Transtheism or Numinalism

I am continuing to think about this word that we don't yet have to describe a religious point of view that sees all conventional religions as inadequate human constructions, that have not been able to communicate the experience of an ultimate reality that transcends us.

Love this randomly generated abstract cloud of words associated with Transtheism!

Love this randomly generated abstract cloud of words associated with Transtheism!

While this must be enough already (I have published two recent blog posted on the subject), it isn't because it remains unresolved for me.  It is an important concept, and I need to be able to talk about it in a way that distinguishes it from other talk about religion. 

For instance, it is different from mysticism because mysticism is the practice of the mystical, when certain activities are undertaken to experience the divine directly.  It is different from perennialism because it doesn't advocate that the world's religions are expressions of the same reality.  In some ways we are dealing with the opposite position, that religions have done a poor job and have yet to express that reality in any really meaningful way.

I am thinking now about these possibilities:

1. Transtheism

The view that the ultimate reality is beyond the gods that the conventional religions advocate.

2. Numinalism

The view that the ultimate reality is the numinal, something that can't be captured by conventional religions.

What words do we have to describe transcendent religion?

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:

1. transuniversalism

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.

2. transnuminalism

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.

3. transreligionism

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.

4. transcensionism

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.