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Archive for 8/01/11

How Integral Dynamic Monotheism can transform and renew our entire Christian experience

                                                         By Br. John Martin Sahajananda

All philosophies, all ideologies, all scriptures, all religions, and all prophets and sages tell us two important things: who we are and how we ought to live our lives in the world of time and space. The way persons live their life, I believe, will depend largely on their self-identity — on who or what they think they are.

In this paper, I’d like to explore with you some powerful teachings about who or what we are that have influenced the lives of millions. Rather than trying to rank these key teachings in any way, I want to show that they all have something of value to offer us and that it would be against our best interests to choose any one teaching to the exclusion of the others.

I suggest that each of us has the opportunity in this life to evolve or move beyond our present spiritual capacity and experience more deeply our essential nature. The mystery we call ‘God’ undoubtedly has many different aspects for us to explore and experience if we will but drop our narrow concepts and go forward with an open heart and mind.

I’ll confine myself here to the major types of religious teaching that have shaped for centuries, and still shape today, our understanding of who or what we are and how we should live. I’ll propose that we have much to gain by following the example of Jesus who seemed to combine and synthesize different understandings regarding personal identity and ‘live out of’ one or other, or several at once, at different times in his life-experience.

These days it’s common for theologians to divide religions into two major overall categories (though not in an absolute sense) — the Wisdom Tradition and the Prophetic Tradition.

The religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism belong to Wisdom Tradition. These religions have some common elements such as: karma, samsara, reincarnation and spiritual enlightenment.

The religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam belong to the Prophetic Tradition. These religions are also called monotheistic religions as they teach the belief in one God.

In our exploration, we will focus our reflection on the monotheistic religions and Hinduism.

Br. John Martin Sahajananda

Continued next week

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