One of the primary tenets of Omniperennialism is that human spirituality is an evolutionary phenomenon. While the truth is universal and has never changed, our expression of this truth has moved through distinguishable phases as synchronous cultural influences push global trends in the direction of completing a cycle.
My postulate is that we are currently moving through an overlap period between phases, out of an epoch when materialism and atheism have dominated human thought, and into something I call the Next Age — a multidisciplinary, post-modern paradigm shift toward holistic thought, universal compassion, and pantheistic awareness of omnipresent Divinity.
The Avant-God is a general term for those who pull this evolutionary process forward, often directly against the powerful force of institutional restraint upon which most religions are based. Found in all eras and civilizations, the Avant-God are the tiny minority of spiritual pioneers who challenge local religious authorities and customs, and open new pathways of progress toward realization of our divine Unity. The ultimate goal is universal awareness of both our individuality and our co-identity with the ground of Existence itself, what many people historically have called “God.”
The Avant-God utilize a global convergence of human wisdom that includes:
Mystic and indigenous religion
Visual and performance art
Social awareness and progressive reform movements
As a loose collective of freethinking individuals, the Avant-God are completely non-sectarian, unstructured, and independent of any group of which they are a part. New sects or denominations or theologies or philosophies, even entirely new religions are often formed based on the work of the Avant-God, but rarely if ever by them. They are visionaries, not politicians or architects of culture.
In contemporary Western cultures, this has manifested primarily as the growth of various forms of Pantheism, a synthesis of the dialectic debate between theism and atheism. This groundbreaking alternative offers the greatest promise for the contemporary Avant-God to reach progressive mainstream theology and post-modern secular humanism with a message compatible to both.
There are innumerable sources of information and inspiration for pantheism and all other specific components of the movement, but we at ND Media feel the time has come to create a nexus for those sources, a coordinated network of guideposts that will help individuals coalesce and recognize in each other the same divine ground and the same goals for this earthbound journey. In realization of our togetherness, we can achieve more than we can dwelling in the illusion of isolation. Developing a deeper and broader awareness of pantheism as the ultimate conclusion of Omniperennialism will be a focal point of our efforts to help build this vital bridge.
For further reading on the Avant-God, click on the link in the section below for “The Even Better News: An Avant-God Manifesto, a 2020 update of some of the original material on this site in e-book form, available at the ND Media Bookstore. You are also welcome to scroll past it for an introduction to the free material about Omniperennialism at Not Two. However you choose to explore this site, we’re glad you’re here.
The Even Better News: An Avant-God Manifesto
E-book (PDF file) — 39 pages, apx 10,400 words. Available at the ND Media Bookstore
“As a countermeasure to the pretzel logic of scriptural idolatry, I offer this one litmus test that can be applied across the board to any idea competing for spiritual truth: If this scripture is good news to you, but bad news to others, it isn’t good enough. Don’t confuse it for gospel. It has taken you as far as it can go. This is the jumping-off point for a truth that is bigger.”
Originally penned by JP in 2014 as two separate articles to function as the opening statement on the former Heretic Asylum website, Waldo smooshed them together and added new insights for a fresh take on this tribute to progressive theology and DIY religion. If those seem to you like oxymoronic terms, you need to read this. Religion depends upon a progressive minority to keep it both relevant and spiritually nourishing. The innovative thinkers and inner cosmonauts, exploring with fidelity to the traditional theological frameworks, are in fact the only reason these frameworks still exist as trailheads for the path to the Eternal and Absolute.
You will learn why religion becomes stronger and more effective for its ultimate purpose when its legends are taken as poetic metaphor rather than historic fact; why poetry removes the top of Emily Dickinson’s head, and how the Avant-God come to claim the rest of her. You will grok the subtle difference between Sruti and smriti, and between gospel and scripture. By the end, we’ll be damned if you aren’t ready to start your own Omniperennialist pathwalk if you aren’t on one already (or at least find out what that means).
This new 2020 edition also includes a list of Recommended Reading compiled by the Not Two staff for your further explorations.
Though interdisciplinary in nature, these articles are organized by their primary theme, each of which is geared to its own audience:
Those for whom the word “religion” is not anathema, and who believe that the wisdom traditions of our past are still relevant for their symbolic conveyance of timeless truth beyond the reach of reason, will find the Metatheology section of special interest. Expect to have all traditions honored, but all literal and exclusivist interpretations of these traditions challenged to the core.
For others who prefer a more straight-forward and literal approach to the Divine, and relate better to Frank Lloyd Wright’s spelling of “God” (“N-a-t-u-r-e”), the Pantheism section will cater to this approach. The homepage also contains links to other pantheist sites that deal more specifically with the perspectives of science and deep ecology, as they admittedly cover these better than we can.
For the deep philosophy geeks and people of a more Eastern bent, the Non-Duality section will explore this keystone concept. In truth, non-duality is the underpinning for all ideas expressed on this site (hence the name), because non-dual logic IS natural logic –as opposed to the dualism of semantic logic– and it is the key to understanding how to take the conceptual leap from theology to metatheology. But the articles in this section take a more nuts and bolts approach to explaining why this is so, and that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
There are some (the author included) who find greater fulfillment in the integration of religion, philosophy, and the natural sciences than in any of them alone. For the born “puzzle builders” among us, we offer Perennialism, a more direct exploration of the interrelations between the specific themes, building on the groundbreaking work in “collaborative religion” by Aldous Huxley in The Perennial Philosophy.
Pantheism: Not Just “Sexed-Up Atheism” Anymore
Richard Dawkins, the eminent biologist and New Atheist mouthpiece who seems bent on chopping down everything held sacred by everyone, briefly mentioned pantheism in his book The God Delusion, dismissing it as “sexed-up atheism.” He was right, in a way. But he got it exactly backwards. The small container goes inside the bigger one. Atheism is pantheism for prudes.
Metatheology: A World Beyond Belief
If theology wakes us up from our nightmare of the mortality of the self, then metatheology wakes us up from our dream of the immortality of the ego. Both are illusions that cloud our perception of Reality. They are distinct maladies calling for distinct remedies, but are rooted together as twin products of one human experience we all share without exception: the formation and development of the dualistic mind during our earliest years.”
Duality, in a little over 7,000 words*
“Duality is a slight of hand. It is a line drawn in the sand where none exists. It is the parsing of All That Is into distinct thought-concepts that hide from the part its concurrent existence as the Whole. It is the subjective narrowing of attention upon an object, shrinking its full context, and ignoring the ground connecting it to the subject. Reality unveils the connections we trick ourselves out of seeing.”
“Truth Is One, Paths Are Many”
“‘Truth is One.’ What to make of that? It is not so evident on the surface. The words and symbols used along these paths do differ, sometimes drastically. It takes some digging, and then, like dinosaur bones, you rarely if ever find an intact skeletal system –something a lot more like jigsaw puzzle pieces. Most people look at the pieces and see evidence of the same fragmentation that divides us on the surface, in the world of words and symbols…But there are some who make a vocation of putting together the puzzle pieces.”
a project of ND Media
words by Waldo Noesta
design by JP
musework by Betty Pickett and Vera d’Angelo
inspiration by many
‘I and I’ be praised and adored (and that means you)
Elizabeth Shipley “Betty” Moss Pickett (2 Mar 1932 — 6 Feb 2019)
from the laptop of
Not Two Studios
Ithaca, New York • Punta Gorda, Florida
All images on this site are used with gratitude and in consideration of the Fair Use provision to Limitations on Exclusive Rights for this educational, non-profit resource. However, we also don’t want to be dickheads, so if you are the owner of any copyrighted material used here and you aren’t thrilled about the situation, please contact JP at firstname.lastname@example.org, and it will be removed or correctly attributed per your request without hesitation. Thank you for your understanding.
21 thoughts on “What’s this “Avant-God” stuff about?”
Your home is valueble for me. Thanks!
That’s really wonderful to hear, thank you! I’m glad you enjoy it here. Mi casa es su casa.
I came, I read this article, I corqeenud.
At least you didn’t covfefe.
One of my job responsibilities is to do staff dmeelopevnt for educators. I think these same philosophies mentioned in this episode apply there as well. Building a PLN for (no- not for , but WITH) educators teaching the same topics or facing the same issues helps everyone improve their practice. Nice job on the podcast guys. Keep up the good work.
I was trying to find a quote by Teilhard de Chardin that I saw early this morning on Heretic Asylum. He was a hero of mine and I think his Phenomonon of Man is one of my favorite books, having read it in the early 60’s while at the University of Notre Dame, of all places.😃🍀 Somehow I was not able to relocate it a few hours later. Could you possibly tell me how to find it? Thanks much.
Hey Tom, just realized who you are 🙂 I just looked all over the archives of HA! on Facebook & damned if I can find it. I know I quoted him somewhere though not too long ago…could it have been in one of the Pantheism groups?
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I don’t have a TV so I don’t watch it unless I’m sequestering myself in a hotel room, and even there it’s a habit I’m trying to break. Thanks for reading sites like this to get your news! (if that’s what you were saying.)
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Right on man, thanks for the props, I’m glad you found it! 🙂 I’m doing my first radio show in December to discuss “Birding,” so hopefully that will bring new traffic.
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Thank you, Bryce! It’s always a great boost to find out I’ve reached someone 🙂 Sometimes it feels like shooting off radio waves into space.
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