion,” saying that the problem of lovelessness in our society have been caused by secular ideas and can only be fixed by a true “spiritual awakening.” Believe anything you want, be spiritual,  just don’t be secular!

Maybe it’s just an unavoidable consequence of a belief that “God is love.”