, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 189–209 | Cite as

Grading Religions



This essay develops standards for grading religions including various forms of spiritualism. First, I examine the standards proposed by William James, John Hick, Paul Knitter, Dan Cohn-Sherbok, and Harold Netland. Most of them are useful in grading religions with or without conditions. However, those standards are not enough for refined and piercing evaluation. Thus, I introduce standards used in spiritualism. Although those standards are for grading spirits and their teachings, they are useful in refined and piercing evaluation of religious phenomena. The spiritual standards complement James’s, Hick’s, Knitter’s, and Netland’s standards. Although most of the spiritual standards are rationally unjustifiable, they have practical value.


Religion Spiritualism Evaluation Grading Ranking Criteria Standard 


  1. Austen, A. W. (Ed.). (1998). Teachings of Silver Birch. Oxshott: Spiritual Truth Press.Google Scholar
  2. Cohn-Sherbok, D. (1986). Ranking religions. Religious Studies, 22(3–4), 377–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Diogenes Laertius. (1991). Lives of eminent philosophers (R. D. Hicks, Trans. Vol. 2). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Galloway, G. (1925). The philosophy of religion. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  5. Griffiths, P., & Lewis, D. (1983). On grading religions, seeking truth, and being nice to people: A reply to Professor Hick. Religious Studies, 19(1), 75–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hick, J. (1981). On grading religions. Religious Studies, 17(4), 451–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hick, J. (1983). On conflicting religious truth-claims. Religious Studies, 19(4), 485–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hick, J. (2004). An interpretation of religion: Human responses to the transcendent (2nd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  9. James, W. (1982). The varieties of religious experience: A study in human nature. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  10. Kardec, A. (2007). The book on mediums: Guide for mediums and invocators. New York: Cosimo.Google Scholar
  11. Knitter, P. F. (1985). No other name? A critical survey of Christian attitudes toward the world religions. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
  12. Moses, W. S. (1898). Spirit teachings (Mem. ed.). London: London Spiritualist Alliance.Google Scholar
  13. Netland, H. A. (1997). Dissonant voices: Religious pluralism and the question of truth. Vancouver: Regent College Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Ortzen, T. (Ed.). (2000). A voice in the wilderness: Further teachings from Silver Birch. Oxshott: Spiritual Truth Press.Google Scholar
  15. Sextus Empiricus. (2000). Outlines of scepticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Stace, W. T. (1960). Mysticism and philosophy. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  17. Weber, M. (1949). The methodology of the social sciences (E. A. Shils & H. A. Finch, Trans.). Glencoe: Free Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent PhilosopherYoshinogawaJapan

Personalised recommendations