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I suppose by your reckoning I would be in Stage 2 - in that I've cast off my 'angry atheist' youth and moved on to appreciate the complexity and beauty that the inheritance of thousands of years of religious contemplation has to offer.

I'm interested in your Stage 3. To see "all religions as reflecting the same fundamental truths" seems like indifferentism, is this where you were going? Or was this more a statement of the idea that God has written truth on all men's souls, and that each expresses at least some part of this divine inheritance?

Of course, the idea that fascinates me about religion is not that all of them might be true, but rather that one of them might be. To accept all religious truth as equal seems awfully close to non-committal form of atheism to me.

Another great post. I linked to you.


You asked, "Or was this more a statement of the idea that God has written truth on all men's souls, and that each expresses at least some part of this divine inheritance?"

That's about it. It's like the five blind men who encounter an elephant, each one describing some separate part and imagining that he sees the whole. The alternative is to say that there is only "one true faith," and all the others are lies or delusions. If so, what happens to all those poor souls who had the misfortune to be born in the "wrong" part of the world or the "wrong" era? I find it more credible that the infinite nature of God can be best be expressed by a variety of symbols and systems, none of which captures the full truth.

I also think that, at root, all major religions are about the same thing: the transcendence of mundane, petty, worldly concerns, or to put it another way, overcoming the ego. Whether you transcend/overcome the ego by praying to Jesus, by meditating on the aspects of divinity represented by Hindu gods, or by sitting in contemplation under a Boddhi tree seems less important (to me) than your effort and the intention behind it.

I think this would be true even of religions that are now extinct. Apuleius' comic novel The Golden Ass, written in Roman times, includes a marvelous evocation of the goddess Isis as seen by the hero in a transported state. No one worships Isis anymore (except maybe a few New Agers), but the impulse behind the worship was valid then and is still valid now.

Someone might say, Well, then, do you think Isis was "real"? I would say she was real in the sense that the color red is real. Where is red? It exists at the meeting point of the light from an object and the visual apparatus that perceives it. It does not exist purely "out there" (without eyes to see, there would be no red) nor purely in the mind (the object must be of a certain nature to produce or reflect those light rays). It exists at the crossroads between external reality and the consciousness that observes it. In the same way, Isis "exists" at the intersection of (one aspect of) God and the mind that recognizes it. Our mind translates this aspect of God into a form that makes sense to us. Isis herself is not really there, but that which gives rise to this impression or experience is there. So Christians will see apparitions of Jesus or Mary, while the apostles who witnessed the Transfiguration saw Moses and Elijah, and Apuleius (or his stand-in in the book) saw Isis. We're at the borderline between objective and subjective here, just as we are with colors (and sounds, and tastes, etc.).

That's my (tentative) opinion, anyway. I could be wrong! : )


Thanks for linking! Harry's posts are found at Jackson's Junction - . Check it out! One of his latest pieces is a link to the stupefyingly negative reviews of J Lo's latest piece of ..., er, I mean, her latest movie. What is it with J Lo? Her gangster comedy Out of Sight was good. That movie where she enters the mind of a comatose person, whatever it was called, was pretty good. But those came out years ago. Has she done *anything* decent since then? Does this woman even have a manager? Sheesh.

Even the poster for "Monster in Law" stinks. They're all over L.A. It's just J-lo and J-Fo pointing at each other and angry. The colors are awful...

"Drunken crazy mother in law tries to stop her son from getting married." It's a good logline, easy to sell, and J-Lo probably didn't bother to read the script.

That's how movies are made today.

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