Belief without religion, spirituality without rules and dogmas

The Netherlands is pioneering a new religious trend—religion without belief—argues Dutch religion scholar Koert van der Velde in the dissertation he’ll defend this week.

“For many people traditional religion has been unmasked by science”, Koert van der Velde says. “Often, however, you see those same people continuing to practice religion in one form or another—such as astrology, reincarnation-therapy, spiritual trainings in the business world, or the singing of the Matthew Passion. When asked, however, those engaging in such practices deny believing in the religious assumptions underpinning them.”

As a journalist specialised in religion, Van der Velde spoke to hundreds of people about their religious experiences. Some said they sensed a divine presence lurking behind coincidences in their life, others had a near-death experience, saw ghost-like appearances or UFOs or felt one with nature at sunset. The wealth of data he gathered convinced him he had uncovered a new phenomenon that had not yet been studied.

“People feel a deep-rooted desire for religious experiences”, says van der Velde. “A connection with another world, beyond their normal sense perception, a metaphysical world, gives their life meaning.”


Categories: Netherlands

1 reply

  1. According to Islam, of the natural instincts of man is his search after an Exalted Being towards Whom he has an inherent attraction (Al Quran 7:173). This natural instinct in regards to search for an exalted being is manifested by an infant from the moment of its birth. As soon as it is born, it displays a spiritual characteristic that it inclines towards its mother and is inspired by her love. As its faculties are developed and its nature begins to display itself openly, this inherent quality is displayed more and more strongly. It finds no comfort anywhere except in the lap of its mother. If it is separated from her and finds itself at a distance from her, its life becomes bitter. It feels no joy apart from her. So much so that orphan children who are not adequately cared for die because of emotional deprivation. What, then, is the nature of the attraction which an infant feels so strongly towards its mother? It is this same instinct of search for his beloved God that is manifesting in a different form. The same instinct is also manifested by almost all human beings in their time of distress. “And when an affliction befalls people, they cry unto their Lord, turning sincerely to Him; then, when He has made them taste of mercy from Him, lo! A section of them associate partners with their Lord” (30:34).

    I have para-pharased from the book ‘the Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam.’ The book is available online:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.