I want to thank all of you who have responded to my request for a word to describe a particular worldview that sees all religions as inadequate human constructions of our experience of a transcendent sacred, rather than divine revelations of God to different local populations (pluralism/universalism/perennialism). I need this word for a new book project (after The Ancient New Age) where I am describing three options that have been emerging in the modern world to deal with religious intolerance. The third is the option without a name, at least yet!
Here are a few of the terms that have filtered up to the top for me in our blog chat:
I like this option since it could be used to define a perspective that values a universal transcendence that is beyond all conventional religions. It has the sense of something beyond/at odds with conventional religious universalism. It also has the feel of something transcending the universe.
This option is beautiful, really stunning, since it indicates a transcendence of the numinous, that the numinal is beyond religious prescription. The problem here is that the word "numinal" is not accessible without knowing Otto's description of the sacred. So the word is not going to be transparent to most readers.
This was favored by many of you, and I like it too. There is one difficulty with the word and that is that it suggests a position that is against religion period. While people who hold this position view conventional religions as inadequate, this doesn't mean that they are against religion altogether. It means that they are against the view that religion is a sacred cow, and that scriptures are divine revelations. Many people who hold this perspective still want to be part of religion, but not as it is conventionally done.
I like this word very much. It captures the transcendent aspect really well since the word actually means the act, process or instance of transcending. What I don't like is the sound of the word. It is difficult to say, especially with the -ism on the end.
Again, I encourage your comments, whether by post here or email, as I continue to try to find and then put into place, into the scholarly discourse, a word for this way of being religious.