All, Check out a new firestorm brewing.  Interested in everyone's thoughts.

A new dimension of character and leadership development has made strong advances in the military in the last few years - "Spirituality." The Army's new Global Assessment Test is part of Comprehensive Soldier
Fitness, a $50 million program focused on five dimensions - physical,
emotional, social, spiritual, and family. Those who score low on the
assessment are referred to counseling. The Ft Hood Spiritual Fitness
Center is a cutting-edge facility that explains, "Physical (Body),
Mental (Mind), and Spiritual (Soul)," with its focus being on "spiritual
needs." This term "Spirituality" calls immediately to mind
supernatural "spirits" and religious piety. On the surface, there is
concern that the military is officially endorsing and even requiring a
supernatural or traditional religious viewpoint.

MAAF would hope that by "spirituality," the military might mean something like character, resilience, or steadfastness. This hope is
encouraged by much of the documentation and purposes of the same
"spirituality" programs. It makes perfect sense that the military would
want to encourage and develop a soldier's ability to hold strongly to
values in the face of the stresses of combat. Knowing the right thing
is not the same thing as doing the right thing. Service members benefit
from a strong foundation of personal values upon which to build the
values of the profession of arms. The stresses of combat take a greater
toll if service members don't have some internal peace and personal
understanding to make sense of the world. A connection to a supportive
community of like-minded individuals enhances the benefits above. These
secular benefits do make sense, but they are different than prayer,
energy, or other things generally associated with "spirituality."

Interested in everyone's thoughts on this and the other details at MAAF.  How can we 1) reform the existing 'spirituality' ideas and 2) bring the same values from our community to support resilience in combat, steadfastness, and the ability to recover from trauma?

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Replies to This Discussion

I would like to know specifically how they teach something like this. "The principles also teach people to be honest with God, cope with stress, and be a positive influence to themselves and others."

Sited from

Check out the CFS site. They claim "The program, based on 30-plus years of scientific study and results, uses individual assessments, tailored virtual training, classroom training and embedded resilience experts to provide the critical skills our Soldiers, Family members and Army Civilians need."
I require access to these scientific studies.

This thing has been arond for a while. We had to do it initially in summer 2009 and then again while we were in Iraq this year. I think it's just like anything else the army does. A half-vast solution to a vast problem (pun intended). This is like the "Year of the NCO", the "Army Family Covenenat"  and "Strong Bond". Total nonsense that addresses the need for action in the PR arena but fails to address the real heart of the issue. When was the last time you've heard of a leader having his career stopped because he was hostile to soldiers who needed serious mental help for TBI or PTSD? I found the whole "Comprehensive Soldier Fitness" thing a bunch of crap and I tried to be objective about it for the sake of my soldiers unitl a few of them said "what was that shit about spiritual fitness?"

The "spiritual fitness" thing is not bad but whenever you label anything spiritual in the Army, the ignorant gain momentum. The dominionists leaders and senior chaplains can't get see spirituality in any other context and with Christian Embassy's man, Pete Geren as Secretary, nothing will be likely to change.

It seems to me that this is the weirdization of the process that's caused by the presence of chaplains.... Now atheists feel they need a touchy-feely 'meditation' session to counter the prayer sessions. If the chaplains hadn't been there before, no one would be giving such a session a second thought, would they?


The real answer to this is to get rid of chaplains, AFAICS. The chaplains are the ones who should be civilians ... unpaid volunteers, don't you think?

Good idea. Can retirees attend? =)

In the resilieance training part of the CSF under Spiritual Support there are two videos that are part of slide 10 of 11. The first is some female talking about ill adjustment to divorce and going to church regularly helped get her back on track. The next video is a dude talking about how having a higher power is necessary to cope on deployments because "it's always with you".


And apparently prayer has nothing to do with religion...

I did have a thought more elevated on this during a class on understanding "Millenials". If the Army is going to spend money on this then why not include respected philosohical ethecists in group of experienced grief couselors and psychologists to refine the "spirituality" area that, when you really examine this thing from our side, really just falls under "emotional" anyway. I re-did the assessment recently and that was what I keyed in on the most. Remove the concept of a soul separate from the brain and it is just emotions. Could anyone else help me refine what I'm trying to explain? I'm exhausted from the long training days right now.
Hello, Jason. You know me at by another name. You'll know who it is when I tell you how I differ in my approach from yours. While your philosophy allows for chaplains in the military, mine does not. I think it incumbent on us to make a point of challenging the validity of chaplains. A bold move like this will certainly let it be known that people are watching the evangelical behavior we encounter in the military... even if it is ineffective in getting chaplains removed. Why should we pay someone to be an officer, a rank that is above most of the men around him and to which enlisted men must kowtow, to give an opinion on anything 'spiritual?'
They're looking for ways to cut defense spending. I think it's time these slackers found a real job. =)

I never had the internal peace and understanding that I have now until I became an atheist.  Where does that score on the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness bullshit card?  Apparently a 567-question test followed by a 30 minute interview based on the test with a pysch formulating your profile isn't enough (I'm not a chicken fucker or the next Nidal Hasan in waiting) . . . I still have to click through this shit . . .


Spirituality sounds like a bullshit word to me, I don't have a spirit, I don't believe in spirits - except the kind with alcohol in them (they're real!).  Are the Army Values not enough?


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