THE EXPERIFAITH MODEL: HOW IT WORKS AND WHO IT'S FOR
THE EXPERIFAITH MODEL EXPLAINED
The religions of the world are not the same, and yet, they converge at the point of experience because human beings are the common thread. For Gudjon Bergmann, the founder of Harmony Interfaith Initiative, this was the key insight that eventually unveiled the Experifaith model while he attended seminary. The model explores the essential elements of faith and spirituality and shows how they fit together.
The following is a brief explanation of the model. We include this information here because the model is used in some of our programs. If you are interested in learning more, please buy the book.
SETTING ASIDE STORYFAITH
To begin with, the Experifaith model sets aside the narrative aspects of religion, the stories of who said what to whom, where it happened, what it means and so on, not because the stories are unimportant, but because they are not the same across religions.
THE TWO PATHS OF EXPERIENCE
With a sole focus on experience, the model identifies and validates two major experiential paths that are found in all religions and spiritual traditions. The path of Goodness is external in nature, expansive, and focuses on increasing capacity for love, compassion, and empathy. The Path of Oneness is internal in nature, introverted, and focuses on detaching from all the elements that are not permanently present.
CONNECTED YET SEPARATE
Having identified the two major paths, the model explains how the two of them may seem at odds but have existed side-by-side in all the major wisdom traditions for millennia. They are connected yet separate. Each should be practiced and discussed on its own terms.
Finally, the model illustrates four spiritual action categories that are found across faiths, (1) experimentation, involving practices such as prayer, meditation, and rituals, (2) contemplation, (3) love, and (4) service. The goal is not to find balance between the four categories, but to see them all as valuable aspects of different spiritual paths.
THE FAITHFUL, THE NONES, AND INTERFAITH ACTIVISTS
Those who have benefitted most from this model (so far) are; the faithful, religious people of all faiths, who have used the model to reconnect to the experiential aspects of their faith; the nones, people who identify as spiritual-but-nonreligious and have used the model to see if their spiritual approach is truly inclusive and comprehensive; and interfaith activists, who have used the model to facilitate a new type of dialogue.
“We have, for the first time in history, easy access to all of the world's great religions. Examine the many great traditions—from Christianity to Buddhism, Islam to Taoism, Paganism to Neoplatonism—and you are struck by two items: there are an enormous number of differences between them, and a handful of striking similarities. When you find a few essential items that all, or virtually all, of the world's great religions agree on, you have probably found something incredibly important about the human condition.” - Ken Wilber