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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 13. I’m a Believer

This is where we have to start employing “basic beliefs” as a measure of what is “Gods Will” (since it is self-evident), and what is actually the secret agenda of human desires and arrogance.

Before we delve further into which basic beliefs we need to incorporate into our “world view” of God and spirituality, let us take a quick look at the question of religion as a whole and put the practice in perspective.

** “With all these Gods revealed and interpreted by the major religions on the planet there are in fact 9 major religions and two paths to God.”

Even with the proliferation of many different sects and cults there has been considerable debate about the actual number and types of religions.

Upon careful analysis there seem to be nine distinct religions and two ways to follow them.

I think we should start with the two different forms of religion since they are more direct and easy to understand in their make-up.

The first way to explain faith or religion is the path of absolute awareness.

This is achieved through meditation as in yoga.

This is the path that Buddha, all the Zen masters, and many others took.

A way to look at it is to think of God as pure Awareness, or Nirvana.

This way is centered mainly in the east.

The second way to religious enlightenment is by way of faith.

This is achieved primarily through prayer and is the path that Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad etc. chose.

This path, followed in the West, experiences God as having a more human touch or personality, such as Allah, Krishna or the Father.

So, if we look closely at these two different schools of thought, we find they have some fundamental differences!

We can take the statement that God created everything, which we all hold as self evident, and say that the original eternity contained only God, who was eternal.

** The eternal God (or awareness) that was here before creation and does not interact on a personal level, but simply IS, explains the way of Tao, Buddhism and Zen.

** On the other hand, the way of a “personal,” “involved” God is contained in the story of the Jewish prophets, Krishna, Christ, Mohammed etc.

These two paths or ways of religion give rise to the nine different religions that are divided three ways as follows;

1. First, we have three primary religions that teach resurrection. This is what people in the west are most familiar with and include Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

2. Then we have the three religions of the east that teach reincarnation and they are Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism.

3. Finally, we have three more that are a blend of the two paths. They are the way of Zen, which is a blend of Buddhism and Taoism, The Sikhs who blend Hinduism and Islamic Sufism, and finally a blend of Judaism and Christianity called Sabbath Christians, Messianic Jews and Jews for Christ, etc.

** On the surface, Western religion has gone in one direction, while Eastern religion went in an entirely different direction.

In the West, we commune with God through prayer, while in the East the goal is to become one with an ultimate reality through meditation. In either case, it all has the same goal “getting the hell out of the here and now!” A.W.J.

Where East and West differ greatly is the basic core belief of a dualistic (good/evil) aspect. The Western dualistic point of view is opposed to the eastern train of thought that there is no distinction between good and evil because ultimate reality is pure impersonal unity.

In the West, it is the non-material aspect of humanity that is the goal of our belief system. We attempt to escape the physical world and enter a spiritual existence that is free of “lebenschmerz.” (The pain of living!)

In the East, it is the reverse. When we overcome the illusion of duality, (distinct spiritual and physical realms) and realize that the material world is non-existent, then we are freed from earthly constraints and woes.

Now whether we agree or disagree with the tenants of Eastern Religions, it is a simple fact that the Eastern, and more specifically, the Indian religions have a history of over three thousand years of tolerance towards other creeds.

Two hundred and fifty years before Christ, King Asoka, who was a great promoter of Buddhism, proclaimed not only tolerance, but love of the other religions.

On the other hand, Judaism, Islam and Christianity have always had a tendency toward exclusivism and intolerance.

As Arnold Toynbee stated in his book, A Historians Approach to Religion, the three “book” religions are so exclusive that their followers often look upon other religions as the outgrowth of error, sin and malice.

To promote your own cause is one thing, but to do so at the expense of others seems inherently wrong and bears scrutiny.

** Is it just a coincidence that these three belief systems are the ones
that also still have a solid “priesthood!” A.W.J

** “God please save me from your followers!” —Bumper Sticker

Aside from the different types of religions, we should take a quick look at the concept of “good” and “evil.”

Historians have now traced the concept of Satan to the Indo-European migrations of about 2000 B.C.E.

These “Kurgan’s” emigrated from the Turanian Plain between the Caspian and Aral Sea into the Near East, Middle East and Europe.

These people brought with them a set of beliefs loosely based of the Hindu sacred writings of the Vedas.

This belief in the polytheist concept of a mother earth goddess and opposing male god was carried outward by the Kurgan’s who split into two main groups.

One group traveled west over the top of the Caspian Sea and across the central Russian uplands into Northern Europe and formed the Celtic people who gave us Druids and the early version of Wicca, or nature worship.

The other group traveled south and west into what is now modern Iran and then on to Mesopotamia. This group developed beliefs along very different lines than their cousins that had gone into Europe.

They came to believe in the twin concepts of salvation and damnation. (There was a definite Zoroastrian influence here!)

It was thought that upon dying the soul of the deceased had to pass over a narrow “bridge of the petitioner” and the god “Rashu” judged each one and decided who was righteous enough to cross the bridge safely or would fall into a place of punishment for worldly deeds that had flames and terrible punishment.

This later developed into the Zoroastrian concept of walking across a sword into the afterlife, and of course the story of the dead crossing the river Styx.

Once salvation and damnation were established, (or Heaven and Hell) things were all set for the next step:

The Devil.

In the Hebrew Scriptures written before the influences of Zoroastrianism, the original verb “Satan” was defined as:

“One who opposes.”

There are no parts within the older Hebrew Scriptures where Satan is cast as evil.

At most, he is described as a subordinate who carries out God’s instructions.

Thus, before Zoroastrianism, there is no dualism between two supernatural entities - an all good God and all evil Satan.

Rather, God is portrayed as being the cause, directly and indirectly, of good and evil deeds.

God was responsible for the plagues and disasters that befell humanity such as the flood, the testing of Job, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

A truly vengeful God.

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com

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