A Comparison of Religions of the World
This article is a comparison of Religions of the World, both contrasting and finding the common ground of Spiritualism with some prominent far-Eastern religions, including Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism, and near-eastern and Western religions.
A comparison of the religions of the world, many of which I have been exposed over the years, as many of my generation have been, helps me to focus and understand how they have worked for mankind over the centuries and still today.
The Appeal of Eastern Religions
Many of the precepts of reincarnation, brotherhood and harmony of man, mystical communion with the Divine through prayer, meditation and rejection of things of the material world appealed to people of my generation, especially as the world seemed to be falling apart in the face of continuous and pointless war, exposure of risk to life and stability with assassinations, collapse of world economies after years of growth with the wage/price freeze and abandoning the last standard for money, and increasing materialism and grasping for power and gain observed in others. These ideas are often found in Eastern Religions.
Time moves more and more quickly and my generation was the first to experience the more rapid march of change while at the same time things seemed to be falling into chaos. I think the prior generation, the great generation, experienced change as a relief from the Great Depression and from the terrors and deprivations of a World War. For my generation, rapid change became more threatening and unstable.
The Chaos of the 60’s & 70’s Opened Many to Eastern Philosophies
In my era, we had the Vietnam War protests, where our peers were drafted to fight in a war that many saw no point in. Body counts were reported as unreliable and just propaganda of victory, while lives were being lost and survivors destroyed with drugs and hopelessness of purpose. Instead of movies to support the war effort and demonize the enemy, there were embedded reporters who told of and photographed the horrors of war.
It was a time of intense uprooting of the separation and discrimination of the races. With the assassinations of political and social leaders, like two Kennedys, and Martin Luther King and others, it seemed change was needed, yet the strands to build the change were missing.
In that same time period, we had Women’s lib, where traditions were ripped up and replaced, sometimes with a chaotic lack of moral code. In fact, chaos was the ruling sentiment of the day. Those who protested the war seemed to want to tear down the political institutions as untrustworthy, with nothing to replace them. Those who revolted against the more traditional role of women and of sexuality also had resultant chaos. Those who were rebelling against segregation had a pressing need to do something and lacked solutions. It was a time of tremendous need for change, yet a time where the foundations for change were not yet formed or out of reach. It was a time of chaos and feeling of unsafety.
Were They Birthed in Similar Seeking for Meaning?
It makes me think about the impact of the times of Siddhartha that led him to leave home and family in pursuit of truth and understanding, of Lao-Tsze in his times to seek out Spirit communication to understand the way to live and of Confucius to seek the wisdom of the ancients to reaffirm an ideal moral order for political and societal structures and human beings. It may have been a confusion and abuse of power similar to that perceived in the 60’s and 70’s in our country that led them. It may have been personal crisis, or a Spirit-led curiosity that led them.
What they found, and was also established in Hindu practice, was a code of life and communion with Spirit that appealed to many, including me, in my generation. There was a mysticism not apparently governed so much by rules and ceremonies and rituals as by sincere seeking of God and the good of fellow man that appealed. The appeal of the Golden Rule, of living right, and of not making sacred the material things of life was a direct contrast with the chaos and hopelessness of what was going on in this country at the time. The appeal still exists, and this comparison of religions demonstrates that Spiritualism contains most of the best of these religions.
Western Religions are Part of the Comparison of Religions
I am impressed with the infinite love of Infinite Intelligence. In my life, I have studied a lot of Christianity and Judaism. Because Jesus was said to be the fulfillment of the prophecies and the scriptures, I studied the Old Testament, too. I spent a lot of time in Revelation and Hebrews, and they have a lot of references back to Genesis and Exodus, and Daniel and Isaiah in particular. The symbolism that is present in the details of the temple that God through Moses decreed was to be built reveal a very mystical bias in Judaism, and I sought that mystical side of Christianity. The Bible is rich in symbolism and mysticism.
I have not yet studied the Kabala with its more mystical heritage that has defined European culture and religion. I haven’t studied Islam in any depth either. What I see in in my readings is that there have been over history, a few great leaders who have seen the abuses of evil in the world and led people to reject them. A few great leaders like Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Mohammed have taken some truths that have been passed down from the ages, and sought to know God so strongly that they have been given revelation about God, about themselves, about our world and about how to treat their fellow human beings. They have then been endowed with the personal strength and charisma to be able to share these revelations effectively enough to influence huge numbers of people.
Hebrew Leaders of Great Strength and Charisma
Abraham founded a family, that grew to be a whole nation of tribes, and then a whole people scattered throughout the world. Moses had the privilege of learning as he grew up the courts of the Pharaoh of Egypt, had a revelation from God and had the fortitude and leadership skills to lead a whole people, with help from Spirit, out of slavery and into a desert where they wandered for an entire generation before coming into the land of Israel. Centuries later, people still follow his teachings.
Jesus was a great medium, healer and charismatic leader. I am a Christian, in that I believe Jesus is among the highest of all the Masters and teachers who have lived on earth and taught us about our relationship with God. He taught that we all have God within us and that what he did, we can also do. I see that every week in Spiritualism as people are healed and messages of love and guidance are given.
Mohammed saw impurity and chaos of warring tribes.
To bring peace and love, he taught that idolatry was wrong and that mankind needed to worship the one true Supreme Being that he called Allah. He taught to resist the evil around us, and forged a nation.
What amazing human beings!
What amazes me is how ignorance has led so often to abuses of truths discovered in prayer and meditation, many years later.
In Judaism, I know people who are ultra-conservative, following the traditions that developed after the time of Moses, that detailed rules for cleanliness, taboos for women who are menstruating or bleeding following childbirth, rules for how to dress and even how to have sexual relations. The whole rule structure is designed to help people get closer to God, I know. I think it is sad that it is so restrictive and bound up in laws about how to love God and fellow human beings.
I have certainly known the same of Orthodox Christians, with their many rules and laws that are designed to try to reach God.
In what I read of the militant Muslims, they have the same kind of restrictions.
All of these prevent open pursuit of knowledge and growth. How human beings hamper themselves in growing and developing in God. How amazing it is to me that Infinite Intelligence can use human beings, who are so likely to restrict themselves with rules, and keep their eyes and ears closed to new knowledge, to reveal God presence and eternal life to us. That is a lot of love!
In Spiritualism, what I find is a set of guidelines for behavior. God to Spiritualists is Infinite Intelligence, not personified as a human-type being, but a force of the energy of pure love. I think when we do a comparison of religions, most have the same concept of God and also of the continuity of life. Most have the Golden Rule. A dividing point is reached over personal responsibility. Many of the major world religions have stand-ins to take responsibility for our lives and our responsibility is limited to acceptance of the stand-in and of following the rules. To me, when you make the comparison of religions, Spiritualism finds the center to allow greatest development and unfolding in this lifetime.
Love and blessings,