If the questions of religion, spirituality, and consciousness seem intractable you can adopt the strategy of WHEE: World History and the Eonic Effect, which creates a ‘systems’ model of the action of religious emergence and evolution (of man and civilization) in a neutral language that never refers to distinctions of material and spiritual. The term ‘systems’ model sounds awfully awesome, a bit fancy, but it is actually a simple set of tactics to describe something in a ‘coherent’ language of sequential states of a given entity (instead of cause and effect, which is a special case). If you are looking at a ‘machine’ of unknown functionality you can simply adopt a ‘systems analysis’, what it does, and the responses to input, etc, and this is basically the approach to historical dynamics. It is actually unclear, for example, what is going on with the ‘Axial Age’, but the approach of this kind of ‘informal’ systems analysis uncovers what was meant by the spiritual action of religions, but without any final commitment to ‘spirituality’ or ‘materiality’. We can see the dramatic emergence of world religions and secular civilizations in tandem, and even in combination. It is one thing to adopt an atheist critique of monotheism (the New Atheists generalize outrageously to all religion), it is quite another to ignore the spectacular evidence of a dynamic to religions in emergence over periods of several millennia. We are confounded, neither the skeptic nor the religionist can get the issues straight. We are in search of a unitary language to deal with these mysteries that aren’t completely mysterious because our ‘systems analysis’ depicts their historical motion without even explicating their cause. The irony here is that languages of spirituality and evolution both are complex belief systems each with a component of superstition, and an ironic intersection. In any case the language of ‘systems analysis’ (transitions, macro formalism, etc…) is highly successful in getting our bearings on a new form of complexity inherited from the very recent archaeological revolution which shows us for the first time a ‘time and motion’ aspect, or dynamic, to the progression of civilizations. The problem for the constracted thought systems of religionists and ‘secularists’ is the religious and the secular share the same dynamic, a warning of false divisions in our thinking.