Metamodernism, Russell Brand and Spiritual-But-not-Religious Soteriology

Russell Brand is a contemporary comedian, author, actor, activist, TM meditator and yoga practitioner, of whom, cards on the table, I am an unabashed fan-girl. He is also one of an increasing number of outspokenly “spiritual” celebrities today. Brand is unique among contemporary comedians in unapologetically integrating religious truth claims into both his stage act and his public persona. As such he represents a new kind of public figure whose popularity, I will contend here, reflects wide cultural acceptance of some of the central principles that underlie the spiritual-but-not-religious (SBNR) movement. The SBNR will be taken here as a loose grouping of a number of contemporary secular spiritualities, united in their willingness to be called “spiritual,” but, importantly, on their own terms.

Important work has been done in the last couple of years examining the constitutive elements of SBNR as well as The Nones (short for none-of-the-above, as in “no religious affiliation”) including problematizing assumptions about religious institutionality (e.g. is someone “religious” if they support a broad organizational body and/or attend some form of service, and…

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