What is a Foundationist?


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I may move this short article from the front of the site, so am posting it here for reference and as a general discussion point:

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Foundationism is not a religion, nor a cult, but merely a philosophical outlook. A Foundationist may see a commonality of "founding concepts" in world thought, especially in the world's religions and spiritual belief systems. Once the culture-specific contexts and social decorations are removed, what is revealed is a simple but endearing concept - Divinity finds expression through compassion.

A Foundationist is likely to be very individual, and there is no overall criteria for applying the word - just as the term "human being" cannot define any single person, so the same with the term "Foundationist".

Hopefully, those calling themselves Foundationists will express open-mindedness, and subscribe to the need for compassion and compassionate acts - for the sake of not just ourselves, but humanity entire.

As it is an individual belief system, with no dogma or doctrine to demand adherence to, you may find all types of different Foundationist perceptions. A Foundationist Theist may say that Foundationism deals with the barest roots of Divinity, and thus explores a more open viewpoint of God; while a Foundationist Humanist may reject that notion and focus more on the need for humanity to apply more compassionate ideals - ethical trading and the need to eradicate Third World poverty, for example. A Foundationist Agnostic may refute all certainties and answers, and merely assert that Foundationism is a good place to start searching for the riddles, questions, even truths, of existence.

Of course, there is no proscribed use of the term "Foundationist". People may and do use it as they will. For example, someone may decide that they are a Liberal Christian with Foundationist views, or else call themselves a Foundationist Christian. Whichever way, the use of the term "Foundationist" simply denotes an outlook, rather than a set of defined ideas.
What is a foundationist? Agnostic comparative religion?
A Foundationist is an agnostic, but an agnostic is not necessarily a Foundationist. and by "agnostic" i mean someone who does not presume or declare absolute religious "truths". someone concerned more with the search for answers than the finding of them, because they realize that truth is relative.
Certainly - and I hope I mentioned somethnig on those lines in the "about" section.

At the moment I'm allowing for the widest possible interpretation of "foundationist", and see whether it settles into a specific use.

On saying that, the agnostics I actually know could easily be referred to as Foundationists. ;D
I am using the term Foundationist Christian at the moment as an experiement in individuality. The label of Liberal has become tiresomely associated with political movements I care not to be moved into association with.
I'm afraid I still don't fully understand. My understanding of the term agnosticism (and correct me if I am wrong) is that it is the belief that it is impossible to know whether God exists, or in some cases that it is impossible to know the true nature of the universe. By this definition I would certainly not consider myself a agnostic, as I am open to the possibility that you can understand the nature of God and/or the universe, there is just, statistically speaking, a practically infinitesimal chance of it happening to you, in your lifetime. Its not impossible, just unlikely. Similarly I do not consider myself to be an atheist as I have no logically valid standpoint by which to arrogantly declare that there is or isn't a God, but I am quite open to the notion of either. If anything, I think I am quite empiricial more than anything else. Empiricism is a theory that all knowledge originates in experience. I am not truly an empiricist, but so far everything in my life has led me to the temporary conclusion that all I truly know about God and the nature of the universe is what I have experienced so far, and that is unfortunately very little. To me blind faith is an alien concept. I have had certain experiences leading me to believe that there is more to life than what we can witness, but I am quite willing to accept that there could be a logical explanation to even the strangest of occurances. Would I be considered a foundationist even though I am open to the notion that there is no God? Does the term foundationist in its broadest sense simply mean "Someone who's beliefs are their own"? Can someone who does not have any real set beliefs but is open to everything including complete nonexistance be considered a foundationist?
I guess I've been a little flippant - even uncertain - about what I'm actually looking to determine as "foundationist", so maybe it's time to be a little more serious and remember my original aims...

When we are growing as children we are often aware that there is "something else". When we are older we are told that there is the concept of "God". We also learn that a number of organised groups already exist to communicate and explain something of this concept.

But we also soon learn that to accept that there is God, we must also subscribe to one of these dogmatic groups. We are faced with the choice of accepting doctrine, or else being bereft of learning more about the Concept of God.

Those who rebel against organised belief, criticise it, are shocked by it, often call themselves Atheists. Yet this Atheism in practice is not at all about the denial of the Concept of God, as much as a reaction against organised belief itself in society. Atheists make the terrible but common mistake of believing that God belongs only to certain organised belief systems.

Agnostics are supposed to be uncertain of whether God exists or not. In reality, Agnostics believe that there is "something else", that there is God - but cannot reconcile what they feel with religious belief systems that dictate what God is, may be, and most certainly represents..

This then is the tragedy of modern civilisation - that we are made to feel we must join a religion, or else refute God.

Foundationism seeks to empower individuals, by creating an acceptance of the common position that there is indeed "something else", and that organised belief systems cannot describe it.

Foudationism cannot describe this "something else". We may use the term Concept of God, meaning the essence of the word stripped bare of all it's cultural specific baggage. The Concept of God therefore becomes a notion of greater consciousness, yet is so vast that it cannot be comprehended by the limited minds of mortals.

We cannot hope to understand it whole, but we may each look to the writings of world culture, and see what others have written from their own perception of person and cultural.

And when we do we find some essential similarities across belief systems - that there is God, and that compassion is the way of being. This can be simplified in the phrase - "Divinity is expressed through compassion". It is this a doctrine? No - a personal statement.

Ultimately, Foundationism is about accepting mystery. What Foundationism does for the world is to allow the acceptance of mystery to be itself accepted as a valid, and necessary, step towards understanding reality itself.

If there be any truth of this reality in the metaphysical systems of the world, then let them be sought for an discerned without doctrine. The building of foundationist.org is simply to provide interested persons with an ever-growing spread of resources on world thought, so that such a thing may be accomplished.
Bigmacscanlon -

In answer to your question, I personally see "Foundationist" as a term open to those who accept that they do not know "Objective Truth".

This is opposed to religious fundamentalism, which insists that all knowledge about God exists in limited texts written by men, who were in full knowledge of what exactly "Objective Truth" was, is, and will be.

Although I personally use the term "God" or "Concept of God", I see no reason at all for this to be an accepted thing in itself. Mystery is the key here - the acceptance of uncertainty.

I feel very much that I have experienced aspects of the Divine - but I always bear in mind the fact that all my experiences are subjective. I could be quite wrong. Hopefully, it allows my beliefs to remain fluid. I do not know "Objective Truth". I can simply explore my sphere of reality and observe my experience of it.

And, personally, I would suggest that every single person on this earth is Foundationist - unless they specifically opt out from the term. ;)
religion is a puzzle that depicts a particular picture of reality.
organized religion consists of pieces to a singular picture.
disorganized religion consists of pieces from multiple puzzles to form another larger puzzle.
foundationism seeks to merge various pieces of/ from these puzzles.
Because I'd sent up comparative religion resources, I kept distracting to trying to define foundationism in those terms.

I've now updated the About, Faq, and Homepage to reflect a proper view of the issue. ;)
Im afraid you have made a mistake in the about section. When describing agnostics, you implied that most agnostics do believe in "something else". Now, maybe I am just the exception that proves the rule, but i certainly do not believe in something else, that would completely go against my whole agnostic stance. I am not trying to discredit you or anything, I just think that you should be more clear on that bit, so that people may not become confused about what an agnostic believes, if they didnt already know.
I do not know this thing foundationist. If we be of many paths then may we be at peace with one another. Yet let it be said that no one ever forgets that there is Allah. The agnostic knows with their heart that there is Allah, God in the Inglish tongue. But the agnostic rationalises against this concept. The agnostic considers that there may be something else perhaps but will fail to accept that it can be rational. The athiest fights God. Who can deny there is Allah? Only one with great rage in their heart and fire in their belly, and hurt in their thinking.
Actually, to be fair, when I wrote that I was relating from an entirely personal level. I cannot extend my own experiences to 6 billion people in what would effectively be an ontological judgement.

I would hope that a point was made that uncertainty itself can be a positive thing - and also that religion does not own the copyright on Divinity.
Omar, that is your own personal opinion, and your own personal view. You are only assuming that "The agnostic knows with their heart that there is Allah", which is untrue. The agnostic believes what they believe because 1. They are simply rejecting religous belifs because they are religious beliefs, or; 2. like me, they have looked at the 'facts', of both theism and atheism, and have decided that there is no way to prove one way or another.
Actually, I really should re-visit what I wrote in the about section - I could do with wording that much better.

I do see a lot of commonality between the Agnostic and Foundationist perspective, but I also see Foundationism as an idea in flux, yet to settle into any precise semantic niche. It is not directly Agnosticism, yet not Atheism either - nor Theism or Pantheism or Deism. Somewhere in a neutral position between all of these paths.

But as I stated I also see the concept of Foundationism used as a modifier for other set beliefs, ie Foundationist Christian, Fondationist Humanist, Foundationist Theist, even.
It was my impression that a Foundationist hailed from Terminus or one of the other planets under the jurisdiction of the Foundation Federation.
isnt that a space sim game from a few years back?

And I think you are still confused to an extent what an agnostic is. Whenever I see you describing the beliefs of foundationism, you are essentially describing what i consider to be agnosticism. If you still have them, i would like to see where you get your information about agnosticism.
No, it's from Asimov's Foundation series. A fantastic read, if I do say so myself.