The Soul’s Upward Yearning: Clues to our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason
New book by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.
To be released by Ignatius Press in September 2015

The intellectual perspective of our culture has become progressively more materialistic and non-religious. According to the 2012 Pew Survey of the Landscape of Religion in America, young people are leaving the faith of their parents and declaring themselves “None’s” (unbelievers) at an alarming rate – an increase of 1% per year – from 25% to 36% in eleven years. Yet this trend does not reflect the immense evidence for God and the human soul made available through contemporary science, philosophy of mind, and the medical study of near death experiences. A recent study reported in the Journal of American Psychiatry shows how dangerous this mistaken abandonment of human transcendentality and religion truly is, indicating that non-religious affiliation leads to marked increases in suicide rates, familial tensions, drug use, and a sense of meaninglessness and despondency.[1]  This trend is destructive to both individuals and culture, and if we do not turn it around, it will lead at least to pervasive despondency within culture, and at most, to the undermining of it.

Fr. Spitzer has written this book to help those seeking cutting edge evidence (from science, medicine, philosophy, and psychology) understand the strong likelihood of their transcendent soul and the existence of God. Topics include:

• Evidence of the presence of God in religious experience from the studies of Rudolf Otto, Mircea Eliade, John Henry Newman, and others.

• Bernard Lonergan’s proof of God – and God’s presence to human consciousness.

• Our transcendental desire for perfect love, justice (goodness), and beauty – and how they indicate the presence of God to human consciousness.

• Contemporary medical studies of near death experiences showing the abundance of veridical evidence for a transphysical soul capable of surviving bodily death.

• Evidence of transcendental awareness and self-consciousness from Kurt Gödel’s mathematical incompleteness theorem, David Chalmers’ “Hard Problem of Consciousness,” Lonergan’s innate absolute heuristic notion, and Polanyi’s and Eccles’ “trialistic interactionism.”

Though this book is somewhat complex, it is essential for analytical learners (approximately 30% of the population) whose faith is being most seriously challenged by contemporary materialistic thought and the new atheism.

[1] See K. Dervic, M. Oquendo, M. Grunebaum, S. Ellis, A. Burke, and JJ. Mann, 2004 “Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempts” in American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 161, No.12, pp 2303-2308.