Original Research - Special Collection: SPIRASA Spirituality 2018

Spirituality and belief: Implications for study and practice of Christian spirituality

Diana L. Villegas
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 3 | a5037 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.5037 | © 2018 Diana L. Villegas | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 April 2018 | Published: 27 August 2018


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Abstract

The aim of this article is to show the inherent connection between spirituality and belief and the significance of this for the study and practice of Christian spirituality. John Hick, a scholar of religion, argues that religions arose in human culture in order to offer beliefs and practices that respond to the human quest for meaning and transcendence. Assuming spirituality refers to consciously living life in terms of such beliefs and rituals, then religion’s function in culture is to provide a spirituality. Based on the latter theory, I argue for the importance of theological or confessional reflection regarding contemporary belief, given that theology reflects on the beliefs of a religion and at its best helps persons understand and integrate their beliefs into the living of life at a particular historical-cultural moment. In our contemporary globalised, pluralistic culture the influence on spiritual practice of multiple sources of wisdom is common, as shown by sociological studies discussed in this study. This cultural context calls for identification, understanding and interpretation of the beliefs of Christians, as well as study regarding how these beliefs fulfil the purpose of religion in human culture, namely offering ways of living with suffering, evil and questions about the meaning of life. I argue such study fulfils both practical and theoretical function

Keywords

Belief; spirituality; Christian spirituality; spirituality; theology

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