Skip to main content

Reviews

Review By Bettie Corbin Tucker
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers

Readers will be challenged, enlightened, and intrigued when reading A Common Path by Alan D. Bourey, J.D, a retired attorney, who thoroughly researched his work so that he could present it to the public in a purposeful and open-minded manner. On page 276, he writes, “Along with the need for a change in science and religion, there is an even greater need for an emergence of spirituality. Hopefully, the answers provided in this book can be a foundation for such a new spirituality.”

The questions that the author addresses are: How did the universe begin? How did life begin? Does God exist? Do we each have a spirit or soul? What happens after we die? How should we live our lives? Do we have free will? Are events in our lives random? And will the universe come to an end? Before getting to his answers, readers will first be given some preliminary and background reading which Mr. Bourey has divided into three parts: Religion, Science, and Spirituality. All three are well-written and, in my opinion, very interesting. Although there are some of his findings that I may disagree with, his well-researched presentations caused me to evaluate his answers and conclusions very carefully. Even more importantly, the general tone of his book is hopeful—rather than intimidating—as he sets forth the justifications for his beliefs. He invites readers to go over the evidence and then render their own verdicts. Every chapter of the book has a poetic preface that is very revealing in and of itself.

The author first discuses religious beliefs since they existed before recorded history. He offers information as to what they do and don’t have in common with scientific knowledge, explaining that religious beliefs are not subject to verification. He calls for twelve changes to be made in regard to religious authority, religious beliefs, and the role of religious institutions. There are aspects of this section on religion that some individuals may have problems with, but they need to continue reading to understand the intellect and reasoning behind this call to action. Remember, it is his goal that religion and science reach a common path which means that both of them must make acceptable changes.

Although Mr. Bourey suggests that you read Chapter 5 of Part II a second time, I believe this should apply to the entire section which pertains to “Science.” He states that, “The most vital information for understanding our existence lies at the boundaries of current science.” (Page 69) A scientist develops a theory which he then proceeds to test; it is based on induction but also held together by deduction. The author admits that science does not and cannot explain all the workings of the universe. He suggests three ways to change scientific orientation, three ways to change scientific investigation, and three ways to change the scientific approach from negative to positive. These nine changes provide the perfect “lead-in” to Part III where the subject of “Spirituality” is explored. Mr. Bourey answers the questions mentioned in the second paragraph of this review, offering his proof and sometimes sharing his own personal experiences that allow readers to get to know him better.

On page 123, the author discusses spiritual knowledge, stating that, “By definition ‘spiritual knowledge’ is that part of all knowledge that is needed for spiritual issues.” Although in the introduction, the standard of proof to establish spiritual knowledge was addressed, the author now offers five detailed levels of proof as well as seven ways to determine whether something is probably true. He briefly discusses transcendental experiences, second-hand knowledge, the possibility of absolute knowledge, and the meaning and application of faith. Mr. Bourey makes it clear that he believes we can determine what is more probably true than not true.

As far as the above-referenced questions, I highly recommend that you purchase this thought-provoking book to read Mr. Bourey’s answers and to see how strongly he has presented his case that religion and science are interconnected and must not be viewed separately. Will you, the reader, be convinced that there is a common path?

Bettie Corbin Tucker
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers

(Author of seven books (3 by mainline publishers)
Founder of Rainbow's End Publishing (1983-2000)
Former radio talk show host
Guest on National TV and Radio
Seminar writing teacher and workshop hostess
www.bookreviewers.org)

Review By Todd Rutherford

Alan D. Bourey’s A Common Path: The Future of Religion, Science, and Spirituality is a fascinating composition that addresses the age old conflict between the religious and scientific worlds. The book strives to prove that religion and science are two compatible, critical ingredients to forming a new spirituality. Using legal concepts such as burden of proof and circumstantial evidence, Bourey strips away the fluff and digs right into the good stuff. From how the universe was created and the existence of God to what happens after death and if everything happens for a reason, A Common Path is all encompassing and a worthwhile, enlightening read for all the thinkers in the world.
More than anything else, Bourey’s book allows readers to perceive the world from a different, more unified vantage point. Bourey adamantly stresses the importance of science and religion being indivisible; instead, he urges society to view them as parts of a cohesive whole. Using the “principle of complementarity” and the “conceptualization of the infinite,” Bourey concludes that only when unity is achieved can individuals have the possibility of attaining absolute knowledge and enhancing the future path of science and religion.
In a nutshell, science and religion both have practical and conceptual flaws. For example, the majority of scientists do not believe in the existence of spirits because it has not been proven. Bourey then presents a fundamental question that pertains to all scientific inquiries: “Why do they assume something is not true just because they have not proven it to be true? And isn't it difficult to prove something unless and until you investigate it? It is one thing to disprove something and quite another to simply disbelieve it because it does not fit into one's preconceived notions.”
In order to reach a new level of spirituality, the realms of science and religion must acknowledge and transform. The tendencies of both are to avoid “what does not easily fit into its present conceptualizations.” While science refrains from discussing concepts such as spiritual phenomena—because it is unable to explain or prove their existence—religion will not tread upon scientific thought that challenges its fundamental, ingrained beliefs.
A Common Path, despite having the make-up of a dense text, is extremely interesting. Alan D. Bourey does a fantastic job of depicting familiar concepts of religion, science, and spirituality in a foreign, futuristic fashion. A Common Path is a must-add to your library collection, highly recommended!

Tom Rutherford

Review by Barry Halpren

Alan Bourey has presented a sweeping review of science and religion and how and whether the two should relate. The author covers a broad spectrum of topics - science and religion, multiple religions, multiple scientific theories and conclusions - and weaved it all into a very readable narrative. Using poetry and humor throughout, Mr. Bourey weaves a well-reasoned tale that begins by asking questions that many of us have asked throughout our lifetimes: how did the universe begin? what happens after death? is there a mind separate from the body? do science and religion necessarily have to be in conflict? is there a God? and more. He proceeds to carefully address each of the questions by presenting history, facts, and eventually his own conclusions. Despite the wide variety of subject matter, Mr. Bourey is very adept at explaining difficult concepts in terms that the reader can easily comprehend. Even so, some of the material almost demands re-reading because the subject matter is so fascinating and so important. For example, he presents a wonderful survey of both Eastern and Western religions and religious thought, and how they are similar and different.

While many may disagree with some of the answers that Mr. Bourey provides, there is no doubt that "A Common Path" will educate the reader and provide much for discussion and thought. I highly recommend this book and urge that readers of all faiths and scientific beliefs read "A Common Path" and use it as a basis for asking and answering their own questions about themselves and the world we live in.

Barry Halpren

Review by Cindy B

If you are searching for answers to questions such as: How did the universe begin? How did life begin? Does God exist? Do we each have a spirit or soul? or What happens when we die?, then you will want to read the book A Common Path, The Future of Religion, Science and Spirituality by Alan D. Bourey, J.D.

After leading the reader through an organized, well
researched path of background information about religion, science, and
spirituality, and suggesting that both religion and science have problems
accepting possibilities that do not fit into their conceptualizations, the
author explains his belief system. He comes to his conclusions by thoughtfully
examining the evidence and using his legal mind and experience to decide which
evidence is "more probably true than not true".

These are not the only questions that the author poses. Perhaps the most important questions the author considers are, Is there a reason we exist? and How should we live our lives? After presenting his answers to the above questions and others, Mr.
Bourey suggests ideas for a new spirituality and gives his vision for how
science, religion and spirituality can find a common path. The reader will discover
that this book is informative and thought provoking, plus sprinkled with humor,
poetry and personal stories.

After the conclusion, will you choose to use the information
and intriguing questions as a starting point for further study and thought, or will
you choose to accept the author's conclusions and beliefs as the perfect final
answer? Either way, you will enjoy your journey through the pages of Mr. Bourey's book.

Cindy B.

Review by David Chicoine

After a successful law career, Alan Bourey turned a highly skilled legal mind to the problems of religion, science, and spirituality in an attempt at cutting through to the truths common to all three. He took on this ambitious goal in pursuit of what he himself could believe and have faith in, after becoming increasingly skeptical of the religious "truths" that he was raised, like so many others, to accept uncritically.

The bottom line of Bourey's search, and of the book itself, is truly ambitious: to come up with a common sense spirituality that can guide the day to day choices and decisions made by the contemporary man and woman.

In this quest for an intelligently grounded spirituality, Bourey's training as a lawyer plays a crucial role. In fact, herein lies a unique aspect of his book, and perhaps its greatest strength: in seeking the contents of this new spirituality and reliable "spiritual knowledge," Bourey rejects as inappropriate both the rigorous degree of proof demanded by science for its facts and theories, as well as the simple belief and faith traditional religions demand for their dogma. Instead, he applies the common sense legal notion of proof based on what is "more probably true than not." He rejects the burden of proof, similar to that demanded by science, of "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the legal system demands in criminal cases, and instead embraces the standard demanded in civil cases referred to as "beyond the preponderance of evidence," also known as the "fifty-one percent" standard. A second and complementary legal concept Bourey applies in his examination of contemporary religion and science relates to circumstantial evidence: if there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to make a contention or theory appear more likely true than not, he suggests it is only reasonable to accept it as such.

Armed with these simple but powerful intellectual tools from the legal world, Bourey proceeds to separate the wheat from the chaff by examining what can be taken as true in the traditional religions, as well as which factual yet potentially spiritual phenomena remain mysterious despite the best efforts modern science; he then synthesizes these "truths" into a common sense spirituality for the 21st century. Subjected to the standard of "more likely true than not," much of what people are taught to accept and believe in the traditional religions is swept away, essentially leaving only the core spiritual truths common to all the religions. Likewise, Bourey reviews in some detail the fascinating and often not commonly known discoveries of science which scientists are as yet at a loss to explain. These mysterious phenomena, from quantum theory to ESP to near death experiences, often seem to give weight to Shakespeare's "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"...and substantiate the need for thoughtful contemporary people respectful of science to embrace nothing less than a spiritual perspective and lifestyle.

After his distillation of the core truths of modern religion and the scientific phenomena relevant to spirituality, Bourey then proceeds to examine in depth their implications for not only what we can believe in with some assurance, but also how we should live in light of these truths. These practical guidelines for living spiritually from day to day, spelled out in some detail, represent the bottom line of Bourey's quest.

The readers for whom this book might prove most useful are those who were raised in a traditional religion but came over time to be so skeptical of its dogmas that affiliation with the religion was broken. Many of these people know what they no longer believe, but have not been able to arrive at more sturdy perspectives and beliefs with which to fill this gaping hole. Bourey is a reliable guide through the process of determining both what must be rejected, and what can be reasonably substituted in its place. That all this is accomplished with grace, humor, and a plethora of relevant personal anecdotes is a kind of miracle of its own.

Review by David Chicoine, Ph.D.

Review by David Nesbit

Alan Bourey's book examines Life's biq questions (How did the universe begin? Do we each have a soul? What happens when we die?) from the unique point-of-view of a lawyer's critical perspective. The book discusses a wide range of areas, from the philosophies of current religions and great thinkers to the science of the Origen of the universe and quantum physics. Alan presents and evaluates these critically, but understandably, while nudging both the religious and scientifically bent toward tolerance of the points of view of each. While moving the reader toward a Common set of truths, Alan uses these to discuss the ultimate question of How Should We Live our Lives? This is an amazing and comprehensive resource for the journey to find meaning in life that I will read and reread.

David Nesbit

Review by Joe Pavia

I believe this is the first book of the author, and what a debut it is. Bourey dares to venture down a path less traveled by. While physicists struggle to find a theory to unify our understanding of all forms of energy, Bourey declares there is a way to unify all of science, religion and spirituality.

As he begins his sojourn, he meticulously demonstrates that neither religion nor science has had complete fidelity to the truth. He knocks the scientists, who think all existence can be reduced to ever smaller particles, off their self-made pedestal. The author excoriates the scientists who ignore observable phenomena which cannot be explained by their reductionist models. Those who see the world through the lens of fundamental religions do not escape the author's attention. We are shown that the most sacred texts of Christianity cannot be the literal transcriptions of God's manual for us because the text has changed in thousands of ways over the years.

Bourey urges that there is a common path to the truth which can incorporate the deep insights of religion and spirituality and science if we will only demand of ourselves that we use our intellects and insist on fidelity to what we can know is true.

Few books have made me stop and think so often as I devoured the pages. I can give no higher compliment. I am sure most readers will find themselves debating one assertion or another with the author, but agree or disagree, each section of the book will compel you to think.

Bourey expands on many ideas which are not original to him. But he readily credits his sources and then integrates the many borrowed concepts into a new integral whole. I found his exploration of the implications of the emergent universe as particularly intriguing and compelling. Once you have traveled A Common Path, you will see that the book itself emerges as an original work greater than the sum of its many incorporated ideas.

This book belongs on the shelf of every philosopher and seeker of the truth. To the author I say, "Well done!"

Joe Pavia

Review by Kathy Erlenbush

I have read many books on spirituality but "A Common Path" by Alan Bourey has certainly been the most unique. He meshes religion, science, and spirituality in a way that is not only interesting and thought provoking, but also incredibly informative. Using scientific facts, we learn what has been proven, and the direction science needs to take in the future to explore the answers to our most burning questions. A brief description is given into the beliefs of the major world religions, and what each can learn from each other and science. In a well thought out, and non-judgmental way, Mr. Bourey not only answers nine questions regarding how the universe began, to what happens after we die, but also gives instruction on how he believes each person should live for true spiritual happiness. Using poetry, scientific facts, personal stories, and an extensive amount of research on several subjects, Mr. Bourey aides the reader in their quest to find their own spiritual truth.

Kathy Erlenbush

Midwest Book Reviews

When spirituality and science join forces, truly great things can be achieved. "A Common Path: The Future of Religion, Science, & Spirituality" is a presentation from Alan Bourey who argues that by merging the goals of philosophy, religion, and science, we can attain the knowledge that they all seek more efficiently. Stating that hypothesis must be proven, facts must not be ignored, and the doctrine of it all must be reconciled, "A Common Path" presents many intriguing ideas in the search for greater knowledge among it all.