Praise for Faith Beyond Belief

"In this thought-provoking first book, former optometrist Johnston, who has studied spiritual development, allies herself with the "beyond religion" movement, in which nonbelievers or those who are "post-organized religion" advance toward spiritual maturity through emotional intelligence, psychology, ethics, and critical thinking outside of traditional religious structures and belief systems. Interweaving personal stories from Catholics, a Mormon, a Muslim, Protestants, and others with accumulated core insights from human development experts, including Abraham Maslow, Lawrence Kohlberg, Gordon Allport, and James Fowler, Johnston identifies five stages of "deconversion" and spiritual growth: Lawless, Faithful, Rational, Rational Plus, and Mystic.

Understanding this natural movement, indicates Johnston, may shift the expanding "spiritual, but not religious" demographic toward more satisfying spiritual depths. Describing many religious institutions as "exclusionist, ethnocentric, judgmental, and triumphalist," Johnston maps a future for religion that is "post-critical," heterodox, mystery-centered, and teaches moral reasoning rather than doctrinal adherence. Building on what psychiatrist M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled (1978) and People of the Lie (1983) did for a segment of Protestantism in the 1980s, Johnston may provide similar direction for the postmodern meaning-starved spiritual seekers who are becoming adults in what philosopher Curtis Carter has termed a "transreligious" world."
Publishers Weekly

"Margaret Placentra Johnston's Faith Beyond Belief gives us a good way to know the experience of those who have rejected their own church, but who are nevertheless engaged in a spiritual search beyond the conventional language and categories that left them feeling empty and could not engage them. As such, it is an excellent way to get a feel for what the issues are and the way they are experienced by a growing segment of American society who are 'spiritual but not religious.' You can feel the difference in the openness, the inquiring mind, the caring soul that this book unveils."
—Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation and The Left Hand of God

"If you're looking for smart insights about spiritual growth, grounded in solid research and presented through fascinating real-life stories, you've found it. Even if you're not looking or religion is not your interest, you'll be glad you picked up Faith Beyond Belief. There's no denying that our spiritual beliefs impact our lives. Even if we've replaced them with rationality or a different teaching, they inform our worldview. Author Margaret P. Johnston gives us a clear-eyed view into the varieties and fascinating food-for-thought about our own spiritual maturity. A darn good book."
—Reverend Margaret J Shepherd, MBA, MDiv., author of The Visionbuiders Manual: 9 Steps to Panoramic success for your Company, Career or Cause

1/8/2013 5:00:00 AM