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Can It All Be True?


soma
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We study different philosophies and bring ourselves to a greater consciousness, positive life affirming beliefs are accepted and negative thoughts and problems disappear as we express more love, peace, joy, wisdom and harmony with everything that flows unceasingly from God. Different people learning different things at different times so why can't all be accepted. Can it all be true? No mistakes, everything has a purpose leading us to pure happiness. :lol:

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I think I started a post like this quite awhile ago. And although I personally reject and find

problems with some of the more conservative elements of Christianity, I do see the draw of

it to people and as Dr. Phil might say "it seems to be working for them". You take some of this

conservative stuff out of the language of Christianese and atonement language (ie

Christ died for your sins) and I think we might agree with a great deal. Its hard to

get around the language issue though. And I admit the atonement thing is a bigger to get

around. But if I worked at it I could put it in metaphorical language and be pretty happy

with it. It's a lot of work though.

 

Not sure that I am making sense, so if not just ignore this as the rantings of a half crazed

individual. :-)

 

--des

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Christ died for my sins. I find great inspiration in this and the thought that he died for everyone, no matter their belief. The most sacred heart of Jesus showing me the way of the cross to a spiritual and fulfilling life. My unit mind cannot grasp the macrocosm because it is too vast. The image that my mind can grasp is another unit being who serves as a model for a greater spiritual life.

 

Jesus died and forgave the people who crucified him. "Forgive them for they know not what they are doing".

Fundamentalist are doing what they are suppose to be doing at this time.

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Couldn't saying one belief perspective is right and one is wrong be kind of like say "I'm not a teenager, therefore being a teenager is not the right way to be" or "Being a teenager just doesn't work for me". We are who we are at the right time and in the right place, but until we embrace and accept it we cannot embrace and accept each other.

 

 

problems disappear as we express more love, peace, joy, wisdom and harmony with everything that flows unceasingly from God.

 

Your prescription, soma, is an elixir for peace and happiness in the world, buddy.

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A portion of my post today at an interfaith forum where many Muslims and Christians claim that they have the only true religion seems pertinent here:

 

+++

 

Without very specific references to exactly what the Prophet Muhammad said, this (a post by a Muslim on the forum listing many fulfilled prophecies which he believes demonstrates the superiority of Islam) is not very compelling. There are many prophecies in all spiritual traditions which can be manipulated to look more specific than they really are.

 

I get so frustrated with this game of "My Religion is Better than Your Religion" which is a lot like "My Nation is Better than Your Nation" and "My School is Better than Your School" and "My Race is better than Your Race" and on and on and on.

 

Yes, Islam is a great spiritual tradition. So is Christianity. So is Judaism. So is Buddhism. So is Hinduism. So is Native American Spirituality. And on and on and on.

 

How about WIN/WIN rather than WIN/LOSE? We can all win when we all learn to respect each other and value the wisdom of other traditions.

 

+++

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A portion of my post today at an interfaith forum where many Muslims and Christians claim that they have the only true religion seems pertinent here:

 

+++

 

Without very specific references to exactly what the Prophet Muhammad said, this (a post by a Muslim on the forum listing many fulfilled prophecies which he believes demonstrates the superiority of Islam) is not very compelling. There are many prophecies in all spiritual traditions which can be manipulated to look more specific than they really are.

 

I get so frustrated with this game of "My Religion is Better than Your Religion" which is a lot like "My Nation is Better than Your Nation" and "My School is Better than Your School" and "My Race is better than Your Race" and on and on and on.

 

Yes, Islam is a great spiritual tradition. So is Christianity. So is Judaism. So is Buddhism. So is Hinduism. So is Native American Spirituality. And on and on and on.

 

How about WIN/WIN rather than WIN/LOSE? We can all win when we all learn to respect each other and value the wisdom of other traditions.

 

+++

 

Hi MT:

 

Offhand I would say that this is all a reflectiion of how things are run in the world, and that is through gamesmanship; and, who plays whatever game that's involved the best wins. That applies to business,governance, money,sex, football, basketball,the nextel cup, lacrosse...I believe that you get the picture.

 

While I wholeheartedly agree that win-win situations are best in the long run, (I used to negotiate research contracts for a university) and it is even possible to do such things in the real world, our culture simply will not allow it to happen on a large scale because of our addiction to playing games and crowning the winner with laurel.

 

Reality Bites ?

 

flow.... :blink:

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Externally, people see better and best when there might just be equal difference so silence, meditation or contemplation is important to give a glimpse of the spiritual life inside ourselves, help us resist the exterior influences that blind us with prejudice and help us access thoughts about God that are totally new, unexpected and beyond our own capacity. The effect of these inspirations is to enable the soul to approach God beyond the material realm in a pure consciousness where everything is one. Religion inspirors people to join which means to compete with other institutions looking for followers, but silence inspirors one to experience the same joy and bliss that permeates everything.

 

When we are alone........al-one........we can experience all one.

 

The mystics in all religions hook up in this medium.

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I actually had intended to be a “single issue” contributor (see “New Denomination”) however I have appreciated Soma’s contribution to that discussion and I am confused by this post from Soma. I decided to ask for clarification (by the way, I notice the “rules” for this part of the message board and I am wondering how much “debate” is supposed to take place in this section. These rules may explain the lack of negativity in “New Denomination”. Anyway, forgive me if this is too much “debate”).

 

I want to “piggy back” my response to Soma with something I found from FredP:

 

FredP

Oct 20 2005, 06:20 PM Post #7

Group: Validating

Posts: 710

Joined: 22-March 05

Member No.: 322

 

BroRog:

 

I was inspired by your typology, so I thought I'd take a crack at summarizing my own ideas under those same headings. I grouped a few together, and probably left a couple out, but it's a decent start.

 

=====

 

Nutshell Description

 

Christianity is a matrix of images, ideas, and practices; perceived and constructed by the human intellect and imagination; from within the limitations of specific historical, cultural, and personal horizons; under the inspiration and illumination of God. Emphasis on the deep understanding of the conditions of existence (personal, social, and cosmic); on the transformation of these modes of existence in accordance with the concerns of harmony and justice; and on the liberation of the Divine element within all things. Boundaries and definitions are essential, but never final, as God is infinite, and we are not.

 

God

 

God is ineffable, inexhaustible, thoroughly beyond all forms and concepts. God is perfect unity, “One without a Second.” It is, however, a unity which also contains within itself inexhaustible dynamism and relationship. In perfect freedom and power, it pleased God to manifest this dynamic relationship by way of an “emptying out” into the form of the Cosmos: the supreme act of self-limitation and self-sacrifice, simultaneously generating both the painful condition of separation, and the seed of reconciliation necessary to overcome it.

 

Jesus/Bible

 

Jesus is that seed of reconciliation. There is little doubt that Jesus was a historical figure, and that he turned the first century social and spiritual world upside-down; but the story of Jesus is foremost a spiritual allegory. Far from being an exaggeration of the “facts,” this “greatest story ever told” weaves epic themes into mundane biographical details in an entirely novel way, to create a prism through which the entire Cosmos can be seen. In Jesus, we see the soul’s battle with darkness, and its journey into God. In Jesus, we see all the world’s claims to power challenged, and a new life of justice promised. In Jesus, we see the very universe shaken to its core, and lit on fire with the Spirit of Truth.

 

Salvation/Heaven/Eschatology

 

Salvation is nothing less than the transformation and liberation of the Cosmos, already accomplished in the act of creation itself, and perceived in the mysterious and awful image of the Cross. While personal and social wholeness on Earth, and the joy of union with God in eternity, are certainly to be welcomed, they are simply the fruit of this great work in which God bids us participate.

 

Sin/Hell

 

If salvation is the transformation and liberation of the Cosmos, then sin is willfully persisting in the condition of ignorance and separation once one has seen the truth. Having the same metaphysical scope as salvation, it is a spiritual neurosis that takes personal, social, and cosmic forms.

 

Cross

 

The cross is the juxtaposition of opposites: the symbol of the condition of our existence. It is the state of separation, and paradoxically, the only way out of it. It is the “victory” of self-sacrifice: a snare for the evil one. In the horizontal dimension, it is a restoration of the balance of power. In the vertical dimension, it breaks the cycle of vengeance, bringing healing and forgiveness. The depth of this magical image has probably barely begun to be comprehended.

 

Humans

 

Humanity is a peculiar Divine self-expression indeed, capable of monumental greatness, matched only by his colossal wretchedness. We have borne the great burden of being close enough to see the light, but not quite close enough to touch it. We are charged with the task of crossing the threshold. We’ve seen the Cross. We saw it in the Garden, and shirked away, and the world will never be the same.

FredP

Oct 20 2005, 06:20 PM

 

I hope the FredP does not mind but I find this to be as close to what I would say as I have ever heard. So it would be “my theology” in my proposed Church that would not be dependent upon theology.

 

I see a major difference between this theology and Soma’s suggestion that “It all be true”. The main difference is the presence of sin/separation. I would suggest that the fundamentalists are in fact more “separated” from what they are talking about than Tillich and others that suggest a much different theology. I would suggest that the Islamic fundamentalists are more “separated” than those who believe that Islam does not lead down that road. I find it very important that "Progressive Christianity" be very public about the differences based upon "both can not be true".

 

Having said this I am a Universalist that would agree that “in the end” all can be and will be “one” (“the end” being more ontological than teleological). I also would agree that the mystic has much to tell us about “becoming one with the one/all”. However, I agree with Tillich that we can not and do not “live” in either of these states of “oneness” within our cultural self. As FredP says we are close enough to see the light without becoming the light. Therefore I would suggest that we need a theology that talks as much about separation as it does about union.

 

If need be we can transfer this discussion to the Debate forum (and even transfer the “New Denomination” discussion there also). But somehow I think this is a discussion among friends so I would appreciate Soma’s response (and others also).

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You bring up some interesting points and I think the parts or separation also needs to be studied and is studied by our scientists who do a good job.

 

Let the scientists and the Christians go on developing methods to understand the universe because with their discoveries and inventions we can split apart the physical and spiritual sides of life and gain knowledge because the more we know of the individual things, the more we know of the whole. The relationship between our human nature, the world and the beyond is made understandable, as we perceive that life is a relative and intricate part of an undivided whole. We just have to be careful not to get engulfed by the particular things and lose sight of the total picture.

 

Our scientists have developed powerful and sophisticated devices to examine the outer world and the inner world of the atom. They have confirmed that it is a vibrating living expanse of energy, moving and in harmony with a greater universe. They have found that all entities living and nonliving are vibrating and are an integral and important part of this external creation. They have also found that these different parts are serving the whole, just as the legs, hands, fingers and ears are meant for serving the total body. With the help of effective instruments these scholars have realized an order of cause and effect, and have begun to see everything as connected, no longer rejecting the idea that everything is united. In contrast, the Christian mystics have discovered the layers of consciousness in the mind. In their minds they have seen these layers lose their individual uniqueness as they retreated deeper and deeper in the psyche. Finally, like a drop of water losing itself in the ocean, the mystics have experienced a union with Christ consciousness where everything is united and one.

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Wonderful post Soma.

 

It reminds me of the Russian dolls that are so popular there. There are hidden similarities and reflective relationships among the things and stuff of the Creation. If only more of us could educate and condition ourselves in ways to see and recognize that, then this might become a better place for all of us over time.

 

flow.... :)

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Thank you for these thoughts. I would not totally equate being a “part” of the whole as being “separate” from the whole. I think there is an element of being “separate” that explains more than just being a “part”. Being “separate” implies a qualitative difference in how well the “part” participates in the whole. The “qualitative” moves us from more separation to less separation (one can argue whether one ever truly loses that separation). Without separation the concept of quality becomes somewhat meaningless whereas I think quality helps point us towards the whole. Some experiences reveal to us more about the “whole” than others.

 

I appreciate the fact that science is moving towards a theory based upon unity. We may eventually understand how the cosmos arises from some basic “structure” however I can not imagine that this overcomes the line that separates the finite from the infinite. One can argue that all matter is energy and when matter “dies” it is just transferred energy. However this line of thinking ignores the basic separation that is shown in the death.

 

I have more hope for wisdom coming from mystics than I do from scientists. However, I am not convinced that a mystic does not to some extent ignore the separation evident in his/her life in order to experience the unity. This does not mean that the unity is not “real” but it raises the question as to whether a finite part can lose that finiteness and fully experience the infinite. If the finite is not lost then I think you have to conclude that separation continues. If separation continues then you have the issue of quality which leads to the importance of choices such as the choice between fundamentalist Christianity and progressive Christianity.

 

Well this has all been interesting. I think I should go back to “New Denomination” where I belong. Please feel free to provide “negative” feedback there if you do not agree (can I give you permission to break the rules of “supportive” comments?)

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The yin yang symbol where the finite is in the infinite (in-finite). When the baby is in the mother is it separate or one? Sometimes they feel at one and sometimes they feel separate. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one.""

 

I feel Jesus came to us to lead us back to the right hand of the Father. We feel separate since we left the Garden, but we get glimpses of unity when we feel His Grace.

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The yin yang symbol where the finite is in the infinite (in-finite). When the baby is in the mother is it separate or one? Sometimes they feel at one and sometimes they feel separate. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one.""

 

I feel Jesus came to us to lead us back to the right hand of the Father. We feel separate since we left the Garden, but we get glimpses of unity when we feel His Grace.

 

The Jesus Seminar and others would say that Jesus never said "I and the Father are one". I think that being separate is more than a feeling. But I think we have agreed to carry this discussion on within the Debate area and so those that are interested should look there.

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I wanted to come back to the peaceful and simple way soma frames this question here. I talk about this issue a lot, in large part to see if there is any way I can present my belief that the answer to the question here is a loud and resounding "no" and be heard by people who are sure the answer is "yes" or perhaps just the people who aren't sure. I'm not trying to advance the argument here, but I remember the way I got here, and I find that interesting.

 

I don't know that I heard anyone say something like "all religions are true" until Joseph Campbell was on PBS almost 20 years ago, but throughout my liberal Christian upbringing there were messages that reflected the perennial philosophy that there are common truths among all religions. I embraced that. I surprised a high school teacher by how insistently I stood up for Islam when we were reading Dante's Inferno. Of course when I became even more of a scientist and largely gave up on religion, my only exposure to religion was not flattering. It would be from creationists saying silly things about science, proudly, too, as if they were better scientists than scientists. Then there were books like The Tao of Physics, which to me is obviously twisting facts to fit the author's thesis.

 

I had gone back to prayer in my thirties, because I needed it, but I suppose I never would have gone back to religion per se except for that road-to-Damascus experience I described here recently. That was not a little thing. And the same God talks to me now as talked to me then. It says something about that God that our relationship has been steadily evolving. It wasn't that my hair turned white, and suddenly I had my mission. It wasn't that God could tell me exactly what the plan was for the next 20 years. but He gave me direction, first in impressions, eventually in words. I wish He would dictate to me exactly what to say and do, but it doesn't work that way. It is interesting to contemplate why not.

 

With that experience, I would have gone wherever God directed as far as religion. My first expectation was that this must mean I was completely wrong so I was ready to become the anti-liberal, a fundamentalist. That's not what happened. What was good science before I knew God's presence was good science afterward. Fundamentalists were still obvious hypocrites, many of them. I spent years reading the Bible, going to different churches, finding a deeper relationship with God, continuing my career at helping people doing volunteer work. It was all good training. And God was eventually having a presence within my consciousness that I couldn't have tolerated at all that first day. I went nuts for about four hours after the first sentence from God. Now He doesn't go five minutes without saying something, unless I'm busy. He told me to do this, really. I knew this was here. He knew this was here. Why not make use of it for those who are put off by my other style of writing. A few minutes ago He gave me a few ideas as mileposts. I said fine. I usually do. That doesn't make this the Word of God. I don't think there is anything like that. I'm not sure communication from God gets any more efficient than this.

 

Yet with all that going on, what do I know? I know that there are some truths some people know and other people don't. I know that on message boards in recent years when somebody said "all religions are true," I would think of reasons to say all religions are false, always careful to qualify that every religion has certain false aspects and certain true aspects. I've gotten tired of being so careful. All religions are false. Of course that doesn't mean everything about every religion is false. Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. That's true, but Christianity is still false in some ways. So it's false. You know why? Because God says so. It's enough for me, partly because I remember all those long arguments, and that one can bring up fact after fact to push the argument that all religions are false. While there are probably more books in favor of the perennial philosophy than against, one can read articles against it and whatever other input one wants to answer that simple question asked in the beginning of this thread. Anyone can make up his or her mind. So are the ones who say, "no", bad guys?

 

Now I suspect that few people if any thinks God directed me to write this. You're wrong. He did. I'm not sure why. It might be training for me about being open about it. Maybe one person besides me will get something out of it. I don't know. I just trust the God who's been with me for 17 years. 17 years after a road-to-Damascus experience is a long time. You can look it up. It is strange what people will believe happened thousands of years ago, but don't believe can happen in the present. I understand. I wouldn't believe it, but God is right here and anytime I want God to tell me something, I just ask. He never tells me facts not already in my mind. He never says there's a bag of money in the bushes at 3rd & Chestnut, but when it comes to efficient things to do, things I'd never think of, things He wants for reasons that are hard to explain briefly, God is amazing. I trust Him.

 

God says there's a better slogan than, "It's all true." He likes "Live and learn." Of course everyone is free to go their own way.

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Great post. When two countries are fighting both countries think God is on their side. He is on both sides in His cosmic play. Everything is directed by Him to teach us a leason. He puts ideas, thoughts, dreams, arguements in our mind and if we trust in Him we follow them to their conclusion, which sometimes points out that we are wrong andr those thoughts were wrong, but they were put there to teach something.

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I hear the joke conservatives make all the time about liberals and relativism: "If someone says 'there is no absolute truth', then they have claimed an absolute truth!". Personally, I actually agree with this in a way. I believe there *is* an absolute truth - however, I also believe that *no* religion, *including* Christianity, has really fully 'hit it' yet. Perhaps the absolute truth that God/Higher Power wants us to achieve is the ultimate love for oneself, one's neighbors, and one's environment that most religions teach. Or perhaps that it is something that runs deeper, that humankind has not yet evolved the capability to understand yet.

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Funny thing, I went to a Presbyterian PCA church (not exactly the same as the USA brand!) anyway while there was a lot of the Jesus died for my personal sins bit and all (you know i am not fond of the idea of

child sacrifice particularly for my miserable little sins ;-)). But funny thing was I found the thing that bothered me most was I go to a very urban church and this was so utterly suburban. You know everyone had a recent manicure but me. :-) The theology seemed important, but that suburban thing just got to me

more.

 

--des

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I call them weekend Christians. You can tell them by their jaundiced eyes. I joking, I don't think they cheat people all week in business in the name of service. One hour a week is better than none I guess.

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Yeah, Soma but I wouldn't presume that these people were less Christian than I was. Perhaps if being

poorer gets you closer to God I might have an edge.LOL!!

 

What bothered me was how neat and proper and so on the whole thing was. No one came in blue jeans.

The sermon was quite long, very articulate and I'm sure he didn't slur a single syllable. There was

no mentally ill drunken guy. The children were perfectly behaved-- coloring in little coloring books about

the subject. No crying babies.

 

The other thing was it was flooded with very bright light. I suppose it was supposed to be like the light of God, but I love the darker, moodier and funkier little churches with the stained glass windows.

 

I think there are 1 hour Christians, I would bet they go to a church like that or maybe the newer megachurches where they can stop by and wash the car after the service and do a little shopping in the convenient little lobby store.

 

 

--des

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The old churches are beautiful with their steeples pointing to heaven. The only problem is they are locked most of the time. Is that to keep God inside or the people who need God the most outside? Do they sell Bible belts in those church lobby stores? I bet they are good for disciplining children.

 

Church should be a shelter for everyone good, poor, homeless, gay, and seekers, too bad they are built by donations for donations.

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We study different philosophies and bring ourselves to a greater consciousness, positive life affirming beliefs are accepted and negative thoughts and problems disappear as we express more love, peace, joy, wisdom and harmony with everything that flows unceasingly from God. Different people learning different things at different times so why can't all be accepted. Can it all be true? No mistakes, everything has a purpose leading us to pure happiness. :lol:

 

Hi Soma,

 

There is no reason that all (people) can't be accepted. I agree with you they can be.

 

But can it all be true? In my view, there are obviously many different levels of truth as their are different levels of consciousness. Man's truth is dependent upon his current level. An angry man sees his world as antagonistic. A fearful man sees his world as frightening. An Optimistic and willing man sees his world as hopeful. A man of reason sees his world as meaningful, whereas a man of LOVE and PEACE sees his world as perfect and complete.

 

My conscious understanding of 'God' now is not the same as it was 20 years ago nor might it be the same tomorrow. To a child God is taught as a man and understood at that level. To a child it is 'bad to cross the street alone. As we grow 'God' becomes more undefineable in words and the concept of a man is no longer acceptable. We have to use abstract words like, love, truth, life, light and so forth to begin to even communicate that which is beyond communications in words. As we grow we find it is was not 'bad' to cross the street alone, just unwise for one not skilled in the wisdom of caution.

 

Terms like true and false even lose old meanings. Only truth is now said to exist. And on a certain level of consciousness that is true. Why because false has no existance of its own. We call something false only to indicate the absence of truth. Truth is all there is. False is a fabrication of the duality of mind. Love is found to exist but 'hate' is a non-existant fabrication of mind when there is a certain absence of a degree of love. The point of its demarcation varying widely with social cultures, customs, teachings and a myriad of other factors.

 

Why is this seemingly play of words important to the spiritual seeker. It is important because the mind is much like a computer, a tool to be used. It constantly takes positions, uses words and makes opinions on things that it has no real context of. Understanding how and why it believes anything helps us to see how it constantly by nature tries to divide us and find differences. The carnal mind itself delights in religions that create a 'good' and a 'bad', a 'them' and an 'us', 'believers' and 'non-believers', 'saved' and 'lost', 'jews' and gentiles', 'elect' and 'forsaken', 'believers' and 'infidels' when in truth in the eyes of God, there is no such distinction. We are all one. We are all creations of God without one being valued above another. How could it be any other way. Can an all-loving father value one son above another? Man's initial pristine state was in an absence of such distinctions of mind and without 'the knowledge of 'good' and 'evil''.

 

It seems to me that if we all knew our intimate true relationship one to another and to God there would be no need for morality or religions. There would be no need to believe all is true or all is not true. Each in his/her own state of evolution would be accepted as perfect as is. As Soma says.... No mistakes....

From that perspective, I find all of Soma's post to be true.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

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