Last Friday when President Obama held a press conference to acknowledge that he had received the Nobel Peace Prize I know many of you were expecting an…incident. Specifically, I imagined Kanye West jumping up to grab the mic from Obama and saying:
“YO OBAMA, IMMA GONNA LET YOU FINISH, BUT I JUST WANNA SAY THAT MARTIN LUTHER KING JR WAS THE BEST NOBEL PRIZE WINNER OF ALL TIME.”
p>And then I imagined a hail of gunfire by the Secret Service.
p>Well it looks as if Kanye West might have finally gotten the message and realized that his current path has him living firmly in the modes of passion and ignorance and moving away from enlightenment. He did not show up to the BET awards and he amazingly dropped out of the “Fame Kills” tour with Lady Gaga. Where in the world is Kanye? Where else? Reports have him cloistered away in Pondicherry, India learning Hinduism, or at least meditating and being all-around contemplative:
It seems West is taking some time out now for a religious retreat to reassess his life at a Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, a small coastal town in South India. According to an inside source he sees his life going in the wrong direction and feels badly about the VMA’s incident. [Link]
p>Remember the Newsweek article from a few weeks back titled, “We Are All Hindu Now?” Kanye is not alone. Lots of Americans are gravitating to some form of Hinduism, perhaps even unbeknownst to them:
According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”–including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious,” according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005. Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great–and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”… [Link]
I believe that Newsweek is somewhat incorrect in their assessment. It isn’t Hinduism that an increasing number of Americans are converting to. Rather, it is Deism (which can be argued is very similar to certain forms of Hinduism):
… a new study about the rise of “Nones,” Americans who profess no religious affiliation. Trinity College analysts now conclude that None’s make up 15% of the population and that, given their rate of rapid growth, they might surpass the nation’s largest denominations.
The rise of the Nones is usually decried by religious leaders as a sign of secularization or atheism’s ascent but get this: 51% say they believe in God. [Link]
So what do I think of Kanye trying to find peace in India? I am not going to be cynical about it. Anyone that wants to better themselves should be encouraged. And, if he is truly inspired while in Pondicherry and wants to record a new song called “Krishna Walks,” I’ll buy it.