Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Religious Pluralism #1

Is it possible for all religious paths to lead to the same destination.  Religious pluralism, or universalism, ultimately teaches that all religions are equally valid and true, or equally valid expressions of the truth.  But, is this possible?  Do all trails really lead to the "happy hunting ground"?

What do the different paths say about the nature of God?

Hinduism essentially teaches that everything in the universe is divine.  Everything consists of the same divine, imperishable source, or energy, known as Brahman.  This source is essentially impersonal, yet it is the make-up of all things in this life – water, air, earth, flesh, and etc.  

Buddhism according to the traditional teaching of the Buddha is considered an atheistic religion with no divine being or source.  Everything, just, is, yet is always undergoing change.  

Judaism teaches that the Lord revealed in the Tanakh (the Christian Old Testament) is the one true God. 
Christianity teaches that the Lord revealed in the Old Testament is Lord, yet the New Testament reveals God through the person of Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament reveals God to be one in essence but three in person, yet this teaching isn’t fully revealed until the incarnation (the taking on of flesh) of the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ.  

Islam accepts the teachings of both the Old and New Testament according the Quran, however, most Muslims will say that these written words from Allah have been distorted and changed.  Muslims claim that Jesus was not divine, that he was not the Son of God, that Jesus was a prophet and only a prophet.  At the same time, Muslims reject the doctrine of the Trinity.  

These are just a brief look at five of the world’s major religions’ teachings on the nature of God.  Based on the law of logic known as the law of non-contradiction, two statements that directly contradict each other cannot both equally be true.  They both can be false, but both statements cannot be true.  To put this into an equation, A cannot equal Non-A.  To plug in two of the teachings just mentioned into this equation, we see that, Jesus is God incarnate (Christianity) cannot equal Jesus Christ is not God incarnate (Islam).  From this example it must be concluded that both of these statements cannot be true statements.  However, both statements could be false. 

1 comment:

  1. If you are interested in some new ideas on religious pluralism and the Trinity, please check out my website at, and give me your thoughts on improving content and presentation.

    My thesis is that an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s answer to the world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.

    In a constructive worldview: east, west, and far-east religions present a threefold understanding of One God manifest primarily in Muslim and Hebrew intuition of the Deity Absolute, Christian and Krishnan Hindu conception of the Universal Absolute Supreme Being; and Shaivite Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist apprehension of the Destroyer (meaning also Consummator), Unconditioned Absolute, or Spirit of All That Is and is not. Together with their variations and combinations in other major religions, these religious ideas reflect and express our collective understanding of God, in an expanded concept of the Holy Trinity.

    The Trinity Absolute is portrayed in the logic of world religions, as follows:

    1. Muslims and Jews may be said to worship only the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the existential Deity Absolute Creator, known as Allah or Yhwh, Abba or Father (as Jesus called him), Brahma, and other names; represented by Gabriel (Executive Archangel), Muhammad and Moses (mighty messenger prophets), and others.

    2. Christians and Krishnan Hindus may be said to worship the first person through a second person, i.e. the experiential Universe or "Universal” Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul), called Son/Christ or Vishnu/Krishna; represented by Michael (Supreme Archangel), Jesus (teacher and savior of souls), and others. The Allsoul is that gestalt of personal human consciousness, which we expect will be the "body of Christ" (Mahdi, Messiah, Kalki or Maitreya) in the second coming – personified in history by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha (9th incarnation of Vishnu), and others.

    3. Shaivite Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucian-Taoists seem to venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or appearance, ie. the Destiny Consummator of ultimate reality – unqualified Nirvana consciousness – associative Tao of All That Is – the absonite* Unconditioned Absolute Spirit “Synthesis of Source and Synthesis,”** who/which is logically expected to be Allah/Abba/Brahma glorified in and by union with the Supreme Being – represented in religions by Gabriel, Michael, and other Archangels, Mahadevas, Spiritpersons, etc., who may be included within the mysterious Holy Ghost.

    Other strains of religion seem to be psychological variations on the third person, or possibly combinations and permutations of the members of the Trinity – all just different personality perspectives on the Same God. Taken together, the world’s major religions give us at least two insights into the first person of this thrice-personal One God, two perceptions of the second person, and at least three glimpses of the third.

    * The ever-mysterious Holy Ghost or Unconditioned Spirit is neither absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite, but absonite; meaning neither existential nor experiential, but their ultimate consummation; neither fully ideal nor totally real, but a middle path and grand synthesis of the superconscious and the conscious, in consciousness of the unconscious.

    ** This conception is so strong because somewhat as the Absonite Spirit is a synthesis of the spirit of the Absolute and the spirit of the Supreme, so it would seem that the evolving Supreme Being may himself also be a synthesis or “gestalt” of humanity with itself, in an Almighty Universe Allperson or Supersoul. Thus ultimately, the Absonite is their Unconditioned Absolute Coordinate Identity – the Spirit Synthesis of Source and Synthesis – the metaphysical Destiny Consummator of All That Is.

    For more details, please see:

    Samuel Stuart Maynes