What does God Really Look Like? – Time for A New Vision

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I am a bit tired of literal, anthropomorphic interpretations of God. Could there really be a bearded, gray-haired male deity in the sky judging our every move? Why would this guy even want to spawn offspring, and mystify people centuries later trying to figure out how that could have happened without the usual means for transmitting sperm? Was eating that apple in the Garden of Eden truly such a serious offense? Would God actually need to have his own “son” executed to redeem humankind for this e … [Read more...]

IS there an afterlife?

Today this question came through to me from AllExperts.com. I put a lot of thought into my response, so I thought I'd share it here.QUESTION: Dear Margaret, 5 years ago my wife passed away. Christian mythology, which has lasted 2000 years and been supported by some very wise people, promises if I only believe Jesus was God and rose from the grave I will be able to join my beloved in the afterlife and be with her forever. What does atheism have to offer that is even close to that? … [Read more...]

What Does Spiritual Progress Really Mean?

What is “spiritual progress?” The dictionary tells us the word progress means moving forward, advancing, creating better conditions or new policies or ideals. So how would a person move forward spiritually? What better conditions or new policies or new ideals would a spiritually advanced person promote?Forward movement—or progress—in spirituality has been pretty well defined through a generally known, but rarely articulated process that should one day come to be called spiritual development t … [Read more...]

Transcending the Self – through Kite Flying?

This You-tube clip – “Romancing the Wind” with Ray Bethell is well worth five minutes of your time. It’s beautiful, right? And of course it is nice to see a senior citizen who has found a pastime that keeps him active and engaged. But I believe there is also something important we can learn from it.The spiritual masters tell us the way to spiritual growth is through transcendence of self, and most of them claim meditation is the way to do that. They say that at advanced meditation levels, the … [Read more...]

Were the New Atheists Right?

Were the New Atheists Right? In the last decade, many people were impressed with the work of the New Atheist writers. These three authors each wrote a highly reasoned treatise against religion or God that hit the best-seller list around the middle of the last decade.  A few words about them from my book, Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind:[1] In God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens claimed that…religion has mi … [Read more...]

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 weary f … [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 ni … [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 de … [Read more...]

Religious Certainty versus Certitude

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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...]


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