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Mahatma Gandhi once said: "Even as a tree has a single trunk but many branches and leaves, so there is one true and perfect religion, beyond all speech. But it becomes many as it passes through the imperfect medium of language, interpreted and reinterpreted by imperfect man." To learn a little about the religions of man are to discover that there is an amazing similarity between them, an underlying unity in thought and feeling and method. SOUTHERN ATTITUDES SEPARATE PEOPLE AND RELIGION I was born and raised in the South. There are many very endearing and loving characteristics about southern people: they can be very friendly and kind people; they can be courteous, polite, and generous people. I love southern people. Unfortunately, there is one characteristic about Southern culture that causes me much concern, and that is the fear of "otherness." The South is such a homogeneous society that any "otherness" is frightening. If you are White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant, you will most likely experience all these warm and loving characteristics; if you happen to be black, or Jewish, or Catholic or a foreigner or anything that is not White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant, you could receive just the opposite. The White and the Anglo-Saxon preferences I could with difficulty understand, because of the history of slavery and the fear of Blacks. I could understand, but not excuse this preference. The one I had the most trouble with was the Protestant bias. I would expect the church in no way to condone such an attitude, let alone encourage it. I use the word encourage not to show that they promoted hate toward other religions, but they did very little about discouraging it. SEARCHER FOR TRUTH Raised in the South and experiencing the Southern preferences and being also exposed to the more liberal North prompted me to
question these Southern attitudes. I especially questioned the church and its teachings. As a teenager I started my search for answers. Believe me, in the forties, that was not an easy task. There were no Eastern teachers, no Native American, no Metaphysical, there were just Catholic and Jews and there weren’t many of them in the South. It was not until the Sixties and Seventies that I first learned there were other religions besides Christianity. That is when I started my serious spiritual questioning and searching. Since then I have studied many different religions and have traveled to many parts of the world in my pursuit of truth. MY STUDIES SHOW THAT ALL RELIGIONS HAVE THE SAME TRUTH In all of my spiritual searching I have found that truth in its essences and in its application is one. Yet, if we listen to the many religious group of the world we hear the message that this or that group has the only one true meaning and worship of God and the others are misguided and even dangerous As we view the world scene we see one group warring with another group over religious meaning and they fight earnestly to convert others to their beliefs, or, view them seriously as a threat to their well being. THE TEACHERS DID NOT INTEND TO SEPARATE PEOPLE I do not believe It was intent of the teachers, or avatars, or the enlighten ones which gave the teachings that formed the religions, that their teachings should divide humankind. I do not believe they had any concept of churches, or religions, or sects. They shared their insights with others out of compassion for the human kind. They wanted to ease the pain and suffering of the world and to show the way to live life in harmony with the Universe. Those who became disciples of these teachers were attracted to the truth the teacher taught. Limited in their understanding, they failed to correctly see the truth that the teacher saw. Consequently, they interpreted what the teacher taught through their imperfect understanding as Gandhi pointed out. These disciples as teachers attracted followers and formed groups in accordance to their understanding. There is nothing wrong with the formation of other groups from the one teaching, for we are each unique and have our own unique path. Some of us find similarities along the way with others and we share that with others. That is part of the process and is helpful
in our own searching. The creator would not have created so many of us, if he wanted just one opinion. Even with Adam and Eve God did not force his opinion, but gave them the opportunity to discover the truth for themselves.
MANY RELIGIONS, ALL THE SAME TEACHING There are thirty-seven religions recorded in the history of man, beginning with Zorasterism in about 7000 BC to Religious Science of about 1930 AD. The actual beginnings of many religions extend too far back in time for any date to have more than a relative meaning, some claim to go even to the beginning of the world. If you examine these religions there is a close correspondence among all these religions. The same elements are stressed, though separated by eons of time. Purification, for instance, seems a part of every religion, cleanliness without, and cleanliness within. Disciplines are given for attaining and maintaining perfect health. Foods prescribed for purification or emphasized. Ideas of fellowship go for back in time, the perfectibility of the individual, cooperation with God in the creative activity in God's Universe. Ethical principles are given. The ones most often given are: Non-lying, non-stealing, non-killing, celibacy, and the love of learning and over and above all is LOVE. There are two categories of teachings, the outer teachings, such as the ones generally given, and the inner teachings, given only to those intensely interested in reaching the goal as defined by the particular religion. This goal is nearly always the same expressed in different ways. It sometimes is expressed as harmony with nature, sometimes as cooperating with the Law, sometimes as individual evolution and sometimes as a direct experience of God or union with God. One legend that runs through all religions tells how the gods in the ancient past lived on the earth with man. These gods traveled back and forth between heaven and earth, ruled as a nation's first kings, spoke directly to men, and taught them, and some men walked with God. Underneath the many names of God the religions of all peoples hold the idea of the One Unknowable Source back of all manifestation,
too lofty, too high, and as one religion put it, to be confined to temples or even worshiped by man. DIFFERENT RELIGIONS USE DIFFERENT SYMBOLS If we look at the symbols of the religions we find that they tend to be ethnocentric. They reflect the culture, the times, and the environment of a particular ethnic group. In the light of the past it is understandable why many religions took different symbols. At the time that most religions were being formed, humanity was struggling for existence and awed by nature. Humanity was at that time many small groups and tribes. Distance, history, race, tribalism separated us. To give meaning and purpose to life, each group developed its own explanation of how they fit in to the whole plan of the universe and how to communicate to the forces that they observed. They observed the seasons, the stars, the moon, and the coming, and going of life and saw that they were all somehow connected. If they were desert people, such as the Jews, the rains, the winds, the mountains were most observed, if they were river people, such as the Egyptians, the river the life that live in and about the river was the most observed. If they were hunters, such as the Plains Indians, it was the animals on which they fed and gave them the items for their survival were of the most important. Religion has always been very important in the life and history of the race. It was the spiritual leaders and the spiritual teachings that held the groups together and gave hope and purpose to the day-to-day living. At least through their gods and through their priest, humankind felt they had a handle on survival. RELIGION HAS EVOLVED Religion has changed over the history of mankind. It has evolved as humankind’s intellect evolved. The central truth has never changed. The Spiritual geniuses have always experienced the same truth. It has been the rest of the race that has been much slower to understand. Great leaps in consciousness have challenged the norm of the
time and gave new focus to the race. It has always come trough an enlightened individual. One such, that I know we are all familiar with was the Jewish religion. This tribe of impoverished slaves, under the guidance of Moses established in the world the idea of a one invisible God and the rules of human dignity; this in a time when the world believed in a multiplicity of gods and slavery. That was four thousands years ago. Two thousand years ago another Jew named Jesus came into the world, not to establish a new religion but to bring the Jews back to the original Mosaic concepts. Jesus wanted, also, to make it known that these concepts weren't only for the Jews, but basic to all human kind. This one truth that Jesus taught and that Moses established is also the basis for all religions in the world. The concept is so simple that it is so easily passed by and complex systems substituted. Unfortunately, these systems confuse many of us and cause us to buy into manmade ideas that eventually enslave us. ALL RELIGIONS SAY THE SAME THING A Palestinian sage named Hillel expressed the basic truth of Judaism most simply and eloquently. He was challenged by a pagan to tell all about Judaism in the time a man could stand on one foot. He replied: "That which is hurtful to thee do not to thy neighbor. This is the whole doctrine. The rest is commentary. Now go forth and learn." Jesus was asked the same question by his disciples when he was asked what was the greatest commandments. His reply was, and I quote Matthew 7:12: "Therefore all that you wish men do to you, even so do you also to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets." About 500 years before the birth of Jesus, Confuses was asked: "Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" And he replied, "Is 'Reciprocity' not such a word? Do not to others what you do not want done to yourself." This rule is given even earlier in the Hindu Vedas. From the
Mahabharata we read: "Do not to others what you do not wish done to yourself; and wish for others too what you desire and long for yourself,this is the whole of Dharma, heed it well." In the Dhammapada, the Buddhist book of proverbs, we find written: "All men shrink from suffering, and all love life; remember that you too are like them; make your own self the measure of the others, and so abstain from causing hurt to them." Muhammad said: "Do to all men as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourself." Zarathustra, who lived 7000 years ago, the founder of Zoroastrianism, one of the earliest religions, the religion of the early Persians and the present Parsees in India, said: "That which is good for all and any one-For whomsoever that is good for me. What I hold good for self, I should for all. Only Law Universal is true Law." As you can see religions are unity by the same principles. We all worship the same God, believe in the same truths, and desire for others and ourselves the same things. As Gandhi has said, all religions have the same trunk. RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION TEND TO BE POLITICAL Then why is there such conflict and intolerance among many religions? Because the religious organizations of the world or more of a political organization then a spiritual organization. A good example is Iraq. When Sadden wanted to justify his war he called it a holy war The religious organization emphasis is more on making policy, of controlling the outcome of events. They always look back to the prophets and ancient scriptures, rather than being the light of truth. The Church today is in many ways the tomb of truth. The presentation
of divine truth has not kept pace with the growth of human intellect. SPIRITUAL LAWS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN DOCTRINE Today’s youth are not interested in the Virgin Birth or in the historicity of the birth of Jesus Christ. They are interested, however in the laws of spiritual growth, and in the FACT of Christ. They would like to believe in the reality of the Kingdom of God and of a better future for humanity. They would like to know that this future is based on divine law and the reality of spiritual perception. Plato laid down the religious platform for us when he pointed out that, "The goal of all education is the attainment of the blessed vision, a state of insight into things as they are. The condition for attaining this goal includes the ascent of an intellectual ladder, but it involves also the purgation of the desires and a genuine remaking of the natural (person)." What the churches have to face and have not fully realized is the distinction between theology and spiritual truth and the sensed divine realities. Theology is in reality only human interpretations of divine revelation and man-made teachings. Theology has no divine basis but only intellectual interest. Someone once defined religion as "the sum of the scruples which impede the free exercise of our faculties.” Self-expression is the great cry today, but it must be the expression of the higher self or soul through the medium of an illumined personality of lower self. Religion is the immediate experience of divinity. Human beings are the visible presence of the divine at many differing stages of expression and of divine unfoldment. This should be the message of the churches. Religion should in reality be the transition from authority to experience. The churches have been teaching their doctrinal authority instead of a divine individual experience. RELIGION IS CHANGING Today, there is a great renaissance happening. It is penetrating even into the churches. There are great and good people of all faiths and in all churches who are resounding to this new and flaming spirit. The fire of suffering, the torture of the past decades, and the agony and the questioning of people everywhere have evoked this flaming spirit.
It will be the basis of the new civilization, the great reconstructive agent in the world and its penetrating fire will lead to the reform of the churches and the adoption of the churches' teachings to meet immediate human needs. This will be done not through expediency or an emphasized ecclesiasticism, but through a new revelation and a widespread consciousness. Many believe that the reappearing of the Christ, the World Teacher and Messiah, is imminent. THE EMERGENCE OF THE GROUP SAVIOUR What seems to be happening is the emergence of a Group Savior. Out of the medley of ideas, theories, speculations, churches, cults, sects and organizations, two main lines of thoughts are emerging….one doomed eventually to die out, the other to strengthen and grow until it, in its turn, gives birth to that ultimate formulation of truth that will suffice for the next age and carry humankind to a high pinnacle of understanding and consciousness. Using the terminology of the sixties and that used by Alice Bailey, there is first the Piscean group, those who started their process two thousand years ago. This group has emphasized the material and the scientific and has done an excellent job of it. They now look back to the past, hang on to the old ways, the ancient theologies, and the reactionary methods of finding truth. These are the people who recognize authority, whether that authority is a prophet, a bible, or a theology. The second group is the Aquarians, a yet small group, but steadily growing. They are the inner group of lovers of God, the intellectual mystics, the knower of reality who belong to no one religion or organization, but who regard themselves as members of the Church universal and as members one of another. They gather out of every nation, race, and people. They are of every color and school of thought, yet speak the same language. They learn by the same symbols, tread the same path, have rejected the same non-essentials, and have isolated the same body of essential beliefs. They recognize each other. They accord equal devotion to the spiritual leaders of all races and use each other’s bible with equal freedom. They form the subjective background of the new world. They constitute the spiritual nucleus of the coming world religion. They are the unifying principle that will eventually save the world.
In the past we have had world Saviors, Sons of God, who have enunciated a world message and brought an increase of light to the people. Now, in the fullness of time, and through the work of evolution there is emerging a group who will bring salvation to the world. They embody the group ideas and demonstrate the group nature manifesting in a small way the true significance of the body of Christ. They give to the world a picture of the true nature of a spiritual organism. This group will so stimulate and energize the thoughts and souls of humankind, that the new age, the age of Aquarius, will be ushered in by the outpouring of the love, knowledge and harmony of God Himself; AND WE WILL KNOW WE ARE ONE PEOPLE.
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