THE UNIVERSALITY OF FAITH
In the spiritually evolving nature of human beings I see clearly the great forces shaping to advance the race. They are not ideologies or historical systems for these mundane forces, are acting only with limited impact through time. These glorious forces, which appeal to every individual’s heart, are heavenly in nature, worldly in concern and victorious in experience. These forces are instruments of God!
Humanity can deny the existence of a God, personal and with a purpose, but the as represented by moral or noble tendency in man will always support the reality of a higher power. Holier, nobler, more enduring and immortal, these forces are something greater than ourselves. Psychologically speaking it is known that humans are by nature altruistic. Why is it, then, we believe that to be good is better than to be bad? Does it now show that therefore good or God must be the foundation of the whole creation.
The forces are contacts and their results, which through-out the history of man have acted as guides to civilization, are especially concerned with human values. These may be metaphysical concepts in philosophical systems of thoughts or religions, nevertheless at its fundamental sense each of them is the realization of human potency to be good. Although one may argue that ‘good’ is something conditioned upon man it is generally accepted that the notion of ‘goodness’ is wide-spread and universal, and can be found even in the most unlikely of people. Goodness is not the result of education, it is something given in the species as a means to motivate the human (namely thinking animal). Therefore, although man ever since he appears from the mother’s womb, is destined to behave just like other animals he still has this ‘goodness,’ with which he can hold himself with dignity.
The Christian Bible states every man is born with original sin and therefore has to bear its consequences. What is the sin and what are the consequences? The sin itself lies in the essence of being man. This particular creature is equipped with instincts which are inherited from evolution. The instincts are not bad in themselves, but they cause man to suffer himself or bring suffering upon others, and therefore to sin. The original sin is the origin of sins. The original sin, we might say, is our refusal to obey our Higher Self or God.
How do instincts cause sins? Instincts can however make people achieve noble things. Mother wants to save her child from a burning house, isn’t that beautiful? A man, like Jesus sacrificed himself for the sake of others, isn’t that glorious? Someone feeds those who hunger for food, isn’t that charitable? But some instincts can cause evil too. If I want to possess something than I must try to get it in the right way, ie. Working to earn money to buy whatever I want. Here this instinct to own something has not lead us to dehumanize ourselves, although some negative influence might result, eg. Jealousy. However, if I want something which can not be found anywhere else but in the possession of someone, then I steal it or take it by force, then I will have sinned. Sinning: Against my fellow being, because I hurt him; against myself, because I degrade my human value/goodness; against my Creator or God, who is Good or Goodness anyway. This is only a simple example, but there are greater examples of greater sins. Buddha Gautama, the noble teacher, teaches four noble truths: Life is suffering, suffering results from man’s craves, craves can be eliminated, and the way to eliminate craves is through the eight noble truths.
I firmly believe that to worship God is to be good, care for others and use our potentials to be good. To worship God is not only praying, singing praises, obeying minor precepts and believing God. This realization makes me really happy. Now no more burden for my conscience about the truth. The truth is everywhere and to look for the truth one only needs to observe, for the truth is not here or there, rather the truth is an all pervading reality in the universe. The truth can be followed, the truth can also guide, but one should not claim that he possesses the truth. Neither Christianity nor Islam, neither Zoroastrianism nor Judaism, Neither Bahai-ism nor atheism. None of these can be the truth. God is the truth and to own the truth is to be obedient to the greatest reality of all, God who unceasingly speaks through prophets, inspiration, natural phenomena and most of all the conscience of man. A man has himself and God is his Higher Self. For all creation is united with God.
Must we, then, destroy religions? No, for religions have been the guides of men since the beginning of our time. Religion can be destructive, but it is still more of a contributive force. None of the religions are the final truth, but there are truths in each of the world’s faiths ~ Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All teach men to be good and all offer a way or a methodical effort to reach salvation. Therefore there is no need to claim that one is better than the other, for equally true all religions posses some mistakes in their historical developments (by men). Each person can and must follow one way which suits him well, but he must try to understand his brother’s faith and to be able to say that God is our common denominator. Then we can all say: “Our religion is personal relationship between an individual and his God” and “In God we have our unity in diversity.” If all men were to accept this we could then use religions as something to motivate our efforts to walk for the betterment of our world and the whole human race.
If someone asks me if I have left the folks of Christ, then I will say … No! If someone tells me to deny the divinity of Christ, then I will refuse. Nothing can discourage me from holding on to the testaments of the church, the baptism, the church itself and everything attached to it. But if I am asked to proclaim that Christianity and the church are only ways to salvation or conversion to Christianity ensures someone’s happiness, then I will flatly refuse. Christianity is my way, and one of Jesus’ sheep I am, but I will always learn from the other faiths anything which is useful to me.
I feel humbled whenever I see the great Hindu faith and her numerous methods of communication with the Supreme Being. Its (religious) culture, temple, sacred literature and above all holiness of life touch my heart. I feel grateful to the Buddha and the Dhamma he teaches, for it is a way of peace and meditation to reach happiness. The yellow-robed monks, the statues of Buddha, incantations of the reverend ones fill my heart with awe. Zoroaster teaches me that there are two forces contending against each other. One of good and one of bad. To follow the good Ahuramazda we must. In Judaism I see a powerful God always guiding His children. In Christianity I see a loving Father and an always present Brother (Jesus). I see pride, justice and brotherhood in Islam. I see the unity of mankind in the teachings of Baha’ullah. Finally, I see God in everyman!
Weybridge, Surrey, October 31st 1978
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