This paper uses the idea of spiritual happiness to explore some issues regarding the difference between science and spirituality. It suggests that those pursuing spirituality feel more inclined to adopt a modernist theoretical framework than those pursuing religion, and so are hesitant to declare that spirituality has a different ontology, methodology, taxonomy and epistemology than science. The argument is made here that they are indeed different but that as long as spirituality is argued for as intrinsically pluralistic — supported by suitable nuanced taxonomies — it can live comfortably within the modern world and also draw on relevant hard science and social science research to argue its case. This is important where professionals in a wide range of disciplines want to acknowledge the spiritual needs of their practitioners or clients. The paper is based on a keynote presentation given at the Annual Conference of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality in May 2016 which addressed the question ‘Can spirituality transform our world?’.
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