As far as I know, I'm the only person who calls himself a “Spiritual Rationalist.” About a year ago, I described the tenets of “Spiritual Rationalism in my blog post, The Philosophy of Heather Manning. In that post, I organized S.R. into 10 separate planks.
However, I didn't believe - and still don't believe - that a “Spiritual Rationalist” must believe in all 10 planks. Rather, my intention was to organize Heather’s personal version of S.R as described in The Mustard Seed. After all, S.R. is a philosophy of individualism and creativity which - by definition - could never have the dogma of an organized religion. And besides, dogma would severely limit its appeal.
Having said all that, I do think that a “Spiritual Rationalist” should have the following 3 qualities…
1) Respect for Reality and a commitment to using Reason to master Reality
2) Acceptance of the spiritual element to Life, and finding pleasure in that element
3) A conviction that it is appropriate, and indeed beneficial, to use Reason to understand Spirituality
That’s it. Just those 3 things. Everything else is commentary.
Who can be a Spiritual Rationalist?
*She can be a member of an organized religion (such as Christianity or Islam) as long as she thinks that Revelation is an aid to Reason instead of a substitute for Reason (i.e, anyone who isn't a fundamentalist).
*She can be a Darwinist.
Who CAN’T be a Spiritual Rationalist?
* She can't believe that Religion and Reason belong to separate spheres that shouldn’t overlap (i.e., someone like Dr. Francis Collins)
* She can't believe that Reality is an illusion (i.e, most Buddhists)
*She can't be an agnostic who is leans more towards atheism than theism (i.e., someone like Arthur C. Clarke)
With that in mind, here’s a list of historical figures who I think would probably qualify as “Spiritual Rationalists…”
Jiddu Krishnamurti, Philosopher
Albert Schweitzer, Philosopher
David Bohm, Scientist
Freeman Dyson, Scientist
This is surely an incomplete list, and I will add to it as time goes on. And if you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Also, I’d like to begin a series in which I go into detail about each of these person’s philosophical and spiritual beliefs (like I did with Alfred Wallace). So stay tuned!