Is Continuing Creation a Spiritual Path? Yes and no. The word “spiritual” has different meanings to different people.
Conventional or Traditional Spirituality
Most people feel that spiritual only relates to things that are supernatural and incorporeal. These include phenomena that are part of conventional religions — God, saints, ghosts, angels, religious rituals like the Holy Eucharist, singing traditions of African Americans, and the faiths of religious people everywhere.
That is how the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “spiritual,” and how Wikipedia describes it in their full-length article, Spirituality.
From there, we can apply this definition say that a Spiritual Path is a practice and a way of life designed to deepen and clarify a person’s spirituality.
“Secular spirituality is the adherence to a spiritual philosophy without adherence to a religion. Secular spirituality emphasizes the personal growth and inner peace of the individual, rather than a relationship with the divine. Secular spirituality is made up of the search for meaning outside of a religious institution; it considers one’s relationship with the self, others, nature, and whatever else one considers to be the ultimate. 1 Often, the goal of secular spirituality is living happily and/or helping others. 2
“’Spirituality is not incompatible with or opposed to science or the scientific outlook. Naturalized spirituality is spirituality without any need for the ‘other‐worldly’. Spirituality is one of the goals, perhaps the ultimate goal, of philosophy.’ ” 3
So, is Continuing Creation a Spiritual Path?
Clearly, Continuing Creation is a “Secular“ Spiritual Path; not a “Traditional” Spiritual Path.
Because of this, J.X. Mason changed the name of his Book from The Book of Continuing Creation: A Spiritual Path Based on Nature, Reason, & Science, to its present title, Continuing Creation: Finding Meaning & Purpose – In Nature, Reason, & Science. (Earth-centered spirituality without myths or miracle stories.)
We think the term “Secular Spirituality” is clumsy, however, and we seldom use it in The Book of Continuing Creation. The terms, “Eco-Spirituality,” “Earth-centered Spirituality,” Natural Spirituality, and “Nature-based Spirituality” are more descriptive.
Nature-centered or Earth-centered Spirituality
Your author, J.X. Mason, defines Nature-centered or Earth-centered Spirituality as the positive comprehension that all things (all processes, forces, matter, energy and living things) are interconnected. It is a cognizance of the Whole — and an appreciation of its pattern, creativity, and beauty. This apprehension, this understanding, can come suddenly or slowly, and it can feel transcendent.
How Do the Several Spiritualities Feel to People?
People experience Supernatural Spirituality and Natural Spiritualty in the same ways. They both can generate feelings of interest, energy, curiosity, positivity, purpose, motivation, well-being, fulfillment, and elation.
Both Supernatural Spirituality and Natural Spirituality can also generate emotions of awe, deep connection, belonging, enlightenment, awakening, fundamental understanding, wholistic appreciation, transcendence, joy, and love.
And we must include appreciation of beauty because be inhabit a universe filled with lovely things such flowers, music, trees, the biochemistry of photosynthesis, ocean surf, spiral galaxies, the symmetry between algebra and geometry, and the laughter of children.
While we don’t agree with all his ideas, the Reverend Michael Dowd is very good at translating traditional Christian concepts into Earth-centered concepts. His Eco-Credo: captures many of his key positions:
Reality is My God
Evidence Is My Scripture
The Epic of Evolution is My Creation Story
Ecology Is My Theology
Integrity Is My Spiritual Path
Ensuring a Just and Healthy Future for All Earth’s Life Is Our Mission
Nature-based Spirituality is Hardly New.
It is important to point out that two of the World’s oldest and most widely followed traditions, Taoism and Buddhism, did not begin as religions and they worshiped no God. Yet they were and still are Naturally Spiritual. We devote an entire Essay to Each of them. The Essay Evaluating Taoism and Zen has already been posted up to our Continuing Creation website. The Essay, Evaluating Buddhism will be posted in May or June, 2022. Like everything on our website, the Essays are free to read and carry no advertisements.
- Elkins, D. N.; Hedstrom, L. J.; Hughes, L. L.; Leaf, J. A. & Saunders, C. (1988). “Toward a humanistic-phenomenological spirituality”. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 28 (4): 10. doi:10.1177/0022167888284002. S2CID 145708067.
- Tony Wilkinson (2007). The Lost Art of Being Happy: Spirituality for Sceptics. Findhorn Press. ISBN 978-1-84409-116-4.
- Robert C. Solomon (2003). Spirituality for the Skeptic: The Thoughtful Love of life. Oxford Scholarship Online. ISBN 9780195134674.