As an introduction to this church, I will have to get a bit on the lengthly side but feel it is rather necessary for a good understanding of it. Later installments will not be as windy.
In The Church of Allan, (Or a better name if you can think of one!)our doctrine will look at the great truths and also the myths and legends that have shaped our lives.
We will examine the story of Jesus and Muhammad, the rise of Christianity and Islam, and the forces that have shaped our religions (Both East and West) over the centuries.
First, I would like to say that this religion (Or Belief) is not in any way against God, or for that matter really about God at all, since that it a subject that everyone professes to be an expert in while in reality knowing nothing for sure.
Rather it is about the human experience concerning God, and how we have taken the Divine and used it for our own ends.
Within The Church of Allan, as part of our doctrine, we will look at how we as a civilization got to where we are now in both our physical and spiritual development.
It's catechism will give a history of Humanities development of religion and spirituality.
It will also allow us to take a long look at ourselves as a people and a civilization.
Plus, we will examine our religious beliefs and how practices of the “priesthood” have made our world here in the twenty first century the way it is!
There now seems to be as many different types of spiritual beliefs and practices as there are groups or tribes in the world, yet in spite of this diversity of belief systems, there is an underlying commonality present in every practitioner of every belief!
This common denominator is very simply the overwhelming need to have that belief system in the first place.
There are so many types of belief’s present in the world today that naturally they cannot all be right. It seems logical that only one of them could be the “True” religion.
This by default means that all the rest are wrong.
Actually, in the light of day, they are probably all wrong to a greater or lesser degree.
However, in spite of this, the universality of our common craving for a belief system makes a very convincing argument for a Higher Power.
Remember the old saying “If there was no God, man would have to invent one.”
The only real question is how do we separate the fact of a “God” with the myths of man that have so shaped our lives?
For this, we will attempt to find some answers.
My hope in starting this religion is to have people come back to God without the trappings and false impressions that have been fostered on us by organized religion and the "Priesthood" over the centuries.
Spirituality is what brings us closer to the Divine while the practices of the “priest-hood” or “priest-craft” leads us in the opposite direction and could even be called the devils work.
What I object to is the human trait of forming special interest groups whose purpose is to give only their explanation of God, and making proclamations and laws in God’s name.
This to me is the height of human arrogance and self-deception.
We can look with awe and reverence upon God but the minute we put ourselves into the position of interpreters of “Gods Will” it seems to suggest a plot to twist all that is holy into a perversion of God’s works.
Probably the best example of this is the fact that some of the greatest wars and atrocities in humanity’s history have been perpetrated in the name of “religion!”
Historically, the study of religion was central to the discipline of sociology, with early figures such as Durkheim and Max Weber writing extensively on the role and function of religion in human society.
Social scientists who study religion perform a vital function in helping journalists and the general public make sense of religious themes. They study how religion influences television, political conflicts, personal issues such as abortion and homosexuality, and highly publicized “cult” tragedies.
They also examine the collision course that Christianity and Islam seems to be on!
The discipline of sociology of religion has much to teach about how religion functions for the individual and in society. Unfortunately, research done by sociologists of religion seldom filters out of the “ivory towers” to those “in the trenches.”
I would like to thank Burton L. Mack for his insightful work in “The Lost Gospel- The book of Q,” and I would also like to thank James Breech for his work “The Silence of Jesus” and Tom Harpur with “For Christ’s Sake” and now “The Pagan Christ.”
Richard Dawkins and Susan Blackmore also bear special mention for their work in “Memics.” Especially for “Viruses of the Mind” and “The Selfish Gene - the Study of Meme’s.”
The same goes for Max Weber, Carl Jung, Descartes, Nietzsche, Durkheim, and a host of others.
An old story here that we probably all know by heart. It is said that once upon a time a king gathered a few men who had been born blind.
They were asked to describe an elephant, but each one was presented with only a certain part of it.
To one was presented the head of the elephant, to another the trunk, to another its ears, to another the leg, the body, the tail, tuft of the tail, etc.
The one presented with the head said, “The elephant is like a pot!”
The one who was presented the trunk answered, “The elephant is like a hose.”
The one who touched only the ears thought that the elephant was a fan, and the others said that it was a pillar, a wall, a rope, a brush, etc.
Then they quarreled among themselves, each thinking that he was the only one right and the others were wrong.
The obvious truth is that the elephant is a unity of many parts, a unity that they could not grasp in their ignorance.
Christianity, Judaism and Islam (as well as their individual sects) claim to be the only right path to God and although this vision arouses a lot of enthusiasm amongst it's adherents, it is important to know that these are not the only views.
We need only look at the Eastern religions.
According to the pattern suggested by this tale of the elephant, it is often said that world religions form a unity, and only this total unity provides the right perspective on ultimate truth.
Theoretically, two possibilities exist!
If the first is true (all religions lead us to the same goal), and we choose the second (only one of them is right), we have not lost anything.
Despite our ignorance, we will arrive at the same happy end as the other travelers who have chosen different spiritual paths.
A less happy situation would be given by the second possibility, that a single spiritual path is valid and we have chosen the wrong one. In this case, we are courting a spiritual disaster.
(A third possibility, that all spiritual paths are wrong, is denied by the very nature of our spiritual quest itself.
This search demands a real fulfillment, otherwise our hunger for ultimate truth could not be justified, and all religions would be nothing but fantasy.)
By default then, because one option is so unpalatable, (that there is nothing after life) we would have to choose the view that all religions lead us to the same goal, it is just their method that is wrong!
The following pages are not meant merely to generate rational proofs for justifying one or another alternative.
No matter how complex and logical the proofs of one or the other causes might be, it is possible to find counterpoints of the same nature. At a rational level, these disputes could fill many books with no benefit to anyone.
No one can be persuaded or converted to another religious perspective only through rational proof and logic. This may be possible in science, but not in religion. Otherwise, everyone would already be of one faith!
However, rational proofs have to be considered because we are rational beings.
Reason should not be rejected and belief proclaimed the only way of knowing truth.
No divorce between reason and belief should be accepted because they are complementary and work together. Neither should exclude the other.
We do not have to reject the proof of reason in our spiritual quests, whatever their nature might be. Rather than generating sterile debates, the information presented here should help you clarify your own views toward comparative religion and develop a critical ability to analyze today’s spiritual market.
The analysis that will be presented here focuses on Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and the major Eastern Religions because they play the biggest role in defining today’s world spirituality from a Western viewpoint.
Some believe that a comparative analysis like this may fuel religious hatred and intolerance, but this is wrong. Religious tolerance and freedom cannot be built on ignorance, but rather should be built on the understanding of commonalities.
Therefore, as Jesus said: “Loving the person is possible even if one rejects his or her religious convictions!”
** This doctrine after all is said and done, will not have “The meaning of life” or anything closely resembling it! After reading these pages, we might not find out what God or religion is, but we might have a better understanding of what God and religion is not!
This is approaching the whole subject matter through the back door, but at our present level of understanding of the Divine, maybe it is the best we can do!
** “The world of poetry, mythology, and religion represents the world as a man would like to have it, while science represents the world as he gradually comes to discover it.” ---Joseph Wood Krutch
**”Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” - -Kahlil Gibran
Taken from the book, "The Plain Truth About God" (what the church doesn't want you to know!)
To be continued now and then!
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
Labels: religion, THE CHURCH OF ALLAN