YES! that in conjunction with interpretation.InLove said:Do you think perhaps that is part of the problem--translation? Hmmm...just thinking.
I think this explains so much in the whole scheme of things. I posted the following in another forum and got very little response, which perhaps means people are thinking about it, at least noone argued with me.
(Warning - it's kinda long.)
My understanding of the reason there are so many religions is because of man's fallible interpretation of God's guidance, and man's attachments to said interpretations. It's good to remember that the time frame between the appearance of each messenger is anywhere from 500-1200 years. Just think about how differently people 500 years ago were from us today. It's tremendous! 500 years ago, or even 200 years ago, noone would have believed we could circle the globe, or explore space, or communicate with others around the world instantly.
All traces of some of the early religions have vanished. Records of some religions were passed down orally for generations. Some were written down 100's of years later.
Are you familiar with the exercise when you sit in a circle with a bunch of people? The first one whispers something in the next persons ear, then that person whispers it in the next, etc, etc. More often than not, when it gets to the last person and they repeat what they heard, it is nothing like the original message.
imho, This is what happens to religion, but over the course of centuries. Even though written and oral communication is indispensible, it is not infallible. We are not perfect, we are human, we make mistakes, we are very capable of misunderstanding things. Even though we like to think otherwise.
I believe the foundation of each religion is the same. They each teach us to improve our own inner life and character, they came to transform our lives. But each was brought to a different culture/society/age. Each new religion came to renew and strengthen the foundation, and build upon the teachings of the past. Each was brought to an ever-advancing civilization. The differences arise due to the differences of the era, the messenger teaches what the recipients of the time will understand, it is based on our capacity, not theirs. And over time as more and more people embrace the truth of the teachings, they form attachments to their understandings and perceptions of what they believe to be the truth. And through the methods of dissemination of the time, the truth gets obscured, until such time that God decides to send another messenger to renew the foundation of His religion.
When a new messenger comes, very few actually recognize them, they are persecuted intensely by the majority, but there are always a few pure-hearted souls who can see through the what the majority believes will be blatant signs of His arrival. This is never the case. Can you name one religion whose origins are related to glorious displays in the natural world? Even though the prophecies described their coming in glorious language, the actual beginning of each religion can trace it's roots to extremely humble origins. These few pure hearted followers are the only ones of the time that recognized that the prophecies surrounding the messenger are actually fulfilled through a combination of literal and spiritual meanings, and they were able to detach themselves from solely literal expectations. These few are responsible for disseminating the teachings to the rest of the world. What an incredible responsibility! I cannot imagine what these people had to endure, but yet they all managed under the most dire circumstances to succeed in establishing incredible flourishing civilizations based on the fundamentals of their respective religions. No one can honestly believe that the religions as they exist today are exactly the same as they were originally intended. People throughout history have created traditions which they associate with their religion which were not a part of their original teachings, most likely the intent was not to obscure the underlying truths, but to enhance the followers relationship with God. But after 1000 - 2000 years, noone alive can honestly be sure what the truth really is anymore. All religions have to cope with this reality, though none want to admit it.
And we must remember the differences in language, the nuances of ancient languages can get lost in the translation. It is difficult enough just to communicate with others in a language we know well, multiply that exponentially by adding the cultural nuances of the time in addition to translation and interpretation issues as well, and don't forget to take into account that this occurs over 500-1200 years. (that's alot of times around the circle. )
We tend to get attached to certain phrases in the scriptures. i.e. Jesus says He's the way, the Only way. It's human nature to grasp onto a phrase and close off any other options. But most people are not aware that many religions have a similiar phrase contained in their scriptures. My understanding of this particular saying is yes, while their dispensation is at hand, they are the way, until the next messenger comes to renew the foundation. They all foretell of One to come. And then when One comes, the process repeats itself. The messenger is persecuted. A few pure hearted humble souls recognize them and set out to disseminate their teachings, some accept them, some reject them, based on what the recipients expect and whether or not they are attached to the lamp or seek the light itself and are open to accepting the light no matter from what lamp it shines.
History teaches us that above all else we should be humble in what we expect. We should be open to the mysterious ways of God. God knows us better than we know ourselves and He/She continues to lovingly and oh so gently nudge us in the right direction. Yes, there are many paths, but in reality they all merge together, we are just veiled behind the clouds of our attachments.
I believe mankind has been progressing through stages of spiritual development. History shows us that mankind has continually had need of spiritual renewal. Jesus came to fulfill the law of Moses, he told us so, but we neglect to see the significance of that one statement. Mohammed (pbuh) glorified Jesus, and we once again tune out what doesn't mesh with our own ideas of what we expect.
(imho)In reality there is only one religion and one God. But we have separated ourselves from each other due to our own immaturity as a species. But I believe that times are changing, we are maturing, we are beginning to recognize we are one. We are witnessing everyday our interconnectedness and the intricacies of the universe. Once we start recognizing the majesty of this amazing tapestry of existence, and start shedding the veils that blind us, by simply asking God for assistance, with a pure heart and a seeking eye, we will find our hearts desire.
In days past, we had to rely on what others told us. In days past, children grew up never questioning the faith they were raised in. In days past, people believed in their religion and never doubted. In days past, generation after generation after generation never thought to search outside of their own little box. In days past, that was okay, as long as we tried to be the best person we could be. Up until this day, that was the way it had to be. It was difficult to know what was outside the box.
It's human nature to be stubborn and get attached to our ideas, it's human nature to become attached to earthly pursuits, it's human nature to like to stay in our comfort zones, it's human nature to get bogged down in the everyday material world around us. But I believe that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and as spiritual beings we need to broaden our scope of pursuits. It's our spiritual nature that is our true nature, our real self.
In this day, seekers of truth have opportunities undreamt of in times past. In this day, there is a spiritual awakening going on. In this day, children are questioning the religions of their parents. In this day, people are no longer content to blindly follow the paths of their ancestors. A whole new world exists today. The opportunities available to those of us who want to expand our horizons are unlimited.
Have a great weekend!
Loving Greetings, Amy