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(RNS) Religion scholar Stephen Prothero has traced the path of Jesus from son of God to American icon, chastised the religiously illiterate, and tweeted the essence of the world’s great faiths in 140 characters or less. Now, the Boston University professor has a new book “God Is Not One,” and a new task: outlining the […]

2 Comments

  1. Orthodox, institutional religions are quite different, but their mystics have much in common. A quote from the chapter “Mystic Viewpoints” in my e-book at http://www.suprarational.org on comparative mysticism:

    Ritual and Symbols. The inner meanings of the scriptures, the spiritual teachings of the prophets and those personal searchings which can lead to divine union were often given lesser importance than outward rituals, symbolism and ceremony in many institutional religions. Observances, reading scriptures, prescribed acts, and following orthodox beliefs cannot replace your personal dedication, contemplation, activities, and direct experience. Preaching is too seldom teaching. For true mystics, every day is a holy day. Divine revelation is here and now, not limited to their sacred scriptures.

    Conflicts in Conventional Religion. “What’s in a Word?” outlined some primary differences between religions and within each faith. The many divisions in large religions disagreed, sometimes bitterly. The succession of authority, interpretations of scriptures, doctrines, organization, terminology, and other disputes have often caused resentment. The customs, worship, practices, and behavior within the mainstream of religions frequently conflicted. Many leaders of any religion had only united when confronted by someone outside their faith, or by agnostics or atheists. Few mystics have believed divine oneness is exclusive to their religion or is restricted to any people.

    Note: This is just a consensus to indicate some differences between the approaches of mystics and that of their institutional religion. These statements do not represent all schools of mysticism or every division of faith. Whether mystical experiences vary in their cultural context, or are similar for all true mystics, is less important than that they transform each one’s sense of being to a transpersonal outlook on all life.

  2. Stephen Prothero makes it quite clear that he is not dealing so much with the spiritual oneness of god but with the differences occuring within each persons environment and hence tradition.

    Obviously anyone praying to god, regardless of their name for god or their religious background will be praying to god. The big difference occurs when a group of people from different races, environments and different socio economic backgrounds isolated from each other for thousands of years create their own perceptions and traditions of god. Each of them claim that only their religion will provide salvation.

    It is not the belief in god which is different, only the rules (traditions)created by man are different.