Recommended, 2020

Editor'S Choice

Spirituality: What should I believe in?

Spirituality as a key to happiness? What should I still believe in?
Photo: Corbis
  1. Spirituality as a key to happiness
  2. Is spirituality up to date? 52 percent believe in guardian angels *
  3. Why is there spirituality?
  4. Spirituality is still there: 53 percent believe that there is some supernatural power *

Spirituality as a key to happiness

More and more Germans are leaving the church. But the desire for a supernatural, inexplicable power, for spirituality, is unbroken. No wonder, believes author Claudia Reshöft.

When I was little, a picture hung over our cots. It showed a half-ruined, rotten bridge. Then a girl and a boy who may be about the same age as we were then. Apparently the two had to cross this rickety jetty to get home. It looked like they were walking this dangerous path without hesitation and fear. For behind them, wrapped in a glistening white robe, stood a beautiful angel, who held his hand protectively over her. For me and my sister, this picture had something very comforting.

Is spirituality up to date? 52 percent believe in guardian angels *

We were firmly convinced of the existence of the angels, even though we could not see them. Educated as we were, we also believed in Jesus and the "dear God" who take care of us. Otherwise, we could not explain how we would otherwise have survived our - often quite daring - adventures. Okay, that sounds pretty naive. Nevertheless, faith has never left me, that I, and of course with all of humanity, are embedded in a great plan that we do not know.

I'm not alone with that. According to a survey by the Allensbach Institute, which regularly polls the German population on all kinds of life issues, more than one in two believes in "some supernatural power". Some call this power God, others Allah, and yet others speak of knowledge. But maybe we all mean the same thing after all. And maybe spirituality is nothing else than explaining fate on both good and bad days .

Why is there spirituality?

Why religious and non-religious people cling to something that can not be grasped with their hands also interests science, for which it is notoriously difficult to prove something that can not be grasped. Nevertheless, brain researchers are trying to investigate heredity to see if there is anything like a predisposition to spirituality, a so-called god gene. They send nuns to magnetic resonance tomographs, try to measure the state of enlightenment of meditating monks and analyze the brainwaves of worshipers. So far without reliable success.

Nevertheless, there seems to be something in spirituality . Evolutionary psychologists and anthropologists show in the developmental history that the people of all cultures have repeatedly formed religious structures. Perhaps the belief in higher powers offered an advantage in the struggle for survival. Otherwise, according to the conclusion, spirituality would have to die out long ago. But she is not. Because she asks where we humans come from, where we go and what gives meaning to our lives and actions. Where we find an answer to this central question, we feel at home.

Spirituality is still there: 53 percent believe that there is some supernatural power *

Whether it is the belief in a resurrection after death, rebirth or the arrival in paradise - spirituality gives people comfort and confidence in serious crises like illness, separation or death. And it is something like the social glue that connects us to ourselves, to the people and the world around us. Because connected with religious confessions or spiritual experiences is also an ethical code for living together. Christians say: Love your neighbor as yourself, for Buddhists, enlightenment leads to compassion.

A guardian angel image does not hang over my bed anymore. But I can not get the initial line of a Protestant hymn out of my head, a line that even the ex-bishop Margot Käßmann likes to quote: "You can not go deeper than just in the hands of God ..." Being caught and kept - that is It's what we all long for.

* Sources: Religion Monitor 2013, Institute for Demoscopy Allensbach