Is Integral a Religion?



A fair argument and an amusing example. You are thinking of methodology as a tool or instrument or set of methods that someone can use to accomplish something. Perfectly legitimate definition. However, my definition of religion does not refer to methodologies (although I do sometimes, rather loosely I admit). It refers to means toward ultimate transformation. A means of ultimate transformation might be a methodology as in the multi-level mystical approach to Godhead written about by Christian mystics or the steps portrayed in Zen’s Ten Oxherding Pictures. I say, ‘might be,’ but a means need not be a methodology. It might be, to use your example, a supernatural gift bestowed by God, not earned or acquired by the individual’s own voluntary efforts. In Streng Theory (see Part 2 of my essay), for example, one of the 4 traditional “ways of being religious” described is “Personal Encounter with the Holy.” This refers to extraordinary, dramatic, unpredictable visual or auditory direct encounters with a supernatural being or force that cause a reaction of awe in the moment and often a complete transformation of the person’s life thereafter in the direction of greater truth, holiness, and beauty. Such encounters are means of ultimate transformation but not by virtue of any methodology.

So in my analysis, ‘means’ is a broader term than ‘methodology.’ It includes the latter but also includes non-methodological means of transformation. Thanks for helping me get clear on this distinction.


Force? Really? And how exactly have you demonstrated that my definition “doesn’t work?” Have you shown that using my definition with the AQAL map leaves out one or more quadrants? No. Does it fail to apply to the stages of consciousness in the integral spectrum? No. Does it leave out states of consciousness? No. If you continue to disagree, do you know of a better definition?


To be clear on my views and perhaps most importantly intention is to see Integral Theory more broadly integrate across the spectrum from secular anti theists to traditional religion adherents.
I can see that if you limit your audience to Integral elite or to the more secular spiritualist your definition would resonate with what we might call the “inner focus” or Gnosticism.

If you want your audience to integrate traditional religious communities, community will also be highly relevant. Or if you want thinking around Integral Religion to also provide the psycho-sociological well being that many find in traditional religions, inclusion of “community” is necessary from my perspective.


Gentlemen -
This is my last post to this thread. Thank you for the conversation. I have enjoyed it and learned from it. I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a safe and fulfilling new year.

C. Marxer


It quite simply works if we say:
1 - SPIRITUALITY is defined as any vehicle towards ultimate transformation


Some Organized Religions achieve this while some do not. Some organizations might also delve into spiritual practices and also not be a Religion (like Integral).

Here is the thing about Religions: they messed up. They acted to perpetuate shadow elements of spirituality. Control, manipulation, abuse, and so on not to mention genocide, rape and molestation. These are well documented and historical facts. The development of the internet coincided with a time when populations were questioning Religion. All this while not actually delivering on ultimate transformation and using it as a kind of “lure”. The result since the 1960’s has been church membership has been in constant decline for decades while nonreligious spiritual practices have been on the rise.
Religions have been forced to change, but do so grudgingly, slowly and only when forced to do so.

Now I see a common trend with people who like religion, where they still try to perpetuate this scam of Religion being the only path toward ultimate transformation. They still want to maintain their control of power and keep religion relevant.

I was trying to see if this was the case with your paper, and now with the discussion over my conclusion based on what is presented is that this is another one of those efforts to put religion back in the center stage and just redefine nonreligions spirituality out of existence.


I ran across this quote today, which connected in my mind to the question:

Is Integral a Religion?

Ven. Sariputta said: "All those who ask questions of another do so from any one of five motivations.

  • One asks a question of another through stupidity & bewilderment.
  • One asks a question of another through evil desires & overwhelmed with greed.
  • One asks a question of another through contempt.
  • One asks a question of another when desiring knowledge.
  • Or one asks a question with this thought, ‘If, when asked, he answers correctly, well & good. If not, then I will answer correctly [for him].’