This Above All: to Thine Own Self Be True…

In keeping with the idea of posting more real life stories sent in by readers, I invited former pastor Tim Hoehn to write up his own story (seeing it was more involved than I could adequately express) I believe it shows movement from the Faithful stage, through a period of questioning, and to a Mystic stance. Read on and see if you agree.   Springtime, 1974. All the festivities that accompany a college graduation unfolded around me — a full auditorium, proud parents, classmates … [Read more...]

Les Misérables – Spiritual Types in Valjean and Javert

I recently saw the movie musical Les Misérables, and I could not help noticing the clear spiritual typecasting in two of the main characters – Jean Valjean and his nemesis Javert. Author Victor Hugo wrote the original story long before the spiritual stages were recognized and appreciated. But he must have somehow understood them intuitively, as these two characters he created almost perfectly exemplify the Mystic and the Faithful stages, respectively. Valjean was released after a … [Read more...]

Introducing Readers’ Stories

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From time to time on this site, I will be posting stories real people have sent in that somehow resonate with the topic of my book, Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.  The book  describes a process of moving toward what may be called post-critical faith. This is a more fluid, and more personal type of faith, that can arise after a period of questioning the religious beliefs dictated by outer religious authorities, or in a holy book.  If the spiritual … [Read more...]

Religious Certainty versus Certitude

Candle Flame

Some of the biggest problems today are caused by religious certainty. People who are very certain that their religion is better than all the others tend to want to impose the rules laid out in their Holy Book on everyone. They have little respect for the fact that some people are guided by other Holy Books, and other equally valid types of ideals based on values instead of beliefs.   Unfortunately this concept has spread into the political arena where religious literalists often try … [Read more...]

Religion vs Reasoning Skills

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Have you ever wondered what part human reasoning might play in religious belief and/or spiritual growth and maturity? It turns out a Swiss researcher in cognitive and religious development has studied this in depth. K. Helmut Reich, holding doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering, Physics, and Theology, has determined that human reasoning skills continue to develop throughout adulthood, and that different people reach a higher final reasoning level than others. He has gone so far as to … [Read more...]

Why – Spirituality?

Many people are intuitively attracted to the idea of spirituality - and probably just as many are repelled by it. Why is that? Some of the connotations of spirituality can be quite negative for rational-minded people, which can explain the latter situation. Communing with the dead, seeing past lives, and accessing other non-local realities is not appealing to those who pride themselves on their focus on the here and the now. To the strictly rational mind, anything that is not about the about our … [Read more...]

Where Do Atheists Get Their Morality?

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Some atheists, to be sure, are without morals.  But many/most who have actually thought through their beliefs sufficiently to call themselves atheist have moved beyond the need for moral rules supplied by the church.  Such people are principled and self-regulating and their morality comes from something deep inside themselves. To such people, the rules of a Church, or even the Ten Commandments seem superficial and too black and white. For example “Thou Shalt Not Steal.”  Well, there … [Read more...]

Are You Ready for Faith Beyond Belief? Take the Challenge!

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Are you ready to consider what a faith that is not grounded in religious belief might consist of? I am taking this opportunity to announce that my book, Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind, was published by Quest Books in October, 2012, and is now available. Despite its title, Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind is not a book against religion. Instead it challenges readers to consider a broader, more sophisticated … [Read more...]

Beyond the Corrupt Parts of Religion

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French philosopher Paul Ricoeur pointed out how many people are attracted to traditional religion out of a need for the rules it imposes and the comforts it can provide.  He called these two elements, (taboo and refuge) the “corrupt” parts of religion, and opined that in mature faith we must grow beyond these “baser needs.” Many of us are attracted to religion (probably at the subconscious level) because we need its rules to keep our behavior in line, or because we find such harsh … [Read more...]

Reexamining the Definition of Religion

Did you know that words like f-bomb, sexting, brain cramp, and earworm have now earned an official place in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary? Each year hundreds of new words are added to the dictionary in order to account for our ever-changing vocabulary. New words, such as copernicium, are introduced to account for scientific advancements. Other words, like e-reader, are included in the dictionary due to technological advancements. And some words, such as man cave and gastropub, are added due to … [Read more...]


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