Possible to be Conservative, Heterosexual, Christian, and Integral?



I remember when I was a child there were TV shows that tried to find logical and science based explanations for the Bible stories. For example, Moses parting the Red Sea could have been a combination of higher sea levels combined with a very high tide. Or the great flood was the result of the end of the ice age. But I think now they would get hate mail if they aired those shows now because people are doubling down in polarized thinking and unwilling to try and find a middle ground.


Excluding i agree happens just like any other organization or community when you break to much from the rules or core tenants. Which Christian groups “persecute” not really Christians?


Thank you @Brian_Downey, @raybennett @FermentedAgave for sharing all these diverse ideas. :slight_smile:

The integral perspectives point in every direction. Integral accepts every point of view as part of the entire tapestry of reality. When a conversation ends up in a finger pointing in one direction or another that misses the whole point.

When referencing one without accommodating the other leads individuals to feeling hurt, frustrated, irritated, angry, emotional, argumentative, defensive, etc. etc. … as a “sad fact” comment can feel uncomfortable to Christians, and how my reply caused a similar response.

This is all part of our biological programming inherited from our upbringing, culture, education, indoctrination, etc. … We all play our individual roles as part of the collective whole. These interactions on the ground are us pushing and pulling against each another. Some call this the duality … or call it the multiplicity … it’s simply the individual parts and their contrasting interactions.

The integral spiritual view, from above it all, sees one integral organism of individual parts working together to keep the entire system alive and thriving. The integral perspective sees how everything and everyone is part of the whole of humanity.

This holistic integral system is always accommodating the parts. It moves on whole to find balance and seems to always progress in a positive direction guided by some higher organizing life principle that flows through all of nature. Call it life, god, spiritual energy, universal consciousness, holy spirit, mental mind, integral life or whatever one chooses.

I think that in this Community we want to nurture and support the whole of reality. We do not want to argue about what we see, but rather seek to assimilate it all into a larger integral perspective that understands it all and balances it all in a spiritual condition of love and respect for the entire thing and everyone in it. ~ Peace :slight_smile:


I gave several links to an author in a prior discussion about Integral Resources on Amber The links showed an author who some people believed had an integral approach to Christianity and on searching I discovered he was viscously attacked in Amazon reviews by Christians for not being a real Christian and then digging deeper I found he kicked out of his religious organization and stripped of his pastorship.

If you chose to ignore that post I’m not going to waste my time finding it again just for you to again ignore it.


The danger here is when people imagine a finger is being pointed in accusation when it is just describing a point of view.
This happens time and time again when people believe they have the only true belief. Any of a thousand beliefs or facts that do not fall in line with that narrow belief may seem like an attack.
As soon as two or more parties are able to see two divergent beliefs as valid - that’s when it starts to be possible to have a rational (or integral) discussion. When one person or group is unable to see beyond a narrow scope of a singular belief it’s really an uphill climb.
Accommodating the singular view that is unwilling to se any other view is counter productive and merely reinforces the singular view. Going to an extreme to show a point - a fanatic isn’t going to see the “other side” by agreeing with those fanatic views. At some point you have to broach the topic that the Earth is actually round when talking to a flat earther, for example.


I agree with you @raybennett … that 7th Day Adventist’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Morman’s, Christian Scientists have all been maligned and in some cases severely persecuted by many religious Christians.

I agree again 100% :slight_smile: … and when you isolate any one thing out of the whole there is always the contrasting view. The extreme examples of contrast are where the hostility becomes most intense. Finding the connecting points of agreement, rather than argue the contrasts, will heal our divides.

The Integral holistic view sees all these discrepancies and recognizes they are irrelevant and insane to argue from the extreme polarity of either side. Rather they are understood in the integral connections that are the matrix of our reality.

Accepting and understanding how everything works together in harmony is the integral perspective. You can argue from any point within the matrix or recognize how the entire system functions and flow comfortably integrating every individual aspect as part of the whole.


So church members (possibly sanctioned by the church) “trolled” him with Amazon reviews on a publication that likely was the very reason he was given the boot. I thought you were referring to the classic definition of “persecution”.

Sure - I’ll review whatever you send.

Edit - Brings up a question regarding the current social media world - Would you consider much of what we see in the social media world today as “persecution”?


Why this constant strategy of deflecting responsibility off to another group. It’s irrelevant. Would I consider that the Japanese persecuted the Chinese in WWII? Also irrelevant. Fundamentalist Christians did and do persecute those who do not share their beliefs. That’s just recorded in so many ways and overwhelmingly documented.
To me the most important, central conservative value is taking responsibility for one’s own beliefs and actions, not saying “But other people do xyz”. I’m not even conservative but I have this core “conservative value” stronger than 99.99% most so-called conservatives the past 10+ years.

Regardless, in the case of the persecution of Paul R Smith by fundamentalist Christians …
Definitions of persecution:
“hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.”
“to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict”
“unfair or cruel punishment over a long period of time”
I believe these definition match the behavior of public trolling him on Amazon trying to negatively influence his sales and trying to ruin his reputation and livelihood as a pastor and author. Then taking official action and declaring not just him but his whole congregation were no longer good Baptists and kicking every one of them out of their organization. That’s about as bad as you can get without breaking any laws.

And he’s just one of thousands examples, as @executive said.

Here’s an interesting tidbit - I actually read a few books similar to Paul Smith’s way back in 1996 when I was dating a Christian woman and thought I could be Christian if I could do it in that way, but the reaction I got from Christians was so universally negative I just decided to go a completely different way - and now that I’ve found many other divergent spiritual paths all with similar results there’s not really a reason for me to revisit that one very narrow path.
I’ll follow this with this quote.

I mention my personal story because it might be helpful to note that I recognized this insanity a very long time ago and I’m not arguing my side. My approach for the following 20 years was to just let it grow without much attention or bother from me. It might have been “my side” 30 years ago when I might have been remotely interested in Christianity? In this discussion my approach is more like Socrates than actually trying to express my beliefs. If we talked about “my side” today we’d be talking about some very wild topics, lol. I’m kind of discussing things perhaps at other people’s extreme boundaries, but it’s still very far away from anything I’d consider as “my side”, lol.


I too have read Paul R. Smith’s reviews and website, and frankly didn’t find it particularly “Christian” and definitely what I thought of as “Integral Christianity”. Maybe I’m Integral since after looking at his stuff, I thought “ok then, that’s not what I think of as Integral Christianity” and simply moved on. Also brings to mind the Unitarian Universalist Church, which I also didn’t find to be particularly Christian. And I don’t concern myself with them, their beliefs or their affairs.

There were two (yes, 2) 1 Star reviews on Amazon for Paul R. Smith’s Integral Christianity, that look like the same review edited.
Is this the persecution you’re referring too? If so, you’re playing fast and loose with the term “persecution”. Hell, it’s not even decent trolling. LOL

[ Integral is NOT Christian]
This book is about another Jesus, not Jesus Christ. Compare the bottom of page 246 in the book to John 1:29
and you will see exactly what I mean. If this is higher Christian education, I will remain thankfully simple.
As for Pastor Smith and his Church of the Magical Mystery Tour, they’re dying to take you away.

[ This is not Christianity]
I have long read, critiqued, and written about Ken Wilber’s worldview (some of which is on line). It is nondualism, or pantheistic monism. This worldview, which inspires the book under review, is logically incompatible with Christian Theism, which teaches that God is ontologically distinct (as the personal-finite Creator) from the cosmos (which is the contigent creation). See Romans, chapter 1.

Thus, any attempt to reconcile Wilber’s nondualism and Christianity is surely doomed to intellectual and spiritual failure. It is better to reject orthodox, biblical Christianity as false than to try to force it into the Procrustean bed of an antithetical (and deeply illogical) worldview.

I don’t know how “narrow” Christianity is given that there are over 2 Billion on the planet. Have you considered that you’re not a good fit for a Christian community? It’s quite ok to find a different path. Rock on brother!

That sounds good the way you’ve positioned it - discussing things on extreme boundaries - but have you considered that people just might not find your “extreme boundaries” all that appealing?


@raybennett I suggest that is because you are integral. :slight_smile: Seeing beyond the self and the individual pieces. You’re not stuck holding to one reference point in reality as “the truth” you see the bigger interconnectedness of it all … you’re exploring way beyond “you” as most of our integral regulars here are too.

It is the space between our attained thoughts and understandings that are of deepest interest. How all these human ideas and concepts intertwine and dance in one large mind of competence, or chaos if you prefer, that continues in this perpetual dance of reality.

The more we learn the smaller and smaller we become, realizing that we don’t actually know much of anything for certain. Yet, as Eckhart Tolle suggests, we are still driven from our “ego-self” to clutch and defend every little tiny piece of our individual identity. It’s breaking these shackles or chains that bring us to the higher spiritual plateau of an integral understanding.

I am grateful to have such diverse ideas engaging in the process. Thank you @raybennett, @FermentedAgave and @Brian_Downey for being a part of this discovery with me. ~ Peace :slight_smile: .


As a Christian, I’d like to chime in here. What mythic literal means in this case is that there is a political faction of people who call themselves Conservative Christians, who don’t really know how to read the Bible in context.

They don’t understand that some is allegory, parables, campfire stories passed down through the eons to educate during times of illiteracy, etc. or they use the illiteracy of their followers.

They use adherence to mythology of functionally (in their religion) illiterate people to push political priorities.

Think of how closely the alt right has woven guns, Jesus and patriotism.

Conservative Christian has become a term the denotes literalists, judgmental people, people who choose Trump over obeying Jesus In areas such as taking care of refugees, widows, and orphans, etc.

So, it leads us to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a conservative Christian in The USA context or than a conservative Christian as a term is an oxymoron.

What I mean by this is that Jesus was a radical liberal, the founder of the Way, proactive in women’s rights, taking care of the downtrodden, died for others, etc.

The oxymoron of being a conservative Christian is that being conservative should mean that you close the follow The precepts and teachings and philosophies of Jesus. So to be conservative in the ways of Jesus is to be closer to a societal liberal.


Thanks @Scott_Layden for the very thoughtful thoughts and insights. Poking around I found quite a few media references to a 2017 Baylor Uni Religion Survey with most referencing a 2017 version. It seems Media referenced the 2017 survey frequently where roughly 1/4 (28%) of Christians (surveyed) responded that they believe the Bible to be a literal text. Not so many media references for the 2021 survey (yet?), but it seems that Bible as Literal has dropped to 15% (1.5 of 10) leaving roughly 85% of Christians responding with less than a “Literal” interpretation of the Bible.

Highly rare, but you can actually read the survey questions, view responses data, and look at the analyses directly, sans media spin doctoring. For reference the Baylor Religious Survey linked here.


Interesting to me that I land squarely as a “yes” to #2.

I experience that, illumined by God in full 3 “person” experience, Father=infinite, Son=Intimate, and Holy Spirit = indwelling immanent/eminent God in, through and as us, the Bible comes to life as “the living word” to me both as I and i.


Love it. Thanks for sharing @Scott_Layden and stepping forward as a Christian.
I suspect these Mythic Literal Unicorns might be very rare in a geeky forums. And given scarcity of these Unicorns with a crucifix tattooed on the haunch in Jesus blood i find it very ineffective for progressives and seemingly Integralists to constantly joust with, well fantastical mystical crearures that are Resisting and Inhabiting a glorious unfolding Integral Noosphere.

Really folks, i go to church and i cant seem to licate even mytical literalists. Based on my sophomoric understanding of Hegel, Marx, Marcuse, and Post Modern Wokeism picking a unfindable opponent with horrific characteristics (like giving a a 1 star Amazon review) is classic Critical Theory.
And whilst we are at it lets pile on a couple additional classifications that provide additional irrational weight to this fantasitical creatue with which must be locked in exististential combat on the Bed of Procustes in order to defend our nonreligious religion welling forth in our Noosphere of Enlightenment.


The minute we feel the need to defend our position we are stuck in a limited belief. We don’t stop a belief or drop an understanding we expand our understanding to encompass more. As a small child believes in Santa Claus … even as adults they still believe … just in larger more encompassing way.

Until we dare question OUR OWN CONCLUSIONS we will stay stuck in “our truth”. True Christianity is way bigger than any small individual who tries to critique it and way bigger than those who feel compelled to defend it.

The Truth is in everything and in everyone; and when we can accommodate everyone and everything we will obtain “The Truth”. The truth of openness and love, especially for the weakest and lowly among us, as exemplified in Jesus Christ is so empowering and rich with blessings!

On this Jesus himself said, (John 8:32) … “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” … this truth is worth sharing and it needs nothing more. ~ Peace :slight_smile:


Lots to unpack here. Thanks @excecutive.


Thanks to @jpjakonen 's PhD thesis and brief introduction to trans rationality.
Do we tend to view someone else’s transrational experiences as pre-rational or mythic or mythic literal?
Meanwhile, of course all of my vision journey’s are clearly Integral and of course transrational, beyond mere rationality, beyond the chains that are holding us back from, well, this Noosphere of transrational being-ness.

Transrational , transrational experience or transrational reality refers to the experience of phenomena occurring within the natural universe where information and experiences does not readily fit into the typical cause and effect structure; the kinds of experience that are often dismissed as unfathomable or superstitious.[1] It differs from the ‘supernatural’ and the ‘rational’ in that it neither directly controverts nor affirms rational reason. A transrational experience is not pathological. One of the most popular examples of transrational experiences are individuals witnessing blessed/evil omens which turn out to become true, or feelings of extremely intense dread which helped staved an individual from disastrous catastrophes, even if the individual has zilch prior knowledge or context (see Examples below). The transrational does not engage with the question of how it sensibly fits into a rational framework, instead, it is about allowing the experience to be felt and witnessed, uninterpretable by sensemaking or meaning-making.

The concept was conceptualized in Western literature by Jungian analyst Jerome Bernstein in 2000.[2] However, it has also been used to very different effect by Ken Wilber in his 1995 academic book, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality .

People are often so afraid of being considered “pre-rational” that they avoid and deny the possibility of the transrational. Others believe religious and spiritual experiences belongs with “pre-rational” experiences, but may actually belong with transrational instead (Ken Wilber).


For myself - that’s why I ask. Not because it’s important for me to know, but important for the Christian to be clear. For me I don’t see Christian beliefs as different from any other spiritual belief - even those derived from psychedelic use, for example. In talking to both Christians and Psychedelic users, if we are going to broach a topic, I want them to be clear where they are. “Do you believe the entities are real.” Then establishing what “real” means. Essentially asking them to find where they are on the survey linked by @Scott_Layden.
I understand it might be offensive for some to have their beliefs equated to that of psychedelic users, but it actually really makes it easy. No system of beliefs is inherently due more or less respect than any other in my view. So I ask “Do you actually believe physical aliens visit us from star system Sirius” with equal curiosity as “Do you believe a Physical Jesus sits in a physical Heaven next to a physical God?” There is no judgement in the questions, but there is often self judgement in the person being asked.
I might ask a similar questions of Buddhists in regards to reincarnation.
If the individual is clear within themselves, there is no need for me to judge one way or the other. They can express themselves clearly. But how to talk about a topic if both parties aren’t clear in themselves what they actually believe? If either or both are unaware or unwilling to actually state to themselves what they believe.
I’m very clear in myself what I believe and how I reconcile the light and the dark, the yin and the yang, masculine and feminine, matter and antimatter - whatever labels we give it or simply “transrational”. To me it’s all just “maps” each map shows something clearly but has to sacrifice clarity one thing by distorting another. A Mercator projection map is equally true to a topographical map, but show different things - but neither is literally true.
Also if an organization has official rules and policy standings in writing it’s equally unnecessary for me to “judge” - I can read it in black and white.
In your example of the Unitarian Church, they are in complete disagreement with the majority of more traditional Christian Church Organizations. It’s easy for someone like me to actually read what they state as their policies in black and white. It’s easy to read what oaths their pastors are supposed to take and truths they have to swear as matters they have strong faith in before they are ordained.


They don’t knock on your door every month or so?
You don’t see them with pamphlets on street corners trying to intercept you?
You don’t know any LGBTQ who were disowned or beaten by their parents or at a minimum told they were going to hell?

I accept that you might chose not to recognize these things other people experience.
Just as I recognize a colorblind person can say red doesn’t exist, sure.


Yes they knock, but I don’t know that they are Mythic Literal believers.

Ok, you do have a point here that street corners with people handing out pamphlets just might be optimal hunting ground for a Mythic Literal Unicorn to lock horns with in order to fight the existential battle for the Integral Noosphere. Now personally am I going to invest in building a world view around the street corner Unicorns, then bandy about this dog-whistle narrative in a zealous self righteous manner to disempower the other 85% of the population? That wouldn’t be respectful, inclusive or even relevant.
I would point out most street corner zealots I run into today are progressives looking for donations to support global warming or LGBTQ or critical race theory “religions”.

Disowned or beaten? Nope. Not one that I know of.
Going to hell? I guess I didn’t grow up in a Mythic Literal community so much, but oft was the chat about “you need to make something of yourself”, “you aren’t using the gifts God gave you”, “quit being lazy and do the work”, “no whining, get to work”.

But do I know teenagers or young adults that got sick of their parents controlling and brain washing them, promoting the oppressive misogynistic capitalistic power structure with those wicked abusive statements like “do your home work or I’m taking away your cell phone”, “you can’t do drugs in our house”, “you can’t do drugs and then drive our cars”, or “I don’t care if you think I don’t understand, you can’t have drug parties at our home”? Yes indeedy. Some even got sick enough of the abuse to move out. Some were L or G or B or T or Q or straight. I even know families that called the police on their L or G or B or T or Q or straight children that got violent with their parents or siblings or started destroying the home. Reality is that drugs were highly involved every single time.

I don’t say that it “never” happens, but Mythic Literals at 15% of Christians are likely not so powerful as you might argue. And I fully acknowledge that you’ve likely got more Mythic Literal caca to deal with than most of us grew up with.

FYI - You’re also using the classic Critical Theory method (but what about the street corner zealot - gotcha!) to look to disempower what I’ve said with a wave of the hand (must be blind since I don’t see it your way - gotcha again!).