Paper 100 Religion in Human Experience Page 1095
predicated on the discovery of selfhood accompanied by self-criticism—conscience, for conscience is really the criticism of oneself by one's own value-habits, personal ideals.
Religious experience is markedly influenced by physical health, inherited temperament, and social environment. But these temporal conditions do not inhibit inner spiritual progress by a soul dedicated to the doing of the will of the Father in heaven. There are present in all normal mortals certain innate drives toward growth and self-realization which function if they are not specifically inhibited. The certain technique of fostering this constitutive endowment of the potential of spiritual growth is to maintain an attitude of wholehearted devotion to supreme values.
Religion cannot be bestowed, received, loaned, learned, or lost. It is a personal experience which grows proportionally to the growing quest for final values. Cosmic growth thus attends on the accumulation of meanings and the ever-expanding elevation of values. But nobility itself is always an unconscious growth.
Religious habits of thinking and acting are contributory to the economy of spiritual growth. One can develop religious predispositions toward favorable reaction to spiritual stimuli, a sort of conditioned spiritual reflex. Habits which favor religious growth embrace cultivated sensitivity to divine values, recognition of religious living in others, reflective meditation on cosmic meanings, worshipful problem solving, sharing one's spiritual life with one's fellows, avoidance of selfishness, refusal to presume on divine mercy, living as in the presence of God. The factors of religious growth may be intentional, but the growth itself is unvaryingly unconscious.
The unconscious nature of religious growth does not, however, signify that it is an activity functioning in the supposed subconscious realms of human intellect; rather does it signify creative activities in the superconscious levels of mortal mind. The experience of the realization of the reality of unconscious religious growth is the one positive proof of the functional existence of the superconsciousness.
2. SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Spiritual development depends, first, on the maintenance of a living spiritual connection with true spiritual forces and, second, on the continuous bearing of spiritual fruit: yielding the ministry to one's fellows of that which has been received from one's spiritual benefactors. Spiritual progress is predicated on intellectual recognition of spiritual poverty coupled with the self-consciousness of perfection-hunger, the desire to know God and be like him, the wholehearted purpose to do the will of the Father in heaven.
Spiritual growth is first an awakening to needs, next a discernment of meanings, and then a discovery of values. The evidence of true spiritual development consists in the exhibition of a human personality motivated by love, activated by unselfish ministry, and dominated by the wholehearted worship of the perfection ideals of divinity. And this entire experience constitutes the reality of religion as contrasted with mere theological beliefs.
Religion can progress to that level of experience whereon it becomes an enlightened and wise technique of spiritual reaction to the universe. Such a glorified religion can function on three levels of human personality: the intellectual, the