Observation shows that human creative activity has a physical, a social and a spiritual aspect. (By human creative activity I mean all useful and constructive activity by human beings). The physical aspect of our creative activity concerns our activity in relation to the physical universe. The social aspect relates mainly to human behaviour and interaction amongst humans. The spiritual aspect of our creative activity primarily concerns our activity in relation to God. Over time, mankind has acquired considerable knowledge of the physical universe. This knowledge has been classified as the physical and natural sciences. Knowledge we have acquired of human behaviour and interaction amongst humans has been classified as social science.
But this has not been the case with knowledge we have of the spiritual aspect of life. Such knowledge has not been classified as spiritual science. This is so because much of what at present constitute spiritual facts and beliefs cannot be considered as science. A lot of such facts are not backed by proof and many of the beliefs are not founded on reason. Unverifiable conjectures about phenomena and existence beyond this life are professed as truths. The situation at present is such that the spiritual works available to us contain fiction, misconceptions, superstition and falsehood in addition to actual facts. I will use some examples from the Christian teaching and Holy Bible to illustrate this point.
Consider the Bible account of the creation of Man and his fall from grace, (the Bible, Genesis 2:7-24 3:1-24). We are told that God created the first couple, Adam and Eve. He established them in the Garden of Eden where He made adequate provisions for their needs. All went well until the serpent came along and deceived them into disobeying God. This act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden caused Adam and Eve to lose favour with God. Christians believe that the sinfulness of Adam and Eve subsequently passed on to all generations of mankind. That, in their thinking, is responsible for mankind's fall from grace and the human proneness to commit sin. The Christian concept of original sin which is that sinfulness is a part of mankind's nature is founded on this Bible story.
Now, let us examine this Bible account rationally. It has been scientifically established that mankind has inhabited the earth for over a million years. The coming into existence of the human being is, therefore, a primeval event that is prehistoric and immemorial. Surely, any account of this event cannot be anything but an invention.
Moreover, the incidents related in this Bible story are inconsistent with natural phenomena. God does not talk. Snakes do not have the faculty of speech. Knowledge is not gained by eating the fruit of a tree, neither is it possible to attain everlasting life in this way. This tale, by all indications, is only a Jewish fable. It is not a true account of real events. However, Christianity accepts it as a factual historical event and has built its all-important concept of original sin on it. Clearly, this is a case of fiction being passed for fact.
Let us go on to consider the concepts of heaven and hell as propagated by the Christian faith. Heaven, we are told, is the home of God where people who do Godís will on earth will spend eternity with Him in bliss. Hell, on the other hand, is the place of punishment where those who lived sinful lives will suffer everlasting torment after death.
Now let us think seriously about these issues. God does not have physical substance; He is spirit. Since spirit has no physical limitations, God is everywhere at all times. In other words, God has infinite presence. Since God is infinite in expanse, so to speak, it does not make sense to say that God has a particular place of residence. The concept of home is a physical concept which has no application in the spiritual realm. Reason clearly shows that heaven, in actual fact, does not exist.
And to the question of hell. Forgiveness is a cardinal moral principle of the Christian faith. Jesus Christ in his teachings stated unequivocally that we should always forgive others no matter how many times they offend us. If one desires to commune with God, one must have a forgiving heart, he taught. How then can we think of God as being so unforgiving as to establish a place of everlasting torment for those who go against His will? The very idea of hell implies that God is wicked and unchristian. It is, without doubt, a misconception to associate God who is infinitely good with such a cruel idea. In reality, heaven and hell are misconceptions that have passed for spiritual facts.
Let us now consider superstition in the Bible. The gospel tells us about a father who brought his epileptic son to Jesus Christ for healing, (Luke 9:37-43). The account says that Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy. It came out of him and the boy was instantly healed.
Let us examine this report in the light of our knowledge of medical science. Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system. We know from medical science that demons are not responsible for this health problem or any other sickness for that matter. There is actually no proof that evil spirits exist. The belief in their existence and that they are responsible for ailments is irrational. Such belief amounts to superstition.
And now to the matter of falsehood in the Bible. We shall examine the Bible account of the conception of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost and the reports of his resurrection and ascension.
Knowledge is usually brought to mankind through people of high intelligence. In some cases such people are gifted with extra-ordinary mental or creative abilities. People like this, referred to as men of genius, very often take us to new levels in knowledge of the universe. One such person was the mathematical genius, Albert Einstein, who brought us exciting new knowledge of the physical universe. Jesus Christ belonged to this class of people. He was a luminary who made revolutionary contributions to spiritual knowledge.