Public Lecture: God, Other Transcendent, and Spiritual Well-being


15 November 2013


God, Other Transcendents, and Spiritual Well-being 



The Education University of Hong Kong


Dr. John W. Fisher



Spiritual well-being is reflected in the quality of relationships that people have with themselves, with others, with the environment, and/or with a Transcendent Other. The original version of Dr. John Fisher’s Spiritual Health and Life Orientation Measure (SHALOM), which is employed to assess spiritual well-being, included the word of 'God' in some items. Recently, a generic form of SHALOM has been developed in which the God-words are replaced with the word ‘Transcendent’. Respondents could choose from nineteen alternatives, such as Allah, Angels, Buddha, Fate, Father God, God, Higher Power, Higher Self, Mystery, Universal Spirit, as well as the option ‘Not an area in which I believe.’


Dr. John Fisher will report the findings of a web survey using the generic SHALOM, revealing how relationships with God and other Transcendents influence the relationships with self, other people, and the environment, all of which reflect spiritual well-being. It is found that people who relate with God and various forms of deity showed the least dissonance between ideals and lived experience in each of four domains of spiritual well-being. Those who claim fate and higher power as their motivating forces in life showed the greatest dissonance, indicating lower spiritual well-being.



Dr. John Fisher has 48 years’ experience in teaching and research in science, education, health, psychology, sociology and religious studies. Over the last 20 years, he has been researching spiritual well-being in health, education, and wider community settings. He is a holder of two doctorates and is currently completing a third one. He also supervises graduate students in Australia and overseas. He is Senior Fellow of the Rural Health Academic Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne; Visiting Professor of the Institute for Health, Medical Sciences & Society, University of Glyndwr, Wales, UK; and Honorary Senior Research Fellow of School of Education & Arts, University of Ballarat.