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 Blooming Stars

Theological Harmony

             The greatest and the most undeniable illusion (maya) in this world, to me, is that people who believe in God and afterlife live and act as if their life will never come to an end on this earth. They hoard wealth; acquire power and prestige by any means often trampling on other fellow human beings. They are unconcerned about their finality. And if they are concerned, their behavior does not indicate that. A fair estimate of the world’s believers in God would be about 90% of the world’s total population. Theological harmony among these believers is an indispensable condition for sustainable development and peace in this world. Since spirituality is common to all religions, it is important to look for harmony and peace that come from a spirituality beyond all religions, that is not a denial of religions but a fulfillment as we are engaged in search for purpose in this world.

            Peace and harmony have to result not from a sacrifice of vital principles but from a relentless quest for the ultimate Truth. Sages and theologians in the East and the West describe God (Ishvar, Elohim, Allah) variously as Sat-Chit-Ananda, (Truth, Consciousness, Bliss), Brahman or Paramatman (Supreme Being/Soul), Aadi Purush (Timeless Being), Maheshvar (The Great Cosmic Controller), I Am That I am( YHWH; Yahweh; Adonai), The One Who/That Is (Tat Sat), Way, Truth, Light, Wisdom, Great Spirit (Gitche Manitou), One Who Is More Intimate than one’s own self, At once Known and Unknown, The Beginning and the End (Alpha et Omega) Most Merciful (Ar-Rahman, Al-Rahim), Most Compassionate, Most Beneficent , Waheguru (Wonderful Teacher bringing light to remove darkness), Sadguru (Good/Real Teacher) or All-Glorious (Baha), Ultimate Concern, The Ground of our being, The Beyond in our midst, …

            Using intuition and reason a medieval philosopher, St. Anselm of Canterbury, proposedto prove the existence of God. He conceived God as the greatest of all beings, greater than that cannot be conceived. Since that being can be conceived, that being exists. This ontological argument has been criticized by many philosophers and theologians. A great modern mathematician, Kurt Godel, who contributed to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and whom Einstein admired greatly, tried to prove this very argument mathematically. His proof for God’s existence has also been subjected to criticism. I do not think anyone can or will ever prove God’s existence by pure a-priori reasoning. Yet I do not think that anyone including atheists can deny the restless vacuum or lonely space in the depth of our being that cannot be filled or satiated by anything or any human being in this world. This longing or yearning thought of philosophers as the objective unlimited capacity for an infinite being can only be fulfilled by the totally perfect being called God.

            We have revealed and un-revealed religions. While historically conversions mostly have taken place due to zealous conquerors using force or socio-cultural-economic factors such as race, caste and poverty or proselytizing missionary endeavors, charitable works, and educational institutions. By and large all religions are standing their ground and organizing resistance to conversions. While any individual has the freedom and the inalienable right to change one’s religion, it behooves all of us to work for religious harmony based on close friendship and deep respect. All human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. While the East emphasizes the immanence of God, the West emphasizes the transcendence of God. We are going to be judged finally not by anything else but by our conscience and the way we love God and love and treat our fellow human beings as ourselves. Theological harmony based on love, equality, fairness, tolerance, and spirit-life cannot be over-emphasized, and is sorely needed for humans’ march toward wholesome development and final destiny.

 

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