Exclusivity - The Only Way?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Did you know that you can interpret the idea or thought of "exclusivity" even within the scriptures of the oldest religion in the world? Check it out. The quote below is from the Hindu faith founded by Krishna which still has followers even today:

"Thou too, when heart and mind are fixed on Me,
Shalt surely come to Me! All come who cleave
With never-wavering will of firmest faith,
Owning none other Gods: all come to Me,
The Uttermost, Purusha, Holiest!"

(Hindu, Bhagavad Gita (Edwin Arnold tr))

"Owning none other Gods: all come to Me" - I could interpret that as a strong notion of exclusivity and that Lord Krishna is the only way to find God. But of course the most famous quote of exclusivity is from the Christian faith:

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

(King James Bible, John 14:6)

This is most often, and understandably, interpreted as Jesus meaning that He is the only way. But is that truly what He meant? In the Bible, Jesus sometimes speaks as an Individual and sometimes speaks as if He is God Himself. All Manifestations of God do this. But which way is He speaking here? It does make a difference.

In these quotes, I believe that both Krishna and Jesus are speaking as God, not as individuals. They are speaking as Conduits and Reflections of the divine Spirit and/or Word of God. Therefore, what is meant is that "God" or "the Holy Spirit" within Them is the only way.

It is like focusing on the "Light" within the "Lamp", rather than on the "Lamp" itself. It is that "Light" that is the only way. If you look at it this way it is easy to reconcile the idea of "exclusivity" and find how all the Manifestations came from the same one true God and all could honestly declare They were "The Way".

What do you think about different religions claiming to be the "only way" to God? I am going to try and find quotes from some of the other major world religions that center around this same theme. If you know of any, please post them. I think this is an important discussion.

Love thy Neighbor

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christianity is the largest and most widespread religion in the world, so I wanted to devote some time to one of its most well-known teachings - "love thy neighbor".  Here are some passages:
  • "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."  (12:28-31 - King James Bible, Mark)
  • "Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."  (3:10-11 - King James Bible, 1 John)
  • "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  (5:14 - King James Bible, Galatians)
  • "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."  (15:12 - King James Bible, John)
All these quotes are saying the same thing to me - be loving to your fellow man.  So, my question is, what do you think would happen if mankind started to truly follow this commandment?  World Peace?  Elimination of Prejudice?  Seems to me that it all comes back to love.  So truly, what would happen?
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