A debate ensued on another blog the other day, which started with the statement:
There is no truth other than your own life as I see it, living to a moral code that defines 'what you reap, you sow' seems to me the only way to live your life.I supported the writer on that (the view is supported also in science, as one of Newton's laws) but I also said that the method does mean you have to put some effort in, otherwise you still become the sheep!
Subsequently, the debate developed into something of a slinging match against Islam, highlighting websites that show the superiority of Christianity over Islam, quoting from various verses of the books of the two religions (the Bible and the Qur'an).
But Christians tend to overlook the shortcomings and evils in their own (man-made) religion that have blatantly surfaced over the last 1,500 years, and such articles stem from a fundamentalist standpoint. But one participant on the blog made the point: "Fundamentalism comes from a misunderstanding in my opinion and is part of the outer makeup of any religious thought not the main point."
The intentions and origins of Christianity were quite different to that which emerged out of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. It was that Council that decided to shut out the Gospel of Thomas, which up until then was as much relied on as the Gospel of John. Little did they know that the Gospel of Thomas would reappear at Nag Hammadi!
I firmly believe that of all Christian churches, the Unitarian and the Quaker movements are the nearest to the real teachings of Jesus in their approach. The Quakers are contemplatives and generally have a peaceful approach and (traditionally) have been socially highly constructive (e.g. (in the UK) Cadbury, Rowntree and Sturge) when other branches of the church shied away from responsibility on that issue.
The way of the Unitarian movement is based on the understandings of Origen and also Arius, who rather opposed Constantine and what he established as formal (catholic) Christianity.
In other words, each of us really should follow the dictum "seek and thou shalt find". Nothing is to be assumed as being provided on a plate: self-questioning and work is called for.
In fact, let us ask the question “what is the meaning of the word ‘Islam’?
The meaning is supposed to be “submission to God”, so a Muslim (a similar root origin) is “one who submits to God”.
The test question then is, “What is the true nature of God?”. If we were to hold the examples of Da’esh (so-called ISIL) as representing the true faith then we would have a picture of a rather horrible God, almost akin to the one often portrayed in the Old Testamant. But their Prophet Muhammed does not show signs of such a view, as the likes of Bernard Shaw, Carlyle and Irving attested.
Yes, if we were to examine the nature of the great teachers Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammed you find anything but their belief in a horrible God, and, instead, ways towards peace and wisdom.
The answer then becomes obvious to my mind … seek out the original teaching to determine what is meant. And, as another participant in the debate wrote: "To use logic only as a means to judge is fraught with potential misunderstandings. ... Logic is a great tool for getting an understanding of the layout of the land as it were, and very necessary, but it cannot be complete on its own as you also need a key that is beyond intellectual logic to anything that is not just linear".
One has to delve into the practices of groups such as the Vedantists, Essenes and the Sufis before glimmers of the truth can be seen, and taking precautions on what we sow in our lives.
Thank you for reading this.