Considering how difficult it is to judge objective statements about social reality, it is even more challenging with spiritual reality. However, spiritual reality exists, human language can attempt to describe it, and therefore, it is possible to make objective statements regarding spiritual reality. Throughout this blog there have been numerous such claims. One simple one is that “justice is a faculty of the human soul that enables one to see with one’s own eyes”. The nature of this statement is objective – it describes an ability of a human being to discern truth through an investigative process free from prejudice, an ability that is inherently latent and needs to be developed. This type of claim, along with its implications, can be observed, studied, and analyzed.
Yet, not all statements about spiritual nature are objective – many, such as personal feelings when reading spiritual writings, meditating, spiritual experiences, etc, fall into the category of subjective yet valid statements. However, the existence of this category of observations about spiritual reality does not negate the ability to make objective statements. Thus, someone can describe a subjective spiritual response to a prayer, and also put forth a thoughtful objective claim regarding a human being’s relationship with prayer. One has to distinguish between subjective experiences and objective claims, for – just like with social reality – many try and pass off vain imaginings as objective.
That some people disagree with some statement on spiritual reality also does not negate the objectivity of that statement. As a parallel example, regarding the objective statements made about the interaction of light with an object giving rise to its property of color, most words used only have meaning to those intellectually trained in physics – for others, the statement is meaningless. With spiritual reality, then, objective statements would be less meaningful to those whose spiritual susceptibilities haven’t been developed – they wouldn’t understand nor accept such statements.
To practice justice implies that one knows through one’s own knowledge, not through the biases of society’s classroom, pulpit, or media. Just like with the science of physical reality, objectivity is not altered by subjective experiences nor by the disagreement of people.
What are some objective observations regarding spiritual reality? How can you test them?
5 replies on “Objective Spiritual Reality”
It would seem to me that everything is subjective. Spiritual beliefs. Morality. I know secular atheists that are some of the most just people I know(if not some of the least inspired) and I know Christians that are some of the most close minded and I’ve read works of science that were far more elevating than the scriptures. It’s all depends upon your point of view and whatever gets you through the dark of night. There would seem to be a direction and a purpose but does anyone have the right or ability to point the way? I have to wonder if this hasn’t caused more disagreement than harmony throughout history.
One way we can maybe look at it is from the perspective of the human being. As humans we have two essential aspects to our existence, our material and spiritual aspect. Our physical bodies, the world we live in are governed by laws which science explores and tries to make comprehensible. On the flip side is our spiritual nature also referred to as the soul. The laws that govern the existence of the soul are different and again not mutually exclusive from science. These are spiritual laws. Generally religion has been the body of knowledge that tries to explore and make such laws comprehensible. Not to dwell on this to much though, it does come down to faith and belief, which are areas that science does not venture in and will never be able to given the nature of the subjects. Ethics as a philosophy is a very valuable branch of knowledge which has served great purposes, the existence of which does not necessarily invalidate spiritual existence. There is a great quote from the Baha’í writings in reference to faith: “By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge and second, the practice of good deeds.”. This is helpful in trying to understand our discussions as faith is no longer seen as some blind or inaccessible belief. It is actually a conscious thought followed by purposeful action. So one way that we might go about exploring spiritual reality is through the operationalization of certain belief or truth claims to spiritual existence. For example the truth claim that we are spiritual beings needs to be operationalized and contrasted against other operationalized experiences were spirituality is ignored.
sorry just one more thought to add….. this last part about operationalizing can in fact be very scientific in its method and an area were psychologists, biologists, anthropologists, and sociologists could contribute to significantly.
Maybe an example of an objective observation regarding spiritual reality could be that of confirmation?
The basic idea is that if one makes an effort towards a noble goal, his effort will be confirmed and doors will open.
It is very easy to test this statement through personal experience. For example: Pick a noble goal, a simple achievable one, such as making your closest neighbors happier. Make an effort towards this goal – go and talk to them, share an uplifting story with them, see them as beautiful and capable and let this vision come through in your conversations. Help them in any way you can.
Then, observe their happiness levels and take notes. Do this again periodically.
The purpose of this experiment is to test if “doors open” – if what you know to be difficult to do becomes easier than you suspected. If it does, then your subjective experience confirms the objective observation offered above.
This is beautiful – thanks Lessan!