Final Essay – Defining Spiritualism by Rev. Lucinda Parker
Perhaps the most important quote in the entire course is “…but we must remember that we are not ministering to ourselves, we are ministering to people who are searching for meaning. It is important therefore that we learn to minister to all people.”
As a trained and practicing environmental scientist who is also deeply spiritual, I found Defining Spiritualism an interesting read. It is really a history of scientific thought, and a discussion of the thinkers who have tried to explain our existence and purpose in this life. I have long believed that science is a religion but not spiritual. This course furthered those opinions. One drawback is that course is written based upon the assumption that scientifically minded, “prove it to me” type folks have no spiritual belief at all. No where does the author acknowledge that a great many scientists and scientifically based people are agnostics. This weakened the course.
The lessons on Marx, Darwin, Hegel and Freud were extremely well written. These two lessons made me sit down and think about the human condition and our thinking about it over the last fifty years. All too often we relegate philosophy to some unknown time a long time ago in some unknown, un-experienced place. These two lessons brilliantly demonstrated that philosophy and spiritualism are constantly evolving. These lessons also showed what happens when one person or group tries to convince any other person or group that “THIS is the ultimate answer you are seeking”. There is no ONE definition or right thought. I would have liked to see more on Einstein, Steven Hawkins and other recent great thinkers.
The worst lesson was the last lesson, although there were parts of the other lessons that drifted away from the topic too far. The author assumes everyone taking this course is Christian or will “end up” being a Christian. That assumption although never specifically stated, comes through loud and clear. As a non-Christian, I tired of the author’s proselytizing. He broke his own rule, as I quoted at the beginning of this essay “…but we must remember that we are not ministering to ourselves, we are ministering to people who are searching for meaning. It is important therefore that we learn to minister to all people.” His personal experience and belief detracted from the course. The last lesson should have been omitted for this very reason. In fact, the editor saved part of the day by adding a comment on a view of sin in non-Christian beliefs as distance from God. Rarely did the author mention any spiritual ideas other than monotheism.
If you are a Christian and have never studied the history of intellectual thought, this course is a good start.
Rev. Lucinda Parker
The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.
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