Sgt. Justin Griffith recently took a test called the Soldier Fitness Tracker (SFT) that would test his competency in four areas: Emotional, Social, Family, and Spiritual.
One of these things is not like the others…
Why is Spiritual on that list? Who knows…
Among the questions Justin had to answer on a scale of 1 (disagree) to 5 (agree):
— My life has a lasting meaning
I feel connected to a being that is greater than me I believe that in some way my life is closely connected to all humanity and all the world
— I’m a spiritual person
Well, Justin answered honestly and got these results:
The red bar under spiritual isn’t a good thing…
A red bar means that you face some significant challenges in this area. This means that you should focus most of your attention on this area, though you should also note that placing too much emphasis here could result in other dimensions dropping. The key is to properly balance where you need the most development with the areas you are already doing well in.
Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles, and values. Nevertheless, who you are and what you do matter. There are things to do to provide more meaning and purpose in your life. Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal. Change is possible, and the relevant self-development training modules will be helpful. If you need further help, please do not hesitate to seek out help from the people you care about and trust – strong people always do. Be patient in your development as it will take time to improve in this area. Still, persistence is key and you will improve here if you make this area a priority.
It seems like an atheist would have no chance being “spiritually fit” under this assessment. Even though there’s nothing at all wrong with not being religious — and atheists absolutely can feel connected to something “larger” and have meaning and purpose in their lives.
Rebecca Watson points out the possible consequences of all this:
I’d like to know how the army plans to use the results of this terribly worded survey. No one stepped from the shadows to strip Griffith of his rank, but he does mention that prior to seeing his scores he agreed to have his data included in an anonymous aggregation to be used in some undefined manner. He now worries that it will be used to increase funding to chaplains or in other ways meant to increase the spirituality of the troops.
There’s no evidence that’s happening yet, but the fact that this survey was approved by someone in power and soldiers are taking it as we speak worries me.
On a side note, Justin is trying to increase the visibility of atheists in the military with his Rock Beyond Belief event happening next year. You’ll hear more about that later, but it’s bound to be a huge event and I can’t wait to be a part of it.