Foreword Reviews

Realizing Heaven

Rational Spirituality for Our Times

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Hoolhorst lays a strong foundation for exploring the questions, beliefs, and institutions that have defined civilization for millennia.

In Realizing Heaven, Otto S. Hoolhorst explores spiritual concepts from a rational, logical perspective. Instead of blind faith, he says, we need real answers to questions about the origins of the universe, the nature of God, and humanity’s purpose. Realizing Heaven focuses on practically pursuing heaven on earth, functioning as a how-to guide for those in search of utopia.

Realizing Heaven focuses on identifying what we don’t know, what we think we know, and how to talk about reality. “Perhaps the pretense of ‘knowing’ is the most serious problem humanity continues to face,” says Hoolhorst. The book is a careful, deliberate breakdown and reconstruction of rational discourse and suggests a new, vital way to approach debate.

Sections are devoted to defining terms like truth, reality, love, morality, religion, and fate. It’s rich ground for discussion, and Hoolhorst takes a passionate, exhaustive approach. His explanations are simple and clear, and include suggestions for conducting rational debate as well.

Hoolhorst is strongly in his element when he’s dismantling the big questions. Why do humans suffer, and how do we unwittingly participate in our own subjugation? Often, it’s a case of seeing the universe clearly, and one’s own place in it. Hoolhorst points out, “The difficult situations in your life are part of Nature’s benevolence toward you, and are all essentially opportunities to spiritually advance.” This isn’t a matter of karma, luck, or predestination, however. Staying stagnant—living the unexamined life—is the real problem. Free will, as Hoolhorst defines it, is about recognizing the error in one’s thinking and taking action to correct it.

Realizing Heaven has an ambitious scope, taking on religion, law, commerce, science, and other institutions. This is not a book for beginners; although Hoolhorst’s arguments are clearly worded and comprehensible, they are aimed at people who have a serious interest in intellectual inquiry. From a few simple questions, Realizing Heaven heads for the deep end and stays there. The book is grounded in a wonderful personal essay about Hoolhorst’s background and how he arrived at his spiritual convictions.

At its core, Realizing Heaven attempts to summit the paradox of human experience. Our reality is defined as our lived experience, but the things we believe can be riddled with errors, misinformation, and contradiction. Hoolhorst lays a strong foundation for exploring the questions, beliefs, and institutions that have defined civilization for millennia.

Fearless, academic, and ambitious, Realizing Heaven is a vital assessment of human beliefs.

Reviewed by Claire Foster

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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