The Truth about Religion

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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?

Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

All Gods are Real

What's really true about religion and myth

In Jungian thought--the investigation of which let me to the books of Joseph Campbell, I found a “radical” approach to religion. Jung had identified patterns of religious thought that seemed to prevail all over the world. He pointed to deep archetypal patterns that made more sense as symbolic images of the mind than as doctrines about metaphysical reality. My interest in Jung was to have major consequences and to create new sources of spiritual turmoil and confusion in my life.

During my first year with the Servites, I found that something in me had changed. I came home one afternoon to my room in the dorm where the Servites lived, feeling a little perplexed by a statement about the historical uniqueness of Christianity that had been made in a theology class I’d just attended. From Jung and Campbell I’d learned that Christianity was far from unique in being the “One, true religion” and maybe even wasn’t the best of world religions.

My room was small, a room in a once-grand hotel that had slowly deteriorated and then been bought by the University for a dormitory, mainly for graduate students and members of religious orders who attended the school. The walls were an old battleship gray. I had tried to improve the appearance of the room by adding brightly colored accessories. Among them were a number of psychedelic posters, including the Richard Avedon photographs of the Beatles. (A year before I had had my first experience with LSD, the easy access to mystical consciousness Timothy Leary had promised.)

I stood for a while looking out the window at the traffic moving below, wondering what was happening to me. Here I was a Roman Catholic religious, yet somehow I knew that I had seen through the external teachings of that religion. I no longer believed that that man Jesus who lived in Palestine two thousand years ago was so different from the other world saviors—from Prince Gautama, Mohammed, or Lao-tse, or, for that matter, from any of the rest of us who struggle with deep spiritual questions about the nature of our lives.

I turned and looked at a crucifix hanging on the wall. Even Biblical scholarship told us we could never really know what happened that day in Jerusalem. We could only learn of it through the filter of myth and metaphor and the conventions of mystical poetry of the Near East. Common sense told me Jesus was a man who’d taught about goodness and the meaning of life and used those very conventions to talk about God. He was caught up in the swirl of politics of his day and died a martyr to his gentle message of love and respect preached to a culture based on military power and patriarchal, legalistic dominance. In the poems about him he was deified, as symbols were used by the writers to give significance to the events of his life. Jesus wasn’t a god exactly who incarnated to save the world by his death in order to repay a sacrificial debt to an angry father-God. I no longer believed in the historicity of such mythical, supernatural events. They were true as metaphors about the Self in every human being, not as historical events.

I understood that Jesus’s crucifixion was important because of the faith of two thousand years of believers who found in the religious poetry a significance for their own lives and their own experience of Self. I knew this was a religious sensibility, but how did it fit with my identity as a canonical religious?
George Harrison

I turned away from the crucifix. My eye was caught by the poster on the wall opposite: Beatle George Harrison, in orange and green highlights, a blazing psychedelic vision, his eyes upturned and his hand, marked with a glyph of the all-seeing eye, raised in benediction, the mudra “fear not.” And I realized that though I no longer believed in a specific religious truth, I still believed in religious experience. I believed in the possibility of mystical vision. And I saw what my identity as a religious really was.

The point was not whether Jesus Christ was God, whether he rose again on the third day and would lead us all into heaven in the end, but whether the thought of him and his spiritual acts could lead us to the kind of vision he had had and that was symbolized by the poster of George Harrison. Somehow, in the moment of losing my faith, I found my faith restored. Somehow I had seen beyond the surface of religion to roots that sank deep into my soul and into the collective soul of humanity.

Religion is about having "religious experience." It's about human consciousness. God and the gods are symbols for awakening consciousness.

All the myths are true. All the gods are real—as potent metaphors.

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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