The Myths and Metaphors of Religion and Spirituality
When one tries to spiritually describe an infinite and absolute Ultimate Reality with relative and partial terms many paradoxes result. This is because since the first spiritual ideas were formulated humanity has used all kinds of spiritual myths and metaphors (often called religious doctrine, dogma, belief, faith, revelations, etc.) to describe in partial relative terms, that which is not relative or partial, but absolute, ultimate, infinite and whole.
Because of these seemingly forever unknowable mysteries of absolute and infinite Ultimate Reality, all of our efforts to know and define it always will be at best, partial and incomplete views and descriptions. They always will be ever expanding and evolving spiritual metaphors, myths and a constructive useful temporary scaffolding that serves to help us better grasp the spiritual reality of Ultimate Reality. And, as we continue learning our spiritual metaphors, myths and temporary scaffolding will evolve and continually be released, remade and upgraded with each major step we make in achieving greater understanding of new aspects of the previously unknown Ultimate Reality.
Enlightened with the knowledge of appropriate spiritual safeguards relating to spiritual myths and metaphors, the Universe Spirit movement holds the vital importance of not letting any of our partial and evolving spiritual metaphors, myths and temporary scaffolding separate us from the hearts and lives of the members of other spiritualities. We also hold that our partial and evolving spiritual metaphors, myths and temporary scaffolding become should not be the cause of intolerance or mental or physical violence toward their spirituality or their spiritual metaphors, myths and scaffolding.
As a spiritual movement Religion 2.0 and Evolution Spirituality also hold a constant humility by not forgetting that our post-modern perceptions of any given spiritual reality are also conceptions that are at least partially culturally constructed and created by us. At a particular time they can be good and useful interpretations or metaphors, but as we evolve and as deeper and broader structure is uncovered, those perceptions will evolve and re-align as well. While many religious orthodoxies proclaim that they are the only way and complete truth, Universe Spirit hold the educational attitude of, “Yes, you’re currently right and that is always true, but it is partial rightness in an evolving learning universe. And, there is more wisdom available to increase the current wisdom rightness of your life.”
On Developmental Myths and Metaphors of Religion and Spirituality
There is no wrong form of authentic and safe developmental spirituality or religion because every human being must grow perspective by perspective from birth through the entire developmental perspectives of consciousness. Ultimate Reality and authentic spiritual expression will always look significantly different from each developmental perspective. The differences in the plurality of spiritual myth and metaphor processes is an essential and necessary result of our cultural, developmental and individual personality differences.
Additionally, Ultimate Reality can be encountered, conceptualized, and responded to in numerous and diverse ways. These different partial perceptions of Ultimate Reality represent both different aspects of Ultimate Reality itself and/or perceptions conditioned by cultural, learning style and individual personality differences.
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 the world's great spiritualities and religions as is possible.
The Myths and Metaphors of the Ultimate Reality of Religion and Spirituality
The Ultimate Reality will also never be fully knowable in its entire infinite splendor. All efforts to fully know or disclose the full infiniteness of the nature and purposes of Ultimate Reality will at best be partial maps or metaphors. No matter how much we can know about Ultimate Reality and how much we can do that reflects Ultimate Reality it will once again always be a partial and incomplete representation of the infinite potentials and infinite realized aspects of Ultimate Reality. Therefore Universe Spirit always stands in awe, humility and openness to new surprises concerning Ultimate Reality continually unveiling itself to each individual and successive generation through any and all means, sources or circumstances regarding its ultimate and complete truth, beauty and goodness.
From the above it follows naturally that the Universe Spirit movement holds that no individual or organizational spiritual effort to know or disclose the Ultimate Reality has any inherent and intrinsic special exclusivity or an absolute, preferential or final completeness, authority or importance above all or any other individual or organizational effort to know or disclose to the Ultimate Reality. The spiritual humility derived from our awe and wonder regarding Ultimate Reality also implies that we as individuals and as an organization are always in a state of openness. We strive to be open to the continual surprise of learning more about Ultimate Reality from every possible source and circumstance, to further evolve our myths, metaphors and spiritual ideas about Ultimate Reality.
On the Non-Equality of All Spiritual Myths and Metaphors of Religion and Spirituality
Not all spiritual information (religious doctrine, beliefs, dogma, myths, metaphors, revelations etc.,) is equal or applicable, but in the most limited of terms and conditions. Some spiritual information will be more widely applicable, inclusive, universal, life affirming and even empirical. Some spiritual information will be more useful than others in that it is more effective or efficient in producing the fruits of authentic spiritual growth in more people with various personality types, psychological developmental levels, learning styles, cultural backgrounds, etc. in a safe and balanced way.
The virtue fruits and the time proven community validity tests of authentic spirituality and spiritual growth from humankind’s spiritual heritage are held within Religion 2.0 to be the life results of the individual or organization that demonstrate the balanced application of the virtues. These time proven community validity tests are a principled focus for the movement to use for categorizing and evaluating the effectiveness or the partial usefulness of various pieces of spiritual information.
Sincere spiritual inquiry, the sharing of all spiritual information (without regard to culture or religious ism,) and the search for spiritual myth metaphor and wisdom that is more universal, inclusive and life affirming inspires Religion 2.0 participants toward the discovery of more useful and applicable spiritual myth, metaphor and wisdom as well as more universal statements of the nature and purposes of the Ultimate Reality and, of the evolving nature of life itself.
On the Questioning of Myths and Metaphors, Faith, Beliefs, and Spiritual Practices of Religion
We have come to a new point in humanity’s spiritual history where if individuals or religious organization’s assert to another that their own faith beliefs, myths, metaphors or practices should be believed or followed as objective fact and/or that specific behavior is dictated or ordered by those faith beliefs, myths, metaphors or practices, then those faith beliefs or practices should be open to a gracious public questioning and dialog on their factuality and/or usefulness in directing specific behaviors. Religious pathology, abuse, fundamentalism and religious terrorism are not just matters of history, but fill the pages of our daily media. The only way many of these issues will heal is by open, candid and gracious dialog concerning the faith beliefs, myths, metaphors or practices that may be instrumental to creating these or other abusive situations.
This does not imply that private individuals who are not asserting to another that their own faith beliefs, myths, metaphors or practices should be believed or followed as fact and/or that specific behavior is dictated or ordered by those faith beliefs, myths, metaphors or practices should be questioned on their faith beliefs or practices. In this situation the individual is fully entitled to subjectively believe whatever they privately chose to believe much as a person is entitled to speak or hold their opinions and cannot be sued for libel or slander if they are just expressing opinions and not presenting their opinions as facts.
Some religions already encourage their members to sincerely examine and reality-test the faith beliefs, myths, metaphors or practices being presented to them. Religion 2.0 just extends and expands the sanction and healthy practice of a sincere and gracious questioning and reality testing of faith beliefs, myths, metaphors presented as group beliefs for the benefit of both society and religion itself.
Additionally, if we do not allow for gracious questioning of faith beliefs, myths, metaphors and faith practices it closes off the possibilities for addressing behaviors that perpetuate historic unfairness. Tolerance and diversity can be used quite well by the clever to perpetuate all types of injustice and cruelty in the name of religion. Political correctness does not replace common sense.
Myth, Metaphor and the Spiritual Authority of Religion
Every mentally sound person already possesses the internal means to be their own highest subjective spiritual authority for discerning spiritual truth (which myths and metaphors,) are right for their own spiritual path. This implies that each individual is their own highest subjective spiritual authority.
In Religion 2.0 it is necessary that there are no highest Popes, Bishops, Avatars, Gurus, Rabbis, Imams, etc. or, any religious hierarchy of final spiritual subjective authority or religious orthodoxy outside the subjective spiritual authority of the individual. No one spiritual source, spiritual teacher, founder, leader or organization has the universal or final objective or inter-subjective spiritual authority on what is authentic or appropriate spiritual myth and metaphor, spiritual truth, wisdom or spiritual law for anyone other than themselves.
On The Myth and Metaphor of Spiritual and Religious Revelations
The Religion 2.0 movement holds that there is also no longer recognition of special, exclusive or final spiritual revelation myth or metaphor being claimed to be presented by the Ultimate Reality uniquely or solely to one individual or to one organization that is applicable to or for anyone beyond the specific individual who received it. While we do accept the possibility of unique personal and subjective revelation/guidance in terms of the communication quality possible within the relationship of the individual to the Ultimate Reality, we do not hold that this unique personal and subjective revelation/guidance can or should be held out as authentic or final objective or inter-subjective religious or spiritual truth, law or authority for anyone or any organization except possible for the individual who received it and, then only if they themselves judge and accept it to be religious or spiritual truth, law or authority for themselves.
Religious revelation intended or decreed as final, authoritative or as religious law for anyone or any group other than for the unique, single individual who received it is an area of religion and spirituality historically fraught with abuse and misuse and the source of much of the current religious strive in the world today. Furthermore, by its very claim to be authentic or final religious/spiritual revelation for a group or mankind there is not only no real objective way to disprove it, there is also no real objective way to prove it either.
Revelation because it cannot be proven or un-proven, has most often been something that not only divides people, but often historically has served as the rational for violence against disbelievers of some particular revelation. Revelation that confers special or exclusive privileges, rights, roles, responsibilities, religious law, authority or property on or over a select few or special group is even further suspect in that the message of the revelation is not inclusive, universal or just and, by its nature congruent with those prime universal qualities within the Ultimate Reality.
A New Process of Myth and Metaphor "Revelation" for Religion
If you do believe that Ultimate Reality will in fact, continue to disclose its infinite Self and aspects to humanity in revelation as time goes on, maybe Ultimate Reality when the time was right has always intended to eventually disclose more of itself through a new multi-religious open source, co-creative process where the combination of insights and wisdom from all religions and individuals will offer a bigger, broader and, more clear, balanced and accurate picture of the Ultimate Reality than the revelational perspective of any one religion or individual. Maybe, at this time in history we have finally become vital spiritual and moral partners who are equal-opportunity (open spiritual source,) co-revealers of the endless and expanding truth myths and metaphors about Ultimate Reality.
Maybe for our post-postmodern times, the revealing of the endless and expanding truth myth and metaphors about Ultimate Reality is now better executed by a continuous, progressive and collaborative group effort rather than by only an exclusive single revelatory effort by any one religion or individual. Maybe, continuous group efforts to accelerate the revealing of the expanding new truth myths and metaphors about Ultimate Reality is the appropriate evolutionary step-ladder now needed for these times for our new "revelations" where these later "revelations" are no longer viewed as either final, complete or even necessarily superior to earlier revelations, but instead these new "revelations" are viewed as a just another beautiful pearl to be added to a string of pearls that can grow into endless strands.
Maybe, from the very beginning of our spiritual history (although we did not know it then,) the endless expanding truth about Ultimate Reality has always been far, far too great for any one religion to hold. And just maybe, while the absolute truth of Ultimate Reality may always be one, we still may need the many different religious paths to start us out, but then it will be the combined life-affirming wisdom from all the religions that will keep us on our way most effectively and efficiently to the greatest spiritual heights possible.
In dealing with all previous spiritual claims by individuals or religious organizations that that they have received a special, exclusive, ongoing, authoritative or final spiritual revelation that does or does not bind or confer special or exclusive privileges, rights, roles, responsibilities, laws, authority or property on or over a select few or special group (other than over only the unique individual receiver of that revelation) the Universe Spirit movement intentionally does not at this time address the validity of such claims and takes no official position toward such claims of past revelation. The Religion 2.0 movement leaves this for each individual to work out as an issue of personal subjective faith for themselves.