An Examination of The Numinous Way,
Christianity and Islam
The Numinous Way is a complete and unique Way of Life - or
Weltanschauung - with its own
ethics, based upon empathy, and with its own
based upon what is called "The Cosmic Being". This Being is not the
same as the God of Christianity, nor the Allah of Islam.
This present work will attempt, briefly, to outline the theology of The
Numinous Way, and show how it differs from Christianity and Islam.
I have tried to avoid using the term "religion" in discussing both The
Numinous Way and Islam, since I believe it to be not only
inappropriate, but inaccurate, since they are both complete Ways of
Life, and there has been a tendency in the West - an erroneous one in
my view - to separate "religion" from
such things as government, "The State" and the community. For Islam,
the Muslim community (incorrectly, "The State") is but a means of
manifesting, or making
real in the world, the truths contained in Islam, while for The
Numinous Way the natural ideal of a small rural community replaces the
concept of The State, with The Numinous Way regarding The State as an
artificial, abstract, construct which denies true freedom and therefore
has no place in this particular Way of Life.
I have also used the term Allah to describe the supreme
Being of Islam, and the term God the describe the supreme Being of
Christianity, for in my view - despite many recent attempts to equate
they are theologically distinct.
The Origin and Meaning of Life:
The essential starting point for a Way of Life is to pose, and answer,
the questions about the origin and meaning of life - or, more
specifically, about our lives, as human beings on this planet we call
According to The Numinous Way, life evolved naturally on this planet,
from finite beginnings we as yet do not precisely understand. The
essence of the The Numinous Way perspective about our origins is reason
- or rather, what used to be called Natural Philosophy: through
observation, experiment and the use of reason, or logic, we can
understand our world, the Cosmos, and
ourselves. Thus, The Numinous Way is a rationalist, and empathic, Way
of Life which
accepts: (i) that the Cosmos (or Reality) exists independently of us
and our consciousness, and thus independent of our senses; (ii) our
limited understanding of this 'external world' depends for the most
part upon our senses - that is, on what we can see, hear or touch; that
is, on what we can observe or come to know via our senses; (iii)
logical argument - reason - and experiment are the best means to
knowledge and understanding of and about this 'external world'; (iv)
the Universe is, of itself, a reasoned order subject to rational laws;
(v) our faculty of empathy is a means for us to know the nexion we are,
and how we can discover our correct relationship to all other life.
Thus, practical reason - Natural Philosophy - enables us to comprehend
the external, physical, causal, Universe, while empathy enables us to
comprehend, and appreciate, Life itself, in all its variety and forms.
According to both Islam and Christianity, we, our world, and the
Cosmos, were created, by a Supreme Being.
For The Numinous Way, the meaning, the purpose, of our lives is know
and appreciate The Numinous; to develope our empathy so that we can do
this; and to aid and develope The Numinous by being empathic,
compassionate, and honourable. This meaning, this purpose, arises from
an understanding of our true human nature, which is of us as but one
nexion, one connexion, one causal incarnation of the Cosmos, of the
Life of the Cosmos, of The Cosmic Being itself, which Life and which
Cosmic Being are source of The Numinous. Our very life, as a living
mortal being, is an expression of the life of the Cosmos being
presenced in and through our physical bodies, and this life - like all
life - has the potential to change and evolve.
by our life and our individuals deeds, make a difference: aiding
evolution, or not
aiding evolution. That is, the perspective of The Numinous Way is the
perspective of Nature, and the Cosmos beyond. There is thus in The
Numinous Way a Cosmic perspective as
distinct from the individualistic perspective of both Islam and
Christianity. For both Islam and Christianity see our lives as a means
for us, as individuals, to attain Jannah (Paradise) or Heaven. The main
motivation of Muslims and Christians is to do what their Ways of Life
they should be because then they, as individuals, will be rewarded with
Paradise, and Heaven.
In contrast, The Numinous Way is ultimately supra-personal and thus an
evolutionary Way of Life: enabling us as individuals and
as a species to evolve, which we can do by being empathic, by using and
developing our faculty of empathy, and by doing compassionate and
honourable deeds. Thus, by so changing and evolving, individually, we
are aiding the change and evolution of Life and of the Cosmos:
bringing-into-being more of The Numinous, and becoming the sentience of
the Cosmos itself.
The Cosmic Being:
One crucial difference between Islam and Christianity is the concept
of incarnation - of the supreme deity being, or possibly being,
in the world, and in human beings. According to Islam, Allah is not and
never can be incarnate in His creation: He is totally separate from,
totally untouched by, all Creation. Whatever happens, in the world, in
Cosmos, has no affect whosoever upon Allah. According to Christianity,
became incarnate in Jesus, who is thus described as His Son.
according to some Christian theologians, and some mystics (such as
Francis of Assisi), God is incarnate in Nature just as some
maintain that Jesus
exists within us.
The Quran - which Muslims accept as the literal word of Allah - has
this to say about incarnation:
"Say - He is Allah, The Unity;
Allah - Eternal, Infinite;
He has no children, and neither was He born.
And there is no-being, no-thing, comparable to Him."
Both Allah, and God, are regarded as being infallible, and perfect:
completely evolved, and not subject to change.
In contrast, the Cosmic Being of The Numinous Way is regarded as the
Cosmos in evolution, with Nature representing one manifestation, one
incarnation, of the Cosmic Being on our planet, Earth. Thus, the Cosmos
Being is not
complete, not perfect - but an evolving, changing, being - just as we
are the Cosmic Being in evolution, and just as Nature is this being in
evolution. That is, there is a symbiotic relationship between us, as
individuals, as members of an ethical community, between us and
Nature, between us and the Cosmic Being, and between Nature and the
Cosmic Being. Nature is also a being: that is, some-thing which is
alive, which changes. Nature is thus that innate creative force in the
natural world of our planet which causes, or is the genesis of,
and controls, living organisms in certain ways. All life - on this
elsewhere in the Cosmos - is regarded as connected. That is, the Cosmos
a Unity, a matrix of connexions, which affect each other. This Unity
can be understood, apprehended,
by the concept of Acausal (see below).
In one sense, our consciousness - our awareness, our rational
apprehension - may be likened to the awareness of the Cosmic Being,
just as honour and compassion are regarded
as practical manifestations, a presencing, in us and our world, of
empathy and thus of our evolution: of
forces which enable us to live in a noble, ethical, way. That is,
honour and compassion are ways in which the Cosmic Being is incarnate -
or can be incarnate
in us, as human beings. In a very simplistic way, the Cosmic Being is
increase in order from random chaos - or, more correctly, an increase
the acausal, a manifestation or manifestations of the acausal in the
(1). Thus, is there an increasing of numinosity.
As to the origin of the Cosmic Being, and the Cosmos itself, we simply
do not know, at present - despite the many surreal (and in my view,
irrational) theories advanced in the present century in an attempt to
explain such things as the origins of the Cosmos (2). All we do
rationally know is that we exist in one star-system in one Galaxy among
many millions of Galaxies, and that Galaxies change over causal time.
Until we begin to explore our Galaxy, and possibly other Galaxies, and
thus can make first-hand, direct experimental observations, we simply
will not know, for sure - and possibly not even then. Crucially, there is no concept of "sin" in The Numinous Way,
as there is no need for, and no concept of, "praying" to the Cosmic
for guidance, for intercession, for forgiveness. For The Numinous Way,
there are only empathic, compassionate, and honourable or deeds - or
unempathic, uncompassionate (inhuman) and dishonourable deeds (see The Ethics of Empathy and Honour,
below).There can be no
thing as prayer, in The Numinous Way, because of nexions; because of
the matrix, The Unity,
the acausal: because the Cosmic Being is us, and Nature, in evolution,
not separate from us when we are honourable, compassionate, empathic,
fair, rational. We only
to follow the ethics of empathy - to be reasonable, just, fair,
- to access the Cosmic Being, to presence this Being in our lives. This
is thus natural, and does not depend on prayer, or rituals, of any
In this sense, The Numinous Way is quite different from other Ways of
Life, from other "religions" and philosophies of living.
Prophets and Revelation:
Both Islam and Christianity are revelatory religions, or Ways of Life.
That is, they accept that Allah, and God, have sent Messengers and
Prophets to guide us, and reveal truths, such as about how we should
live, and what our laws should be. Thus, both Muslims and Christians
accept that we must turn to a supreme being for guidance, for the final
answers, for the truth.
In addition, these revelations of a supreme being are believed to be
contained in Holy Books - the Quran, and Sunnah (3), for Muslims, and
Bible, for Christians. In the case of Muslims, the Quran is regarded as
perfect, while in the case of Christians, it has come to be accepted
exegesis, and interpretation, may be and often are necessary to
discover the meaning, the true message, of God.
For The Numinous Way, there is no revelation from a supreme being, and
thus no belief in Prophets or Messengers, and no Holy Books. There is
only empathy, and a reasoned apprehension, an acceptance that our human
depends upon being empathic, that is, upon us accepting the ethics of
honour, and empathy with, Nature, and the Cosmos. The Numinous Way
accepts that we - as Aeschylus wrote - learn through the experience of
That is, that we are slowly, painfully, learning, and slowly,
creating a better way of life, and that while what we create may not be
(and cannot be) perfect,
it will be - if we adhere to honour, reason, compassion and fairness -
what we might term cultured and "civilized",
and better than what existed before. As Sophocles wrote, some two
years ago (my translation)
There exists much that is strange, yet
Is more strange than mankind:
For this being crosses the gray sea of Winter
Against the wind, through the howling sea swell,
And the oldest of gods, ageless Earth -
She the inexhaustible -
He wearies, turning the soil year after year
By the plough using the offspring of horses.
He snares and captures the careless race of birds,
The tribes of wild beasts, the natives of the sea,
In the woven coils of his nets -
This thinking warrior: he who by his skill rules over
The wild beasts of the open land and the hills,
And who places a yoke around the hairy neck
Of the horse, taming it - and the vigorous mountain bull.
His voice, his swift thought,
The raising and ordering of towns:
How to build against the ill-winds of the open air
And escape the arrows of storm-rain -
All these things he taught himself,
He the all-resourceful
From whom there is nothing he does not meet
Without resources - except Hades
From which even he cannot contrive an escape
Although from unconquered disease
He plans his refuge.
Beyond his own hopes, his cunning
In inventive arts - he who arrives
Now with dishonour, then with chivalry:
Yet, by fulfilling his duties to the soil,
His oaths to the customs given by the gods,
Noble is his clan although clan-less is he who dares
To dwell where and with whom he please -
Never shall any who do this
Come to my hearth or I share their judgement.....
Thus, for The Numinous Way, there is that natural discovery which is an
empathic awareness of what is, as it is, with this empathic awareness
enabling us to dis-cover our true human nature, as one nexion among a
Cosmos of related nexions.
The standard used by both Islam and Christianity to judge a
person, their deeds, and other concepts and ideas, is based upon what
is or is believed to a revelation from a supreme being, whereas for The
Numinous Way such judgement depends upon the ethics of empathy,
and upon reason.
The Ethics of Empathy and Honour:
The foundation - the essence - of the ethics of The Numinous Way is
empathy: empathy with all life, human and otherwise, on this planet;
empathy with Nature, and empathy with the Cosmos. Empathy, as explained
elsewhere, is manifested in a practical way through compassion and
honour, and is only and ever individual, based upon a direct, personal,
knowing. Empathy - like honour - cannot be extracted out from what is
living (an individual empathic human being) into some "ideal" or into
some abstraction, and attempts to do this negate empathy and thus
remove the numen. That is, all such ideals, and abstractions, are
lifeless, devoid of numinosity, and thus do not re-present, in any way,
Life itself, nor the Cosmos, nor The Cosmic Being. Instead, they are
the cause of, or they perpetuate suffering; they are manifestations of
The ethics of Islam and Christianity derive from their Holy Books,
which are studied for principles, with those people mentioned in such
books considered as examples, for good, or bad. For The Numinous Way,
the example is the individual of honour, reason, empathy and fairness.
As a practical manifestation of empathy, honour is thus the basis for
the laws of The Numinous Way, and thus the
basis for a community living according to The Numinous Way. There are
nine fundamental principles of law for such a community (4) and these
laws are very different from the laws of
both Islamic and Christian societies.
An Islamic society is one ruled according to Shariah, which Muslims
regard as the way to Allah. Furthermore, for Islam, only Allah's laws
are right, and these have been given in the Quran and the Sunnah, with
the perfect society - the ideal to follow - having been created by the
Prophet Muhammad in Medina.
The ethics of empathy - and thus the ethics of personal honour -
determine the behaviour of each and every
individual who upholds The Numinous Way,
and thus determine how those individuals treat other people: in a fair,
just, empathic way, regardless of the beliefs, the race, the culture,
of those other people.
The Concept of the Acausal:
The Numinous Way gives us an awareness of several types of living being
which other Ways of Life ignore or consider irrelevant. This ignorance
especially true of modern materialism. These beings include Nature,
other life, and the Cosmic Being.
These types of being derive their life from The Numen itself. That is,
they possess a certain quality which is a-causal; which is beyond the
bounds set by causal Space and causal Time, and it is this quality
which empathy makes us aware of, as it is empathy which enables us to
sympathize with and identify with, other life.
For convenience, this acausal quality which all life possesses is
called acausal energy, and thus all that lives - all living beings,
sentient and otherwise - are manifestations of the acausal in the
world. To understand The Numinous Way is to understand this
of the acausal, and thus the matrix, The Unity, which the acausal is.
is the acausal which is numinous, which we apprehend through great Art,
music, and which is the essence of "the sacred" itself. It is the
acausal which is the essence
life, which is the matrix of connexions which unite all cosmic life,
and it is a rational understanding, and empathic awareness, of
acausal which enables us to place our own lives in the correct, Cosmic,
and which provides us with the insight of how all life, causal and
is connected, dependant, inter-related. Thus, when we harm other life
we are, in effect, only harming ourselves, and reducing our own
potential to change, to aid the change, the life, of the Cosmos.
An awareness of the acausal gives us a modern understanding of what the
Greeks called hubris - that it is unwise to go to great
to be too arrogant, unwise to be dishonourable, or tempt "Fate". For
things upset the natural balance, and this balance will, inevitably, be
in our own lifetime, or beyond. This return to balance can and does
misfortune to those who commit hubris - or their descendants, or their
or those around them, or to Nature, for such a restoration, such a
balancing, is a natural
act, implicit in life itself: implicit in the nature of acausal energy.
This concept of the acausal as a rational and empathic apprehension, is
in contrast to
submission and faith required by both Muslims and Christians.
It should be clear that there are fundamental, and irreconcilable,
differences between The Numinous Way, Islam, and Christianity. The
Numinous Way is a complete Way of Life -
independent from, and different from, other Ways. The Cosmic Being of
The Numinous Way
is neither God, nor Allah, and no comparison between them is possible
required. The ethics of empathy and honour establish laws, and
those of Islam and Christianity. The Numinous Way concept of Nature and
the Cosmos as living, evolving,
beings, are not
important for Islam or Christianity. In contrast to Islam and
there is no concept of sin, nor any need for prayer or ritual, in The