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Religion Matters

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Stephen Prothero was on the Colbert Report to promote his book, “God is Not One,” and spoke to why the world’s 8 dominant religions are all important to the life of the world.

Personally, this perspective is  a breath of fresh air after recently getting another figurative earful of a bunch of  blogosphere/Facebook anti-religion rants that did little more than offer the same old set of nails scratching the same old chalkboard.  I’ve decided to leave all these well-intentioned folks to their own crutches, since just about everyone I know winds up limping down life’s road in one way or another.  And I suppose it’s a matter of finding where I fall on the spectrum between creeds and screeds, which seems to be much closer to the former than to the latter.

h/t HuffPo

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  1. Orthodox, institutional religions are quite different, but their mystics have much in common. A quote from the chapter “Mystic Viewpoints” in my e-book at http://www.suprarational.org on comparative mysticism:

    Ritual and Symbols. The inner meanings of the scriptures, the spiritual teachings of the prophets and those personal searchings which can lead to divine union were often given lesser importance than outward rituals, symbolism and ceremony in many institutional religions. Observances, reading scriptures, prescribed acts, and following orthodox beliefs cannot replace your personal dedication, contemplation, activities, and direct experience. Preaching is too seldom teaching. For true mystics, every day is a holy day. Divine revelation is here and now, not limited to their sacred scriptures.

    Conflicts in Conventional Religion. “What’s in a Word?” outlined some primary differences between religions and within each faith. The many divisions in large religions disagreed, sometimes bitterly. The succession of authority, interpretations of scriptures, doctrines, organization, terminology, and other disputes have often caused resentment. The customs, worship, practices, and behavior within the mainstream of religions frequently conflicted. Many leaders of any religion had only united when confronted by someone outside their faith, or by agnostics or atheists. Few mystics have believed divine oneness is exclusive to their religion or is restricted to any people.

    Note: This is just a consensus to indicate some differences between the approaches of mystics and that of their institutional religion. These statements do not represent all schools of mysticism or every division of faith. Whether mystical experiences vary in their cultural context, or are similar for all true mystics, is less important than that they transform each one’s sense of being to a transpersonal outlook on all life.

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