Shared perceptions of the Divine

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by iBrian, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    I am constantly reminded, by various posts in the CR forums, of how many of us: theist, pagan, mystic, Wiccan, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc - can often share profound similarities in how we perceive the Divine - our paths differing simply in how we explore from this perspective.

    The populist Buddhist position seems more of evasion - or disinterest - in the concept, rather than any plain refutation.

    However, is there really any spiritual truth of differing paths observing the works of the same God, and simply dressing the Divine in individual cultural concepts - just as we might all perceive the same sky, but attach different words and meanings to it.

    Or is this all a happy hippy pipe dream, that fails to appreciate the important nuances of societial differences, and - whether one believes that God has an objective or subjective existence - the constructs are simply too different to be the same thing?

    Is there one God, whom we all perceive in our own unique and individual ways?

    Or is it nothing more than wishy-washy inclusivism, ignorantly dimissing rich cultural differences?

    A starter for discussion. :)
     
  2. IlluSionS667

    IlluSionS667 Eurasian spiritualist

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    There are several ideas of God. These are the two most imporant ones :

    1. God as a force of nature :
    ----------------------------
    - the creative force : the force which created the mathematical foundations of the universe and which creates new life
    - the balance guardian : a force that maintains balance troughout the universe, present in every atom and energy particle
    - praying is useles, but meditation is helpful to gain inner strength and harmony

    EXAMPLES : Buddhism, nature religions, symbolical Asatru and symbolical Shintoism


    2. God as omnipotent entity :
    -----------------------------
    - He is a creature that lives somewhere in a place called heaven, who created everything.
    - Whether of not he intervenes in life or not, is different in several religions.
    - Praying is necessary to please this God

    EXAMPLES : Judaism, Christianity and Islam




    I have much respect religions in the first category, and I fear the effects of religions in the second category. I do not see how they are compatible in any way.
     
  3. vitalsigns

    vitalsigns New Member

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    Ilussion667,

    I believe that the "God as a force of nature," and the "God as an omnipotent entity," are a direct reflection of one another. When we look into a mirror the reflection cast back is exact opposite of our own image.

    Under that line of thought, I believe that both eastern and western belief systems are following the same God from different viewpoints, and both can be limiting in spiritual growth, depending on how they are approached.

    I know a few Christians who are very esoteric in their nature of seeking. They believe in the bible, but they seek answers within themselves rather than sticking to a preset religious dictation. I also know several spiritual seekers who are exoteric in the nature of their seeking. They take what sounds good and claim it as their own without going within and experiencing it for themselves. So in that manner, there are many similarities.

    Most philosophers look for viable, physical and scientific information to theorize and to use as analogies when presenting a theory of that which is beyond our physical understanding. Which seems to be a middle ground between eastern and western religious followings.

    I believe that since everything is of God, there is truth in everything. It's just a matter of finding it...

    Vitalsigns
     
  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Brian!
    Depending what's in your pipe, would you mind passing it this way? "I'm just an old hippie, trying real hard to adjust" (*singing off key in a bad willie nelson impression...*)

    FWIW, I want to believe we are all looking at the one and same God. I also think He is a bit beyond our ability to fully understand, and that in His time He will bring us to proper understanding. Those of us who are sincere, anyway.

    Ultimately, at least in this time and place, it seems the message across the board is to learn to get along with each other.

    My 2 cents.
     
  5. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,


    actually, Brian, the notion of creator is rejected by the Buddha in satirically retelling the creation story of the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.

    This not "a discreet silence about the First Cause," it is not indifference.

    Though the Buddha's particular rejection is not a philosophical argument against a creator god it is, rather, a religious statement that is consistent with the underlying ontology of becoming that characterizes what the Buddha taught.

    What is clear, in the broader context, is that this rejection is not tied to a particular god-notion, but addresses the notion of a "single supernatural Being" from which "all things began," given that such a notion is invariably grounded in a radically different ontological basis than what the Buddha presents.

    Buddha's rejection is the idea of what we ultimately are as being eternal, self-existing, and self-identical or that there is anything or agency that is.
     
  6. alexa

    alexa somewhere in time

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    I believe the kingdom of God is inside of us and all around us.

    Each of us has to find his own path to God.

    Each path is good as long as it leads to find peace, and light and love.
     
  7. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    First, thank you for using the sky rather than the elephant. Even when we can feel, see, experience the sky we all will use different words to describe it. And we experience the same sky in different ways at different times. What would someone make of one person who says it is like perfect black velvet punctuated by brilliant lights vs. someone who says no it is blue as the ocean and filled with billowing white forms.

    I like the term Ground of Being, as I understand it. I believe in God and I glean that many/most Buddhists do not. Yet when I read the Buddhist threads here, bits of the path described and different people's experiences, I am amazed how often it resonates with me and seems similar to my explorations and thinking about God. And the same is true for many other of the religions I've read about here to one extent or another.

    Part of the problem is the limitations of language to express something beyond language. But also the differences seem to come from what I think of as "decorations." I like the analogy of the lamp (which is the source of light), being covered by a shade (the basic limitations on human understanding of the light), and then further covered by the decorations, the mythos, doctrines, laws and rituals of religion that make the light bearable and useful to the greater number of people in a given culture/age. The problem is that sometimes we add too many deocrations and the light is obscured, or we get attached to or distracted by the decorations and start to think our decorations are better than those of our neighbors' ...
     
  8. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Brian wrote:

    Is there one God, whom we all perceive in our own unique and individual ways?

    Or is it nothing more than wishy-washy inclusivism, ignorantly dimissing rich cultural differences?

    My reply:

    The Baha'i belief is that there is one God and that divine revelation is a common denominator in the world's religions....

    In time culture and traditions obscure the original teaching which lays the groundwork for the need for new revelations from God to meet the conditions of the time and accelerate the advancement of mankind,

    God is not knowable to His creatures directly except through His attributes perfectly reflected in a Manifestation of God or Messenger of God. The Bible and the Qur'an indicate there is a succession of prophets and Messengers that convey to man the divine attributes and establish a divine criteria for the age in question.

    In Zoroastrianism there is also a concept of promised Saoshyans or future Saviours.

    The succession of Prophets and Divine Messengers is also seen I believe in the succession of Jinas, Boddhisatvas, and Avataras in Far Eastern religions.

    - Art :cool:
     
  9. PersonaNonGrata

    PersonaNonGrata CODinside

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    I see GoD as my m8. I talk to him, tell my problems, he sometimes solve them. i like.




    THE rest is Between deity n you, ones my daddy told me.
     
  10. Rain of Brass Petals

    Rain of Brass Petals Solar Exalt

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    I do not believe God created the Universe as much as 'he' defines it. (Since I also do not believe that there was a "In the beginning." I'm an advocate of the beginningless beginning theories of Taoism.) I do not believe that God is a conscious being who does human things like "desire" and "judge" and "love." I personally believe that God simply is. 'He' doesn't "do" or "think," he just "is."

    Since, in my paradigm, God composes the Universe, that would mean that we are made of God. That we are God. Just as mouse you have you hand on is God, just as the air you breathe is God. Of course the mouse isn't aware that it's God, and by being God it can't be anything other than a mouse, it's just a mouse. Nothing more, nothing less. How wonderful!



     
  11. ISFP

    ISFP New Member

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    personally, i do not see God as distinct from the people i meet, the places i go, or the things i see.

    i think this stems from a non-theistic philosophy i adopted soon after my "spiritual crash and burn". "well, there is no God, is there? all we have is our human relationships, our encounters with what we deem 'transcendent' or 'beautiful', and how we relate to our own experiences."

    this was a pretty pithy philosophy, i admit, but after re-allowing the idea of Divinity back into my belief system, the two ideas merged. so...that is how i see the Divine.
     
  12. Ratatosk

    Ratatosk New Member

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    I have as of late begun to see our understanding of 'the divine' as our spiritual endeavour manifest. In this context, it really doesn't matter if we have a theistic POV or a non-theistic one. Seemingly the all-encompassing, mystical awe is the one thing we all share. What names and shrouds we attach is of no consequence. The manifestations may differ, but so do we.

    Cor blimey, that sounds rambling, donnit? The concept is very clear in my head, though. It's just very difficult to word.

    -JC, Finland.
     
  13. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Indeed - words fail us. :)

    Hence why an interfaith forum like this can exist. :)
     
  14. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    While language must fail to reach the Absolute, it is somewhat misleading to suppose it entirely useless and always ending in diversion and division. Sometimes a paradigm is established which whirls humanity about it, civilization blooms and such. Albeit the victory is never what it could be, it is also hardly as any other moment in history. A curious stage in this process as I and others have seen is a period where confusions of ideas occur and experimentation is rampent - the long well known truths seems weak and faint and new ideas seem constantly to be cropping up. While the paramount Figure of these times often takes several hundreds of years to be generally marked.
     

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