The "Essence" of Religion
And a Little Deeper...
In launching into this investigation,
we need to arm ourselves with two crucial tools:
1) open-mindedness, and
2) baloney detection.
(We could call this our "shield of virtue" and "sword of truth," if we were going to get all Cinderella about it.)
"Open-mindedness," because this is the very things that, for example, nutcase terrorists seem to lack, and we very well can't ask them to "be more open-minded" if we aren't following our own advice.
"Baloney detection" aka "rigorous discrimination," because, especially if you are honestly open-minded listen fairly to every point of view that you come across, you're going to encounter enough baloney to choke a whale. And you're going to need to learn how to sort all that out.
"You should be open-minded,
but not so open-minded that your brain falls out."
- Ken Wilber
Now, with these tools in hand, where do we go?
First, let's pull on our hip-boots, because we're going to be wading through a lot of B.S.
Second, with our hip-boots, open minds and baloney detectors ready for action, let's delve into the major religious and spiritual traditions that exists in the world today, to conduct an exhaustive investigation of most of the world's available spiritual literature. ("Exhaustive" here meaning, it's been pretty exhausting for us.)
This is an investigation that we launched many years ago.
Since then, we've encountered some things that pass our sniff test.
- Our summary of "the essence of religion" in two words
- Some "evidence" of this "essence" that transcends particular ages, locations and cultures
- 11 Major Concepts that all major religions share in common
- 5 Big Ideas that all major religions, plus atheism, plus agnosticism mostly agree on
- A fragment of a story about a small group of spiritual teachers from all major traditions gathering for a semi-secret meeting in 1984. (Spoiler alert: it's not as dramatic as it might sound here. But it's still interesting.)