“I’m a spiritual person.” How often have you heard family, friends, and co-workers make that statement? People, religious or not, recognize that failure to acknowledge a spiritual side to life is almost a human heresy. We humans have this crazy idea that life without a spiritual component is incomplete. Most people claim that they are spiritual, but when pushed for details just recite a litany of vague feelings that suggests there is more to life than physical existence. So what exactly is it they are experiencing?
We all scour the seashore of discontent searching for something of value, something to give meaning and purpose to our lives. We pick up a beautiful seashell, hold it to our ear, and hear the rumblings of a restless roaring sea. We think we have found the elusive spirit that makes us truly human. Excited, we head to the beach party and share our find with friends. We sit around the fire and pass the shell around like a peace pipe, each human placing it next to his ear and smiling at the sounds of the untamed spiritual ocean beyond. The therapy session is then interrupted by one particularly astute surfer dude, who, after listening intently, peaks inside and finds the shell empty. It appears that this particular self-help beach party was smoking more than peace. They had all fooled themselves into believing that this emptiness was actually a spiritual encounter. As we all know, misery loves company, so mankind rallies around the gaping spiritual hole in their lives, holding each others' hands and chanting their “centering words,” which in the end, only fills the empty chasm with groans of unhappiness rather than the contented sighs of the Holy Spirit.
Frequently, the discovery of one’s spiritual nature is so exciting that we neglect the importance of filling the void properly. We fail to recognize that the spiritual hole in our lives is a Judeo-Christian God-shaped hole that can only be adequately filled by Him. Most people end up spending their lives trying to pound, square-shaped gods into their circular God-shaped hole. Religion becomes the void itself and not its proper filling. Sadly, those who are deaf to God’s spoken Word try to fill the silence with the banging of their own spiritual gong.
Aren’t you a little bit curious as to why there is such a plethora of books on spirituality crowding our bookstore shelves? These New Age books huddle together like unhappy people looking for love at a singles bar. We see our lonely friends and colleagues hook up with a new one every few months hoping to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, only to discover a Dear John letter on the kitchen table and a drained bank account.
The evidence for the failure of these books to fill our spiritual emptiness is quite impressive. If these New Age spirituality books truly had answers to the perennial questions of how to obtain happiness, purpose, and meaning, then we would all have a copy and the world would be a better place. We humans may be easily deceived by spiritual puppy love, but in the end we are immensely practical and would rather spend an eternity with man’s best Friend.
These books enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame and then are taken out of the Holy of Holies display at our local bookstore and cast unceremoniously into the Court of the Gentiles in order to make room for the next wave of “god” wannabes. Isn’t it interesting that these alleged spiritual Holy Grails end up in bargain bins? These “gods” of man’s creation are removed from their New Age thrones and tossed onto half-price street where they are demoted to fortune-tellers begging for money on the side of the road. The only book that remains a consistent best seller is the Bible. Don’t you think that fact alone suggests that Scripture may actually contain the answers to life’s biggest questions?
Even science is forced to occasionally adopt mystical language because they know that unless they acknowledge the spiritual side of life, they will quickly be dismissed by the masses. The reason that Carl Sagan became so popular was not because he was such a good scientist, but rather because he was such a good “televangelist for naturalism.” He made evolution downright spiritual. In the process of debunking religion, he inadvertently created his own.