1) The "God-based" Philosophical Classification System
People are frequently fundamentally classified by their beliefs about "God".
THE OLD COMMON CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
According to the old common "God-based" philosophical classification system:
1) Those who believe in "God" are classified as Theists.
2) Those who don't believe in "God" are classified as Atheists.
3) Those who are undecided about "God" are classified as Agnostics.
Unfortunately, the term "God" has at least two extremely different meanings:
1) Generally, (traditional) Theists and Atheists define "God" as:
"An entity external to the universe that created and rules the universe"
2) Generally, enlightened (and spiritually literate) people define "God" as:
"The personal name given to the infinite and eternal universe"
As radical as the difference between these two definitions of "God" is, the common "God-based" philosophical classification system makes no distinction whatsoever!
For this reasons (and others described further below), I propose a new expanded philosophical classification system.
THE NEW EXPANDED CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
I propose that a new classification be created in order to represent enlightened (and spiritually literate) people (and people on the path towards enlightenment). I further propose that the new term be either "Spiritual Atheism" or "Non-Literal Theism", but any successful term would be fine. (Note that "Spiritual Atheism" is currently in the lead. [ VIEW STATISTICS ] Statistics for "Non-Literal Theism" can be found here.)
According to the new expanded "God-based" philosophical classification system:
1) Those who believe in the existence of an entity external to the universe that supposedly created and rules the universe are classified as Theists.
2) Those who do NOT believe in the existence of an entity external to the universe that supposedly created and rules the universe are classified as Atheists.
3) Those who do NOT believe in the existence of an entity external to the universe that supposedly created and rules the universe, but do recognize the inter-connectedness and one-ness of the infinite and eternal universe, are classified as Spiritual Atheists (or Non-Literal Theists).
4) Those who are undecided about the existence of an entity external to the universe that supposedly created and rules the universe are classified as Agnostics.
THE NEW EXPANDED CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
This generalized table is provided in order to stimulate intellectual and conversational inquiry. Please excuse any omissions and exceptions.
Ayn Rand's Objectivism
Anton LeVey's Satanism
(or Non-Literal Theism)
AGNOSTICISM represents those who are undecided about "God".
*PLEASE NOTE: Spiritual Atheism (or Non-Literal Theism) is NOT a religion or a philosophy! Instead, it is a critical addition to the "God-based" philosophical classification system. (see above for details)
2) Why an EXPANDED Classification System IS CRITICAL
Naturally, when using the old common God-based philosophical classification system, enlightened people (and people on the path towards enlightenment) are almost always stuffed into the "Theism Box" by Atheists and the "Atheism Box" by Theists. Due to the inherent limitations of this old philosophical classification system, this is understandable (and even a bit humorous); but it is not very rational or useful!
Just for laughs: You know you are an enlightened Spiritual Atheist when all of your Atheist friends insist that you are a Theist, and all of your Theist friends insist that you are an Atheist!
Furthermore, when collecting statistics, Spiritual Atheists are almost always classified as Theists (which seriously exaggerates* the number of people who supposedly believe in a literal "God") because the surveyors simply ask, "Do you believe in God?", which naturally elicits a simple and friendly "yes" response from many (not all) enlightened people. It is impossible to know how many people classified as Theists are actually Spiritual Atheists.
Spiritual Atheists are often people who have consciously chosen to dedicate the remainder of their lives to the cause of helping to create a better world, yet they have virtually no collective presence or voice in the world.
*For example, on February 16, 2004, on ABC News' PrimeTime (a nationally broadcast television program in the USA), Diane Sawyer reported that 82% of all Americans claim to be Christians. Were all atheists and all other "flavors" of theists really carefully excluded from this number? (This particular episode featured an interview with Mel Gibson about his film, The Passion of the Christ.) IT'S TIME FOR ENLIGHTENED (AND SPIRITUALLY LITERATE) PEOPLE (YOU!) TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED!
UPDATE: It's been 14 years and things are looking better! READ THIS: AMERICANS & GOD
THE MOST SIGNIFICANT IMPACT OF THE OLD COMMON SYSTEM
As long as enlightened people (and people on the path towards enlightenment) remain unacknowledged, belief in the false (literal) "God" of traditional Theism will remain prevalent. And as long as this belief remains prevalent (and regularly reinforced), the masses will be easily divided, disabled, demoralized, distracted, and controlled; and extraordinarily destructive agendas will be able to flourish virtually unrecognized and unchallenged by the masses.
In short, in my opinion, our collective future depends upon Global Enlightenment. And Global Enlightenment will be greatly sped up when enlightened people (and people on the path towards enlightenment) are officially acknowledged as having a life perspective that is significantly different from that of traditional Theists, Atheists, and Agnostics.
If you agree, I strongly encourage you to promote Spiritual Atheism and this new expanded philosophical classification system.
For more information, please visit: The Center for Better World.
We are all ONE.
THE CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL ATHEISM