In a open source, meta-religion of evolution like Religion 2.0 (AKA Evolution Spirituality,) it is necessary to have concise (or expanded,) definitions for key religious terms so that what is unique about this new form of meta-religion is not lost or confused in the definitions used by other Religion 1.0 or Religion 1.5 religions.
The Common Confusion Surrounding the Differences in Definitions of Spirit, Spirituality and Religion
"Spirituality entails the personal search for the meaning, purpose and optimal best practices of life where generally you get to decide what is true and useful and what is not. Religion is the socialization of this process where in Religion 1.0 established religious authorities tell you the meaning, purpose and optimal best practices of life and --- where you do not really get to personally decide what is ultimately true and/or useful and what is not.
Religion 2.0 is far more intimate and useful to the individual and may prove eventually to be far more effective as the source of personal and social betterment in the 21st century than traditional Religion 1.0 or the progressive religions of Religion 1.5." Lawrence Wollersheim
Mention spirituality to many young people today and they think of religion. Then many of them want nothing to do with it.
This is primarily because there are so many Religion 1.0 and Religion 1.5 irrational beliefs, abusive practices and violent actions that are commonly associated with these versions of religion and their fanatical religious fundamentalists. Spirituality, particularly the Religion 2.0 version of integral, evolutionary and personalized spirituality that is taught on this website is very unlike what most people think about Religion 1.0 or Religion 1.5 and their religious conflicts that they see regularly in the media.
If you maintain an open mind that the evolutionary science-grounded spirituality in Religion 2.0 taught on this website much different in important ways that Religion 1.0 or Religion 1.5 you will be ready for the kind of open, science-grounded and personally created spirituality that you will find inn Religion 2.0. To better understand what we mean by the word spirituality when within Religion 2.0 you will first need to understand Religion 2.0's upgraded and qualified definition of the word spirit.
Spirit, as defined in Religion 2.0:
a.) Spirit in a human being is defined as: the animating, sensitive or vital principle or essence in that individual taken to be the seat of their mental, intellectual and emotional powers.
b.) In human beings spirit is sometimes known as the individual's highest self or consciousness. (In most religious denominations an individual's spirit is imagined to survive bodily death.) And,
c.) Spirit can also be defined as Ultimate Reality itself --- the animating, sensitive or vital principle of the universe and all life as a whole or the animating, sensitive or vital principle of that which initiated the universe before the Big Bang. Here we are using a very specific Religion 2.o definition of Ultimate Reality. Click here for that specific definition.
So, the word Spirit in our community will mean either a, b or c above of even all of them at the same time depending upon how it is being used at the time.
Spirituality as defined in Religion 2.0:
"A spirituality of the universe that reflects its origin and the universe's own evolutionary process is a spirituality that is concerned primarily with developing, evolving and sustaining the essence of life and progressively evolving the universe itself." Lawrence Wollersheim
Spirituality in Religion 2.0 helps provide the meanings and values on "how best to live" based on the facts of evolutionary science.
Spirituality in Religion 2.0 for those of a spiritual nature can also refer to an Ultimate Reality or transcendent dimension of the worl or an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his or her being or, the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.”
Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life. Based upon individual choices on what they also want to retain from Religion 1.0 or Religion 1.5, it can encompass belief in immaterial realities and/or experiences of the immanent or transcendent nature of the world. It can also encompass an integration and "marriage" of both science and spirit as it does in the practices as found in Religion 2.0.
Some spiritual practices in Religion 2.0 are practices that also help you to develop your full potentials on every level. They include meditation, prayer, social service and contemplation. They are intended to develop an individual's inner life; such practices often lead to an experience of connectedness with a larger reality: a more comprehensive sense of self; other individuals or the human community; nature or the cosmos; and/or Ultimate Reality as we have defined it in the Ultimate Reality link above.
Religion 2.0 Spirituality also can mean or imply:
1.) Those questions, answers, subjects, objects and processes which most directly relate to the individual's direct personal (or impersonal,) experience, relationship and understanding of Ultimate Reality. (Ultimate Reality can have many definitions so do check them out.)
2.) How your experiences with Ultimate Reality will naturally inform your relationship with yourself, your relationship to and with all other individuals and things and to Ultimate Reality itself. An individual spirituality reflects their own personal choices in these matters --- NOT necessarily what a religious authority or sacred book demands or commands that you unquestionably believe or do.
3.) not dogmatic --- grounded and balanced with rationality, spiritual safeguards and good science and, --- it is always personalized by you!
4.) Spirituality often involves a paradoxical thinking process where one holds in union two seemingly paradoxical polarities.
For those of a spiritual nature, spirituality as practiced within Religion 2.0 is first grounded by good evolutionary science about the objective reality physical nature of life in the universe and then for those who choose it, it is grown within the individual's subjective reality. The subjective side of Religion 2.0's spirituality consists of self-selecting the life-affirming wisdom, myths, metaphors, probabilities and beliefs that the individual discovers for themselves or learns from spiritual studies of Religion 1.5 and Religion 1.0 and then holds, discards or re-integrates at new levels as they mature and advance in their spiritual practice.
Objective reality consists of the knowledge, wisdom, probabilities and facts that the individual discovers for themselves or that they learn from the sciences and then holds, discards or re-integrates at new levels of growth as they expand their life and science studies and/or science discovers new or re-defining facts. For those of a spirituall nature it is this balance and dance between honoring individual subjective (personal,) reality and experiences and learning and accepting objective reality (science facts) and experiences is found a balance and integration, which makes religion 2.0 so vital to the future of religion and spirituality.
It is in the combination, integration and balancing of the subjective, objective and even the inter-subjective (the "we" shared space,) discoveries of life that we continue to see our own individual essence and the essence of all things, Ultimate Reality in new and expanding ways which add to the richness meaning and effectiveness of our lives. Religion 2.0 embraces this evolutionary and balanced spiritual process and integrally educates on how to maximize its safe results in many unique ways simply not found in any other spiritual or religious movement in the world today. (To discover more about those unique ways go to the full theological and administrative definition of Religion 2.0 found on this website by clicking here.)
In conclusion, the spirituality of Religion 2.0 is a meta-spirituality and is not what people consider to be much like a traditional Religion 1.0 or the progressive religions of Religion 1.5. (Parts of the above spirit and spirituality definitions are taken from the Wikipedia definitions of spirit and spirituality that are congruent with the way we use in Religion 2.0.)
Other Religion 1.0 and Religion 1.5 Perspectives on the Definition of Spirituality
Many Religion 1.0 and Religion 1.5 theologians also generally hold that spirituality is not religion, per se, but the active and vital direct and/or personal connection to a force, power, Ultimate Reality or sense of the deep self. Paradoxically, it is estimated in current traditional religions only 1 in 10 individuals ever reaches this level of authentic personal connection to a force, power, Ultimate Reality or sense of the deep self. (See definitions of direct spiritual experience for more on this by clicking here.)
Other Religion 1.0 and 1.5 religions and schools of spirituality believe that the goal of 'being spiritual' is to simultaneously improve one's wisdom, will power and communion with Ultimate Reality, which necessitates the removal of illusions at the sensory, feeling and thinking aspects of a person.
Still other spiritual proponents and theologians point out that that spirituality is a two-stroke process. The upward stroke relates to inner growth and the downward stroke relates towards both wholly living within the world/reality around us and manifesting improvements in the world/reality around us as a result of the inward change.
In general, those given to describing their spiritual beliefs in terms of "spirituality" rather than "religion" are often apt to believe that there are many "personal spiritual paths," it is solely their responsibility as to which one to choose and that there is no objective one truth about which is the best path to follow for any specific individual. The rule of thumb when evaluating any spiritual approach is that:
It takes six months of diligent, proper practice to manifest noticeable improvement in one's life. If not, then the usual advice is to pick another approach that is more likely to assist you in achieving your specific goals. (We hope that you will give Universe Spirituality the six month challenge.)
The Religion 2.0 Perspective on Traditional Religions and Religious Denominations
We believe that there are not just a few thousand religions in the world, but rather that there are as many unique religions as there are people who have decided to seek greater understanding of the Ultimate Reality, Awe and Wonder which unites us all. In Religion 2.0 we hold that increasingly, when someone is asked what religion they are, more people will say that they have their own personal religion rather than saying that they are members of one of the mainstream religions common today.
That being said concerning what is the fastest growing trend in religion today, we also hold that there are both useful beauties to be embraced and pathologies to be avoided in all religions, spiritualities and denominations. Although the Religion 2.0 found on this website can and does perform all of the core purposes, functions and goals of religion, we call what we do a meta-religion because in part, what we do is so different we wish to free ourselves from limiting associations with enforced dogma, authoritarianism and religious abuses which more than 30% of the western world wants nothing more to do with. This new Religion 2.0 co-creating with emerging progressive evolution is something vastly different than anything that has ever been seen before in the history of religion...
It is not the intent of this new meta-religion to imply that there should be only one world religion nor do we believe that such a thing is advisable. Our new meta-religion is both omni-denominational and trans-denomination. It is non-competitive and non-conflicting with membership in any other religion or spirituality. Religion 2.0 is not an effort to create a one world religion! It is something much different than that designed to serve as an upgrade for all religions.
We also hold that Ultimate Reality appears to value and delight in the variety of spiritual/religious diversity. Spiritual diversity also serves as a vital communication and teaching tool for the many different personality types, individual psycho-social developmental levels and multitude of cultures. We believe in the critical necessity for many unique spiritual approaches and without this essential diversity, spirituality would be like the sound of an orchestra playing a symphony with only one instrument. It would lack depth, harmony and balance.
We honor the many spiritualities in the world like individual stories and chapters in a book by one great author. To the reader each separate story in the book still retains its own indispensable value and uniqueness and can be appreciated individually, or as a valued component of a compilation of stories that reflect an author's history and their ongoing relationship to their body of work.
We believe it is vital that Religion 2.0 continue to evolve from current science and with the ongoing evolution of humankind's collective spiritual wisdom as well as the transformative, direct spiritual experiences of our members grounded by the facts of science. We hope that when appropriate, other spiritual organizations and individuals will do the same.
Our meta-religion fully recognizes there is a universal and transcendent core found within all of the world's authentic spiritual traditions. It is the Ultimate Reality that is the source of all reality and its universal qualities. Our meta-religion fully recognizes that all healthy iterations of of the world's spiritual traditions contain within them diverse, effective and often complementary processes for achieving spiritual growth through the direct spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality.
We also hold that the differences in the plurality of processes is an essential and necessary result of our cultural, developmental, learning style and individual personality differences. Ultimate Reality can be encountered, conceptualized, and responded to in numerous and diverse ways. These different perceptions of Ultimate Reality represent both different aspects of Ultimate Reality itself and/or perceptions conditioned by cultural, learning style and individual personality differences.
The most common forms of direct spiritual experience have been described as a numinous experience of the holy or a mystical experience of unity. These forms of direct spiritual experience have been found to be substantially the same in different cultures and religions. This lends credence to the perspective that many universal direct spiritual experiences underlie and interconnect all the major world religions and are the expanding foundation of this meta-spirituality.
Our evolution based meta-religion holds that by also assembling and sharing both the universal and diverse aspects of these diverse processes of direct spiritual experience from both individual experience and the world's spiritual traditions that are grounded by today's sciences, the tools for supporting these experiences can be made more easily available and understood. Therefore, the process of an individual's own direct spiritual experience can be significantly enhanced.
For those of a spiritual nature Religion 2.0 also promotes direct spiritual experience of Ultimate Reality in part to develop the spiritual awareness that creates the realization of the immanence of Ultimate Reality in all beings and things of the universe. From this awareness and realization all beings, life and nature becomes a sacred reflection and expression of Ultimate Reality. From this awareness and realization, one's relation to everything in the universe is transformed.
We hold that because of the infinite nature of Ultimate Reality, the theological systems of the world's spiritual traditions will always provide a unique, but partial view of this infinite reality. Therefore it is important to experience as many of these unique but partial views of Ultimate Reality to obtain the most complete, universal and complimentary experiences of Ultimate Reality from both science and the world's great spiritualities and religions. For those of a spiritual nature Religion 2.0 is also a support tool to help you and the religions of the world obtain, share and expand the most complete, universal and complimentary experiences of Ultimate Reality.
For the unique definition of God used in Religion 2.0, click here.
For the full definition of the word universe as we use it in Religion 2.0, click here.
For the full definition of Meta-spirituality and Meta Religion that Religion 2.0 uses, click here.
To discover more about the full theological and administrative definition of Religion 2.0, click here.