Target audience: Search for "truth" in religion and spirituality

Lindsley Avenue church - Nashville, TNThe set of writings often abbreviated as "the Search"[1] is devoted to discerning religious or spiritual “truth”[2] from the rich and myriad history of world religions, traditions, and spiritual paths. It is nothing less than the transformation of consciousness — from worry to peace, from ignorant to awake, from egotistical to unified…

The target audience of the Search has evolved somewhat since the writing of these essays and papers finally got underway.

How it all started

a cross inside a churchIt all began as a partially documented study of the long-winded, patience-building, often ignored (especially by the religious) branch of Christian apologetics known as the Biblical inerrancy/errancy debate in which I supposed a modest percentage of doubting, uncertain, dissatisfied, skeptical, intelligent, etc. fundamentalist Christians might be interested.

exterior of old wooden church building at nightI knew from personal experience that many churchgoers were not so-called true believers. And a few of those might, I thought, be as interested as I am in determining, to the best of our ability, what’s real and true — and what isn’t. I would love to reach more people like this.

Or, it might be said that this work began way back when this writer was a mere tween and tried to write a paper proving creationism and debunking evolution. I was so disturbed at what I found after some digging, that I never stopped wondering why I was not being told everything. Nevertheless, I refrained from much religious boat-rocking until my late 30s. I reached a point when couldn’t put it off any longer…

Moving target

church - crossToday, I believe the Search for Truth material has a broader appeal, perhaps to just about anyone who considers himself or herself a spiritual seeker or something like it: All who realize that their current state of consciousness, their worldview, their approach to embracing spiritual principles, increasing their levels of inner peace, their ongoing personal transformation & progress in self-development efforts, etc. might be assisted or given a hearty boost through ongoing reading, discussion, study, research, and so on (not to mention spiritual practice).

However, I believe those most interested in the material presented here within the Search for Truth blog will be ex-Christian fundamentalists as well as what I believe is a significant percentage of current Christian fundamentalists who are left unfulfilled by their ongoing religious practices, traditions — but most of all, by the harmful religious dogma and faulty interpretation upon which so much of modern Christianity seems to be based.

The main reason I list certain Christian fundamentalists as a potential target audience for this blog is, fundamentalist Christianity was more or less the original perspective from which the material began to be written. (Today, the material flows from more of a spiritually centered freethought perspective — but still that of an ex-fundamentalist who strives to reach those still "trapped" in rigid, intolerant worldviews.)

Naturally, the closer a given reader’s perspective and religious experiences happen to be to my own (& those of our writers and contributors), the more this "locally controversial" material (which is virtually all wonderful news, actually) will be understood and enjoyed. I realize this is somewhat of a no-brainer since the principle of perspective is universally true; closer perspectives make content ring ever more true. One who has never been exposed to conservative religion would not really understand or appreciate certain subject matter here, some of which requires a background that includes being raised in the church.

Encouraging some things, discouraging others

We want to stress the positive here. We are devoted to a supporting role for the mission of so many modern spiritual leaders who teach that the way forward for mankind is to embrace and practice spiritual principles in a non-divisive, non-fundamentalist, non-cultural, wholly unifying context. (If there is anything more positive, encouraging, and potentially beneficial, I know not of it!)

However, because this writer’s own history includes being raised in a rather closed community of mostly well-meaning Christian fundamentalists, some of the writings are included for the purpose of discouraging or even debunking certain beliefs and interpretations embraced by modern fundamentalist Christianity. We finally decided to graduate from mere bystander to challenge organized religious fundamentalism where we (and increasing numbers of other people) believe modern religion has gone terribly wrong. For this reason, the true believer types — especially those who identify with the Hard Right — will probably not yet be ready to process this information in a genuine, honest manner. It might be said that one is ready when one is ready, and usually not a moment before. We hope ALL will eventually be willing to listen to the voices of reason and peace.

Reasonable objectivity is possible with desire, practice

All readers with significant experience in this area know very well the absolutely crucial nature of objectivity and open-mindedness — both of which are exceedingly uncommon traits in fundamentalist circles. For this reason, unwaveringly religious folks who are honestly and completely content with their present state of consciousness and level of inner peace will not possess the motivation to look further (especially in blogs like this one, perhaps)!

For instance, those who base their own identity upon a given belief system which they presume to be the only correct one, and those who think that all religions contradicting their own beliefs are wrong (or even evil), are probably not ready to hear the wonderful news presented herein — and on so many other books, blogs, and web sites.

Trend towards truth

One reason global beliefs are trending away from fundamentalism and mythology is because they don’t yet teach or practice the whole truth; some of them even continue to discriminate against their fellow man. We do not know of any major religion, spiritual path, or genuine spiritual teacher which taught followers to discriminate against their neighbors. (As I’m certain most readers understand, everyone is our neighbor!)

Another way to gain a sense of the positive trend toward tolerance, acceptance, and compassion is to compare your own religious beliefs with those of your grandparents (particularly if you were of the same religion as your grandparents). Can you at least begin to see the evolution toward more tolerant "spirituality" and less rigid "religion" (esp. fundamentalism) — even within the same system, tradition, or denomination?

This trend will certainly continue; the near-global availability of world knowledge, religion, and philosophy will help ensure it. If mankind is around long enough, perhaps humanity will finally open the door and enter into a new era in which war is a thing of the past and compassion reigns! IMHO, we all need to be working towards this new and better world in order to foster its arrival — whether or not we are able to see it and experience it ourselves.

Although some of these writings are published in this Search for Truth blog, there are several hundred pages of similar material so far that have not yet been read by anyone else. A major goal of ours is to polish these writings for maximum effectiveness, and then publish them in some manner.

I deeply appreciate all readers and commenters.

Notes

[1] This project often abbreviated as “the Search”

Of course, the shorter name is used mainly for the sake of convenience; this particular “search” is not a conventional search for some “thing” or “idea” or “method” that is currently hidden or unknown.

[2] Quotes encapsulating the word truth

The principle of perspective is one of the major stumbling blocks when it comes to clear, concise, meaningful communication about difficult subjects like religion, spirituality, politics. And the more varied the perspectives of the people communicating, the more difficult clear communication becomes.

With the principle of perspective in mind, truth can mean so many different things. I used quotes for the word because no one is privy to absolute objective truth in these areas (or perhaps in ANY subject matter at all).

This post was started on Tuesday, September 18, 2012