The Languages of Spirituality and Science: Two Fraternal Twins

  • Andrea ChermanEmail author
  • Francisco Eduardo Moreira Azeredo
Living reference work entry


One prevailing characteristic of the modern and postmodern eras is the steadily growing disconnectedness between spirituality and science. For centuries, these dimensions were naturally considered independent or even antagonistic, in times where spirituality – and their congenital religions – reigned absolute with an unquestionable predominance over science. More recently, as scientific knowledge soared, these two worlds reinforced and deepened their strangeness, creating two very powerful and well-structured knowledge expressed in their respective and distinctive languages. In a similar way, religion and spirituality were torn aside, the former absorbing and taking out the essence of the latter, through a merciless rational process in which religion is being gradually transmuted in an inert body of inflicted rituals and dogmas over increasingly extremist believers. Realistically, a rupture with this pervasive model is paramount, bringing religions back to their divine nature and embracing true science, that which complements and integrates with spirituality, the true nature of human beings. In fact, spirituality should assume its natural leadership in this process of commingling with the scientific world, leaving behind the tempting secular move, astray from wise traditions, relentlessly and unselfishly taught by the prophets of humankind. And so, like two fraternal twins, spirituality and science must grow and live in harmony, not endangering the weakest twin and, thus, not endangering Nature. The present article explores the positive consequences that a new balance between these two dimensions may bring for the well-being of individuals in the workplace and in society at large.


Spirituality Religion Rationality Science Well-being Integrative knowledge Language Buddhism Mindfulness Philosophy 


  1. Abdu’l-Bahá (2014) Some answered questions. Bahá’í World Centre, HaifaGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashmos D, Duchon D (2000) Spirituality at work: a conceptualization and measure. J Manag Inq 9(2):134–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baksa P (2011) Point of Power: intend, Declare, and Detach. AtlasBooks, AshlandGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown K (2006) Encyclopedia of language & linguistics: reference work, 2nd edn. Science, ElsevierGoogle Scholar
  5. Burack EH (1999) Spirituality in the workplace. J Organ Chang Manag 12(4):280–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cherman A, Azeredo FEM (2018) Mindfulness in the context of Integrative Knowledge: separating science from the Hype. In: Dhiman S, Crossman J, Roberts G (eds) The Palgrave handbook of workplace spirituality and fulfilment. Palgrave Macmillan, New York/Cham, pp 211–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cherman A, Azeredo FEM (in press) Integrative Knowledge: A mindful approach to Science. In Dhiman S (ed) The Routledge Companion to Mindfulness at Work, NY, RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  8. Chopra D, Mlodinow L (2012) War of the worldviews: where science and spirituality meet – and do not. Three Rivers Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Chopra D (2014) Religion is belief in someone else’s experience. [Tweet]. Retrieved from
  10. Cohen B (1982) Scientific revolution and creativity in the enlightenment. Eighteenth-Century Life 7(2):41–54Google Scholar
  11. Dalai Lama The XIV (2005) The universe in a single atom: the convergence of science and spirituality. Broadway Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Descartes R (1999) Discourse on method and meditations on first philosophy (trans: Cress DA). Hackett Publishing, Cambridge. Original 1637Google Scholar
  13. Dhiman S, Roberts G, Crossman JE (2018) The Palgrave handbook of workplace spirituality and fulfilment. Palgrave Macmillan, New York/ChamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Effendi S (1993) The world order of Baha’u’llah. Wilmette, Bahai Publisher TrustGoogle Scholar
  15. Einstein A (2011) Out of my later years: the scientist, philosopher, and man portrayed through his own words. Open Road Media, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Fudge E (2006) Religious language. In: Brown K (ed) Encyclopedia of language & linguistics: reference work, 2nd edn. Oxford, Elsevier Science, pp 528–530Google Scholar
  17. Garg N (2017) Workplace spirituality and employee well-being: an empirical exploration. J Hum Values 23(2):129–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gleiser M (2010) A tear at the edge of creation: a radical new vision for life in an imperfect universe. Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Gleiser M (2014) The Island of knowledge: the limits of science and the search for meaning. Basic Books, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  20. Griffin DR (1988) Spirituality and society. SUNY, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Gould SJ (2002) Rocks of age: Science and religion in the fullness of life. New York, Penguin Random HouseGoogle Scholar
  22. Haidt J (2012) The righteous mind: why good people are divided by politics and religion. Vintage Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Halstead JM (2006) Language of spirituality. In: Dowling EM, Scarlett G (eds) Encyclopedia of religious and spiritual development. SAGE, Thousand Oaks, p 259Google Scholar
  24. Hanh TN (2012) Awakening of the heart: essential Buddhist Sutras and commentaries. Parallax, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  25. Harari YN (2015) Sapiens: a brief history of humankind. Harper Collins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Hicks DA (2002) Spiritual and religious diversity in the workplace: implications for leadership. Leadersh Q 13(4):379–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Howard DA (2005) Albert Einstein as a Philosopher of Science. Phys Today 58(12):34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jurkiewicz CL, Giacalone R (2004) A values framework for measuring the impact of workplace spirituality on organizational performance. J Bus Ethics 49(2):129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lao-Tzu (1996) Tao Teh King (trans: Banhm AJ). Fremont, Jain Publishing CoGoogle Scholar
  30. Lipton BH (2015) The biology of belief: unleashing the power of consciousness, matter & miracles. 10th anniversary edition. Hay House, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  31. McCarroll P, O’Connor TSJ, Meakes E (2005) Assessing plurality in spirituality definitions. In: Meier et al (eds) Spirituality and health: multidisciplinary explorations. Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, pp 44–59Google Scholar
  32. McKee MC, Driscoll C, Kelloway EK, Kelley E (2011) Exploring linkages among transformational leadership, workplace spirituality and well-being in health care workers. J Manag Spiritual Relig 8(3):233–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Milliman J, Czaplewski AJ, Ferguson J (2003) Workplace spirituality and employee work attitudes: an exploratory empirical assessment. J Organ Chang Manag 16(4):426–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitroff II, Denton EA (1999) A study of spirituality in the workplace. Sloan Manag Rev 40(4):83–84Google Scholar
  35. Neal J (1997) Spirituality in management education: a guide to resources. J Manag Educ 21(1):121–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Paloutzian RF, Emmons RA, Keortge SG (2003) Spiritual well-being, spiritual intelligence, and healthy workplace policy. In: Giacalone R, Jurkiewicz CL (eds) Handbook of workplace spirituality and organizational performance, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, pp 123–136Google Scholar
  37. Pawar B (2016) Workplace spirituality and employee well-being: an empirical examination. Empl Relat 38(6):975–994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pinker S (2018) Enlightenment now: the case for reason, science, humanism and progress. Viking Penguin Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Saucier G, Skrzypinska K (2006) Spiritual but not religious? Evidence for two independent dispositions. J Pers 74(5):1257–1292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sheep ML (2006) Nurturing the whole person: The ethics of workplace spirituality in a society of organizations. J Bus Ethics 66(4):357–375Google Scholar
  41. Sheldrake P (2007) A brief history of spirituality. Wiley-Blackwell, MaldenGoogle Scholar
  42. Taherzadeh A (1977) The revelations of Bahá’u’lláh, vol 2. George Ronald Publisher, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  43. Tejeda M (2015) Exploring the supportive effects of spiritual well-being on job satisfaction given adverse work conditions. J Bus Ethics 131(1):173–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. The Holy Bible (2001) The English standard version. Crossway BiblesGoogle Scholar
  45. Vasconcelos AF (2018) Workplace spirituality: empirical evidence revisited. Manag Res Rev 41(7):789–821CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Cherman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francisco Eduardo Moreira Azeredo
    • 2
  1. 1.The Polytechnic SchoolArizona State UniversityMesaUSA
  2. 2.Sangha Maha Muni do Brasil Co-FounderBrazilian Soto Zen SocietyPirenopolisBrazil

Personalised recommendations