This aspect of Stanley's special meanings raises questions of their relationship with his inherited Christian orthodoxy. We can only decide for ourselves as to what extent we think he adhered to or discarded elements of the conventional church canon. His metaphysical interpretation of his Cookham churchyard, for example, as a heaven, a place where everyone is happy because through his art they become part of his resurrection into a state of Emersonian perfection, is unlikely to satisfy a strict theologian, particularly of the Roman faith such as Desmond Chute, who would have argued that if guilty souls were not to be condemned to hell, absolution was necessary through an ordained priest, and not through the stance Stanley assumed in his painterly interpretation.

Initially in their friendship Stanley politely acquiesced in Chute's efforts to convert him to Catholicism, but then gradually slipped away as a result of his ordeals on war service. Even so, Chute's precepts left their mark. Stanley was never able to free himself from the orthodox Catholic concept of hell, and remained unable psychologically to paint a meaningful version.

In the same context, Stanley was never able to come to terms with Original Sin nor with the dialectic of Good and Evil. After the manner of the early-Christian-era philosopher Boethius, he preferred to describe them as wickedness and theirs exponents as wicked people, and in justification of his approach even uncovered to himself the sin of all sins, that of keeping a man from the Kingdom of Heaven (i.e. preventing - or dissuading - a person from achieving their true creative potential or spiritual 'perfection', or in the more academic phrases of Professor Rudmose-Brown of Trinity Dublin, to impede the self-realization of an individual is to impede the self-realization of the Divinity.)

This did not mean that Stanley was ever likely to veer in the opposite - Emersonian - direction and became a freethinker. He needed to stick to a paradigm, a storyline deeper in concept than he could himself devise, in order to keep the fluidity of his intuitive thought flowing in a comfortingly coherent pattern. On the occasions he found himself departing from his paradigm, as in the webpage on the Lovers and the others of his 'sex-pictures', he was so bewildered by the emergent imagery that when the initial excitement had died down, he was content to return to his paradigm again.

Even so,
the conclusion must surely be that while Stanley clung to the anchor of his paradigm, the 'spiritual' in his work sourced more from the innate powers of his metaphysical thinking. This apparently ambivalent position added to his public difficulties throughout his life. It left him misunderstood and even critically condemned by those of settled opinions who could not decide on which side to assign his art -  the religiously-dedicated or the radically-secular. Their dilemma sometimes prevails even today.

[See also a further note on the sources of Stanley's spiritual outlook]