The Problem with Religious Belief

Religious beliefs present many logical problems. If hell is a fiery place under the earth, why have geologists never found sign of it?  Where would heaven actually be in the skies that astronomers have never located? If the Christian God would only save Christians, doesn’t that make him mean, unfair and unjust? Could a good God really not care about all those people who lived before Jesus, and those in different parts of the world who will never hear of him? If the Bible really contains the tr … [Read more...]

Trust…and the Religious Believer

How does the issue of trust figure into religious belief? Who shows greater trust—religious believers, or nonbelievers?In their article, “Trust in a “Fallen World”: The Case of Protestant Theological Conservatism,” researchers Hempel, Matthews and Bartkowski[1] shed light on this issue that helps us reason it through. Following their argument to its natural endpoint, and adding spiritual development theory into the mix brings us to a most counter-intuitive and paradoxical conclusion. But then … [Read more...]

The Big Misunderstanding

  There is something religious believers don’t understand. It is about humanists (and others who don’t explicitly believe in God)—and it is important.Unfortunately some types of preachers imply that without belief in God we are forced into sinful, chaotic lifestyles and empty, meaningless lives.  Nothing could be farther from the truth. While some nonbelievers may lead completely lawless, undisciplined lives, there is another whole type of nonbeliever for whom this is just not so. Many human … [Read more...]

Oneness—Not Just for Buddhists

Most people are probably somewhat aware of the oneness principle of Buddhism.  For Buddhists, oneness means there is no separation between one person and another, no separation between people and the substance of the universe, and no separation between the physical and the spiritual parts of one’s being. But it turns out even non-Buddhists can benefit from incorporating some oneness wisdom into their lives.Let's start by considering the opposite of oneness—divisiveness. Unfortunately, there i … [Read more...]

Beyond Religious Certainty – Spiritual Growth

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”                                                                                              Voltaire. Like many of the traits of spiritual maturity, the idea that doubt could be more desirable than certainty is not something most people readily understand. Of course in some aspects of life, certainty is preferable to doubt. We want to have certainty that we filed our taxes on time, for example. We want to be certain that the surgeon … [Read more...]

Beware about Back to Church Sunday!

As part of a growing national movement to ignite "spiritual awakening" in America, more than 14,000 churches are expected to invite people to come back to church on National Back To Church Sunday (NBTCS), Sept. 16, 2012. sounds like a very good movement – until you consider two things:1)          The organization’s statement of faith includes only the most insular and parochial view of spirituality. It … [Read more...]

Do You Have to Believe in God to Be Spiritual?

A careful study of the spiritual development literature reveals that you most certainly do NOT have to believe in God to be spiritual.  Various academic theorists who have studied this empirically, and some highly spiritual people writing about  their own path, have all described a similar process by which a person comes into spiritual maturity. Taken together their writings can be lumped into a general category called spiritual development theory.[1]Though often cryptically worded, these w … [Read more...]

Beyond the Ten Commandments

Our world has changed since the Ten Commandments were written.  It is time we stop limiting our morality to the avoidance of graven images and covetous feelings toward our neighbor’s goods. In fact, it is time we realize that in today’s complex society, morality has to be about much more than a bunch of “thou shalt not’s!”  How about a few positive messages, or “thou shalt’s?” Realizing that many traditionally religious people depend on the Ten Commandments for right living and recog … [Read more...]

Are There Atheists in Foxholes?

Various research projects have produced conflicting answers to this question. Some found that when faced with the possibility of death, an avowed atheist is likely to reneg on that position and perhaps call out for help to a God he never believed in before. But other studies have found the opposite—that in a brush with death, both religious believers and nonbelievers were each inclined to reinforce their own belief stance.One possible reason for this inconclusive evidence is the failure of t … [Read more...]

Is spiritual non-attachment healthy?

Various readings tell us that spiritual maturity includes striving for an attitude of non-attachment. What does this mean? Well, someone who is attached to a particular outcome has his hopes set on that situation turning out a certain way. He wants to be sure he gets the new job he wants. She wants to be sure it doesn’t rain on the big picnic she has planned for the weekend. They want to be sure their political candidate wins the election. Obviously, on issues overwhich we have l … [Read more...]