MOST OF THE MAJOR FAITHS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON.
Most of the major faithsinclude the idea of a higher level of consciousness, which is called a union with God; this is the ultimate goal of most spiritual practices. All major religions with the exception of the strictest form of Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism) teach:
That there is a God who is not a person, but who created the cosmos and who is definitely personal.
That it is possible to know and to experience union with this personal God.
That the entire purpose of life is to seek to do so in order to experience God
CHRISTIANITY IS DIFFERENT.
Christianity is different from other kinds of God-mysticism. We become fellow-heirs” with Christ and “fellow workers” with God until one day we will see God face to face.
Not many religions offer a Leader who chose to live with us and show us how to attain the reward of everlasting life.
Not many religions offer a God in the form of the Holy Spirit who fills our lives with divine grace in extraordinary ways: what some would think only as coincidence or good fortune.
Not many religions offer happiness, forever, as a prize for following a few laws
Not many religions throw life jackets to those floundering in a sea of frustration, sin, contradiction and evil.
Not many religions offer light in the darkness and a trail out of the wilderness.
There is an intellectual atheism based on modern philosophy; a protest atheism, which insisted on the incompatibility of belief in God with human freedom and fulfillment; and a pessimistic atheism, which sees in the enormity of evil prevalent in the world an overwhelming argument against the existence of God.
As a Gallup poll of 1975 shows, in only 6 percent of all Americans questioned claimed to be atheists or agnostics; 94 percent believed in God and 69 percent in life after death — about the same percentages as in 1948.
But while many pay lip service to the existence of God, it seems true that many have experienced the death of God insofar as traditional images of God no longer make sense for them. They feel God’s absence, rather than His presence.
In the last century, God dwelt there with hosts of angels and directed earthly affairs: bringing good and bad weather, sickness and health, happiness and unhappiness.
After being gradually undermined for several years by accumulating scientific knowledge, this cozy picture has all but vanished from human consciousness.
If we can’t think of God, then, as some kind of absolute monarch ruling the universe from above, how should we think of Him?
Allow us to speak of an ultimate reality that is somehow “beyond” that which is directly given in our experience and our own ultimate limit.
All of us are constantly running up against limits, which are basically of four kinds: a) external physical limitation caused by material objects which can restrict our activities; b ) organic limitations we experience when we suffer illness, weakness and exhaustion; c ) personal limitations in our dealings with others insofar as their ideas and intentions often run counter to our own ; d ) restrictions related to our awareness of moral and aesthetic considerations such as the distinction between good and bad, beautiful and ugly.
Through this experience of our own finiteness we become aware.
How, then, can we conceptualize this ultimate limit?
The only experience we have is of our bare finiteness.
An encounter with God will involve both the ‘experience’ of our finitude and the faith which, points to some dynamic reality beyond the limit.
God as the ultimate limit, God as He is Himself, is thus profound mystery, which is completely beyond our grasp or comprehension.
Only on the ground that God had in fact revealed himself could it be claimed He exists.
The One Who is Creator of the world, Who by His providence guides and sustains and directs all things to their intended purpose. “God” means the Lord, the One Whom we must serve and obey,
He is our final End and Source of eternal happiness. He is also the Father Who loves His children, faithful, forgiving and at the same time absolutely just.
For the believer, He is the most real of all:
A believer finds in the symbol “God” the means of seeing life as a purposeful experience and a way of viewing the world as imbued with a personal presence. It enables one to feel at home in the world insofar as it is ruled with order and purpose.
As long as one stays on a purely metaphysical or speculative level it seems impossible that we will ever be able to answer this question with any certainty.
From Dynamic Catholicism: A Historical Catechism Bokenkotter, Thomas.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
Religion is man’s search: for strength and courage to be gained from the spiritual, which is greater than any individual man. It is the Power beyond our control and upon whom we feel ourselves dependent.
The mind and will of God exists outside man, which is superior to all men. Man attempts to get in touch with His spirituality. Once contact is made (by listening) man desires to live in harmony with God.This contact operates by graceand flourishes by prayer.
THE MYSTERY OF RELIGION
Religion deals not in problems but in mysteries. A mystery may be difficult or impossible to understand, but you are still passionate about and involved in.
Such passionate makes clear, objective thinking difficult, and being involved in a problem means one’s perspective is limited. One way to solve such mysteries is to rely on faith.
A DIVINE CHURCH
Suppose the Church were not divine but only human. Suppose she were our invention. Suppose the Church, unlike Christ, had only one nature, not two: that she was only human, not divine, and as “modernist” or “liberal” or “humanist” theology claims about Christ.
In that case we ourselves would have to figure out the right understanding of scripture, without divine authority. We would have to discover the truth about the Trinity, and the two natures of Christ, and baptism, and the Eucharist, and saints, and Mary, and Purgatory, and the Church herself, and crucial and controversial moral issues like abortion and marriage and homosexuality and euthanasia and contraception and war and capital punishment and money.
Under this supposition, who could ever know with certainty the will of God?And how could the Church ever be one? There are actually twenty thousand different churches or ten main-line protestant denominations, each teaching its own sincere but fallible human opinion. It is hard to believe that God would want His Church to split into so many pieces.
You Can’t Just Be Spiritual; You Need Religion.
Many people say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” On one hand, you can be happy that you are seeking a deeper meaning in their life. On the other hand, you should be worried that you will stay satisfied there. Spiritualityis what you believe and how you find meaning in regards to a higher Power whilereligionis how I live out the truth and what is right in regards to a higher Power. In religion:
We can gain an intimate knowledge of Christ.
We are better protected from evil so as not to misinterpret Scriptures.
We need a Christian community for encouragement and support.
ONE CHRISTIAN GOD
We Christians (of all flavors) are under greater attacknow that at many or most times in the past, from atheists, secularists, Islamists and others. It would therefore seem to be in our best interests to put aside whatever our differences are or have been in the past and try our best to become what Jesus asked for…that we may all be one.
Even if all religions are true, even profoundly true, this does not mean that all religions are totally true (free from error) or equally true. For only one religioncenters on the only sane man who ever claimed to be the TRUTH.
No other religious teacher – except some egomaniacs, fakers, tyrants and money-mad manipulators – claimed to be God. Any other religion except Christianity could survive without its founder after making such a claim.
If Abraham or Moses or Muhammad or Buddha or Confucius or Lao Tzu turned out to be mythical figures and not real historical people at all, the religions that they founded would still survive, just as Shakespeare’s plays would still retain their power and appeal if it were discovered that Shakespeare never existed, that the name was a pseudonym for Marlowe or Bacon. But Christianity could not survive if Christ was a fictional figure. You can’t be saved by a fictional or a dead savior.”
HAVE YOU BEEN HURT BY A CHURCH?
The Church often wounds us deeply.People with religious authority often wound us by their words, attitudes, and demands. Precisely because our religion brings us in touch with the questions of life and death, our religious sensibilities can get hurt most easily. Ministers and priests seldom fully realize how a critical remark, a gesture of rejection, or an act of impatience can be remembered for life by those to whom it is directed.
There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion. Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.
When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the Church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, “I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,” we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too.
The challenge is to forgive the Church.This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness, while the Church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.
It is important to think about the Church not as “over there” but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer. HENRI NOUWEN
These FREE series of ten biblical quotes are called:
GOD IS GREAT: GOD’S LOVE LETTERS
GOD IS GREAT God’s Love letters can be printed and folded in a tent shape. Cut them out and place each in rotation where you do your personal grooming or have your breakfast. They are ideal tool to help you memorized them.
To strengthen your fellowship with God.
To show you the goodness of God.
To build healthy, positive thoughts.
To provide curative comfort.
You may wish to send a FREE series of God’s Love letters to someone.
God divinely inspired the BIBLE . How do we know?Each of eight accurate predictions show a high probability mathematically. The probability of one individual fulfilling eight prophecies have odds of 1 in 10 17(1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000). Jesus Christ fulfilled all prophecies, therefore the Bible MUST BE TRUE.
The Old Testament indicates another 40 astonishing predictions.
Christianity experiences stunning growth—from approximately 3.8 million adherents in China in 1956 to an estimated 87 to 100 million Christians today.
In the end, one Christian conversion will benefit the whole family. The gifts of the Holy Spirit of healing and deliverance will help the whole family. A prayer of deliverance of evil spirits will leave any member of the family with a complete sense of peace immediately. A prayer of healing from a Christian disciple produces 80% healing. The remaining healing comes from continued prayer of praise and thanksgiving until all the healing is complete. This healing comes from the Holy Spirit through the power in the Name of Jesus Christ. No other god or deity or doctor uses this power. This proves the TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY.
BILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS CAN’ T ALL BE WRONG!
Christianity is not a philosophy, but it is a relationship with God, your Creator, in Christ TODAY. It is not knowledge of abstract principles. How do we know this? Healing takes place TODAY in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Many Christian disciples use the gift of healing. They also use deliverance to deliver away evil spirits influencing people. These evil spirits cause depression, addictions and illness through all forms of stress. Only the Name of Jesus Christ makes healing and deliverance possible.
Jesus is alive today!He heals today (through His followers) and in many cases it is realized immediately. How else can you explain the explosion of Christianity, the world’s largest religion, on earth: 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth.
Christians know and feel His Presence; they communicate with Him personally; Christian prayers are always answered.
This author has been given the Gift of Healing only because he is a Christian Lay Missionary, who travels two to three places every year. On his last trip to Columbia he successfully transferred his Gift to his Spanish translators, who were able to heal as he did. He has healed Muslims to their great surprise.
He also delivers away evil spirits along with their healing. All those who are delivered from evil spirits feel a complete physical sense of peace.
DREAMS AND VISIONS
God can give a message to those non-Christians to change their heart. God knows faith will be developed eventually. God will come to you in the form of dreams or visions. So be sensitive to any dreams or visions,when you ask God for it earnestly.
Vodou is primarily practiced in Haiti, New Orleans, and other locations within the Caribbean. There is great variation within Voodoo beliefs and practices. Many Vodou practitioners also consider themselves Catholics. Voodooism involves spiritual beings.
As well as being the priest or priestess, the houngan acts as confessor, confidential and financial advisor, prophet and healer for the people in the community. But the houngan is more a folk healer with a considerable knowledge of herbal remedies who treats minor illnesses. While selling love potions and protective charms, including small bags to be worn for protection or for good luck, may be a lucrative side business for a priest or priestess, the primary occupation is still as a spiritual leader of his community. Voodooists especially places value on the strength of community for support.
Loa or Spiritual Beings
The spirits of death, The Guédé are really an enormous group of the loa who are the spirits of formerly living people. He is the one who controls the passage between life and death. In ritual, he is often offered black goats or chickens. The most frequently performed ritual in Voodoo is one that invokes a particular loa (supernatural beings) to offer food to him and seek his presence on earth.
The most important components of a human body, however, are the two parts of the soul, the ti-bon-ange (‘little good angel’) and the gros-bon-ange (‘great good angel’). The gros-bon-age keeps the body alive, and after death, it returns to the reservoir of energy in the cosmos. Without the gros-bon-ange a person loses his/ her life-force. The ti-bon-ange makes up the half of a person’s soul and it is the source of a person’s personality. Furthermore, it is responsible for determining an individual’s characteristics, personality and will.
In Voodoo belief, death is not seen as the end of life, but as a change. The soul – the gros-bon-ange and the ti-bon-ange – endures after death in a different form. The gros-bon-ange returns to the high solar regions where it joins the other loa (supernatural being) and is itself transformed into a loa. Approximately a year after the death, the houngan (priest) performs a ritual, to ensure that the ti-bon-ange is put to rest. This ritual is very important because otherwise the ti-bon-ange may wonder the earth and bring illness and disaster on others.
A Distinctive Human Soul
A human person is a UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL BEING with a spiritual soul and a material body. Human beings alone are created in the image and likeness of God;and therefore, possess rational and spiritual souls: a human person is a body/soul composite.
Are there NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE in which a Buddhist encountered Buddha? YES!
Dr. Atwater is an international authority on near- death states as well as a near-death experiencer. She is one of the original researchers in the field of near-death studies, having begun her work in 1978. More than 3,000 people are registered at her discussion form site, and we understand that they have one of the largest databases on NDEs in the world.
Where arguments arise amongst various people and groups is over the interpretation of that lightand any form it make take, and how to regard it.
Scientists say it is endorphins; Muslims say it is fantasy; religious fundamentalists of any “stripe” say it is Satan (Lucifer). People of faith say it is either of God or of emissaries from God.
WHAT IS CLINICAL DEAD?
WHAT ARE NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES?
Numerous experiencers see figures and forms in the light. These are variously described as angels, guides, guardians, light beings (beings made entirely of light), religious figures, high holy ones and often kids call them “the people.”
The vast majority of individuals remain consistent overtime with what they say and do not distort original narratives. That means accusations of New Age jargon, religious prophesy, Christian visions, Western indulgences, or the like, are untrue.
THREE KINDS OF VERITABLE EVIDENCE
There can be mixups as in the case of Jeanie Dicus. She was a Jewess yet she was visited by Jesus. This so surprised her and confounded her that she promptly challenged Jesus, and continued to do so throughout her entire near-death episode, saying: “I don’t believe in You. Why are You here?”
Atheists report the same type of visitations as do religious folk. In other words, you don’t have to believe in anything to be surprised at what you find when you nearly die.
Where this situation gets fascinating is when you invite experiencers to draw the high holy one/religious figure who visited them. To a person, you cannot tell the difference between a drawing from someone in the State of Wyoming from one done in Thailand or Israel or Russia or China or Nigeria. Patterning holds; differences in patterning only concern a few details of dress and behavior. They certainly don’t look like Buddha.
There are two basic kinds of religions in the world: Eastern and Western. The main differences between Hinduism and Christianity are typical of the differences between Eastern and Western religionsin general. Here are some examples:
Hinduism is pantheistic, not theistic. The Christian doctrine that God created the world out of nothing doesn’t even arise. In Hinduism, the world is part of God (pantheism).
Hinduism believes that there is no absolute morality, no divine law, so no divine will discriminate good and evil. In Hinduism’s end is to purify the soul from desires so that it can attain mystical consciousness. While Christians have two innate senses: the religious sense to worship, and the moral sense of conscience.
Eastern religions come from private mystical experiences; Western religions come from public revelations recorded in the Book and summarized in a creed. In the East, human experience validates the Scriptures.
Eastern religions are esoteric, understandable only from within by the few who share the experience. In Hinduism there are many levels of truth: polytheism, sacred cows and reincarnation for the masses; monotheism (or monism) for the mystics, who declare the individual soul one with Brahman (God) and beyond reincarnation (“Brahman is the only reincarnator”). While western religions are exoteric, public, democratic, open to all.
Individuality is illusion according to Eastern mysticism: we are not distinct from God or each other.Hinduism tells you you are your neighbors. There is no separate ego. All is one. Christianity tells you to love your neighbors.
Since individuality is illusion, so is free will. If free will is illusion, so is sin. And if sin is illusion, so is hell. Perhaps the strongest attraction of Eastern religions is in their denial of sin, guilt and hell. In Hindu philosophy, there is no way you can absolve sin once it is done. This is the basic law of “Karma”. If you do good, so will you reap. If you do paap (or sin) you will see the repercussions in your next life. It is an easy way out to “accept Jesus and absolve yourself of sins”.Thus the two essential points of Christianity — sin and salvation — are both missing in the East. If there is no sin, no salvation is needed, only enlightenment. If I am part of God. I can never really be alienated from God by sin.
Body, matter, history and time itself are not real, according to Hinduism. Mystical experience lifts the spirit out of time and the world. Eastern religions are not dramatic. In contrast, Christianity are dramatically news and events in time
The ultimate Hindu ideal is not sanctity but mysticism.Mysticism is fundamentally a matter of intellect, intuition, consciousness.— not God’s will, loving God and neighbor.
When C.S. Lewis was converted from atheism, he observed that religions are like soups. Only Hinduism and Christianity are both “thin” (philosophical) and “thick” (sacramental and mysterious). But Hinduism is really two religions: “thick” for the masses, “thin” for the sages.Only Christianity is both.Continue reading Christianity and Hinduism Differences→
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