Are there as many gods as religions? Or is it the same God across religions, called by different names and worshiped through different rites? Based on rites, gods abound – with some gods on not too…Continue
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Are there as many gods as religions? Or is it the same God across religions, called by different names and worshiped through different rites? Based on rites, gods abound – with some gods on not too friendly terms with other gods. But based on perception of god in each religion – through the eyes of the devotee -- tremendous commonalities suddenly appear. For example, some 300 respondents to an internet-based survey conducted recently by the Hawaii-based All Believers Network perceived their Reality to be compassionate, eternal, flawless, formless, genderless, omnipresent, omniscient, unique, and wise. And this was true regardless of whether the religion followed was Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, Neopaganisn, Sikhism, Subud, Sufism, Unity, or Zoroastrianism. Our four Unitarian Universalist respondents were unsure whether any supernatural Reality exists; and the one atheist respondent rejected the concept of such an entity.
How do you feel? Let us bring some objectivity in the way we perceive the Reality of other religions. After all, in many cases, our perception of the revered one in other religions is based on what our religion says about them. And these "verdicts" were handed down centuries ago, based possibly on the socio-cultural-religious milieu pevailaing then in the area where our religious founder lived and preached. But what do contemporary followers of those religions say about their Reality?
Based upon the above-mentioned perceptions, the labels used to describe many religions now appear to be significantly different from the labels found in some sacred texts. For example, I, as a Muslim, was brought up being told that Hindus worship idols. My Hindu friends clarify they do not worship idols; they use those images to focus on the Creator (called Brahm, Krishna, etc.). After all, Muslim also focus on a human-made icon -- the Ka'ba -- to focus on Allah. So, what and where is the difference? Isn't Brahm another name for Allah?
Let us use PeaceNext to initiate an objective, scholarly, and "non-defensive" dialogue about "our" Reality versus the "Reality" of other religions. Let this be a quest for understanding rather than trying to prove “my God is better than your God.” Let us discard harping on ritualistic differences among religions but unite on the basis of spiritual similarities among them. Thanks.
And Happy New Year. Let us make this a year of introspection rather than another year of pointing fingers at followers of other religions. Aloha!
I am happy to reproduce below a summary of the proceedings of the "One Reality, One Humanity, Converging Paths" symposium, held in Honolulu on 9/10/11. Among others, the recommendations also suggest a follow-up symposium, possibly in Honolulu, in the latter half of 2012 or 2013. Your comments in this will also be highly appreciated. This is my first attempt to send a relatively large file (8 pages). I apologize if this does not go through…Continue