Chapter

The Flowering of Metaphysical Religion

Robert C. Fuller

in Spiritual, but not Religious

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780195146806
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834204 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195146808.003.0003
The Flowering of Metaphysical Religion

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Metaphysical spirituality has found a receptive audience among middle‐class Americans. The New Thought movement combined mesmerist psychology and the “power of positive thinking” to show Americans how they might learn to become inwardly connected with powerful spiritual forces. Theosophy built upon this tradition and added a new vocabulary, partially drawn from Asian religions, for describing the higher spiritual worlds to which we are said to be inwardly connected. Avid interest in such topics as mysticism, altered states of consciousness, angels, and near‐death experiences have all been avenues through which Americans have pursued spiritual discovery outside of our established churches. The phenomenal popularity of James Redfield's bestseller The Celestine Prophecy illustrates how fully metaphysical spirituality has penetrated the American religious vernacular.

Keywords: altered states of consciousness; angels; Celestine Prophecy; metaphysical spirituality; mysticism; near‐death experiences; New Thought Movement; positive thinking; theosophy

Chapter.  11524 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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