About this site
In the 18th and 19th centuries, religion and spirituality were supposed to be replaced by science and reason- or so many thought. But that did not happen, and today, religion and spirituality play a major role in people's lives and in determining world affairs. So to be informed about today's world requires being informed about matters pertaining to religion and spirituality. This is especially the case in a pluralistic global society that is growing increasingly "connected." No longer are different religious groups found only in far-away places, to be experienced only in books or through word of mouth. Instead, we now live in communities and nations where multiple religions and multiple spiritualities are practiced. Furthermore, many of us have access to radio, television, newsprint, and the worldwide Web, allowing us, with the turn of a knob or the click of a switch, to immerse ourselves in other cultures. We now are brought face-to-face with religious and spiritual diversity.
This web-encyclopedia joins a recent trend in research and scholarship aimed at better understanding the similarities and differences between world religions and spiritualities, between expressions of the divine and between experiences of the transcendent. It does so, however, with a focus on the development of religiosity and spirituality.
This web-encyclopedia does not, then, teach all there is to know about religious and spiritual development, but it can help point the reader in the right directions, so that the reader can become better informed. We hope the reader will use this web-encyclopedia that way- as a pointer, or, to change the metaphor, as a window into the many fascinating and complex phenomena and people that figure centrally in discussions of the development of religiousness and spirituality. We also hope the reader will use this encyclopedia for personal growth, to help answer those personal questions that, if left unanswered, can stunt or arrest spiritual growth.