Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 1–19 | Cite as

Spiritual Rationality: Integrating Faith-Based and Secular-Based Problem Solving and Negotiation as Systems Design for Right Action

  • Melvin F. Shakun


Faith-based (spiritual) and secular-based (rational) approaches to problem solving and negotiation are commonly viewed as strongly conflicting approaches. While analysis is used in faith-based problem solving, problem solutions can come directly from God (One, all there is) in which case advocates say that analysis is not really necessary. Problem solutions can also come from religious laws and practices providing values that serve as intermediates/surrogates (Section 11) for connectedness with God. These religious laws and practices are based on analysis and interpretation – much of it quite rational – of God's word/scriptures, the latter providing religious axioms. Axioms for secular-based problem solving follow scientific method. Faith and secular belief systems differ, but share some values. For advocates of secular-based problem solving, faith-based solutions (actions) that differ from the results of their own rational analyses are hard to accept. Rationality and spirituality represent different brain capabilities. Extending rationality to spiritual rationality can integrate these capabilities. With spiritual-rationality problem solving, an individual – whether his orientation is primarily faith-based or secular-based – validates a problem solution both rationally and spiritually for right action (decision) using a spiritual rationality validation test. If the solution is not valid, the individual continues problem solving trying to validate spiritual rationality of a solution.

With spiritual rationality both a faith-based advocate and a secular-based advocate can each achieve internal consistency of rationality and spirituality. Conflict between them could still exist. However, their common adoption of spiritual rationality and the Evolutionary Systems Design (ESD) framework – providing a common methodology that highlights high-level purpose shared by individuals – can facilitate problem evolution leading to group agreed-upon solution (right action).

The core axiom of ESD/spiritual-rationality problem solving is that individuals (agents) have a shared inherent purpose to experience connectedness with One. In integrating spirituality and rationality, spiritual rationality – by validating right action in problem solving and negotiation – can help maintain connectedness with One as shared inherent purpose in an individual's life.


spiritual rationality right action (decision) faith-based and secular-based problem solving and negotiation Evolutionary Systems Design 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leonard N. Stern School of BusinessNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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