I originally posted this in the Baha'i forum, but it has gotten no responses there...so posting it here as well...as it's primarily a comparative religion topic to begin with... _________________________ As human's, with a life span of 80-100 years if we're lucky, it's understandable that we view religion in light of our frame of reference. But... If we step way back and view history in light of many centuries to millenia increments...we begin to realize that the surges of progress in civilizations took place between the different prophets...I'm by no means an expert, but the way I see it, due to our capacity at the time, as a whole, whether or not we adhere to any particular prophet/religion, entire civilizations rose and radiated this knowledge outward, affecting everyone within range, we have all benefited from the spirit infused by the impetus they provided. "...the existence of an unseen force at work in human history is no less plausible and no less scholarly as an explanation for events than it is to consider the influence of unseen forces at work in the natural world (e.g. gravity)"...John S. Hatcher, The Ocean of His Words p 27 "...The study of religion is inseparable from the study of human history. Conversely, human history, when correctly understood, is nothing more or less than tracing evidence of the Divine Will intervening systematically in human affairs to force an "ever-advancing civilization..."" Ibid, p. 63-64 "the ordinary human artist is a product of history (in varying degrees), the prophet is the producer of history..." Ibid, p 64 “...As the human race in all its diversity is a single species, so the intervention by which God cultivates the qualities of mind and heart latent in that species is a single process. Its heroes and saints are the heroes and saints of all stages in the struggle; its successes, the successes of all stages…” -“One Common Faith” p. 23 This is an interesting link, it's animated, showing the time frame and spread of some of the major religions. http://www.mapsofwar.com/ind/history-of-religion.html It's interesting to me, in that it shows how each was for the most part confined regionally. And from a Baha'i perspective this is due to the means available at the time to allow each to spread. And despite all obstacles, it also shows how God's Word has touched every part of the globe through one source or another. 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (King James Bible, Isaiah) I know it is not fully accurate as some religions aren't depicted. But to me it shows a nice glimpse of how God's Will is unfolding progressively. __________________________________________________ "Know thou, O Prince, that whenever the world declineth in virtue and righteousness; and vice and injustice mount the throne, then come I, the Lord, and revisit My world in visible form, and mingle as a man with men, and b my influence and teachings do i destroy the evil and injustice, and re-establish virtue and righteousness. many times have i thus appeared; many times hereafter shall i come again." -Krishna, Bhagavad Gita "I am not the first Buddha who came upon the earth, nor shall i be the last, in due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a Holy One, a supremely enlightened one...an incomparable leader of men...He will reveal to you the same eternal truths which I have taught you." -Gautama; the Buddha "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth." John 16:12-13 (NIV) "Do not think that i have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets...but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17 (NIV) "We believe in what hath been sent down to us [Qur'an] and hath been sent down to you [the Torah or the Gospel]. Our God and your God is one, and to His are we self-surrendered." - Mohammed; Qur'an 29:45 __________________________________________________ *"Come, come again, whoever, whatever you may be, come. Heathen, fire-worshipper, sinner of idolatry, come. Come even if you have broken your penitence a hundred times. Ours is not the portal of despair or misery, come." (Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi)* *"In whatever way men approach me, in that way do I assist them; whatever the path taken by mankind, that path is mine." (Bhagavad-Gita, iv, 11).* "Those who are confident of their faith are not threatened but enlarged by the different faiths of others." (Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth) *"My heart has become receptive of every form. It is a meadow for gazelles, a monastery for monks, an abode for idols, the Kaba of the pilgrim, the tables of the Torah, the Qur'an. My religion is love--wherever its camels turn, Love is my belief, my faith." (Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi)* “However innumerable sentient beings there are, I vow to save them. However inexhaustible the defilements are, I vow to extinguish them. However immeasurable the truth is, I vow to expound it. However incomparable enlightenment is, I vow to attain it!” (Bodhisattva Vow) "The living spirit grows and even outgrows its earlier forms of expression... This living spirit is eternally renewed and pursues its goal in manifold and inconceivable ways throughout the history of humanity. Measured against it, the names and forms which have been given to it mean very little; they are only the changing blossoms on the stem of the eternal tree." (Carl Jung) "I believe Christ is in all the cultures--Krishna in Hinduism, Zeus of the Greeks--in every age there has been a Christ-Consciousness. This is not necessarily the Jesus we Christians embrace, but Christ-Consciousness meaning the consciousness of a God who redeems and who is beneficent; who loves everything and everybody. He is not the sole property of any one religion." (Bishop Carlton Pearson) - Interview with Integral Yoga Magazine “You, the Ultimate Reality, are All in All. Atheism confesses the ineffability of Your Essence. Polytheism personifies Your manifold Attributes. Monotheism witnesses the unity of Your Being. In every God-Ideal an emanation of You shines forth. The heart receives of You as much as it can contain. When the heart is supple it is capable of every form. Then Your manifestations surpass the limitations of belief.” (Pir Zia Inayat Khan) *“The Absolute created the universe for the purpose of Delight. The Absolute, i.e. the Omnipresent Reality wished to extend its Delight of Being to objects. The Divine manifested a universe in division and duality to enable the greatest multiplicity and possibility of forms. The ultimate purpose in life is to discover the delight of being through our higher consciousness; thus fulfilling the purpose for which the Divine manifested a universe of forms; further diffusion and dissemination of the Original Delight into the universe.” (Sri Aurobindo)* "Truth is one, the wise call it by different names." (Rig Veda) "It is, therefore, an inadequate recognition of the unique station of Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, Muhammad—or of the succession of Avatars who inspired the Hindu scriptures—to depict their work as the founding of distinct religions. Rather are they appreciated when acknowledged as the spiritual Educators of history,and the animating forces in the rise of the civilizations through which consciousness has flowered...what honors them is the soul's unconditioned surrender of its will to the transformative influence they mediate..." One Common Faith, p 33-34 (Commissioned by the Universal House of Justice, 2005) comments?