Mission statement: Search for Truth

The Search for Truth strives to encourage serious, objective critical thought & application of basic universal spiritual principles in all areas of life and to discourage divisive, harmful worldviews such as fideism, religious fundamentalism, political hyper-partisanship, and other closed-minded systems.[1]

unity Let us all do our best in thought and in action to…

  1. Practice basic, rational, universal spiritual principles in all facets of life from a globally oriented perspective & encourage others to do the same

  2. Emphasize unity and oneness while discouraging division and separateness (spiritually, that is — NOT political oneness as in "one world government")

  3. Encourage the application of objective, honest critical thought to all important political, spiritual, and religious beliefs

  4. hiking at Fiery Gizzard near Monteagle, TN - fall 2008

  5. Understand that in a sense perspective is everything; that is, no two humans share identical perspectives. These differing perspectives must be kept in mind when communicating with others about controversial subjects like religion and politics. (There’ll be more to come on the pervasive principle of perspective)

  6. Continue on the present path toward increased understanding, tolerance, and acceptance of the differences among us, both major and minor; Respect other respectful, alternative religious beliefs, spiritual paths, worldviews, and lifestyles of others — as long as they are principled, respectful of others’ rights, environmentally and globally responsible, etc.

  7. Honor and encourage individual freedoms, freedom of speech & expression, religious freedom, pluralism, and the complete separation of church and state — both inside and outside our spheres of influence

  8. Practice, celebrate, and manage our religious, spiritual, and recreational affairs without infringing upon the rights and freedoms of others; engage in more interfaith & interspiritual communication

  9. Become a force for progressive, positive change… Look into the prospect of local environmental activism; discuss possible civil disobedience and other nonviolent methods to demonstrate disapproval of harmful public and corporate policy

religious freedomAs ardent supporters of religious freedom and pluralism in the United States, it is perfectly acceptable to believe in and practice the religion of one’s choice — including ancient religions, esoteric religions, entheogenic rituals, Eastern spiritual paths, secular humanism, agnosticism, atheism, et al — and yes, even the religious fundamentalism and fideistic views we do our best to discourage! May all of us be tolerant and accepting in our dealings with others, and never seek to push religion into politics, or push divisive, exclusionary religious beliefs upon others.

Search for Truth aims to encourage the application of objective, critical thinking to all of our religious belief systems and political opinions.

cascades - Big Creek - Fiery Gizzard in TennesseeThe proper way forward for mankind, particularly in our communication and actions toward others, is to abide by basic, universal spiritual principles in the context of secular ethics, as suggested by HHDL in his 2011 book, Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World.

(Beyond Religion on Amazon)

Individuals, groups, and nations should not pressure or expect others to adopt their own culture-specific or religion-specific traditions, practices, or beliefs; instead, mutual respect should reign.

The spiritual truths that lead to enlightenment — those we strive to understand and practice — cannot be taught by words alone; they must be experienced. Achieving higher levels of spiritual understanding is more experiential than intellectual. Even so, we thoroughly enjoy making attempts to discuss related issues. We genuinely hope that the words in this blog will gently push readers in the right direction and help to open minds, foster deeper understanding, and make meaningful spiritual experiences more likely for all of us.

Lindsley Avenue church - Nashville, TNAncient belief systems leading to division, strife, and ultimately war and destruction should be abandoned in favor of more accurate, realistic, positive, helpful, universal worldviews that emphasize compassion, acceptance, unity, sustainability, and respect for nature. Truth, reality, science, and common sense should play stronger roles than tradition, ritual, and superstition.

Search for Truth FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Question 1

Regarding your posts and this Search for Truth blog in general, there seems to be a deep conflict between these two areas:

  • The portion of your goals, spiritual principles, mission, etc. that encourage respect for all belief systems, discouragement from criticizing, condemning, & complaining, etc.
  • Your negative comments about religious fundamentalism, fideistic beliefs, political fundamentalism (partisanship), and especially the Hard Right

In other words, you seem to be obstinate, backhanded, offensive, hypocritical, and dishonest when you encourage respect for the religious views and practices of others, then get back to criticizing fundamentalist Christianity and similar fideistic beliefs.

Answer 1

This is a good point; it is obviously one of the most basic things we had to consider in the creation of this blog.

Yes, we DO harshly criticize all forms of fundamentalism — and especially the irrational views of all fideism. We believe we have completely valid reasons for doing so… largely valid, at least! 🙂

Without exception, we respect all other respectful belief systems.

However, Hard Right religious fundamentalism in the United States has largely lost its right to unquestioned, pervasive respect from those who believe differently — from all non-Hard Right religious fundamentalists.

Why? Because it is a threat to pluralism, the separation of church and state — basically, to all who believe differently.

The Hard Right has effectively declared war upon all that is secular, apparently seeking to impose its literal interpretation of the Bible on the rest of us. Politically, the Hard Right seeks to tear down the separation of church and state in the U.S., revise the system set in place by our Founding Fathers, and transform America into a Bible-based society.

It must be stressed that we do not hate anyone — including the Hardest Right fundamentalists in the United States or elsewhere; however, we do despise fundamentalism and fideism. Our critical attitude is directed toward the beliefs themselves, not at the people who have decided (for whatever reasons), to embrace fundamentalism and fideism in their widely varying forms. (As humans, sometimes it is hard to separate the two — but we make a concerted, ongoing effort.)

Viewed from another perspective, it is extremely difficult to enthusiastically and comprehensively spread a message encouraging certain things and discouraging other things — without ever being negative. In fact, this is even harder than we initially knew it would be!

Even the Bible doesn’t succeed at this. The Bible encourages love, acceptance, tolerance, compassion — but then goes on to include some very harsh judgments and stories.

So — while we strive to be as positive as possible, to avoid the highly negative, insulting attacks on fundamentalists and fideists, etc. — being human (as were the writers of all the books in the Bible, we insist) we don’t always succeed!

Question 2

How do you define fundamentalism and fideism[1] (two terms that are used often within Search for Truth to describe and discourage certain types of worldviews)?

Answer 2

The terms fundamentalism and fideism[1] — and how we tend to use the words on this blog — have been explained several times in other posts; we’ll add some links here shortly. In the meantime, religious fundamentalism is not a difficult area to research on the web, as many different types of people and organizations write & blog about related subjects.

Also, the new critical thinker will quickly see that the word fundamentalism applies to a broad spectrum differing ideas, even apart from religion — including politics. From a political perspective, some liberals and some conservatives have such tightly closed minds — to the point of being convinced that they, and only they, have proper political views.

Another example would be staunch atheism. Some militant atheists even are harder-core fundies than most religious fundamentalists.

So, fundamentalism in and of itself does not necessarily concern religion, but rather, indicates an extremist, exclusive set of views deeply affected and propped up by the ego.

Fideism [ see note 1]

Question 3

Is there a quick way to determine whether a person’s beliefs lean toward fundamentalism? There are hundreds of quick yes-or-no quizzes out there that will quickly point this out! These questionnaires — not to mention the subject in general — will certainly not be popular with all readers… If you tend to be offended easily, then it’s unlikely you’d be reading this. No matter who you are or what your beliefs, we’re glad you’re here!

  1. Are You a Fundamentalist? A quick quiz to save you from needless outrage (Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua)
  2. The Fundamentalist Christian Test (Hello Quizzy, beta)
  3. Are you a fundamentalist? (SelectSmart)
  4. You may be a fundamentalist atheist if…

More on the Hard Right

The Hard Right — including Rick Santorum — has proven unconscionably offensive to those who do not share their own specific religious beliefs by invading national politics and infecting the quest to govern America with their extremist, non-spiritually-principled religious views and opinions.

We do NOT believe the proper, correct, moral reaction to the Hard Right’s attempted takeover of national politics is to sit quietly saying nothing, doing nothing…

The moral reaction is to reason intelligently, apply critical thought, and do what we can to alert Americans of what is happening. We need to encourage the application of basic, universal spiritual principles and, at the same time, discourage those who consider their own extremist religious views to be more important than universally accepted, basic goodness.

Somehow, many American citizens remain unaware of what is going on… and given the low readership of Search for Truth, we aren’t going to have sufficient influence to change many attitudes by ourselves.

This is why we are asking any other writers, bloggers, website owners and managers, etc. to join us by promoting secular ethics and basic, universal spiritual principles when/where you can.

Will you join us?

We have nothing personal against the adherents of religious fundamentalism and fideism; however, we do have an issue with religious belief systems that attempt to insert themselves into our American government, putting their beliefs over those espoused by everyone else.

Notes

[1] Fideistic, fideism

— The term fideism — along with its adjective form fideistic — is not known by most people. In fact, if you already know what fideism means, then you are probably…

  1. An occasional Search for Truth reader who has seen the term fideism defined in other articles on this site
  2. An active spiritual seeker and/or researcher of religious worldviews

Simply put, fideism is the common, irrational view that considers basic, truth-telling tools like science, philosophy, logic, historical research, common sense, et al to be enemies of religious faith. (Yes, it is hard to fathom such a view…)

Resources: Mission statement of Search for Truth (this blog)

Removed content

How can the following information be presented, in light of our comments toward religious fundamentalism?

Adherents to ALL religious traditions and spiritual paths must come to realize the truth of the following statements:

  1. YOUR religious views appear just as wrong, silly, outdated, ineffectual, etc. to some OTHER people as THEIR religious views and practices might appear to YOU; therefore, please abstain from criticizing, condemning, or complaining about religions other than your own

  2. Those remaining faithful to the religion of their upbringing, never having seriously investigated any alternative beliefs, could be called one-faith-for-lifers, due to their choices, have a highly limited perspective on global religious and spiritual matters; one-faith-for-lifers are not reasonably objective in their thinking about other religious or spiritual paths — and this is perfectly fine, as long as this is known/realized

May we, the United States, and the whole world…

Your attempts to persuade intelligent people to believe as you do will not be very effective.

The primary mission of Search for Truth is to encourage Right Thinking and discourage Wrong Thinking.