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Margaret P Johnston

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Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind
By Margaret P Johnston   
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Posted: Monday, July 09, 2012

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Synopsis of my upcoming book: Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind


Are you tired of the warring factions between religious believers and non-believers? Did the New Atheist writers seem to make good sense, yet leave the impression that something was missing? Are you willing to consider a new, overarching explanation for the atheist/believer controversy itself?

In Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind, real life stories from a former Mormon, a clandestine Muslim apostate and two others demonstrate how complete confidence in human reason can lead a person out of literal religious belief—but not out of the life principles and values that govern a good life. Exemplified to the extreme in the New Atheist writings, this “Rational” mindset is a necessary step on the road to spiritual maturity.

But determined Rational level seekers may eventually begin to suspect that human reason may not be the ultimate determinant of reality. They may become aware of complexities that muddy the waters and beckon expansion beyond the black and white thinking—the “binary logic”—that led them out of their religious beliefs in the first place. The second set of six real life stories in Faith Beyond Belief demonstrate what can happen next if the person remains open to further growth.

At the “Mystic” level literal religious belief is replaced by a more amorphous—and far more mature—form of spiritual faith. Here, truth and reality are recognized as multi-dimensional, doubt and paradox are tolerated, and spiritual concepts are interpreted metaphorically. The differences among the religions are seen as mere details. The person who has transformed to this level essentially takes on the traits of an evolved consciousness— humility, forgiveness, gratitude, acceptance and a unitive or universal worldview. The six Mystic level stories provide a glimpse of how these traits and the worldview of spiritual maturity might play out in everyday faith.

The ten Faith Beyond Belief stories and the surrounding discussion pave a painless path for the reader toward an understanding of how pre-critical (read “literal, fundamentalist, or the religious right”) religious belief differs from the post-critical (read “metaphorical and unitive”) stance of spiritual maturity. The faith process described is based upon basic commonalities in the writings of twelve spiritual development experts from academia, the spiritual literature and even New Age spirituality.

Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind challenges both traditional believers and non-believers alike to a more sophisticated understanding. It offers a broader explanation for readers whose rational minds demand a strictly scientific basis for our existence, but whose hearts still tug at the validity of a greater spiritual reality. This book aims to promote understanding and tolerance by illuminating a faith process that places us all at varying points along a common path toward unity and love.

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Reviewed by Margaret Johnston 7/16/2012
Thanks Vicky,

Just today I am working on taking that original website down. No point trying to maintain three websites. I appreciate the contributions you made to it.

My own stories were (are still at this moment) on that site. And they appear in my book in slightly different format. But now I am not supposed to put any parts of the book online without permission from the publisher. But it is all in the book, due out in two months.
Reviewed by Vicky Semones 7/9/2012
I'm thinking back to your original website, "Belief Stages and Growth", which attracted me a few years ago and to which you were kind enough to post a couple of my spiritual poems! I would love to see a comment here also about your own journey, background, motivation, which led you to write this intriguing book...such an undertaking must be rooted in a personal story of equal merit! I look forward to your book.

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