Time Magazine and Pagan Spirituality

Time Magizine for the week of October 25 has, as its cover story, THE GOD GENE, but the part that caught my attention was a sub-heading on a quiz to help the reader judge how spiritual he or she happens to be. My wife and I took the test, but I have to say, by the second question both of us were laughing. It was difficult to take it seriously, largely because the focus of the "spirituality" the quiz sought to gage was so obviously pagan in its purpose. This leaves Christians like us grouped with the most hard core of sceptics. In the end, both of us answered two of the twenty questions with a true (though even these were somewhat qualified by both of us).

Here are the questions, each is to be answered with a simple TRUE or FALSE:
  1. I often feel so connected to people around me that it is like there is no separation between us.
  2. I often do things to help protect animals and plants from extinction.
  3. I am fascinated by many things in life that cannot be scientifically explained.
  4. Often I have unexpected flashes of insight or understanding while relaxing.
  5. I sometimes feel so connected to nature that everything seems to be part of one living organism.
  6. I seem to have a "sixth sense" that sometimes allows me to know what is going to happen.
  7. Sometimes I have felt like I was part of something with no limits or boundaries in time and space.
  8. I am often called "absent-minded" because I get so wrapped up in what I am doing that I lose track of everything else.
  9. I often feel a strong sense of unity with all the things around me.
  10. Even after thinking about something a long time, I have learned to trust my feelings more than my logical reasons.
  11. I often feel a strong spiritual or emotional connection with all people around me.
  12. Often when I am concentrating on something, I lose awareness of the passage of time.
  13. I have made real personal sacrifices in order to make the world a better place, like trying to prevent war, poverty and injustice.
  14. I have had experiences that made my role in life so clear to me that I felt very happy and excited.
  15. I believe that I have experienced extrasensory perception.
  16. I have had moments of great joy in which I suddently had a clear deep feeling of oneness with all that exists.
  17. Often when I look at an ordinary thing, something wonderful happens. I get the feeling that I am seeing it fresh for the first time.
  18. I love the blooming of flowers in the spring as much as seeing an old friend again.
  19. It often seems to other people like I am in another world because I am so completely unaware of things going on around me.
  20. I believe that miracles happen.

(Time Magazine, Oct. 25, 2004, pg. 51. Devised by Washington University psychiatrist Robert Clonginger, author of Feeling Good: The Science of Well Being)

In my view this test is so obviously weighted for a New Age, or paganistic spirituality, that it will completely miss the most common forms of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic spirituality. To say that I was disappointed is a great understatement (though I admit that I still get a chuckle as I read several of these questions...)



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