From the Divine to the Divided
"As all mankind have been created by the one God, we are sheep under the care and protection of one Shepherd. [... Thus, . ] If religion proves to be the source of hatred, enmity and contention, if it becomes the cause of warfare and strife and influences men to kill each other, its absence is preferable. For that which is productive of hatred amongst the people is rejected by God, and that which establishes fellowship is beloved and sanctioned by Him. Religion and divine teachings are like unto a remedy. A remedy must produce the condition of health. If it occasions sickness, it is wiser and better to have no remedy whatever. This is the significance of the statement that if religion becomes the cause of warfareand bloodshed, irreligion and the absence of religion are preferable. " ( Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 297)
Do we heed the Word or follow the preachings of men?
Recently I watched a movie entitled "God is Not Dead". As the title caught my interest my Church-going friends earnestly reassured me it was a good philosophical treatise. But, I found the "proofs" heavily burdened by church biased emotional-laden reasoning. ( Perhaps 10 minutes of a two hour film was of any real philosophical interest at all.)
Yet, conversely, a far more broad-based case for the continuing Presence, Work and Word of a Timeless Teacher and Redeemer is apparent on a much grander scale than can be contained within the confines of any one single Faith system. If one looks at Scriptures of different Faiths with the intention of finding agreement instead of differences, ascribing equal honor and authority to all Scriptures instead of assuming exclusive validity of just one Holy Book over another, then the search becomes an engrossing venture into the everlasting Covenant between Mankind and God.
One major case for the spiritual connection, the singular authorship of the Spirit of Truth, is the common Promise of all the main world Faiths of a Promised Redeemer. Each Faith in turn calls us to watch, accept and heed the Call of a future Messenger.
Each time a Coming Promised One is mentioned, this bespeaks of a Continuation beyond the present day understanding of things. In other words, all does not cease with any given Faith belief. Jesus is not the last, nor is Buddha or Muhammad etc.
A listing of Promised Ones, A coming Redeemer, as mentioned in the following Faiths.
1. Zoroastrianism: Khshathra (Dominion), Desirable, a kingdom yet to come.
2. Hinduism: Vishnu Yasha; Sanskrit for "Glory of God".
3. Buddhism: Maitreya Buddha, Amitabha “Source of Wisdom, Unbounded Light".
4. Judaism: Messiah, Emmanuel. Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."
5. Christian: Glory of the Lord or Father, the Spirit of Truth: John 16: 12-16 “ I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."
6. Islam: The Great Announcement, Illustrious Messenger Sura 3:81 "When Allah made (His) covenant with the prophets, (He said): Behold that which I have given you of the Scripture and knowledge. And afterward there will come unto you a messenger,"
Could this be an ongoing living Covenant between God and mankind that is alive, well and functioning as you read this?
Might this truly be a progressive phenomena spanning many thousands of years upon which Mankind's evolutionary spiritual destiny is dependent?
Could the Timeless Anointing Spirit of Truth be the same reality as what Enlightened Gautama the Buddha, Spoke to Abram who became Abraham, Revealed itself as the angel Gabriel to Muhammad and many more? Is it possible the Christ Spirit of Truth speaks through all of the great religions? Perhaps it is only man-made doctrines, laws borne of ever-evolving long-term misapplication that brings such un-godly behavior to the world. If so, it seems imperative that we, as a species, recognize and heed the manifold ramifications of this tradition-challenging, paradigm-changing, life-liberating question for all Mankind.
May God be seen as one, Man the world over as one and the Source of all Religions as one. In so doing, perhaps peace will be found on Earth as it is in Heaven!
A prayer of Bahá'u'lláh pretty much sums up what this treatise is attempting to convey.
O My God! O my God! Unite the hearts of Thy servants and reveal unto them Thy great purpose. May they follow Thy commandments and abide in Thy law. Help them, O God, in their endeavor, and grant strength to serve Thee. O God! leave them not to themselves, but guide their steps by the light of knowledge, and cheer their hearts by Thy love. Verily, Thou art their Helper and their Lord. ( Bahá'u'lláh )