Spiritual Pathways Quiz Define Your Guiding Principles

Spiritual Pathways Quiz — Define Your Guiding Principles

Here’s a quick way to define your guiding principles.  You don’t need to study philosophy or religion for years.  This spiritual pathways quiz gives you a quantifiable answer in just five minutes.

About half of the population has ethical and moral training from organized religion.  But following a religion isn’t necessary to have a moral compass.  Everyone has a moral compass, even if it is skewed or broken to some extent.  Everyone has a value system that guides them in making decisions.

Guiding Principles Without Religion

Don’t want to join a religion but still want a set of principles to guide your moral compass?  That means you are a truth seeker, not a follower, and that makes a big difference.  You aren’t a follower; you are a spiritual explorer.

So, here are nine principles far superior to those in all organized religions.  You don’t need stacks of doctrines and dogma, just nine principles.

The Spiritual Pathways Quiz

A quiz is a simple but effective way to provide a barometer of your spiritual and moral compass.  You don’t need to prepare for this quiz.  You carry around the answers in your worldview for everyone to see.  Here’s how the quiz works.

We present a premise as a simple state, this or not that.  All you need to do is see which part of the premise resonates with you.  If you agree with the first part of the statement, add one point.  If you resonate more with the second part, subtract one point.  So, you can define your guiding principles in less than five minutes.

For example, the first premise is “Reason, Not Superstition.” Add one point if you agree that logic and rational thinking take precedence over religious mythology and superstition.  If, on the other hand, you believe religious beliefs supersede reason and rational things like scientific evidence, subtract one point.

There are only nine statements with a short explanation, so reading time is less than five minutes, even if it takes you some time to ponder your answer.  We’ll give you the meaning of the numeric summation at the end.

The Challenge to Define Your Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles Without Religion

Believe it or not, half of the people who start this article stop here.  Defining their sacred ground is too scary, especially if they have to choose between two diametrically opposing positions.  The problem arises when their choice exposes something about their beliefs they would rather not see.  So, if you continue, congratulations on being courageous.

1) Reason, Not superstition

Logic and rational thought are the basis for critical thinking.  Your ability to reason is directly proportional to your use of common sense, so it is the basis for all principles.  It’s the foundation for the path of truth.

There are three primary rational thinking tools: logical reasoning, the ten common logical fallacies, and spiritual axioms.  These three tools will enable you to separate fact from fiction.  And will guard you against the ploys of groupthink manipulation.

Reason stands in opposition to superstition, which is the basis of the world’s most popular religions; these are the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  (1)  These systems are the rebranding of earlier Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions.  They freely admit this appropriation:

“Symbolism in a greater or lesser degree is essential to every kind of external worship, and we need not shrink from the conclusion that in the matter of baptisms and washings, of genuflections and other acts of reverence…

… of lights and sweet-smelling incense, of flowers and white vestitures, of spiritual unction’s and the imposing of hands, of sacrifice and the rite of the Communion banquet…

… the Church has borrowed without hesitation from the common stock of significant actions known to all periods and to all nations.  In such matters as these, Christianity claims no monopoly or originality.” ― The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work, Vol. 14 (1907)

We believe logic is superior to superstition because it is the basis for every advancement of our modern world.  It is a solid foundation for guiding principles without religion.  It’s the first hurdle of the spiritual pathways quiz.  If you can determine facts from fiction and knowledge from facts about fiction, you’ve joined the ranks of the freethinkers.  Congratulations.

2) Ethics, Not Dogma

Our behavior reflects our ethics, which come from our values.  Western organized religion’s dogma is not a coherent ethical (2) source of ethical or moral standards.  It contains contradictions and justifications for harmful behavior, from genocide to genital mutilation.

We share something with all living things.  We all desire to live in peace and be free from harm.  As we mature from a child to an adult, our natural tendency is to grow.  We naturally want to expand our world and our thinking.  As our conscience develops, we naturally want everyone to live in peace.  We wish to live in harmony with other people and other living things.

The programming of doctrine can override our natural values.  Instead, they install values contrary to our natural conscience.  We can learn to hate to discriminate and harm others, and that’s just some harmful effects of dogma and doctrine.  If you define your guiding principles by religion, you accept everything about that system.

“Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems.  But there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.” — David G. McAfee

We need only to return to our natural state of innocence to live an ethical life.  There is no need for the doctrine or the dogma of religion.  The virtues of the spirit are our nature’s positive aspects before any programming pollution.

This part of the spiritual pathways quiz almost seems like a duplication of the first test.  However, it’s essential to make the distinction between superstition and mythology.  Superstitions are often not in writing, whereas mythologies become written doctrine.  All the “holly or sacred” texts are mythology and superstition time capsules.

3) Respect, Not Worship

When we respect something or someone, we do so because we value them.  We worship someone or something because of reverence, adoration, or fear.    The difference between respect and worship is knowledge versus emotional attachment.

When we respect all living things, we develop a global perspective.  Respect for other people and the environment is the basis of a healthy culture.

On the other hand, the worship of imaginary beings divides humanityReligion uses God to justify war, genocide, and ethnic and gender discrimination.  These attributes disqualify religion as a source of moral guidance.

This part of the spiritual pathways quiz underscores the combined power of mythology and superstition.  If you can see how organized religion creates magical thinking and thought distortions, you pass this portion of the quiz.

4) Courage, Not Fear

We need the courage to face the issues of global concern, and we need the courage to address the aberrant behavior of people who place profit above ethical and respectful behavior.  Courage necessitates we question everything about cultural folklore.

Fear is what the cultural narrative uses to manipulate.  The courage to do the right thing can be the basis for guiding principles without religion.  It contrasts with those who use fear of their imaginary friend as a basis for their moral behavior.  You don’t need religion to act responsibly; you need the courage to do the right thing.

Above all, fill your life with hope and allow yourself to become vulnerable.  Open your eyes to social injustice and learn to live a courageous lifeFace your fears, but act prudently.  The path of truth will lead you into conflict with those who hold religious dogma as a standard.

5) Morality, Not Religion

Morality does not have a basis in religion.  Ethics and respect for everyone and every living thing do not require membership in any belief system.  Religious doctrine is not a good example of moral behavior.

“Theism, as a way of conceiving God, has become demonstrably inadequate, and the God of theism not only is dying but is probably not revivable.  If the religion of the future depends on keeping alive the definitions of theism, then the human phenomenon that we call religion will have come to an end.  If Christianity depends on the theistic definition of God, then we must face the fact that we are watching this noble religious system enter the rigor mortis of its own death throes.” —  John Shelby Spong

Western organized religion has been the basis of many of the world’s darkest times.  During the dark ages, the Church was in control, bringing civilization to the brink of destruction.  Religious extremist uses groupthink manipulation today as in times past.  The disease of religion propagates all the same old prejudice and hate.  Morality (3) is superior based on consistent and logical ethics, respect,(4) and rational thinking.

Morality doesn’t require religion.  For example, Miguel Ruiz provides four simple agreements for moral behavior.  The Dalai Lama (5) also has 18 principles that do not contain religious dogma.  These are all examples of the path of truth instead of the direction of religious ideology.

6) Clarity, Not Delusion

Clarity is the attribute one achieves when one can see the facts.  As mentioned above, logical reasoning is key to this.

Religion is the source of delusion.  (6) It is the belief in things that have no proof.  To believe, one must accept metaphor as fact.   It teaches us to protect the belief system, even though it is a fabrication.  It programs people to deny, ignore, and fight against facts that threaten the belief system.

Belief in delusion is the opposite of clarity.  So, science and facts are the way to define your guiding principles without religion.

7) Skeptic, Not Cynic

“A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient…” — Steven Novella

Being a skeptic does not make you a cynic.  It is far healthier to be a freethinker than to submit to the cultural narrative.  An informed skeptic is someone who uses the scientific method.

The scientific method is a process for investigating things.  It’s the best way to gain, correct, and integrate previous knowledge.  The inquiry process uses measurable evidence to form conclusions.  We can describe this process in six steps:

  1. Observe Something and Collect Data
  2. Ask Questions About What the Data Means
  3. Develop a Theory About What the Data Says
  4. Experiment and Test Your Assumptions
  5. Analyze the Data from the Experiment
  6. Develop Hypotheses Based on the Results

These Six-Steps lead to the development of new knowledge.  Each step in the sequence requires that the research remain as unbiased as possible.  So, a skeptic uses this type of process to make better decisions.  If you are comfortable using this mindset, you pass the next portion of the spiritual pathways quiz.  If you are hesitant to use this type of thinking, you fail.

8) Rationality, Not Nationality

Again we return to logic.  Rational thinking is thinking logically and without the encumbrance of groupthink manipulation tactics.  Nationality is the belief in artificial boundaries.  Typically, these boundaries designate ownership and jurisdiction over natural resources.

Nationality refers to people with a specific set of beliefs or ethnicity.  Nationalism is a political philosophy that justifies preferential treatment.  It is a way of explaining why discrimination and bias are okay.  Patriotism is pride in a national construct, nothing more than a smokescreen for nationalism.  Pride born out of patriotism spawns violence.  The bottom line is that nationalism marginalizes and creates scapegoats who cannot defend themselves.

The underlying premise of nationalism is pride in a group based on geography’s artificial boundaries, which isn’t rational.  Countries are artificial creations of man.   A more reasonable approach is to understand that we are all people of this world.  We need to unite to solve the issues.

9) Logic, Not Ideology

Last, for emphasis, logic, not ideology.  Ideology is a system that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.  Most doctrines find their origin in mythology, not logic or fact.  An ideology is a set of beliefs that becomes the basis for religious and political factions.  The ideas which underpin ideology are more often than not a religion.  Whereas logic guides without the bias and prejudice of religious mythology and superstition.

The study of logical reasoning is the antidote for Western organized Religion.  Logic is an antidote to religion.

Scoring Your Answers To the Quiz

The scores run from positive nine to negative nine.  Any score above a positive five is someone we would consider open-minded.   If you scored positive, eight or nine, you’re a freethinker.

If you scored between zero and a positive four, you are likely struggling with the contradictions of religion and reality.  Still, you can’t make the break to freedom because of social or business ties within a religious community.  If you scored negative, one to five, you are a staunch religious follower.  You are likely a religious leader if you scored negative from six to nine.

In Conclusion

Here is our list of guiding principles without Religion:

1) Reason, Not Superstition
2) Ethics, Not Dogma
3) Respect, Not Worship
4) Courage, Not Fear
5) Morality, Not Religion
6) Clarity, Not Delusion
7) Skeptic, Not Cynic
8) Rationality, Not Nationality
9) Logic, Not Ideology

These guidelines provide antidotes to the superstition of religion.  They end the need for fear-based ideology and provide clarity and perspective against nationalism.  These are remedies for superstition and mythology.  They eliminate the need for fear-based doctrine and provide clarity and perspective against nationalism.

Nationalism is nothing more than an excuse to harm others because they live somewhere else.  We live on one planet.  National borders are artificial boundaries.  If you can see how this works against finding solutions to the global problems of climate change and social inequities, you can pass this portion of the spiritual pathways quiz.  Congratulations!


(1) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(2) Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Wikipedia
(3) Morality, Wikipedia
(4) Respect, Wikipedia
(5) The Dalai Lama, Wikipedia
(6) Delusion, Wikipedia

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