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 Blooming Stars

A Theology for the Modern Age

             Every religion has its theology or philosophy. It is high time to examine the theologies of major world religions, and what they have done to help humanity reach its destination. The nagging feeling that various theologies have been woefully inadequate in steering humans along the right course is persistent. Religions have been ridden with superstitions, meaningless rites, and inane rituals, and dubious practices that diminish overall human freedom and joy. The Christian theology based on fall-redemption and hell-heaven is very simplistic and inadequate for the modern age. This theology based entirely on faith presupposes that all human beings inherited the original sin through the first sin of disobedience of Adam and Eve, the first parents, by eating the fruit forbidden by God. The fall of humanity called for a Messiah who is also the Christ as well as the savior and redeemer for Christians, and who, innocent as he was, was crucified and died on the cross to save humanity from eternal damnation. Of course there are many theological issues that need to be explained. Interestingly the Jews, whose sacred book, the Old Testament of the Bible, contains the fall of Adam and Eve, are still awaiting their promised Messiah to deliver them. The Hindu theology that postulates a cycle of births and re-births or re-incarnations based on the law of karma until one ends papavasana or tendency to sin, and reaches liberation or mukti or moksha or kaivalya is equally inadequate. Interestingly Buddhism, an offshoot of Hinduism, emerging from the teachings of Buddha, has two distinct schools of thought, Hinayana (the lesser vessel) or Theravada and Mahayana (the greater vessel), of which the Hinayana school is atheistic. Buddha taught that one can reach nirvana or liberation at the end of numerous re-births that finally exhaust the bad effects of karma through one’s own determined and disciplined effort. The Islamic theology demands full submission to and total belief in the all merciful Allah (God) and his messenger, Mohammed, through whom God literally revealed Quran. In Islam no savior is required for salvation.

            All the theologies of the major religions of humanity have caused immense problems for humanity. They all have presented humanity either in a bad light or in a weak or indifferent fashion. None of these religions pictures humanity in a robust or optimistic manner. Humanity is essentially flawed and needs redemption in Christianity. God created a humanity that is essentially handicapped right from the start, and requires a savior even as human was created. In Hinduism and Buddhism human needs to get out from the innate tendency to sin through complete surrender to the Lord or purification and awareness that wipe out the deposits of karma by near superhuman sadhana (disciplined practice). In Islam by one’s total submission to God (Allah), one receives forgiveness from the infinitely merciful God. One wonders why God would create humans in this condition. Humanity is doomed to failure as it does not have a chance right from the beginning.

 

     
 
 
 
 
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