The 'problem' of universalism

Thomas

So it goes ...
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From Prof. Wolfgang Smith (who states the position better than I):

"... The problem, as I see it, is that one is tempted to conceive of that ‘transcendent unity’ as a doctrine in its own right. Typically one conceives of it in advaitic terms, thereby reducing that stipulated superdoctrine to an abstract formula of ‘nonduality’ which is supposed to embody the quintessential truth of the religions. Yet in truth a ‘reduction’ of this kind constitutes a betrayal of tradition, beginning with the Hindu tradition itself, which insists upon its six classical darshanas, and moreover counts advaita as only one of several Vedantic schools. What is more, it recognizes that the actual truth of advaita Vedanta cannot be expressed in words or grasped this side of nirvikalpa samadhi – which is just what the authentic doctrine of ‘transcendent unity’ likewise insists upon.

The problem with the TU doctrine, then, is that it is prone to be misunderstood. A Promethean temptation befalls us, an overweening desire to lay claim to an understanding which by right is proper to God. We have had occasion to see – with horror! – where this can lead. Meanwhile, however, I am fully convinced that there IS a transcendent unity of which every authentic religion constitutes a manifestation willed by God. It seems to me that this transcendent unity is indeed ‘the pearl of truth’ enshrined within every religion, which the faithful are destined to discover and take possession of at the end of the road, when they shall have, Deo volente, attained to what Christianity terms theosis; for indeed, that truth is no longer a matter of doctrine, of theological or metaphysical conceptions, but is God Himself: ‘I am the truth’, said Christ.”

From:
http://www.innerexplorations.com/philtext/an.htm

Wolfgang Smith graduated at age 18 from Cornell University with a B.A. in mathematics, physics, and philosophy. His work cracked the problem re-entry for space flight, now retired, he has just published a book on 'The Quantum Enigma'.

Thomas
 
reduction does betray. the only ones who can say it would not betray would be those who have fewer & less requirements or traditions, making the beliefs that others hold firm to be meaningless & worthless. (we cant do that to each other)... yet even the reductionist would end up betraying something & before they even realize it.

at the same time, there is a pearl of truth in every religion.:)
 
If we were all ready for a Transcendent(al) Unity, then by definition, we would all, already be, Christs - or, in more familiar terms, made whole in Christ, as St. Paul puts it. The fact that there is a spiritual path, a progression, an evolution ... is what accounts for the differing degrees of Christ-realization. Or again, it could be rendered that there are differing measures of stature on the way to the fullness of the Christ. I hope no one doubts that there is such a progression, but it would also be a mistake to confound the path itself with the destination. Yes, we must become the Path, but not so that we can sit down in the middle of the highway.

Only those who have already attained to the promised Perfection - can speak to us of the Transcendent Unity which is theirs. And where they are, we know that one day, we shall be, unless we reject the words and teaching of the Christ, and refuse to follow the Way which He demonstrated. Indeed, the type of Unity which Christ advocated, was lived by Him from day to day, among the common people - as it has been pointed out, and as is testified by the Gospels. The Apostles, and a vast group of followers, sought to prove that the Kingdom of Heaven was already present - only in need of the recognition that comes through practice. And I dare say, that those who do practice the Way, and who have faithfully practiced it, know Unity. Not as some kind of ideal, but as a real, living quality of (all) being ... and they can read the hearts of their fellow man and see Unity there, either manifest, manifesting, or as yet latent.

It is my sincere hope, that Humanity comes to embrace this Teaching more fully, and soon (whether as presented by the Christ, Mohammed, Moses, the Buddha, Pythagoras, Vyasa, Orpheus, Hermes, Shankaracharya, Sri Krishna, Hercules, Zarathustra, Tsongkhapa, St. Francis, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, or another). The prophets and messengers are many, the pearls of Truth are numerous enough to make any person who collects them rich beyond imagining ... yet each pearl is a treasure unto itself, a perfect utterance. Collected or uncollected, such pearls are useless while they remain mere platitudes, or are bartered for in the marketplace.

Example: I could show you shelves of books that form part of the New Revelation, at least in my finding. And then there's a little quote: Even a donkey can carry a library on its back. Hmmmm ....

andrew
 
I'm not quite sure I follow his argument, which seems to set up a strawman then contradict himself:

1. Universalism is wrong because it is dishonest to Hinduism
2. There's is Universal Truth in all religions, but Jesus is Lord.

I don't understand why he pitches Universalism as a Hindu belief, and therefore must be rejected - I don't understand why he suggests there is a "pearl of truth" in every religion, only to then seemingly dismiss them as inferior to Christianity, simply because.

Did I read the entry wrong?
 
I said:
I'm not quite sure I follow his argument, which seems to set up a strawman then contradict himself:

1. Universalism is wrong because it is dishonest to Hinduism
2. There's is Universal Truth in all religions, but Jesus is Lord.

I don't understand why he pitches Universalism as a Hindu belief, and therefore must be rejected - I don't understand why he suggests there is a "pearl of truth" in every religion, only to then seemingly dismiss them as inferior to Christianity, simply because.

Did I read the entry wrong?

yes i think you read it differently than i did.

this is what i get.
1) universalism is wrong because it is dishonest to all religions
2) Jesus is not Lord in all religions

the pearl of truth is only relevant within that particular religion. therefore universalism must be rejected because it is a strawman.

my only question would be are those who claim to be hindus saying that all religions are the same?
i dont think they are saying that.
 
Bandit has it right.

By way of explanation, the philosophers of the Sophia Perennis is whom Smith addresses directly, or their philosophy directly, but the argument stands generally also.

The 'TU' position then presents itself much like a meta-doctrine which is independent of, inclusive of, and superior to, revealed religion, which it then claims the authority to present the doctrines of religion as pointing to itself, when the doctrine suits, and erroneous or corrupted, when it doesn't. It is this essential dishonesty that he is talking about, arriving at a 'universal religion' by a process of reduction - all religions must say the same thing, and when they don't they are wrong - this is the betrayal of tradition.

The mention of Hinduism particularly is because the TU philosophers invariably focus on Advaita Vedanta as containing the first fully formed expression of the metaphysics of non-dualist transcendance.

The mention of Christianity is because Christianity is not like all other religions - the favoured visual of the spokes of a wheel come to mind - the point being that Christianity is not a spoke, it is the hub of the wheel.

Thomas
 
I don't see how Universalism is wrong if one explicitly acknowledges the validity of each person's individual path. After all, what's not being said is, "Your path isn't valid, but in time your ignorance will melt into realization, and you'll join the ones who know." That's simply arrogant - and a complete misrepresentation of what I think Univeralists believe.

The notion is that precisely because of those pearls of truth contained within all religions, all religious & spiritual paths have validity. Now I think it is a dangerous thing to try and discuss just how much a given religion, or religious practice, is of value - even for a given individual, let alone an entire group, race, or nation of people. At CR, there might be some who could engage in such a discussion, but upon what terms? Most of us here bring to the table some type of religious belief(s), and sure as - uhh, shoot - someone would get offended awfully fast.

That said, my own opinion is that is is actually but an objective matter, but unfortunately, most of us just aren't in the proper position to make assessments. I think if we were all true clairvoyants, and if we all had considerably developed the quality of detachment, then we might be able to "compare notes." And that's about as likely to happen as me growing a third ear.

But believing that such gifted clairvoyants do exist, I think it is possible to discern practically anything about an individual ... by a careful enough observation of the aura. This would require higher clairvoyance, or the seeing as God sees, and not just the ability to observe emotional or mental states. Sight, as such, is not really what's required at all. Just how do folks think the Buddha, and the Christ, were able to figure out how to go about their various healings, and ascertain precisely what was best for the spiritual man, and not just his outer personality?

So the notion that an underlying Unity is what all people are tending toward, and that religious hasten our progress on the way back to this Unity - binding us to it, as we experience it - seems fine with me. As such, I don't see a problem at all.

Do tell, what have I missed? Anyone?

andrew
 
Thomas said:
The mention of Christianity is because Christianity is not like all other religions - the favoured visual of the spokes of a wheel come to mind - the point being that Christianity is not a spoke, it is the hub of the wheel.
I say Buddhism is the hub of that wheel. What about that? :rolleyes:

-A
 
taijasi said:
I don't see how Universalism is wrong if one explicitly acknowledges the validity of each person's individual path. After all, what's not being said is, "Your path isn't valid, but in time your ignorance will melt into realization, and you'll join the ones who know." That's simply arrogant - and a complete misrepresentation of what I think Univeralists believe.


Do tell, what have I missed? Anyone?

andrew

it is wrong because it excludes & is exclusive to what everyone believes by rejecting every path & presenting a lie that all paths are the same or go to the same place. acknowledging something does not make it inclusive to the belief of all beliefs. that is impossible if you actuallly know what all these religions believe.
it is not about saying one persons path is not valid, it is about rejecting the path of others to make your own path.
no matter how much you try it is impossible to say everyone believes the same thing or gets to the same place just by giving a title & definition universal.

if they are all valid, then why are they rejected?

it is like saying all engines fit & work in all cars.

it is silly & twisted. IMO
 
Aha ... but I do not think everyone believes the same thing. Clearly, religions are in the very least, different presentations of One Truth. None is perfect, because religion is a human institution. religiere, to bind Does God need to Bind Himself back to God? That is absurd.

Clearly, we do experience ourselves as separate, from one another, from God, and even from ourselves! :eek: And that is why, if we allow religion to serve us as it should, we may draw closer to God through proper practice(s). I simply regard all major traditions, and plenty of the not-so-major ones ... as holding valuable teachings (the pearls) ... which can help lead us back to God.

Now Christianity, in my opinion and findings, is no different than the rest - in principle. In practice, now that might be another story. But let's keep to the very notion that it's somehow superior, or unique. Different yes, and in that sense, certainly it is unique. Hey, you're unique - just like everyone else! :p

IF ... we somehow want to go off on a tangent here, I might venture to say that, imho, Christianity has a unique role to play in the modern world, for it does proclaim the Law of Love, as taught by its avatar, the Christ. But so, similarly, does Buddhism have a unique role, for the Buddha was the great avatar of Light, for the East ... and imo, those two great beings stand side by side. Nevermind what the esoteric record indicates, I'm simply speaking in general terms.

And if the Univeralist position is that all paths are valid, and this is meant quite literally ... then I do beg to differ. I think there are some rather sordid rites out there, and their validity is only in bringing one more swiftly in touch with dark forces, and to great detriment to all involved! Now ... I don't think that's what folks mean when they say, "Truth is One, Paths are Many" (my favorite t-shirt btw, retired now, because worn almost threadbare).

Make sense?

(- but for anyone who wants to shake his holy rattle at me, saying Christ Christ Christ, I'll shake mine back, saying Buddha Buddha Buddha! On the one hand, it is utterly childish, but if it's all in good fun, then let's smile and keep chanting. As George Harrison says, Chant and Be Happy! :) I was, after all, a vaishnava, once upon a time.)

andrew
 
taijasi said:
Make sense?

(- but for anyone who wants to shake his holy rattle at me, saying Christ Christ Christ, I'll shake mine back, saying Buddha Buddha Buddha! On the one hand, it is utterly childish, but if it's all in good fun, then let's smile and keep chanting. As George Harrison says, Chant and Be Happy! :) I was, after all, a vaishnava, once upon a time.)

andrew

shake shake shake,.... shake your bootey

no, it does not make sense all the way through, but you make more sense than anyone i have ever heard with the universal shake shake.

shake shake shake, shake your bootey:)
 
Thomas said:
The mention of Christianity is because Christianity is not like all other religions - the favoured visual of the spokes of a wheel come to mind - the point being that Christianity is not a spoke, it is the hub of the wheel.

Thomas

i see what you are saying. i was picturing a hub cap (& a different choice of hub cap per belief instead of spokes & Jesus is the wheel in the middle of the wheel (the rim).
but now that you mention spokes, it seems these other beliefs are seing Jesus as just a spoke instead of the rim.
i think i just learned something from the wheel analogy.
 
Here is the symbol that I prefer ... and which I know some know, as the Ouroboros. It is a snake, swallowing its own tail (the literal translation of the word). I would be very curious of the impressions from folks who have not seen the symbol before, or who have never really thought about it. :)

ouroboros.jpg

namaskar,

andrew
 
The Ouroborus goes nowhere, but is doomed to ever consume itself, its message was also one of universalism...

"your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods,"
Genesis 3:5

... by which humanity was deceived ...

"And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:"
Genesis 3:14-15

Thomas
 
lol ... well, okay, that sounds a bit doom & gloomy to me, but I suppose a snake swallowing its own tail could be thus imagined.

I was thinking more along the lines of the overview from Wiki:
"The symbol is generally thought to represent the cyclical nature of things, eternal return and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. In some representations the serpent is shown as half light and half dark, echoing symbols such as the Yin Yang, which illustrates the dual nature of all things, but more importantly, that these opposites are not in conflict."
And ...
"a symbol of the eternal unity of all things, the cycle of birth and death from which the alchemist sought release and liberation" (under, Alchemy, on the same page)
But indeed, there are many meanings ascribed to this symbol ...

andrew
 
The ouroborus is a symbol of rebirth i thought, and continues forever. In druidry the female adder consumes the male and then gives birth to it, representing the eternal womb of the goddess by which arises the birth of all things, then all is consumed and brought back to the original self.


"your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods,"
Genesis 3:5


why is this a deception? We begin in ignorance and innocence eventually arriving at the place of 'all-knowledge' beyond the veil. It is the circle of 'awen' i.e. First there is the ultimate nature and absolute simplicity which takes two directions that of all-knowlegde [the left hand path] and as all things have there equal and opposite the other direction is all-ignorant, so the jeorney of the soul begins going through its reincarnate manifestations until returning by the right hand path to wisdom. Such is the circle of life.​
 
sorry to double post

I just looked through this thread, sounds like fun!
Hello bandit,
universalism is wrong because it is dishonest to all religions


it includes all wisdoms and truths or else it would not be universal. In what way is it dishonest? Because it doesn't agree or disagree with any particular religion?


the pearl of truth is only relevant within that particular religion. therefore universalism must be rejected because it is a strawman.


The truth is naked! Unless you wish to describe exactly what that pearl of truth is? Is Christianity the only holder of truth then? So all other religions are false because they don't have Jesus!


I agree with taijasi on this one.



 
_Z_ said:
sorry to double post


I just looked through this thread, sounds like fun!
Hello bandit,



it includes all wisdoms and truths or else it would not be universal. In what way is it dishonest? Because it doesn't agree or disagree with any particular religion?





The truth is naked! Unless you wish to describe exactly what that pearl of truth is? Is Christianity the only holder of truth then? So all other religions are false because they don't have Jesus!


I agree with taijasi on this one.





hello Z:)

rather, why dont you explain how Jesus fits into this 'universal religion'. so far the thread shows how Jesus is excluded from the universal religion & it also shows how the hindu religion is not compatible either.
IN CHRISTIANITY- Jesus & the blood is that pearl & that pearl is appearantly rejected in the Universal religion.
if you read the original post you will see why all these religions do not fit into the universal religion.

i want to know why the blood of Jesus Christ for remission of sin is rejected & not included in the universal religion? explain please
i already know why other religons exclude it, but since this universal religon is supposed to be different & inlcusive of all beliefs & all truth & in my belief Jesus is truth & wisdom -
start EXPLAINING why my beliefs are left out of this universal religion! :)
 
hi again bandit - was that a pretend smile? or have you forgiven me for my christmass story that i unfortunately thought was funny. :rolleyes:

Hmm interesting but exclusivist, if jesus is the pearl then non christians are all liars or at least believe in falsehood – sound familiar! A buddhist or hindu would usually say that jesus was a bodhisattva or something like [ i cant really talk for them], so there is a universal jesus in that he represents an architype that we may rise to [although he would probably tread on my hands as I climb the ladder :D {nah he wouldnt would he}].
In another way, if jesus is really 'the' son of 'the' god then all other religions are ways in which god showed us truth - yes, and as god is jesus [trinity n all that] then they were jesus's truths right up unltil he arrived here. Just a thought.
Having said all this, i think we reached the conclusion before that a universal religion could not include philosophies that were not themselves universal. Personnaly i only believe in having a universal approach whist keeping my individual belief system/s. We could debate the pearl more but you might smack my bottom hard if i did it again! :p


Sin is another great idea for a topic, as i believe we were born innocent and the wrongness of the world is in the world not us – perhaps? I must say as a druid i am most grateful to jesus and christians generally for getting rid of human sacrifice amongst other things! shame they carried it on though - the burnings - i dont think that was the idea eh!
Hmm thinking about it, perhaps you could have jesus's remission of sins in a universal religion! Add to it the teaching of the buddha concerning duality etc etc. can we all learn something from one another and there are many truths, what jesus done was great as too what others have done. even if neither krishna the buddha mohamed nor jesus says a given truth it doesnt mean it is not truth - i think this is one of the underpinning arguments of universalism, when you add all this together.


Not that i care about universalism any more, i am quite happy to just be a pagan druid now.
 
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