The Truth About Spirituality

Can you tell what's Christian from what's not?

Several years ago, I was excited that the topic of spirituality kept cropping up on talk shows, in books and magazines, in politics, even in health food stores.

What a refreshing change from the "God is dead" philosophy so prevalent during my college years in the sixties, I thought. In my naivete, I believed this spiritual awakening represented a trend toward a search for a biblically based relationship with God. I accepted what I heard and read with little critical thought.

Then, my nursing supervisor praised me one day for my "deep spirituality." I thanked her, secretly thrilled my Christian witness had been showing through. My excitement dissolved, though, when I read a book she gave me called A Course in Miracles. Although it used Christian lingo like atonement and sanctification, the concepts were far from Christian. I was puzzled. Weren't we speaking the same language? What had my supervisor meant by spirituality?

After that interchange, I began listening more closely to all the discussions of spirituality going on. Since then I've been learning how to discern whether the things I hear and read are truly Christian. Here are some guidelines I now use to tell the difference.

Logically examine the claims being made. Many statements about spirituality being passed off as "truth" today are not only lies, they're logically impossible. I discovered this when my daughter's public high school class planned a field trip to a meditation center known for its psychic readings. I objected, but the teacher justified the trip by saying this center taught spirituality—not religion. He claimed spirituality doesn't endorse one set of beliefs. That's simply not true. The basic (though flawed) belief system behind the whole concept of spirituality is that each person has a right to his or her own "truth"—that there's no such thing as objective, absolute truth. This view essentially makes each person responsible for deciding what's right or wrong, good or bad, truth or lie. The result: There is no truth; people do what's right in their own eyes.

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May 25

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