Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Does Analytical Thinking Decrease Religious Belief?

Or do we simply need beliefs that stand up to logic?

The Huffington Post published an article about research suggesting that "prompting people to engage in analytical thinking can cause their religious beliefs to waver" to some degree.  Here’s my two cents on that suggestion, from the perspective of Spiritsm:

Having dared to dive deeply into their religious beliefs, people sometimes discover questions left unresolved or some specific teachings that do not make rational sense. Still, many do not lose their intuitive sense of a higher power. At that point they may become seekers. Alternatively, they even may choose to stay with their religion, turning to it as a way to connect with God and taking from it that which they find in agreement with their sentiment and reason.

Regardless, there is a reason why people believe so strongly about certain things they “feel” to be true, even when the complete set of teachings (meaning, taken in their entirety), in any particular religion or philosophy, does not resonate with their analytical thinking. Question # 959 of the The Spirits’ Book, for example, asks, “Where do we get our instinctive sense that there is a future life?”, and the spirits answered that it is from the knowledge we had before our (present) incarnation. Some of the initial Q&A's of this book also refer to this same intuitive belief that we have about the existence of God.

That said, many who hear this intuitive voice but take a hard look at their traditional religions or philosophies become restless with doubts and questions, and they start searching for something that can answer their questions without compromising reason or faith. What they are seeking is, in fact, the “rational faith” (as opposed to “blind faith”) that Kardec wrote about upon analyzing the Spiritist teachings and realizing their capacity to revolutionize our way of thinking.

A time has come in which our evolutionary human spirits seek to understand life and its meaning on a deeper level. But it must also be a practical level.  This is why so many find Spiritism to be a breath of fresh air.

We’re not looking for the mysterious or esoteric. We want to comprehend and be fully engaged. We want information that gives us insight into why we are here in this world, why we suffer through hardships that seem to have no fair cause, and how we can find happiness. We want to know that there is good reason for cultivating love and compassion. We want to understand our creator. We want to know what will happen to us when we “die” and if our loved ones that already passed on continue to live. We want explanations for supernatural phenomena that others try to dismiss. And the list goes on.

Friends, it is for this reason that Allan Kardec wrote that "unshakeable faith is only that which meets reason face to face in every epoch"1 and that “it is precisely the rationalism of our century that leads us to accept Spiritism”!2

Thank you for reading!
Blessings to all, today and always


1 "The Gospel According to Spiritism"  
See items 7 in Chapter XIX of The Gospel According to Spiritism by Allan Kardec [original title in French: L’√Čvangile Selon Le Spiritisme, published in 1864], translation © 2008 by the International Spiritist Council, published in 2008 by the International Spiritist Council.

2 What Is Spiritism? by Allan Kardec [original title in French: Qu’est-ce Que Le Spiritisme?, published in 1859], translation © 2010 by the International Spiritist Council, published in 2011 by the International Spiritist Council.