Of all the virtues and values I’m discussing in this series, thinking for yourself is probably the least ‘spiritual’. A lot of people associate spirituality more with ‘intuition’ (or even emotion as some have noted in the comments) than with thinking. Yet thinking for yourself is a central concept in many new religious movements. It belongs in the same lineup as ‘not dogmatic’ and ‘scientifically sound’ (think Quantum spirituality and stuff).
The rational is central in our culture: education, tests, measurement and science. All of those are known for systematic and rational thought. Drawing your own conclusions is demanded in university. Continual questioning is a matter of course.
We are continually trained in this and it is at this point that traditional religion has most to loose. People become Buddhist with the relief of knowing that they get to decide for themselves whether the teachings of the Buddha are true or not. The same is true for Theosophy and Wicca – to name just two.
Christianity and Islam – both with teachings that one vows to believe in, in order to belong – fight against modernity (well – not all of them, but a sizable minority). The point is: tradition sets store in certain ideas, concepts and interpretations without granting the right to each individual to figure out what the truth in them is. A lot of people simply can’t accept this any more.
We have been trained to think for ourselves to such an extent that we rise in protest in groups where we can’t.