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 The Religious Galaxy

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Number of posts : 1919
Age : 47
Location: : Connecticut
Registration date : 2007-01-24

PostSubject: The Religious Galaxy   Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:52 am

The following from the website called Acceleration Watch and was posted over at PD. I thought it would make sense to post it over here as well.

Quote :
The Religious Galaxy

What follows is our suggested map of the phase space of religious world views, an exploration of the polarities of religious belief. It was partially inspired by three synthetic works, Karen Armstrong's A History of God, 1994, Ken Wilber's A Brief History of Everything, 2001, and James Sire's problematic but helpful The Universe Next Door, 1997.

Further Explorations of the Middle Planes
On the central Philosophy plane, the greatest density of human spiritual inhabitants, we can usefully describe nine natural categories. At the far left we find Scriptural Theists. These are those for whom received scripture is an objective record of God's word and will. At the far right we find Natural Atheists, those for whom scientific knowledge is an objective, reliable record of a world in which God is not a useful concept. At the far middle we find Rational Deists, who favor objective knowledge for all spiritual questions. They see the value of commonly held (evolutionary psychological, and possibly pre-objective) religious belief, yet consider the subjective to be unreliable, and very often wrong.

In the near left we find Existential Theists, who believe that contingent, personal revelation is the central record of God's word and will, for each of us. The scripture of their particular faith, while useful, is given to each believer as a jumping off point for the construction of their own spiritual thoughts and experiences, which are each very personal and not easily described. In the near right we find Existential Atheists, who believe that personal search for peace and fulfillment, not metaphysical illusion or limiting scientific paradigms, is the most important type of "spiritual growth." (They would be unlikely to use this term). In the near middle we find Existential Deists, who favor subjective knowledge for all spiritual questions, considering both scripture and science highly inadequate in describing the ineffable experience of God. In the middle left we find Integral Theists, who seek to promote, within one religious choice, both the objectivity of scriptural dogma and a wide variety of possible, conflicting personal spiritual journeys. In the middle right we find Integral Atheists, who see a Godless physical universe, but recognize the deep value of both scientific and unique, personally received knowledge in the search for wisdom, for living well in the world.

Finally, in the middle middle we find Integral Deists, who seek to integrate all of the abovementioned ways of spiritual knowing, without overreliance on any one of them. In theism, they have affinity to Unitarians, Bahai, Quakers, Stoics, and Gnostics, who seek to understand all the world's religions without professing the exclusive value of any of them, but be able to empathize and dialog with believers, preferably in their own language and idiom. In atheism, like Freethinkers, Secular Humanists, and scientists they seek to understand all the historical and sociopolitical evidence for the past and current excesses of religion, and to progressively work toward an increasingly secularlized world. In objectivity, they see the superior meaning in both scientific information and scripture that has remained popular and unredacted for generations, and seek to better unearth and articulate that value. In subjectivity, they champion the irreducible uniqueness of each individual path in world of the known and unknown, and the tremendous value of encouraging and empowering that uniqueness, and judging very lightly, for none of us can be proven to hold a privileged value set.

On the Relativist plane we find individuals who profess the inability to privilege one value set over another, and the desire to see all beliefs as valid and useful. Nevertheless, all relativists will hold one set of beliefs personally over others, will be relativist about their beliefs in some of the other domains, and can be defined as objective, subjective, or integral, theistic, atheistic, or integral. On the Agnostic plane we find a rough inverse, individuals who profess the inability to know some particular about God, the universe, or the self, while being otherwise open to belief exploration in other areas. Again, all agnostics hold one set of beliefs personally over others, will be agnostic about their beliefs in some of the other domains, and can be defined as objective, subjective, or integral, theistic, atheistic, or integral. For examples of subjective agnostics, think of both sexes or two cultures, each professing not to understand the other. For objective agnostics, think of a scientist professing not to understand spiritual practice, or a behaviorist denying the relevance of subjective experience.

The true Mystic and Nihilist positions are perhaps more caricatures than planes. Few individuals inhabit them permanently, and most of us do so experimentally, for periods of time that are a small fraction of the average human thoughtspan. The middle three planes are far more persistently populated.

It's good to see that there are people out there who agree with some of the things that we have been talking about for a while. It's also nice to see that they have a slightly different take on things that I think can add depth and complexity to our already existing models.

"Enjoy every sandwich" ~ Warren Zevon
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