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Why Religious Fervor and Spiritual Consciousness Are Not The Same

(A Comparison of Two Religious Politicians, Josh Hawley and John Lewis, in Light of the Quadrune Mind Model) 

Josh Hawley and John Lewis each has lived his life in service to what he believed was right. But does that mean they have both lived spiritual lives? For the quadrune mind, it’s the level of consciousness, not the religiosity of one’s rhetoric, that matters. 

The Reptilian Mind’s Religious Fervor: Dogma Over Love Of People

In order to understand how the reptilian mind can put adherence to a strict doctrine above kindness toward people, let’s look at the example of Josh Hawley. Hawley is a lawyer and a U.S. Senator from Missouri who garnered attention in December 2020 by becoming the first senator to announce that he would object to Biden becoming president based on conspiracy theories that the election was stolen.

Hawley is vocal about his religious convictions. In 2019, he gave a commencement address at a small conservative Christian college, The King’s College, in which he denounced the 4th century theologian Pelagius for “teaching that human beings have the freedom to choose how they live their lives and that grace comes to those who do good things, as opposed to those who believe the right doctrines.”1

Hawley’s statements imply that mindlessly adhering to church doctrine is more important than thoughtfully considering the best way to serve humanity. The reptilian mind seeks certainty and routine. A religious person operating from a reptilian mind would demand clearly established rules of behavior and thought from his or her religion.  

In the quadrune mind model, a person who approaches religion with a reptilian mindset, as Hawley seems to do, would not be considered a spiritual person. Religious beliefs do not matter in the making of a spiritual person as much as does the level of consciousness that approaches those beliefs. Only when approached with a Human mind does religion contribute to the making of a spiritual person. As Reinhold Niebuhr said, “Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people.” Therefore, religious fervor does not mean spiritual consciousness. 

It is worth noting that Hawley is also a good example of how intelligence does not determine which mentality a person is operating from. Hawley, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University and received his Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School, would meet most people’s definition of “smart.” However, that does not bring him any closer to using his Human mind, as far as we can tell from his public statements and actions. 

The Human Mind’s Spiritual Consciousness: Love Of All People Above Doctrine

By contrast, the life of Representative John Lewis shows how the Human mind can use religion to bring good to all people, rather than embracing doctrine regardless of its effect on people. Lewis, the son of sharecroppers, remained a strong advocate for nonviolence, even as he experienced numerous beatings in his quest to bring civil rights to all. 

What was especially Human-minded about John Lewis is that he put his own safety at risk not only for the well-being of African-Americans—who could be considered part of his tribe in the old mammalian sense—but for all people. He could be beaten and still love the people beating him. This is a hallmark of the spiritually conscious person, which goes far beyond religious fervor. Spiritual consciousness leads one to do whatever it takes to reduce suffering and increase healing for all people, even if it runs counter to the dictates of one’s religion. 

We do want to note that the quadrune mind model should not be seen as a static lens that makes us think we know everything about people based on traits that frequently correspond with a certain mind. John Lewis is a great example of why we must always consider how people actually are, rather than making assumptions about them based on stereotypes. (Stereotypes are, after all, the purview of our pre-Human mentalities, which are always trying to simplify the world; only the Human mind can comprehend the complexity of people as they really are.) John Lewis shows us that a person who is religious and a politician, which the quadrune mind model generally considers to represent obstacles to spiritual consciousness, can still be a fully actualized Human being.


In the quadrune mind model of spiritual consciousness, spirituality is a state of mind in complete opposition to the mind of dogmatic religiosity. Hawley may well believe he is witnessing for Christ, but his elevation of doctrine over doing of good for the well-being of other people seems at odds with Jesus’s teachings, as in Mark 2:27

Rather than being a defender of Christ, Hawley’s beliefs, from the quadrune mind perspective, put him squarely in the center of the mob that would demand Jesus’s death. This would be true of all reptilian-minded believers–in any religious tradition–who put dogma above the well-being of people. For example, they can be found among Jews and Muslims, as well as most world religions. Of course, Human-minded people, from the quadrune mind perspective, will also be found in those religions, perhaps among secular humanistic Jews, whose philosophy appears Human-oriented, or the Sufi mystic Jalal al-Din Rumi. Rumi’s belief that rational understanding cannot take the seeker to God without the intervention of love suggests a Human mind.

The contrast in level of consciousness between Josh Hawley and John Lewis could not be more stark. In a previous post we identified Siddhartha Gautama as an example of a Human-minded person. Surely, John Lewis from the quadrune mind perspective should be counted as a true Human being, as well. Josh Hawley, on the other hand, evinces behaviors and thoughts of the reptilian level of consciousness. 

Hawley appears to think his God-ordained mission to make doctrine more important than good acts supersedes any and all other values. The United States Constitution in service to it citizens, the lives of Senators and Representatives, “law and order,” civil peace, decency, love, tolerance, inclusiveness, science, respect, tradition appear not even to possess a secondary rank in his list of values. There is no list; it’s either destroy the “justification through acts” heresy—or nothing.


Meacham, J. (2020). His truth is marching on: John Lewis and the power of hope. New York: Random House. [We highly recommend reading this book for the many examples of the Human-mindedness of John Lewis].

Seelye, K. Q. (2020, July 17; updated 2020, August 4). John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80The New York Times.

  1. Stewart, K. (2021, January 11). The Roots of Josh Hawley’s Rage: Why do so many Republicans appear to be at war with both truth and democracy? The New York Times. [This article nicely sums up the reptilian mind’s world view based on ritualized dogmatism regarding church and law, and its life-or-death reaction to the new mammalian mind’s sense of autonomous thinking, which, in fact, can be dangerous].

2 replies on “Why Religious Fervor and Spiritual Consciousness Are Not The Same”

An excellent discussion that clearly showed the difference between two individuals and how their perspectives made them either an asset to society via love or someone who chooses dogma over love. Thank you for pointing out the difference.

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