• MysticMonist
    227
    I’ve been developing a personal faith in a more pure Monism with 7 principles.

    1. The Oneness of God: There is One Source of existence and truth and good. Nothing exists without Him. All religions and philosophies derive their subjective truth from this one objective Absolute. There are many prophets throughout time and even currently who speak God’s message and are mirrors to the Divine thru God’s special gift of prophecy.

    2. Universalism: since all religions contain some truth, there are many ways the illumination of God is manifest. Even so, religion is not needed for salvation and hell does not exist. Life is a not a question of heaven and hell, but of living into the fullness and with gratitude in our life with and thru God.

    3. Reverance for scripture, but no scripture or revelation is perfect. The texts of the world religions are often the work of prophets or other inspired mirrors of God. But no one revelation is perfect, nor is humanity’s understanding of God complete. Scriptures should not be taken literally or inerrantly

    4. Individual illumination and discernment. God illumines the individual that allows them to practice discernment in hearing His messages. Only prophets can speak for God and even the. It requires personal illumination to receive their words.

    5. Rejection of clergy and ecclesiastical authority. God alone tells us about God, directly and thru his prophets. Authority has no apostlic succession and even prophets are only messengers not ecclesiastical rulers. No clery protects individual illumination and discernment.

    6. Self Renunciation: the path of personal illumination requires significant renunciation of oneself and one’s baser desires. You can pursue both wealth, fame, or pride and God at the same time. Material and worldly matters do not matter compared to the finding and being found by God.

    7. Moral Virtue: if belief isn’t important (due to Universalism) the purpose of life is life into the fullness of relationship with God which is best done thru moral action. Since God is the source of all goodness and exists everywhere, then there is always a moral path in every situation. Following that path brings us closer to God.
  • Nils Loc
    314
    Sounds so traditional.

    Just listened to a podcast about the notion of hyper-real religions, where satirical response to religious tropes become serious religious tropes in a playful way. For example, Pastafarianism or Jedai faith. If everything is an aspect of God (a phenomenal manifestation of the absolute monad) then the Flying Spaghetti Monster works just as well as what it replaces. It also makes you laugh (or scowl). The point is to overcome semantic reification, to untrope the tropes for the sake of understanding whatever the valuable message is.

    The Creed

    I am a Jedi, an instrument of peace;

    Where there is hatred I shall bring love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    And where there is sadness, joy.

    I am a Jedi.

    I shall never seek so much to be consoled as to console;
    To be understood as to understand;
    To be loved as to love;
    For it is in giving that we receive;
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

    The Force is with me always, for I am a Jedi.
    — https://www.templeofthejediorder.org/doctrine-of-the-order
  • MysticMonist
    227
    The Jedis are purposefully designed after Zen Buddhism. So simmilarity to the Jedi path, I don’t consider a criticism.
    The areas I would differ from a purely philosophical view of a passive “force” is that God actively loves and consciously creates. He isn’t without intellect or personhood. Of course his intellect or personhood isn’t anything like ours. He is infinite and we are finite. This view got me kicked out of the Zendo.

    “I shall never seek so much to be consoled as to console;
    To be understood as to understand;
    To be loved as to love;
    For it is in giving that we receive;
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
    Is that really part of the Jedi code? that’s the prayer of St. Francis.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    I will quote myself:

    My position is that perennialism, irrespective of whether it's true or not, is a fruitless position to hold. That is to say, it has no implications with respect to the life, and its quality, one leads. Before I explain further, let me try and say what I mean by perennialism. Consider the following two questions:

    1) Is there any truth in religion?

    2) Is any religion true?

    The perennialist is someone who answers the first question in the affirmative and the second in the negative. Religions glimpse a single truth exclusive to none of them. They each merely point to this truth with words like God, Brahman, Nirvana, Tao, etc.

    The religious inclusivist, by contrast, is someone who answers both questions in the affirmative. Let's take the Christian inclusivist as an example. For him, God, as revealed in the person of Christ, is the ultimate standard of truth, but dim, incomplete reflections and expressions of this truth can still be found in other religions. Thus, the perennialist subsumes God under a neutral truth X, whereas for the Christian inclusivist, God occupies the place of X (for there is nothing beyond God), just as Brahman does for the Hindu inclusivist, and so on.

    Now, what follows from perennialism? I answer: nothing. If it turns out that all religions are merely groping in various ways toward some truth exclusive to none of them, then one has, ipso facto, ruled out belonging to any one of them. Apart from Unitarianism perhaps, every religious tradition proposes a set of exclusive truth claims that it is incumbent on followers to accept. But more than that, every religious tradition makes certain practical and behavioral demands of its follows. The Catholic must attend Mass, the Hindu, puja, the Jew, synagogue, and so on. The follower is obliged to pray, meditate, fast, give to charity, go on pilgrimage, etc.

    The perennialist is estranged from all this. If he claims that he can still engage in certain of these practices without formally belonging to any particular religious tradition, that may be so, but a religion of one is, in reality, a religion of none. It isn't religion at all, but a form of eclecticism, for religion is an inherently communal and institutional enterprise. Such a person is seeking the benefits of religion without the costs, the costs being assent to a specific set of truth claims and obedience to religious authority, both of which are especially hard for modern man to accept. Simply put, it isn't certain that the benefits of religion can be had outside of it. Nor is it certain that they can be had within it either, but one may and ought to wonder whether they are better had within it than not. The religious hermit, for example, for all his solitude, still chooses to formally bind himself to a particular belief structure and religious institution, no matter how physically distant from the latter he may be.

    In sum, perennialism leaves one in precisely the same set of circumstances one was in before its acceptance. For the individual who sees the possibility, merit, and even urgency of personal transformation, perennialism will be an empty consolation.
  • MysticMonist
    227
    Simply put, it isn't certain that the benefits of religion can be had outside of it. Nor is it certain that they can be had within it either, but one may and ought to wonder whether they are better had within it than not. The religious hermit, for example, for all his solitude, still chooses to formally bind himself to a particular belief structure and religious institution, no matter how physically distant from the latter he may be.

    In sum, perennialism leaves one in precisely the same set of circumstances one was in before its acceptance. For the individual who sees the possibility, merit, and even urgency of personal transformation, perennialism will be an empty consolation.

    I think this is well put.
    I would agree my position is essentially Perennialist according to your definition. It has more advanced metaphysics drawing from the Greeks, but essentially the same.

    I would say not all the benefits, some of them critical, from religion can be experienced from outside it. You don’t have community which is essential to not going crazy. Something religious solitaries have to address. You don’t have spiritual director or a confessor to guide you. You don’t have communal works to further good deeds, consistent with your ethics, to perform more together than you can individually.

    The way I deal with is that I’m not truly outside religious communities. I go to an episcopal church with family and regularly discuss matters of faith with my priests there. I also participate online with several Baha’i communities. In practice, I’m just a non-credal Christian.
    There was a woman I talked to at church who was saying good things about the Jesus Seminar and was concerned about what “Jesus really said”. She rejected a lot of things as partriachy and attempts at control. We didn’t get into her exact christology, she may not have one. Are she and I christains? I don’t think I am, she probably thinks she is. But really there’s very little difference between us. Maybe the point is labels don’t mean much.

    Just when I starting to think I’ve got it figured out... :(
  • Wayfarer
    6.6k
    The Jedis are purposefully designed after Zen Buddhism.MysticMonist

    Actually, minor correction to that - according to legend, the inspiration for Yoda was a Tibetan Buddhist monk, Tzenzhab Serkong Rinpoche.

    But Lucas plainly draws on many elements of world religions, as is well known, he incorporated the motifs of Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces to create the basic storyline of Star Wars.
  • MysticMonist
    227


    You both have given me a lot to think about. I messed up in my thinking by first off being arrogant enough to create my own 7 point system. Second, I was wrong in my outright rejection of religion or even of clergy.
    Ultimately, since I’m a universalist and reject hell, what’s the point of religion?
    To find and be found by God AND to do His/Her/It’s will.
    What’s the point of philosophy? The same as religion.

    So any given religion, any congregation, or even any individual’s faith practice is good and right in so far as it accomplishes this goal and is wrong and harmful in ways that it does not. Thorongil is right that Perennialism basically says all religions are wrong and are mistaken about Reality. I don’t think this is accurate. The majority of religious teaching and religious people are in and of themselves working towards this goal of finding God and doing God’s will. I don’t think God cares about theological accuracy. Yet every religion has its particular draw backs or temptations to the weaker parts of human nature whether it’s abuse of clerical power or over emphasis on individuality or being too detached all together.

    This idea that there is good in most religions helps answer why I’ve met very holy and wise people in conflicting faiths and why I’ve personally found each of them meaningful. There’s nothing wrong in mixing them to make my own blend, since there is no required formula for avoiding damnation. However, making my own mix still should be judged by the same criteria as everyone else. Does it help me find God? Does it help me do God’s will?
  • MysticMonist
    227

    Didn’t know that. Thanks. One of my favorite Buddhist teachers in my mind has always been Obi Won. I love the discussion of did Vader kill Luke’s Father. Things being true from a certain point of view has helped a lot in life.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    Maybe the point is labels don’t mean much.MysticMonist

    Oh but they do. You ought not to call yourself a Christian or attend a Christian church if you reject the truth claims of Christianity. If you're open to conversion and merely curious, then obviously it would be fine to attend church, but that still doesn't make you a Christian.

    Thorongil is right that Perennialism basically says all religions are wrong and are mistaken about Reality. I don’t think this is accurate.MysticMonist

    I didn't say that. I defined perennialism as the view that there is absolute truth and that religions merely approximate it in various ways and degrees, but that no one religion can lay claim to this absolute truth. This is in contrast to religious inclusivism and exclusivism. The inclusivist says of his own religious tradition that it contains the absolute truth, but that other religions still contain confused approximations of it. The exclusivist says of his religion that it alone contains absolute truth and that other religions do not contain any truth.

    I don’t think God cares about theological accuracy.MysticMonist

    You've given us no reason to think this.

    This idea that there is good in most religions helps answer why I’ve met very holy and wise people in conflicting faiths and why I’ve personally found each of them meaningful.MysticMonist

    The inclusivist can say the same thing, so this doesn't mean your brand of perennialism is true.

    There’s nothing wrong in mixing them to make my own blend, since there is no required formula for avoiding damnation.MysticMonist

    On the contrary, there is something wrong in mixing them if it is incorrect to do so.
  • MysticMonist
    227
    You ought not to call yourself a Christian or attend a Christian church if you reject the truth claims of Christianity. IThorongil

    I do it to make my wife happy. Does that count?
  • MysticMonist
    227

    Maybe you’re right and God did give a special revelation of His message and my realitivist touchy feely stuff won’t cut it. Maybe Intellectual belief is needed and God does indeed punish though who reject His holy messengers. I actually do think this may be the case. With all sincerity I do believe “There is no God but Allah(God) and Mohammad is His messenger.” I am a faithful and non-idolatrous person of the book. I should probably give up pork, but at least I don’t drink.

    Just in case, the Rabbis also say I’m good. I’m a noahide and again not an idolator.
    Really it’s only Christianity being right I have to worry about. An incarnate God offering subsitutory atonement? I think I’m pretty safe.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    You appear stranger with each new post. If you "with all sincerity" can recite the shahada, then you are in fact a Muslim. Go find a mosque.
  • MysticMonist
    227

    Yeah, I bet I do seem strange. I blame Kabbalah.
  • MysticMonist
    227

    Two thoughts...
    1) Islam, particularly the Quran, is a very articulate view of the world and of religions. There are many strong philosophical traditions within Islam. The Persian Sufis in particular. In a simmilar sense, I love Jewish philosophy which also rarely gets any attention. Islam has little exposure in the west which is a shame, I’m sad but not suprised to see it have such a negative reaction on multiple occasions here. If you get a chance you should read the Quran.
    2) my attempts on this forum to articulate a philosophy beyond a vague vannila monotheism have pretty much failed. I appreciate everyone’s help in not holding back and very effectively showing me my intellectual mistakes. There are some bright minds on here. I do get a bit frustrated and flustered by the process, which is natural. But its for my own good.
    It’s not going to be possible for me to find and adopt nor make my own systematic, philosophical approach that explains my religious experience. God is inherently beyond systematic explanation and the individual human relationship with the divine is inherently dynamic and changing and growing.
    Instead, I need to embrace the not-knowing and the wisdom of non-attachment to views. The Buddha says anyone who attaches to philosophical and theological views is not worthy of his teachings. Socrates is said to be the wisest because he knows he doesn’t know.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    What you need to stop embracing and appropriating are precisely all of these philosophies and religions you keep citing with reckless abandon. You are not a Platonist. You are not a Muslim or a Sufi. You are not a Christian. You are not a Jew or Kabbalist. You are not a Hindu. You are not a Buddhist.

    If you have discovered the truth, and that truth is not exclusive to any one particular religion, congratulations. My advice would be to stick to better articulating it, instead of employing in a superficial manner various mystics, religious founders, and philosophers as a crutch to lend credibility to your views, whatever they are.
  • Nils Loc
    314
    "A religion of one is a religion of none." This is a great and awful meme.

    A religion of Oneness is a religion of Noneness (Sunyata).

    Sunyata is a Buddhist's emptiness realization which might also be consoling (thus an emptiness consolation).
  • MysticMonist
    227
    My advice would be to stick to better articulating it, instead of employing in a superficial manner various mystics, religious founders, and philosophers as a crutch to lend credibility to your views, whatever they are.Thorongil

    You said earlier that if I reject all religions then I end up not believing anything. You are right.
    Yet now you say that I’m using these said religions as a crutch.
    You are right though that I don’t have an articulate worldview. It’s the main reason I came here and I’ve tried several prototypes on here, which have all failed.
    My arguments against hell, were in my mind, were pretty solid though.
    I did also really like when I simplified things to find God and follow God’s will. You said that this doesn’t work if there is an objective standard for salvation, but I’ve akready established there is no damnation.
    Personally I’m drawn most strongly to Islam, Judaism and Baha’i, so I think I can practice a general monotheism. The Quran definitely supports this approach. For me this practice does help me find God and obey His commandments. What else do I need? My entrance into heaven isn’t based on my theological accuracy nor my ability to articulate it.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    You said earlier that if I reject all religions then I end up not believing anything.MysticMonist

    No, I never said this. I said that if one rejects all religions, then one is not religious. I was taking aim at the perennialist who conceives of himself as a religious person, despite not formally belonging to any one particular religion. "A religion of one is a religion of none."

    You can obviously reject religion and still believe in something, i.e. have a particular worldview.

    I’ve akready established there is no damnationMysticMonist

    I don't think you have, sorry.

    Personally I’m drawn most strongly to Islam, Judaism and Baha’i, so I think I can practice a monotheismMysticMonist

    Why are you drawn to them? If not because you think one of them is true, then you're just expressing your aesthetic preferences, which I and most people here don't care about.

    My entrance into heaven isn’t based on my theological accuracy nor my ability to articulate it.MysticMonist

    Oh, but now you contradict yourself. In the other thread, you claimed that God commands you not to commit suicide or murder, which is why you won't kill yourself or murder other people in order to attain heaven that much faster. But if getting to heaven requires accepting this particular dogma about suicide and murder, then theological accuracy and your ability to articulate do matter.
  • MysticMonist
    227
    God commands you not to commit suicide or murder, which is why you won't kill yourself or murder other people in order to attain heaven that much faster. But if getting to heaven requires accepting this particular dogma about suicide and murder,Thorongil

    God can command things as what we should do in order to be righteous and be closer to Him, but He doesn’t have to require these things to avoid hell. Jews are commanded to wear tassels but aren’t going to hell for not doing so. This is a Christian understanding of the Law which is not Jewish.

    If not because you think one of them is true, then you're just expressing your aesthetic preferences, which I and most people here don't care about.Thorongil

    If you add “exclusively true” then you’re right it’s an aesthetic preference or perhaps a question of utility. I do think I could be Christian and be fine, I just don’t find many of their teachings pleasing nor useful.


    was taking aim at the perennialist who conceives of himself as a religious person, despite not formally belonging to any one particular religion. "A religion of one is a religion of none."Thorongil

    So why the focus on “formal” religious membership? I’m teetering on formally becoming Baha’i. Even if I don’t, I could easily become a universalit Quranist (i.e. Muslim). I’m sure there are other liberal Muslims, I know universalist Sufis exist. Or I would be fully welcome with the Quakers. All these would require only superficial changes to belief or practice.
    If Bishop Spong is Episcopalian than so am I.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Shelby_Spong
    Labels don’t mean much.
  • MysticMonist
    227
    The best objection to religious membership meaning anything at all, is the vast number of people who say they are a certain religion and even be on the church rolls but only rarely go to services, do no practices at home, do not follow their faiths prohibitions, and know little of their faith’s theology. I would be a good Christian if I just didn’t like reading and cared more about football instead without any increase of faith.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    God can command things as what we should do in order to be righteous and be closer to Him, but He doesn’t have to require these things to avoid hell. Jews are commanded to wear tassels but aren’t going to hell for not doing so. This is a Christian understanding of the Law which is not Jewish.MysticMonist

    You don't accept the Jewish or the Christian revelation. You've apparently received your own that is superior to them both, one that tells you all the secrets about heaven and hell, how to attain the former, and how the latter doesn't exist. That's great. You're the world's greatest prophet. But then you don't need to belong to any religion, which has been my point this entire time. If you do, it ought to conform to the truth you've already discovered.

    Even if I don’t, I could easily become a universalit Quranist (i.e. Muslim). I’m sure there are other liberal Muslims, I know universalist Sufis exist.MysticMonist

    Easily? You don't know that.

    Or I would be fully welcome with the Quakers.MysticMonist

    Again, how do you know?

    If Bishop Spong is Episcopalian than so am I.MysticMonist

    The Episcopal church is swiftly becoming a church for liberals and atheists who appreciate church hymns and architecture, that's true. For confused, New Age hippies, it might be the perfect match. No commitments, just shallow emoting, posturing, and political activism sprinkled over top Christian aesthetics.

    Labels don’t mean much.MysticMonist

    Except that they do. Spong is a hypocrite who wants Christianity to conform to his personal preferences, when in reality Christian identification works the other way around. One becomes a Christian on Christianity's terms, not one's own.

    The best objection to religious membership meaning anything at all, is the vast number of people who say they are a certain religion and even be on the church rolls but only rarely go to services, do no practices at home, do not follow their faiths prohibitions, and know little of their faith’s theology. I would be a good Christian if I just didn’t like reading and cared more about football instead without any increase of faith.MysticMonist

    Except that you wouldn't. You're describing hypocrisy, which becomes worthy of public rebuke only if the person behaving in such a way isn't contrite.
  • MysticMonist
    227

    Thanks :)
    Everyone has been very helpful.
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