Xref: taco alt.atheism:9921 talk.religion.misc:39059 Subject: Re: THEORY--HEAVEN/HELL Date

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Xref: taco alt.atheism:9921 talk.religion.misc:39059 Path: ncsuvm!taco!lll-winken!uunet!elroy.jpl.nasa.gov!usc!apple!mikel From: mikel@Apple.COM (Mikel Evins) Newsgroups: alt.atheism,talk.religion.misc Subject: Re: THEORY--HEAVEN/HELL Message-ID: <52017@apple.Apple.COM> Date: 25 Apr 91 19:13:38 GMT References: <1991Apr22.031817.4635@dartvax.dartmouth.edu> <10626@emanon.cs.jhu.edu> Organization: Apple Computer Inc., Cupertino, CA Lines: 163 Sigh. Here we go again. In article towfiq@FTP.COM writes: >Please note followup to talk.religion.misc. Sorry, a.a! > >>>>>> On 22 Apr 91 19:06:15 GMT, arromdee@cs.jhu.edu (Kenneth Arromdee) said: > >Kenneth> There are lots of religions, with different (mutually >Kenneth> exclusive) ideas of God. > >Today's existing religious institutions do seem to have such >conflicts, but I would question whether the teachings of the >Messengers these religions are based on actually conflict, >particularly with respect to the nature of God. The more I study, the >more similarities I see between the religions, and the more I see that >people have perverted them. I agree with your statement, with this >distinction. Before anyone objects that we should stick to "mainstream" religions (whatever that means) in this discussion, I will respond by saying that every definition I have heard of "mainstream" religions has been self-serving from the point of view of the objector. Further, are we really to suppose that Cosmc Truth is defined by popularity? The above thesis boils down to a claim that the "main points" of all "major" religions are the same. Let us examine what might be taken to be "main points": 1. The existence and nature of God Christianity: God is one being, manifest in a trinity of beings. He created the universe. He is Good. He will judge the world, reward the good, and punish the evil. Islam: Points are similar, except that God is emphatically not a trinity. Buddhism: God who? Taoism: There are many gods, but they have nothing to do with human beings. Pay no attention to them. Praying just encourages them. Leave them alone and they'll leave you alone. Hinduism: There are millions of gods. All of them, and indeed all existing things are really Brahman pretending not to be omnipotent. Ultimately, you will be reabsorbed into the Godhead and cease to be an individual entity (regardless of what you do in life). Native American religion: What's a god? There are various entities, all of them our relatives. Some of them are human, some are animals, plants, rocks, bodies of water. Some of them are Creators, having created the world at various times for various purposes, many of them having nothing to do with human beings. Some of these entities may be helpful to human beings, others are mostly harmful, and many are more or less indifferent. These characteristics have nothing to do with whether they created the world. 2. Good and Evil. Christianity: What God loves is good. What god hates is evil. Ask god to be sure. Islam: Ditto. Buddhism: Good and Evil are illusory categorizations of phenomena based upon the human predilictions for passion, aggression, and ignorance. The correct and desirable values are clarity and appropriateness to context. Taoism: Good for whom in what context? Evil for whom in what context? That which is good now may be seen to be truly evil as the passage of time reveals the context to have changed. The same thing may be seen to be good again with the passage of time. There is no principle of good or evil apart from these perceptions. Hinduism: There is no evil. All that we call evil is illusory suffering due to Brahman's supreme ability to pretend not to be omnipotent. All of our suffering is merely the ornamentation of the Godhead's shadow play as it pretends to be us. Because Good is definable only in terms of evil, there is no Good. Native American religion: Good? You mean pleasant? Or maybe beautiful? Evil? Does that maybe mean dangerous? No, wait, Good and Evil are supposed to be opposites, so that would mean something couldn't be both beautiful and dangerous. Hmmm... 3. Salvation Christianity: Salvation from the eternal suffering caused by falling into the dominion of the Enemy is available by two means: a) obey god's law and never EVER disobey. This doesn't really work, because humans are so fallible, so salvation, mark II is: b) accept that Jesus was the incarnate form of God Himself, who died by torture on our behalf to expiate our sins. Accept this and you will live forever in God-induced bliss. Islam: Submit utterly and completely to the will of God and trust utterly and completely in His Will. Take the writings of Muhammed and other prophets as guides to correct moral action. Your reward will be an eternal life of God-induced bliss. Buddhism: Salvation is liberation from enslavement to the cycle of passion, aggression and ignorance. The means to this end is naked confrontation of the bare phenomenological facts of your existence. The obstacle is the human tendency to distraction in terms of passion, aggression, and ignorance. The correct response is practice at remaining clear (meditation). The reward is the capacity to see clearly and choose appropriately in any situation, thus being liberated from the domination of passion, aggression, and ignorance. Taoism: "salvation" is ceasing to seek salvation. The original nature of all beings is perfect. It is only by striving to deform your nature to match a bogus one communicated to you by others (bogus because it is not your own) that you become lost. Simply give all striving to become other than what you are. Your reward will be simplicity and a graceful blending with the natural way of things, culminating in your death and oblivion, which you will welcome because it is natural. Hinduism: Salvation is an illusion. Suffering is an illusion. At some point the karma of your existence will be played out, and your individual soul will cease to exist, re-merging with the cosmic all of Brahman. Your reward will be remembering who you truly are: God. Native American Religion: Salvation from what? >Kenneth> Even if I "should" see that there is a God to worship, which >Kenneth> one of these religions am I going to pick? If I pick the >Kenneth> wrong one I am in just as much deep doodoo as if I didn't >Kenneth> pick one at all, and it's impossible to _expect_ me to pick >Kenneth> the right one. > >If Jesus is Buddha is Muhammad is Baha'u'llah etc. then you can't >"pick" the wrong one (although if you realize this, then why shouldn't >you accept them all?). They are all on the same path to God, so what >matters is your heart, and your connection with God. They reveal >teachings, prayers, and laws to help you to move closer to God. In what sense could Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad be the same? In what sense could their gods (or, in some cases, non-gods) be the same? Please note, I have selected for the above only a few religions that most people will probably recognize. There are many, many more, and they are very, very different.

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