Religion Without Belief

Last night I had the great pleasure of presenting some ideas to The Sydney Psychology and Social Sciences Meetup as a talk entitled “Religion Without Belief“. It was my first attempt to talk to a general audience about some of the ideas from integral spirituality, which meant that I had to find a way to discuss the post-metaphysical stance without too much background. I’m not certain I succeeded and it certainly took me quite a while to get to anything resembling a point.

Fortunately, the group was very welcoming and gentle with me. Several people who felt their needs weren’t being met very kindly asserted their needs without being critical, and I was able to adjust my course a little. I had an absolutely lovely time and some delightful conversation before, during and after.

Some folks made a recording of the talk, which I gather will appear on the web in due course, so I’ll update this entry with a link to that. In the meantime, I’m posting my Prezi, a gallery of the images I used and a brief bibliography for anyone who’d like to read further.

Images from "Religion Without Belief"


Wilber, K. “Integral Spirituality”, Integral Books, Boston, MA, 2006
A lot of the ideas in the talk come from this book. If the idea of post-metaphysical spirituality appeals to you. Go look here.

Macarius the Egyptian, Spiritual Homilies – the vision of Ezekiel I read out came from the opening of this. Macarius goes on to discuss the symbolism of the vision.

Wallace, B. A. “The Attention Revolution”, Wisdom Publications, 2006 – Wallace is the neuro-scientist and Buddhist I mentioned briefly who is studying the effects of Buddhist meditation. Here is his web page, the page for his research institute and a description of the research project. He comes to Sydney once or twice a year to offer retreats.

Fowler, W. J. “Stages of faith: the psychology of human development and the quest for meaning”, Harper, 1995 – I mentioned Fowler’s developmental model of spirituality in passing. This is the book where he lays out his research. There are summaries on Wikipedia and here.

Bourgeault, C. “Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening”, Cowley, 2004 – The style of meditation in the Christian tradition that I’m most fond of is called Centering Prayer. This book is an excellent introduction to it.

Finally, I promised a few people a reference to my own church and what we’re up to. The main church website for the Apostolic Johannite Church is here, our local parish in Sydney is here and you can sign up to the regular newsletter via the form on the front page. I’m running a Centering Prayer workshop later this month, so if you’re interested in exploring the Christian tradition in terms of what you can do, rather than what you need to believe, come along!

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