NAVIGATING THE SACRED AND SECULAR A Qualitative Exploration of the Compatibility of Science and Spirituality in Modern Western Society
The aim of this thesis is to explore the views of five informants regarding the compatibility of science and spirituality. Three research questions help us explore the informants’ views on science, spirituality, the relationship between them, the potential bridging of the two fields and what changes they understand to be important to the current way of seeing these two fields. The research uses qualitative methods, in the form of semi-structured and structured interviews, to gain a deeper understanding of the informants’ views. The theory of postsecularism is applied to reflect on the informants’ standpoints and to apply them to a larger context. The informants’ views are related to a new spirituality that is understood as a postsecular movement. Findings show that the informants have differing views regarding the compatibility of science and spirituality, and whether or not the two fields should be bridged. It was also evident that the informants have turned to spirituality more or less as a response to personal experiences along with feelings of dissatisfaction with the philosophies of Western science, and that a spiritual and holistic outlook is preferred going forward. The thesis concludes that, although the informants have diverging views and experiences regarding spirituality and the compatibility between spirituality and science, they have a similar outlook on reality and their views can be put into the context of, and understood as, an integrated social phenomenon.