Nautilus Book Award Names 2013 Gold Winner in Religion - Spirituality
The prestigious Nautilus Book Award has named its 2013 Gold Winner in Religion/spirituality (Western traditions): Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind. Author Margaret Placentra Johnston is a practicing optometrist in Alexandria, VA and Georgetown, DC. Faith Beyond Belief is her first book.
After helping people see better in the physical world for many years while practicing Optometry in Northern Virginia, Margaret Placentra Johnston began to notice a greater need to inspire clearer vision of a different sort in our larger society. Certain factions of our society-and many in the media-proceed as though completely unaware of a concept that is largely accepted in the fields of psychology of religion and philosophy of religion.
Despite its subtitle, the book that finally emerged from this dilemma, Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind is not at all a book against religion. Rather it calls readers to a broader, more sophisticated understanding of religious belief than that preached from in the typical pulpit. Showing the correlations in the work of twelve notable theorists in a field that should come to be known as spiritual development theory, Faith Beyond Belief lays out steps a person must traverse on the road to spiritual maturity. Rigid religious conformity based on outer authority from a religious leader or holy book is not near the top of this journey - nor is literal interpretation of religious texts. The steps are illustrated in the appealing format of real life people sharing true stories about how they moved from one spiritual development stage to the next.
Margaret is confident that an understanding of the spiritual stages could bring an end to religious intolerance. Faith Beyond Belief shares how a bird's eye view of religious belief versus non-belief from a spiritual development perspective can lead to a kinder, more gentle world. Several religious professionals - one with a PhD in developmental psychology - have confidentially told Margaret: "You wrote the book I should have written." Professors of Psychology of Religion courses are considering (one confirmed so far) using this book as required reading for their students.