Religion as The Fundamental Endeavor of being in Relation to Being

Being the Final Chapter To
Journey in being-short


February 13, 2011. Revised September 19, 2012



Introduction. 2

Aim—To Characterize the Human Endeavor 2

Use of the idea of Religion as Fundamental to the Endeavor 3

What is Religion?  3

Cultural Elements of Religion—science. Truth is one. From science to Universal Science  3

Of Civilization and Culture. Of Individual and Group Endeavor as a journey  3

A modern account of the nature of Science. 3

Science as Universal fact, as hypothetical, and as local truth  3

A probable future for Science—the Nature of Science. 4

An extension of modern science by ongoing participation and immersion  4

The sciences of domains that include artifact already have a participatory mode. The Universal metaphysics requires that all science shall be participatory. I.e. it is only in Normal behavior that nature and artifact are distinct 4

In our particular history this account is contingent. When we admit thought of domains beyond the Normal, we see that participation immersion is already given  4

Traditional Religion: Dogma and Significance. 4

What is the support of traditional religions?  4

Dogma or scripture as fiction  5

Symbolic significance of fictional dogma or story  5

Scripture and reinterpretation  5

The un-robust factual truth of absurd dogma or scripture  5

The responses of Atheism and Agnosticism.. 5

Atheism   5

Agnosticism   5

The response of Secular Humanism.. 6

Secular Humanism as a response to the absence of a spirit world in modern science  6

The tension for Secular Humanism from the Universal metaphysics  6

Roots of Secular Humanism in a pervasive but invisible system of material belief 6

The metaphysics of traditional religions. 6

Introduction  6

An important case: the nature of God  8

The metaphysics of the religions of tradition  10

Science and Religion will merge in Truth. 11

A concept of Ideal Religion. 12

Introduction. A preliminary problem of meaning  12

Essential incompleteness of science and common Experience  12

A goal oriented generic conception of Religion  12

A consequent functional conception for Religion  13

A simple rendering of the functional this functional concept 13

Definitions to be empirical and conceptual. The conceptual to be analytic and holistic  13

On promise and simplification in motivation  14

Realization—Religion X.. 14

Preliminary  14

Introduction  15

Design  16

Template for Religion X.. 17

Concepts of Ideal Religion  17

Dimensions and processes of Being  17

Institutional aspects  18

Sources  18

Religion X—Implementation. 18

The Universe  18

This world  19

Practice and instruments  19

Approach to a Journey in Being. 20

An in-process endeavor. 21


The Human Endeavor: Religion as the Endeavor of being in relation to All Being*

If we are interested in living fully one approach might be to live simply in the present without too much reflection or concern for tomorrow. Another approach would be to seek all the information that might be useful in making deliberate decisions. It is reasonable to think that living fully will involve a mix of living in the moment and deliberation

What kind of information or knowledge might be useful to deliberate living? Knowledge of the nature of the world would inform us as to the outer limit of possibility. Knowledge of our own nature—human nature and its variables—would inform us as to what is possible for us and what kinds of involvements and choices might be rewarding. We might also want to live a life that is useful to and concerned with the good of all—i.e., we may be also interested in moral or ethical concerns

Where shall we find such information? One source is individual Experience and reflection. A complementary source is the Experience and reflection of others—religious, scientific, literary and other; such sources constitute our cultural environment

We find below that the information provided by religion—the great religions—is severely limited. There are specific limits—especially to the religious cosmologies. However, the kinds of cosmologies of the great religions fit a mold that is immensely limited in its extent as well as its logic. This mold colors the imagination of those who adhere to the great religions as well as those who reject them. The adherents suffer unwittingly under absurdity and others suffer under a system of vacuous possibility where in fact—as revealed in the Universal metaphysics—there is an infinite and non-remote actuality

What substitute is there among those who have rejected religion? In the first place it may not be assumed that in the time after ‘primitive religion’ but before the era of science that every individual subscribed to some religion. Further, it is not clear what ‘subscription’ means—for one may subscribe to literal andor to non-literal content (these alternatives and others are elaborated below.) However, having never subscribed to religion or having done so but having then rejected it, some seek an alternative to religion. Some turn to cold science and in cold science some find comfort (e.g. God is creative evolution) while others find alienation

However, cold science is incomplete. It shows something of what is there but it is silent regarding what is beyond its borders or whether there is a beyond. Some, including the positivists, take this silence as a tacit statement that there is nothing beyond the borders of current science. However, we do not know from science or common Experience whether there is anything beyond their borders. Perhaps everything of significance must be capable of being Experienced but that does not mean that every such thing has been Experienced by human beings

Yet others turn to Secular Humanism which may be taken as scientific at root but which understands that human meaning has not been reduced to scientific terms. Secular humanism is further described later but may be taken to be a cultural superstructure of meaning (in the sense of significance) built upon or over science. From the Universal metaphysics ‘cold science’ as well as Secular Humanism may be seen to be immensely limited

Thus the common modern and traditional systems of understanding what is involved in living fully are extremely limited

This chapter investigates what understanding and practice such living might take. It is not clear what term should apply to such a system but we will call it religion. We do so with some trepidation and the understanding that the term ‘religion’ will need significant revision in its meaning

In this narrative the Universal metaphysics is always in the background. In these preliminary comments to this chapter that metaphysics has receded far back. We have seen that lacking such foundation we will always fall infinitely short of full understanding. The idea of religion to be developed draws from the Universal metaphysics and therefore far overcomes the limitations of static religion and static science. Yet, since the metaphysics is infinitely open in the direction of variety, the concept of religion that shall emerge is one which may be instrumental in realization of fullness of being in fact in those directions where that is possible; and in other directions it operates under the knowledge of infinite openness and the fact that the only realization of fullness in those directions must be ever in-process


Aim—To Characterize the Human Endeavor

Outer  Limit. The aim of this chapter is to characterize the human endeavor in light of the Universal metaphysics. The metaphysics shows that an essential ideal is the realization of All Being—the outer limit of any endeavor of being. On account of the infinite variety of Being, this realization is via a journey in identity

Immediate Realm and Identity (and difference) with Outer Limit. It is natural that there should also be interest in more immediate realms. An essential reason for this interest is that the distinction between the immediate and the ultimate is one of appearance. We may talk of two realms and of paths from one to another but if we see things rightly, we will see identity; and if we act rightly we are already on a journey in being

Use of the idea of Religion as Fundamental to the Endeavor

We will use the word Religion in connection with the fundamental endeavor. This choice is not appropriate on all interpretations of the idea of religion. We will introduce a concept of Religion that makes it appropriate to the endeavor—that makes Religion the fundamental endeavor

What is Religion?

Our common Experience, dictionaries, cultural-anthropological and other studies give us clues to the nature of religion. From the section On Meaning (of the earlier chapter A Journey in Being,) it follows that these are at most clues. In these discussions we saw that in-process ideas, e.g. the terms used in the religions such as ‘God,’ and the idea of religion itself must be incompletely specified from Experience etc.; we also saw that, given a metaphysics that is completed in certain directions and open in others, we can find completed and open meanings in the respective directions

From the preceding section, we take religion as related to the fundamental human endeavor. Here, we make no further specification; that is left to the remainder of the narrative

Cultural Elements of Religion—science. Truth is one. From science to Universal Science

Therefore any proper endeavor that would understand and realize truth is an element of Religion. This includes science, art, literature, and humanities when appropriately understood—Truth is One. Reflection on science and its history suggest a reconceptualization of science that is presented in what follows. The Universal metaphysics confirms that our science will and must undergo this transformation to become a Universal Science. This Science will not be distinct from Religion in the way that we see science and religion as distinct

Of Civilization and Culture. Of Individual and Group Endeavor as a journey

The chapter will naturally speak of Civilization and Culture. It will speak of their future but not in a narrow predictive way. Rather it will draw some contours that may not be realized in a particular history but are necessarily realized in infinitely many histories. Through identity these are continuous with the history of Human Civilizations

We will investigate individual and group endeavor (in light of the Universal metaphysics) as a journey

A modern account of the nature of Science

Science as Universal fact, as hypothetical, and as local truth

In early development—around for about a century after the time of Newton—the theories of science were considered to be factual. A consequence of the latter nineteenth and especially the twentieth century ‘revolutions’ in science is that there resulted a revised view of the nature of science or scientific method and foundation. Theories became regarded as hypothetical and replaceable if warranted by facts that contradicted the theories (this is a simple description of a rather more complex process.) An intermediate and perhaps more realistic view is that the theories of science are factual when regarded as local, that it is typical that this domain of factuality may be extended though not without limit, but that the theories are hypothetical and replaceable if regarded as Universal (the limitless variety cannot be captured by a static or merely theoretical science)

A probable future for Science—the Nature of Science

An extension of modern science by ongoing participation and immersion

Therefore, any science of the future must, if there is one, be a science that has its present form—local empirical-conceptual intellectual fact—as one of its components but that requires participation and immersion in Being. Such a science will be an active complement to that meditation in which the individual becomes aware of Identity with Being—in which there is Identity of Awareness or Consciousness

The sciences of domains that include artifact already have a participatory mode. The Universal metaphysics requires that all science shall be participatory. I.e. it is only in Normal behavior that nature and artifact are distinct

Such developments—science as participation—have already been seen in social science and cultural anthropology; this may be expected especially since human beings have involvement in the creation of cultural artifacts. However, it is an obvious objection that we are not involved in the creation of fundamental physical entities, e.g. the fundamental particles and forces. Already, however, we are involved in some transformations that were unimagined a century ago, i.e. c. 1900. Still, even when a particle is created in an accelerator our participation is that of providing conditions for a kind of transformation that is not of our making; we are not in fact creating the particles or forces or their interactions; we may think, if we wish, that ‘we are the particles and forces participating in their behavior, their way of being.’ Yet the fundamental principle of metaphysics implies this possibility even though it does not show the way to it

In our particular history this account is contingent. When we admit thought of domains beyond the Normal, we see that participation immersion is already given

That the foregoing provides a probable account is conditional upon the science being the science of an enduring civilization possessed of sufficient and enduring reason. Even if ours is not that civilization, there are infinitely many such civilizations. Our being and our civilization merge with those in the merging of identity with Identity

Traditional Religion: Dogma and Significance

What is the support of traditional religions?

A first goal is to examine the support of traditional religions. Here, I define ‘support’ reasons that a religion and its institutions endure over time. Support and justification of belief—in action or reason—are not the same; they overlap but their correlation is tenuous. Support includes justification but it includes symbolic significance as well. Additionally, support has cultural, social, economic, and political dimensions

Dogma or scripture as fiction

The dogmas of traditional religions result in a schism at the conscious level—dogma as fact versus dogma fiction. This schism may be meliorated when dogma is replaced by reasonable belief

Symbolic significance of fictional dogma or story

Even when literally untrue, a dogma may have symbolic but not necessarily conscious meaning. This meaning may concern psyche or nature; it may concern psyche, nature, and perhaps relations between these two aspects of meaning

Scripture and reinterpretation

Those who regard dogma may attempt to accommodate science by reinterpretation. An example is to think of a ‘Biblical day’ as an eon; this interpretation is typically an attempt to accommodate dogma to cosmology and geology

The un-robust factual truth of absurd dogma or scripture

The Universal metaphysics shows that subject to Logic, every scripture is true. However, the cosmological systems in which the seemingly absurd religious metaphysics are realized are likely to be far from organic or stable. Further the truth of a scripture somewhere and somewhen does not ensure its truth in on our Earth or in our cosmos

The responses of Atheism and Agnosticism


This is one source of atheism (as rejection of belief in deities or perhaps more generally rejection of extra-scientific metaphysics.) An issue with this response is that it is likely to be conditioned by the seeming singularity or absurdity of the scriptures which are however taken as paradigmatic. And since the Universal metaphysics is hardly known outside a very small circle of individuals, it is improbable that its vision is illuminated by the metaphysics. Instead it is likely to be informed by a deep but common misinterpretation of the nature of science and common Experience (as shown in the later section The metaphysics of religions)


A source of agnosticism is similar to this source of atheism. Here we take agnosticism as belief that we do not and perhaps cannot know the truth regarding the being of Gods (and perhaps more generally the truth regarding extra-scientific metaphysics.) However, whereas an atheist is likely to regard science and common Experience as categorially closing the fundamental kinds of Being (i.e. as closing ontological categories,) the agnostic sees science and common Experience as leaving the categorial question open. We have seen earlier that although there are psychological reasons to see science (and common Experience) as closing the categorial question, it is inherent in the nature of science that it leaves the question open. I.e., if science is experienced as categorially closed it is in fact categorially open

The response of Secular Humanism

Secular Humanism as a response to the absence of a spirit world in modern science

One replacement for the function of traditional religion is secular humanism which is sometimes referred to as scientific humanism. Among some of those who have been persuaded by the truth of modern science, secular humanism has arisen as an alternative to traditional religions. The metaphysics of secular humanism is essentially a scientific metaphysics. In this humanism, there is no actual spirit world but there may be certain psychological functions that are labeled spiritual and for these the traditional myths and other stories may be taken as metaphorical and interpretation may be found in modern psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, and philosophy of religion

The tension for Secular Humanism from the Universal metaphysics

The goal of life in secular humanism is to live a good life on this earth, a life in which one contributes to the common wealth and receives from the common good. The common wealth and the common good include a material level and a higher level of psyche but not a literal level of spirit. From the point of view of its metaphysics, the aim of secular humanism—in general terms—is perhaps the best possible. However, scientific metaphysics, even or especially according to scientific method, not necessary—it is far from necessary. And, from the Universal metaphysics, its vision of Being and therefore of our being is immensely limited. It is the result of insufficient imagination and reason in the face of common Experience and the power of science. However, as we have argued, science itself does not require the flat metaphysics of a secular humanism. Although many modern men and women—men and women of science but others as well—think that the theories of science are essentially defining of reality, that is not the case. Science reveals a universe as having reality but its logic does not and cannot insist that that reality is close to that of the Real, that it is of the Universe. Of course, science does not show what is beyond its boundaries or that there is such a beyond. It is metaphysics—the Universal metaphysics—that reveals a beyond, that this beyond is infinite in extent and variety and that experience of it requires a Journey of immersion

Roots of Secular Humanism in a pervasive but invisible system of material belief

Secular Humanism, Scientific Positivism, and Fundamentalism have in common that they are forms of invisible cultural indoctrination. It is the invisible indoctrination that is most powerful because there is no force to resist, no other system to which to turn; it is like the air that we breath without thinking of it—because of its omnipresence we may unreflectively think of ourselves as complete without it

The metaphysics of traditional religions


A first purpose—to see beyond the apparent absurdities of traditional religion. In this section we examine the metaphysics of traditional religions. An immediate purpose is to see beyond what appear to some to be absurdities to literal and symbolic significance and relations between the literal and the symbolic. The arguments are from science, reason, and common Experience

What is allowed by science—a Universe of infinite Extension, Duration, and variety that is limited only by Logic. One emphasis will be focus on what is required versus what is allowed by science and common Experience. What is required is the facts; this may appear simplistic but we have seen subject to interpretation it is correct: it is not merely the data but it is also a certain projection—concept and theory—over a certain domain. What the story does not tell is the extent of the domain, and what lies beyond—the complement domain—its Extension, Duration and variety. It is crucial that, since we see what we see, we may think that science requires that the complement is perhaps nil or perhaps only more of the same. This is not the case. Science allows that the complement may be nil but it also allows that it is infinite in Extension, Duration, and variety. Is that all we can say from science? Logically, yes. However, in view of the history of scientific revolution and the consequent dramatic changes in world view, science and it history suggest that what it has revealed so far—in physics and perhaps even in biology—may be infinitesimal. This expectation does not at all contradict science; and it should be remembered that the complement to the domain of present science is not many billion light years away or a similar number of years in the past or future but may be passing through barely felt. To assert that such is the case from science would of course be speculation

What is allowed by science is required by the Universal metaphysics. However, what is thus scientific speculation is required by the Universal metaphysics, i.e. by Logic

Traditional Religion—an interpretation of their symbolic significance. An overarching goal of the section is to see whether we have been precipitous in declaring God to be dead and to see what may be ‘rescued’ from dogma. When the specific forms of dogma are abandoned, we find that science and Experience allow much to be rescued or salvaged—if not for the traditional forms then at least for some of the intents to those forms. Even though we emphasize that what may be salvaged is allowed rather than required by science and Experienced, this assertion will be and has been contested by many modern thinkers. We argue that such thinkers—e.g. the New Atheists of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries—have made essential mistakes in understanding the nature of science and its method and what is Experience and what it allows

It is perhaps not for us to assert what is the symbolic significance of the traditional religions. However, we may of course speak upon some aspects of what may be extracted from the traditional religions

However, we may say—of course without thinking that what we are saying is new or revelatory… or necessary—that these religions deny a merely secular view; that they speak to the nature of Human Being, the nature and extent of the Universe, between the relation the two and the significance for action in the secular or Normal world

It is important to emphasize, again, that what may be retained from the dogmas, symbolic and literal, is allowed but not required by science and Experience

The Universal metaphysics confirms, details, and goes beyond this significance. To see what is required of Being we turn to the Universal metaphysics: whatever is allowed by Logic must obtain; we have seen various consequences of this principle

This goes beyond the foregoing symbolic interpretation of traditional in providing details of the nature of the Normal and the extra-Normal, and in the paths between that are an infinite and endless journey in Extension, Duration, magnitude (of Identity,) and variety

An overarching purpose—Ideal Religion. This will enable achievement of the second overarching goal of this section—to provide groundwork for the concept and realization of the greatest endeavor of being in relation to Being (i.e. to All Being.) The concept may be tentatively named ‘Ideal Religion’

An important case: the nature of God

It is illuminating to consider the question of the nature of ‘God’

The creative power of human individuals. Begin by considering the creative power of the individual. He or she has some creative powers: we can create literature; we can produce tracts of deep and imaginative mathematics; and, we can conceive, design and create great institutions and artifacts of technology. (Of course it is we humans who describe our own acts of creation as power, as deep, as imaginative, as great. A species with greater powers of creation might see our powers as primitive)

Normal limits to human creative power. However we did not produce the ability to do so or the brains that are the seat of those abilities (our efforts do of course result in ability to a significant degree but the foundation of our abilities lies elsewhere, e.g. in evolution)

(These limits are of course very Normal)

That these limits are Normal implies, first, that they require practical respect and, second, that they are far from absolute

The creative power of the Universe is infinitely greater than Normal human powers. The Universe itself has creative potential. We may think of our creativity as distinct from the creative power of the Universe but that would be a mistake of the ego for our being is part of All Being

The creative power of the Universe may be labeled ‘God.’ If we label the creative power of All Being as ‘God’ and the creative power of cosmological domains as ‘gods’ then we surely have relationships with God and gods

Conflation with the God of the scriptures would be fallacious. At a similar point in many abstract theological accounts it has been typical to conflate the abstract God with the God or gods of the scriptures; this would be a fallacy, perhaps an intentional one whose goal is to convince readers of a God of the scriptures

Inadequacies and misdirection in theological accounts of God. The present metaphysics is not subject to these inadequacies; it shuns the misdirection as false and limiting. There are differences between such a procedure and the present approach. One is that the present demonstration is grounded in fact and logic; the traditional theological arguments are either probable or merely analytic. A second difference is that there is no intention here to perform the transition from an abstract to a predetermined concept of God; in fact such a transition would be counter to the aim and spirit of the narrative

The Universal metaphysics shows that there are infinitely many realizations of the idea of the gods and that the relations between individuals and gods include those of the relations between identity and Identity

Symbolic meaning of ‘God.’ Literal meaning is not the only significance of ‘God.’ Many persons, believers and unbelievers, reflexively cry out for God’s help in difficult times. There is of course no single interpretation of this. For some adults the idea of God may be a symbol for a caring parental figure. The idea may give comfort. But the literal and the symbolic may be—and it is likely that in some cases they are—intertwined. ‘But,’ you may say, ‘there is no literal God’ or ‘we do not know that there is a literal God or what its shape is.’ An obvious rejoinder is the reflexive one of agnosticism applied to itself. If I am a first order agnostic I may say ‘I do not know.’ A second order agnostic will say ‘I do not know whether I know.’ In other words it is possible that we have diffuse knowledge but neither this knowledge nor knowledge of this knowledge is explicit. Add to that the confusion due to the distortions of our inherited faiths (whose metaphysical pictures and their apparent singularities and absurdities likely have immense influence on the thinking of many believers and unbelievers in requiring, for example, contortions of faith and resulting in conflation of a rejection of apparent absurdity with absence of All Power) and it we may see how we who are sinking in quicksand think we are on firm ground

For an individual God may symbolize the greater creative power of which he or she is a part. ‘God’ may symbolize a caring, supporting person. Such interpretations may be mixed. ‘God’ may be the rallying idea of a community (a function that is not a meaning function.) Although the word ‘God’ may be misleading, the idea may, on account of its connotations—clear as well as distorting, the intertwined literal and figurative significance of the idea is not closed

The Universal metaphysics reveals creative power that may be labeled ‘God’ but the figurative or psychic and literal or real realizations of the idea remain infinitely open

Non-literal significance of widespread faith. It is almost self-evident that widespread faith implies at least psychological or symbolic significance. It does not follow that this significance is that enunciated by the faithful or by the canons

One interpretation is that faith is a response to crisis. While this is not necessarily the entire or universal case it seems probable that it is at least an element in some faith and in some cases of the origins of religions or rituals

Non-literal significance in view of the Universal metaphysics. Given subscription to a secular view, a general symbolic interpretation of religion-in-its-origins includes a rejection of the completeness of such views (and in the case of corruption of the secular or the older faith a rejection of the views themselves.) This symbolic interpretation suggests that there is a pale beyond the secular or the Normal and that this pale is vast in Extent, Duration, and variety. Although the existence of such a pale is confirmed by the Universal metaphysics, demonstration is probably not the most important human concern. In fact the demonstration may be a diversion from fullness of being—i.e. of living in dual worlds of the Normal divide and in living on the edge rather than at the center of certainty

Widespread belief does not imply literal meaning. It is often thought that subscription to God by so many persons of so many faiths implies or at least suggests that there is a literal God. It is likely that many persons subscribe to a literal God because they were raised in faith or because of the comfort or inspiration derived from non-literal meaning. Therefore, widespread faith does not imply any factuality or significance to a literal interpretation

It is also often thought by persons of scientific persuasion that science reveals that there is no God or, at least, entails that a literal God is most unlikely. In a recent book The God Delusion, 2006, Richard Dawkins argues that ‘God almost certainly does not exist.’ He argues from science, mainly biology with emphasis on evolutionary biology. Earlier arguments from the metaphysics show in a general and abstract way how and where the argument from science and common knowledge is incorrect and why there must be God and Gods (where ‘God’ has creative powers but otherwise has many manifestations and forms.) However, a more specific discussion of the argument from science and common knowledge is informative. What is the argument from science?

The metaphysics of the religions of tradition

The standard secular argument from science. The arguments from science and common Experience are as follows. Science and common knowledge build up a picture of the world—a worldview, a metaphysics that is perhaps tacit rather than explicit. This picture is, first, the world of common knowledge: the everyday world, a roughly spherical earth with oceans, continents, nations, technological and other societies, affairs of human beings. This picture is situated in a ‘universe’ constructed from and around science: the universe of the big-bang and perhaps bubble universes, the theories of physics—of space, time, elementary particles, fundamental forces, and the quantum; and the science of life—its functional and evolutionary aspects

Tacit and explicit extrapolation from the secular. It is essential to the argument that the picture of the world so built up is taken to be the picture of the Universe. However, this is view frequently tacit rather than explicit. The argument then continues: science and common knowledge have penetrated to and explained almost every facet of the ‘world.’ However, the tacit if not acknowledged meaning of ‘world’ is the picture from science. I.e., the argument is circular: science and common knowledge have explained everything that they show to be the case

There may be explicit extrapolation as in positivism. Positivism is similarly circular. As we have seen, however, science and common experience have envelopes beyond which it is not given that they reach. Such and edge to common experience is revealed by science. From science, we know that there are edges: the far reaches of Extension and Duration; the empirical limits of the small, the quantum, and the very high energy; and the rarely acknowledged super-scientific (phenomena beyond the pale of science.) Science and its methodology allows these edges and beyond and the history of science suggests that there are such ‘beyonds.’ It is critical that it is not being argued that it follows from science that there are such beyonds. Instead it is being argued that science and common knowledge considered critically allow such beyonds; further they have no purchase on the magnitude of the beyonds. It is therefore absolutely invalid to argue from science and common Experience that there is ‘almost certainly no God’ or that there is ‘almost certainly no extra-scientific or extra-common metaphysics’

The strident misunderstanding of science by the New Atheists. The arguments of Richard Dawkins and similar writers such as Sam Harris and Sam Hitchens, are based on a strident misunderstanding of science

The misunderstanding is perhaps surprising on account of the fact that Richard Dawkins is a scientist. However, it is not surprising in that even scientists have religious persuasions and the belief that science and common Experience define more than they have seen is similar to religion

The New Atheist critique is hardly necessary to see what is absurd in traditional religion. What are the implications regarding the specific God or Gods and the specific metaphysics of myth and the scriptures? Considering, for example, the God of the Abrahamic Religions—the religions of the Desert: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—and, for example, the cosmologies of Genesis and Revelation, it is hardly necessary to appeal to science to see these as immensely improbable on Earth and without empirical basis (that subject to Logic they are realized somewhere and somewhen gives no justification of their realization on Earth)

The arguments of Dawkins—and other writers of the ‘New Atheist’ movement—are unnecessary

Vedanta, in its general contours, is not subject to the absurdities of the Abrahamic religions—even though it lacks direct empirical base. However, the vision of Vedanta, the Identity of Self and All Being, of Atman and Brahman, is, even though without direct empirical base, at least more likely than the far more specific and in many ways parochial cosmologies of the Desert Religions

The Universal metaphysics goes beyond Vedanta with regard to demonstration, infinity of Extent and variety, and the eternal Experience of newness-freshness-and-variety without end. It could be said that the incompleteness of Vedanta is an appeal to action that is counterpoint to the intellectual content of Universal metaphysics. To say this, however, is to ignore the fact that the Universal metaphysics may be seen as a framework for understanding and action and is to focus on and magnify differences

Having cleared the slate of the objections from science and common knowledge, we may now reassert the consequences of the Universal metaphysics as revealed in previous sections which show, for example, the vision of Vedanta to be true but immensely limited in its visionary magnitude

Science and Religion will merge in Truth

The divide between historical science and historical religion is clear and it has not been bridged despite many attempts to do so. This is in part due to the lack so far of a widespread of a metaphysics of the magnitude of the Universal metaphysics (all such metaphysics, we have seen, must be the metaphysics)

The Universal metaphysics, however, shows that there can be only one truth and that in that truth, any science and any religion of the future must merge (metaphor may remain as shorthand for literal truth which, for finite beings, is never given but ever remains in process)

The science and religion of the future shall, if true, converge and their means shall include a Journey in Being, Immersion, and Participation

This Journey will be the one of endless summits and dissolutions of realization in which process there is no final summit and no limit to the variety and ‘elevations’ of summits

That the foregoing provides a necessary account is conditional upon the science being the science of an enduring civilization possessed of sufficient and enduring reason. Even if ours is not that civilization, there are infinitely many such civilizations. Our being and our civilization merge with those in the merging of identity with Identity

A concept of Ideal Religion

Introduction. A preliminary problem of meaning

The purpose to the ideal concept to be introduced is that (1) It will seek to overcome the tradition limits and problems associated with religion (2) It will recognize the holism of truth and therefore dissolve distinction of the secular versus the traditional concept of religion—practical aspects of the distinction may remain and (3) What it finds will be immensely greater than the conventional, modern, or traditional understandings of the secular and the religious

The issue of the meaning of religion (what can or should it mean? what is meaning?) is taken up below

Some problems of meaning arise—in over specification in common thought or in a particular author’s slant; as a result of the decay of institutions; and as a result of decay of meaning as use becomes ‘vulgar’

These problems of meaning may affect our views even though they do not detract from the ideal value of an enterprise

Perhaps, then, the term ‘religion’ ought not be used. However, such problems will arise over time regardless of institutions being more ideal at one time and meanings beginning as fresh. Therefore too much weight may be attached to the foregoing issues of meaning

Essential incompleteness of science and common Experience

If we agree with the earlier demonstration that the science of the day and common Experience are necessarily incomplete on account of their local and empirical character then there may be an entire realm of truth that they omit. The Universal metaphysics demonstrates and develops understanding of the Universe… and in the exercise it shows it to be eternal, infinite, and limitless in variety and power

A goal oriented generic conception of Religion

We may employ the name Religion to refer to a shared endeavor of discovery and experience in and of the entire Universe. The reader may enquire of other components of religions. A response is that, first, in conceiving Religion, it is not necessary that it should have all components for it may be precisely some of the components that contribute to negative aspects of actual religions (it is important to remember that some aspects of religions that may seem non-ideal—e.g. the economic and the charismatic—may constitute institutional necessities.) A second part of a response is that the naming of ‘Religion’ above is tentative and generic and therefore a more precise concept and specific components may fall out of investigation, process, and action

The institutional character of the religions informs us that institutional deficiencies are not marks against the idea of Religion but against particular religious institutions (and perhaps even the negative side of human being.) The question is whether there is a place for Religion. In the previous paragraphs of this section—and in earlier sections—it has been seen that our modern secular institutions are incomplete, that modern institutions of religion and substitute secular institutions do not come near addressing this vast incompleteness, and that there is therefore an role for a new conception of Religion

A consequent functional conception for Religion

We argue (1) That whereas science and secular humanism are inadequate to a full understanding of Being, the Universal metaphysics does provide such understanding, (2) The Universal metaphysics is necessary and sufficient to the metaphysics of religion. The metaphysics of an ideal religion would be antipodal to the traditional religious metaphysics. In particular, religion need no longer be founded upon articles of faith—even if not absurd. The following conception is ultimate and has basis in the imagination, the foregoing notion of God as creative power, and the Universal metaphysics

Religion is deployment of all dimensions of being in realization of All Being

This idea is almost identical to the essence of Yoga as defined by MK Gandhi’s secretary and friend Mahadev Desai: Yoga is ‘…the yoking of all the powers of the body and the mind and soul to God; it means the discipline of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which such a yoking presupposes; it means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects and evenly’

This concept of Religion does not distinguish a material or practical plane and a spiritual or higher plane

A simple rendering of the functional this functional concept

A simple rendering of this concept is

Religion is a way of fullness in being and living

Definitions to be empirical and conceptual. The conceptual to be analytic and holistic

The empirical and the ideal in ‘defining’ an institution. In providing the foregoing concept we have accounted for but not mentioned the following issue regarding the specification of concepts regarding the range cultural institutions (a parallel issue arises in specifying the range of disciplines in an academic setting such as a University.) We have observed that it is essential that the institution be defined by a concept and not merely by, say, anthropological, historical, psychological and cross cultural study. An important reason for this is the fact that institutions are processes and have idealizations and we would like our concepts to capture the ideal as well as the empirical; and in looking to the past and to facts the empirical may be more important but in looking to the future it is probably the human and the ideal that are more important (and, in any case, there are at least yet no future facts.) It is important therefore to be more than merely empirical or merely slanted to one analytic persuasion (e.g. Weston LaBarre’s psychoanalytic interpretation of religion as response to communal crisis.) It is important to note that since institutions are artifacts, what has come before is not defining; and therefore definition is also experimental and creative (or contributory thereof) of what shall follow (and it is therefore not essential that every aspect of what has gone before should be captured by the concept)

The concern of holism in defining. These are critical concerns; and there is another such concern: when we have tallied our list of institutions, will the entire range of cultural / institutional functions have been covered? A full sociology is dependent on the range being covered. One approach to this is to develop a full range of functions (by study and by theory—e.g. a theory of the dimensions of Being that follows.) Then when we specify the institutions, e.g. religion, education, investigation, exploration, government, economic and so on, we can adjust definitions so that the entire range of functions is included

On promise and simplification in motivation

It may be added that Religion is more than metaphysics and also includes morals, inspiration, allegorical representations of the conflicts and possibilities of psyche; the traditional accounts may provide inspiration for these contents of religion (it is not at all obvious that modern academic psychology is superior to myth in this regard.) Desai’s description of Yoga refers to such functions. And while such functions are important, we hold that they can be over-specified and promises can be overstated. Therefore, at least in this version of the narrative, we shall not enter into such over-specification. But it must also be admitted that promises can motivate faith in life and inspired action

Realization—Religion X


Religion—it is perhaps an agglomeration of institutions and it is somewhat artificial as the idea of introducing a new religion. Perhaps, however, the idea is less artificial if what is introduced has continuities with received and older forms. Various social functions were absorbed into a single institution, e.g. a church. Thus the idea of religion, one that we may take to be organic, is highly artifactual

There is something artificial about the idea of—introducing a—religion, especially in the environment of the self-conscious literal interpretations of today… of the uses of the word ‘God’ and even of Buddha’s reference to ten useless questions. I imagine a time when there were beliefs that were held naturally even though perhaps not ‘natural.’ These were likely part of an oral tradition; institutions emerged organically though not completely without force or fiat. Later the traditions got written down and assumed ‘canonical’ form. These were or may have been required to be believed

Approaches to definition of Religion. There is an approach to definition, including the definition of religion that may be called the list or component ‘theory.’ In this approach we look at the various uses and aspects of names, e.g. ‘religion.’ We list these aspects. We may have some formal or intuitive notion of the term being defined. This conditions the list. The list is then presented. However, there is no guarantee that the list is valid

Another approach is to focus on central questions—the nature of the term. We identify a central dynamic. We find the dynamic ‘universally’ present. If our dynamic is informed by insight, it is likely to be present in most religions somewhere in their varied response to human need and opportunity. However, this does not guarantee validity. In the post-religious era, the one in which science had ascendance, our ‘insights’ tend to be single-dimensional, conditioned by our material assumptions, our negative experience with religion, and, perhaps above all, with our focus on the repeatable which means ignorance of the nature of the singular occasion. To become science, focus must be on the non-singular (the singular may spark a development but in becoming science the singular must somehow be reduced to the non-singular)

As we have seen only a Universal metaphysics can provide the order necessary to eliminate the difficulties of these ad-hoc approaches to definition. In fact, without the metaphysics such definition must remain ad hoc. On the other hand, the tradition should be combed for insight that may be immensely significant to development

The conflict with science and reason. And then, perhaps, with science and reason, the believing phase of religion was rejected by some while others continued to believe—perhaps even more strongly than before

As a result of the conflict with science Belief became self-consciously unworldly. Belief, already self-conscious, became self-consciously unworldly

Once formed, however, institutions become models or templates that provide social functions. An actual institution may cease to provide function because of corruption or decay or because it ceases to address its function in a manner relevant to changed circumstances. However, the institutional function may remain relevant and the idea and some of the embodiments for the old institutions may provide a template for new ones. An artifact is not essentially or necessarily artificial

A first requirement for Religion X. Perhaps the first requirement for Religion X will be that belief will be neither required nor forced


A place for an ideal Religion now and in the future. As a result of the incompleteness of science and Secular Humanism, the moral-cognitive failure of traditional religions, and the skeletal nature of religion as suggested by the Universal metaphysics, there is clearly a place for the development along practical and ideal lines of a Religion of the present and the future

Some contours of this Religion. It is clear that this Religion will be some synthesis of the ideal senses of Science, Religion, and Process (journey) defined above; this synthesis will of course be enormously informed by the Universal metaphysics. It will shed the static elements of science, and the static and dogmatic elements of religion. It may draw inspiration from traditional religions—e.g. the Mystical Core of Bhagavad-Gita, Christian Mysticism, and the Mythic Knowledge and Practice of Native Peoples—and other elements of human culture. It is not clear that the term ‘religion’ is appropriate to the development

The place of the traditional functions. The various functions of traditional religion—comfort in times of need, social bonding, dogma, static spirituality that is not of the world, non-literal representation of incompleteness and distortion of received and putative truth, and others—need not be essential to this Religion; they may of course be present

The core of this Religion. This Religion will, at its core, be about Universal realization and Journey; about the Ideas and Approaches to this core process; perhaps about accumulated and accumulating knowledge and insight regarding approach; and about the image of realization in immediate life

Who is suited to the development of this new form of religion?. I am probably not suited by temperament or desire to the work of this development. However, I may see fit to engage in the development at some later date but it will require that I feel the appropriate energy, insight, and poetry

Is ‘Religion’ an appropriate word?. It remains to be seen what word, ‘Religion’ or other, will be appropriate to the endeavor


It is effective that the dimensions of the Religion be functions of dimensions of Being. From the view of Religion as deployment of all dimensions of being in realization of All Being, it is effective to approach specification of the aspects of religion via specification of the dimensions of Being

Problems with specification of dimensions of Being. A specification of such dimensions is likely to have problems of arbitrariness and incompleteness. These problems arise because it is typical to employ the common categories of a culture to specify dimensions of Being. The concern regarding arbitrariness may be partially addressed by comparing and improving categories across cultures; such address may still contain arbitrariness on account of the ad hoc nature of cultural categories and the fact that all cultures are expressions of human beings. The problem of completeness may be partially addressed by focusing on the process of understanding on the way to attempts at holism

Open minded empiricism and reason guarantee no resolution. These approaches, even when supplemented by open minded empiricism and reason, provide no guarantee. It is perhaps the case (however) that Being has no given dimensions and that there can be no complete specification of dimensions. The issues therefore appear to remain open and it is not clear that they can be closed or, on the other hand, that closure is significant

A resolution suggested by the Universal metaphysics. There is a resolution to the issues raised in the previous paragraphs. It is to append the best estimate of the dimensions of Being according to the approaches suggested with the Universal metaphysics. Then, the dimensions become complete if partially implicit; arbitrariness is tolerable because dimensions need not be concrete. However, now a problem of consistency arises. If ‘nature’ and ‘society’ are specified as distinct dimensions, can it be guaranteed that there is no incompatibility in the specification? The answer is that provided the detail of specification is not too great compatibility will not be a problem; and here, we need only dimensional contours rather than detail

Template for Religion X

Introduction. Real knowledge is singular. Therefore, a template for religion will be skeletal, multi-dimensional, non-compulsory, and non dogmatic. (Since Religion X is in-process, some detail is retained in this template)

An Ideal Religion shall address (1) Concepts of an Ideal Religion, (2) Dimensions (below which follow from discussion of dimensions above and the Universal metaphysics) and their concerns. Emphasis may be complementary to the secular, (3) Institutional aspects of religion

Note that the means of expression and communication of content has been included in the categories via sign, symbol, and concept

Concepts of Ideal Religion

Religion is deployment of all dimensions of being in realization of All Being

Religion is a way of fullness in being and living

Dimensions and processes of Being

The following formulation recognizes the distinction between the Normal and the Ultimate. It includes in principle paths of Normal and Normal-Universal development and realization

Nature—matter and life. 1. Human body; needs; adaptation 2. Includes culture and psyche; however a practical distinction is efficient. Process—Normal, e.g. physical and evolutionary. The Normal merges with Absolute indeterminism

Deep knowledge. Life itself, nature, the sky… perception over thought

Society—individual and group. Institutions of group, political-economy and law, culture (including knowledge and religion)

Charisma. Appeal to body, mind (emotion-cognition)

Psychebody and symbol (for expression and communication.) Human nature understood as synthesis of secular psychology and psychiatry with a drive to Universal realization

Symbol—sign, word-concept, Object, meaning, use. Symbol systems—e.g., language, logic, mathematics, computation (algorithm and other.) Symbolically expressed human knowledge—encyclopedic: (A) The Universe—metaphysics, cosmology, Logic, value; science and the sciences—natural, social, psychic and universal; history; here, epistemology is implicit (B) Artifact—art and the arts; engineering, medicine, and technology; the institution and the institutions including general culture, education, law, government. Processes—logic, reason, and creation

Body—essential knowledge—pre-symbolic, of the body (heart) includes integrated cognition-feeling-emotion, e.g. mystic, and of Yoga; merges with and incompletely distinct from the symbolic. Development—primitive states (fear…) shielded by later rather than ‘overcome.’ Process—Normal development includes arrival at the deep body-knowledge of adaptation to the worlds and possibilities of nature, society, and psyche… merges with Universal process

Universal and the Infinite, the as yet Unknown

Limitless—eternal, infinite, unending and unlimited variety. There are apparent limit. Limits of meaning—e.g. a displacement of the Universe has no meaning. Limits of Logic and syntax—e.g., (a) The Universe has no limits to its power and can therefore make itself powerless (resolution: temporal phases of powerlessness and trans-temporal lack of real limits are not inconsistent) and (b) Since the Universe has no limits to its power, it may confer this limitless power to every one of its elements. Thus the Normally limited individual has no ultimate limits (realization which is Normally impossible is in fact immensely difficult or improbable.) There is however an apparent paradox. If two individuals are unlimited in power they can limit one another’s power. The conference of Universal power to each individual is subject to Logic

Process—Absolute indeterminism. Absolute indeterminism includes phases of Normal process including as-if determinism; this is therefore at the root of realization of Identity from Normal identity

Institutional aspects

Institution—scripture, place, ritual and path. Charisma and ministry. Institutional organization and function—religious roles; other roles: economic, hierarchic, and organizational roles

Scripture—narratives, symbols and sacred histories that give meaning to life and our relation to the Universe and its origin (such as that may be.) The sacred refers to Science and Religion as understood earlier


Major religions. 1. Trans-cultural—Abrahamic, Indian origin, Iranian origin; 2. Indigenous. 3. New religious movements

Sects. 1. Gnostic. 2, Mystic

Culture. Instruments of knowledge and relation

What follows is a space for implementation. An enhancement will include local realizations

Religion X—Implementation

The Universe

Being is without limit—This simple fact shows immense power. Its truth is demonstrated; yet there is doubt. The response to doubt is faith as the attitude that may be conducive of the greatest result (if we live in the Normal we may remain there)

The Universe has powers without limit for creation, sustenance, and destruction; it is infinite, eternal, limitless, unending in its variety. E.g., the present cosmos is repeated in identical and in variant form without limit. The physical laws of the Universe are without limit and each is realized infinitely. There is no fiction—subject to Logic and possession of at least implicit semantic form, every piece of literature, art, music is realized

Individual identity realizes Ultimate Identity; Ultimate Identity is immanent—‘Lift a stone and you will see me’

The demonstration that Being is without limit provides tools for realization. An elaboration of these tools occurs in the Universal and Applied metaphysics and may be extended as Dynamics of Realization (which requires pure experiment)

Ideal Religion. Ideal Religion emphasizes the endless journey of realization. It is experimental, without dogma of mere belief. It is of this world and the ultimate; each is mirrored in the other; this mirroring is enhancing; realization is in-process interaction between this world and the ultimate

For finite Being, realization of the Infinite and the Eternal—the Unbounded and the Unlimited—is an Ultimate Value. The form of this realization must be that of an endless journey of summits and dissolutions. There is no limit to the variety of Being; no limit to the variety and ‘elevations’ of the summits. Ideal Religion is not static, has no dogma

This world

Nature. Deep knowledge of nature, knowledge in the body, is a point of living and of entry into the Universal. Natural science and practical knowledge (technology) supplement deep knowledge

Society. Culture, moral aesthetic dimension. Institution of religion—1. Physical-symbolic: text, ritual, place; art and artifact; political-economic 2. Organization and culture 3. Functions of persons—general or lay, ministry, realization; support

Psyche. Human nature and path. Preliminary to metaphysics and dynamics of Being—recognizing the self-affirming and self-limiting character of most world views; enlightenment requires willingness to relinquish preconceived world-views. Understanding the Universal / Applied metaphysics and the Dynamics; understanding the practical but relative nature of Normal limits. Entering an experimental phase. Attainment and levels—symbolic, Tantric neutrality toward the draw and repulsion of the Normal, psyche-heart-body; and in-process, attached-detached to the Normal—Humor, experimental. See Practice and instruments, below

Universal and Unknown. See The Universe, above, Practice and instruments, next

Practice and instruments

Sacred practice. 1. Art, literature, music 2. Ritual for the Normal and for realization and 3. Architecture, and place

The sacred practice is followed by instruments

Conceptual systems. Universal metaphysics. In the West, philosophy—especially the open ended Greek philosophy, aspects of scholasticism and philosophical and experiential theology, and philosophies such as existentialism in the hands of Kierkegaard-Nietzsche-Heidegger-Buber; and psychoanalysis and other psychologies of depth, rooting in the body and development. In India: Veda, Upanishad, Samkhya

Source and inspiration. Examples: Christian Mysticism—practices, Bhagavad-Gita—Yogas, Shamans and shamanic practice and action…

Methods. Dynamics of Being (an approach to ‘fluid transformation’—developing, enhancing, and deploying understanding of personal process in realization. Calls upon Universal metaphysics, its methods, traditional systems such as Yoga, and Catalytic practices.) Include western science, technology, medicine, and information-computation theory and technology

Shared practice. Functions include encouragement in sharing, cumulation of insight and accomplishment, insight of individuals with special psychic and physical energies. Lifestyle and path

Catalytic practices that open the individual to the real. These include physical isolations and deprivations, meditation and mantra, the Yogas, mystic practice, altered or wild and more or less extreme environment—especially useful to ‘civilized’ individuals. Note—because pathways of realization are multiple and here remain open, this information is very brief. The web-links (Preface) lead to detailed information on Enhanced states of awareness and modes of transformation (follow the web-links to Archive, then Journey in being-detail.html)

Approach to a Journey in Being

Ultimate journey defined via the Universal metaphysics. The contours of a Journey are defined by the Universal metaphysics—these are the endless variety and unlimited magnitude of summits and dissolutions of realization

Universal truth as seen in the traditions. Perennial philosophy. These are complemented on this Earth by means of realization of what may be called universal truth as for example in Bhagavad-Gita, the writings of the Christian Mystics, and the practices of Shamanism

This universal truth has been called eternal philosophy by Gottfried Leibniz and perennial philosophy by Aldous Huxley. The source of the name is the observation that certain truths regarding our place in the Universe have appeared in every age and civilization

Aldous Huxley summarized the perennial philosophy in three statements (1) There is an infinite, changeless reality beneath the world of change; (2) This same reality lies at the core of every human person; (3) The purpose of life is to discover this reality experientially

Parochial nature of the perennial philosophy. All such accounts emphasize realization of Brahman or equivalent psychically on this Earth

Universal metaphysics reveals the truth of the traditions as the beginning of a journey

A Universal journey. However, Universal metaphysics reveals this as the beginning of the Journey. It reveals the greater and unending adventure in variety, in summits and dissolutions of being whose elevation and variety is without limit

The Universal journey is one ultimate purpose. We set aside any presumption regarding the ultimate and universal nature of such purpose (in some cases simple contentment would seem sufficient.) However, it is reasonable to suggest that it is one ultimate purpose. From the Universal metaphysics it may be seen that the ‘perennial wisdom’ is perhaps one half of ‘purpose’ and that one half is approximation (here again we find over-specification and we find that it is also under-specification)

Differences between Universal journey and perennial philosophy. How does the truth of the journey shown by the Universal metaphysics deviate from the perennial philosophy? There are two essential differences. First, the Universal metaphysics finds that we shall remain ever in process (which process shall include but not be limited to summits of perennial wisdom.) Second, the purpose revealed by Universal metaphysics is not restricted to experiential discovery in (this) life. It includes the expansion of this life not only in inner self but also in outer Being; and this is eternal process. As counterpoint to the just stated position, the perennialist may say with some validity that there is an image of the eternal Journey in the self that is simultaneously finite and eternal

Approach to the Universal journey. The approach to the Journey begins here and is twofold. The first aspect is concentration on ends or goals—the summits. The second aspect is process or ‘mechanism’ and these include the approaches to revelation and realization of the previous section Realization—Religion X

An in-process endeavor

Journey in Being is in-process. Journey in Being is in-process. You are referred to the Journey in Being website, for details (see the Preface for the web-links)

Design. Especially important is the ‘design for transformation’ which includes reference to (1) Traditional and modern systems such as Yoga, Mysticism, and modern psychology and psychiatry; (2) Enhancing, inducing, or catalytic practices whose purpose is to dislocate psyche from its moorings and so open it up to its inner and outer depth; (3) Approach or method based in the Universal metaphysics and named Fluid Transformation or Dynamics of Being; the practices and the approaches include design for reaching down and descent from intellect to body, heart and feeling; (4) Examples of the process; and (5) A minimal system of experiments designed to cover sufficient dimensions of Being and aimed at the ultimate

A place of departure. However one essence of the process is being-in-it and this point is therefore an effective place of departure