Etiket arşivi: Christianity

Common Denominators Among Religions 2

The Temple Mount is one of the world’s most sacred spots. It has been identified as the biblical Mount Moriah.  Arabs name it Haram es Sharif, the Noble Courtyard. It was here that Solomon created the First Temple. After its destruction, it was replaced by the Second Temple.  The Wailing Wall is a remnant of the 2nd century CE wall that once supported the Temple Mount. At the center of the Temple Mount stands the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhra).  The shrine is built over the sacred Rock (Sakhra) on which Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac/Ishmael and from which Mohammed is said to have ascended to Heaven.

The Temple Mount is one of the world’s most sacred spots. It has been identified as the biblical Mount Moriah. Arabs name it Haram es Sharif, the Noble Courtyard.
It was here that Solomon created the First Temple. After its destruction, it was replaced by the Second Temple. The Wailing Wall is a remnant of the 2nd century CE wall that once supported the Temple Mount.
At the center of the Temple Mount stands the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhra). The shrine is built over the sacred Rock (Sakhra) on which Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac/Ishmael and from which Mohammed is said to have ascended to Heaven.

Iran – Esfahan, Jameh Mosque.   The stone mihrab, which indicates the direction of Mecca, is decorated with tiling and calligraphy and also carries the traces of Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrian symbolism played an important part in Iranian art and some aspects of Zoroastrianism still appeal to Iranian Muslims.   It is interesting to note that Persian churches often incorporate Islamic features.

Iran – Esfahan, Jameh Mosque.
The stone mihrab, which indicates the direction of Mecca, is decorated with tiling and calligraphy and also carries the traces of Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrian symbolism played an important part in Iranian art and some aspects of Zoroastrianism still appeal to Iranian Muslims.
It is interesting to note that Persian churches often incorporate Islamic features.

Turkey – Istanbul, Saint Antoine Church.   The Franciscan church burned down in 1660, upon which the Franciscans were given another site. Two centuries later they built themselves this neo-gothic building that throws its doors open to all on Christmas Eve for a mass that has become a traditional event in the life of Istanbul. An ordinary day, two conservative Muslim women visiting the Church.

Turkey – Istanbul, Saint Antoine Church.
The Franciscan church burned down in 1660, upon which the Franciscans were given another site. Two centuries later they built themselves this neo-gothic building that throws its doors open to all on Christmas Eve for a mass that has become a traditional event in the life of Istanbul.
An ordinary day, two conservative Muslim women visiting the Church.

Turkey – Mersin, Mersin City Cemetery. Mersin City Cemetery, a place which for 63 years has given the lie to the issue of conflicting religions. In this cemetery Muslims, Orthodox, Syrian Christians, Catholics and Jews are buried side by side. It is very rarely that we find those who are followers of any of these three religions being interred side-by-side.  It is said that in Helsinki, Finland, there is a similar cemetery, but there the remains of members of different religions do not lie side by side but are buried in separate areas of the graveyard. This rare occurrence in Mersin is a great asset for the city, whose citizens accept the communal graveyard as entirely natural. This cemetery brings together not only the members of the three major religions but also the sects of Christianity. It sends out a common message from all three religions. It is a symbol of peace. When these people have lived together, used the same coffee houses, dined in the same restaurants and shared the same pastures, burying them in separate cemeteries would have been unfair.

Turkey – Mersin, Mersin City Cemetery.
Mersin City Cemetery, a place which for 63 years has given the lie to the issue of conflicting religions. In this cemetery Muslims, Orthodox, Syrian Christians, Catholics and Jews are buried side by side. It is very rarely that we find those who are followers of any of these three religions being interred side-by-side.
It is said that in Helsinki, Finland, there is a similar cemetery, but there the remains of members of different religions do not lie side by side but are buried in separate areas of the graveyard. This rare occurrence in Mersin is a great asset for the city, whose citizens accept the communal graveyard as entirely natural. This cemetery brings together not only the members of the three major religions but also the sects of Christianity. It sends out a common message from all three religions. It is a symbol of peace. When these people have lived together, used the same coffee houses, dined in the same restaurants and shared the same pastures, burying them in separate cemeteries would have been unfair.

Common Denominators Among Religions 1

Creation- Both the Koran and the Bible tell the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But for Muslims, as for Jews, their “original sin” of disobedience is not passed on to humankind, so they don’t require salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, a central doctrine of Christianity. The Bible and the Koran trace a common lineage back to Abraham, who was neither Jew nor Christian, and beyond that to Adam himself. Theologically, both books profess faith in a single God, who creates and sustains the world. Both call humankind to repentance, obedience and purity of life. Both warn of God’s punishment and final judgment of the world. Both imagine a hell and a paradise in the hereafter. Adam and Eve (1539), Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553); angels bow before Adam and Eve in paradise, Mid. 1550s, Safavid period.  Photos: wikimedia.org; www.asia.si.edu

Creation- Both the Koran and the Bible tell the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But for Muslims, as for Jews, their “original sin” of disobedience is not passed on to humankind, so they don’t require salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, a central doctrine of Christianity.
The Bible and the Koran trace a common lineage back to Abraham, who was neither Jew nor Christian, and beyond that to Adam himself. Theologically, both books profess faith in a single God, who creates and sustains the world. Both call humankind to repentance, obedience and purity of life. Both warn of God’s punishment and final judgment of the world. Both imagine a hell and a paradise in the hereafter.
Adam and Eve (1539), Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553); angels bow before Adam and Eve in paradise, Mid. 1550s, Safavid period.
Photos: wikimedia.org; www.asia.si.edu

The Annunciation- In the Koran and the Bible the angel Gabriel is God’s announcer. Through Gabriel, Prophet Mohammed hears the revelations that, for Muslims, is the Word of God made book. In the Bible, Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary she will give birth to Jesus who, for Christians, is the Word of God made flesh. The Annunciation by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890) and Mohammed with the angel Gabriel from an undated Turkish manuscript. Photos: faso.com; ruhsalenerji.org

The Annunciation- In the Koran and the Bible the angel Gabriel is God’s announcer. Through Gabriel, Prophet Mohammed hears the revelations that, for Muslims, is the Word of God made book. In the Bible, Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary she will give birth to Jesus who, for Christians, is the Word of God made flesh.
The Annunciation by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890) and Mohammed with the angel Gabriel from an undated Turkish manuscript.
Photos: faso.com; ruhsalenerji.org

The Ascention- In one story extrapolated from a verse in the Koran (surah 17:1), the Prophet Mohammed ascends to the throne of God, the model for the Sufis’ flight of the soul to God. The story of Prophet Mohammed’s mystical nighttime journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he adresses an assembly of all previous prophets from Adam to Jesus. Yet another version of this story tells of his subsequent Ascension (mi’raj) from Jerusalem to the throne of Allah, receiving honors along the way from the prophets whom he has superseded. For Sufi mystics, Mohammed’s ascension is the paradigmatic story of the soul’s flight to God. For many Muslim traditionalists, however, the journey was a physical one. In the Bible, Jesus ascends to the Father after he is resurrected from the dead.  The Ascention of Christ, Rembrandt, 1636; Mohammed ascends in a 1583 Turkish text. Photos: www.hymntime.com; www.omurokur.com

The Ascention- In one story extrapolated from a verse in the Koran (surah 17:1), the Prophet Mohammed ascends to the throne of God, the model for the Sufis’ flight of the soul to God. The story of Prophet Mohammed’s mystical nighttime journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he adresses an assembly of all previous prophets from Adam to Jesus. Yet another version of this story tells of his subsequent Ascension (mi’raj) from Jerusalem to the throne of Allah, receiving honors along the way from the prophets whom he has superseded. For Sufi mystics, Mohammed’s ascension is the paradigmatic story of the soul’s flight to God. For many Muslim traditionalists, however, the journey was a physical one. In the Bible, Jesus ascends to the Father after he is resurrected from the dead.
The Ascention of Christ, Rembrandt, 1636; Mohammed ascends in a 1583 Turkish text.
Photos: www.hymntime.com; www.omurokur.com

 

 

Comparison Of The Living Religions 4

The Recognition of an Especially Sacred Community

The two most individualistic religions, Jainism and Buddhism, have organized their holy ascetics into a monkish order, Sangha or congregation; but women are regarded as inherently inferior.

Hinduism teaches that its whole hereditary caste system is a sacred institution as compared with the rest of the world, and that as compared among themselves the upper castes are successively the more holy.

Judaism – The synagogue is the place where people of equal standing meet together to pray without any need for an intermediary.

Christianity – The infallibility of the Pope, is a part of Roman Catholic doctrine.

Islam cuts clean across the common ideas of hereditary status, of social superiorities, and even of international exclusiveness by its insistence upon absolute submission before the one omnipotent world potentate, Allah, and upon active joining in his cause.

Turkmenistan, Koneurgenc.

Turkmenistan, Koneurgenc.

The Hope of a Universal Religion

The idea of becoming universal does not occur in the sacred scriptures of Sikhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Shinto and Taoism; and never to have arisen in their whole history.

In the case of Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism, the hope of becoming universal has been definitely dropped in their history.

In the case of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, the plan of becoming universal stands clearly commanded in their sacred scriptures, and was acted upon by the founder himself, and has been followed up actively in their later history, so that they have actually become international through missionary effort.

Nepal, Kathmandu.

Nepal, Kathmandu.

The Hopes and Fears of a Future Life

Hinduism and Buddhism teach that the present life is not worth continuing; although the future life is thus for most people a dread necessity, yet by various proper processes a person’s evanescent  miserable individuality may finally be extirpated  altogether.

Jainism teaches that immortality is inherently unavoidable, with ultimate residence in either heaven or in hell.

All four of the religions which originated in India teach the doctrine of transmigration, that by power of the law of Karma, a person’s soul becomes reincarnate after death in some other earthly body, according to his conduct in this present life.

Confucianism regards religion as consisting chiefly of proper ethical conduct, yet offers for the future only a ghostly kind of existence, without hope of heaven, without fear of hell, without consequences of any kind resulting from a person’s present manner of living.

Zoroastrianism and Islam teach an inescapable judgment scene, with rewards and punishments. A paradise with delights for the pious, and a hell with perpetual agonies of physical torments for the unsubmissive unbeliever. Zoroastrianism reduces the sensual features of heaven and hell to a minimum, and finally manages to eliminate all evil, but by means of an apocalyptic ceremonial.

Christianity contains a considerable variety of eschatological belief within the Bible, and also in its subsequent history. However, Christianity has taught uniformly that there will be a sure and just judgment for all mankind, when the good people will enter into the joy of closer fellowship with God, and when the wicked will suffer the terrible consequences of the seperation from God.

 

 

 

Comparison Of The Living Religions 2

The Claim of a Supernatural Origin of the Founder

Buddha, in some later scriptures which abound in the marvellous is represented as a pre-existent heavenly being who, in connection with a prophetic dream of a queen, became her first-born child when she was forty-five years old.

Lao Tzu in documents dating a thousand years after his day is represented as having been born a fully matured Wise Old Boy or Philosopher, with white hair, who had been carried in his mother’s womb for seventy-two years, or for eighty-one years, according to different traditions.

Mahavira in a Jain document is represented as a pre-existent being who, in fulfilment of fourteen prophetic dreams, was supernaturally placed in his royal mother’s womb.

A virgin birth seems to be intimated in the case of Zoroaster. His mother was supernaturally glorified when she was an unmarried young woman of fifteen. Three future saviors in Zoroastrianism are predicted to be born of a mother who, similarly, is to be a virgin fifteen years old.

In the canonical New Testament of Christianity there are varying data concerning a divine origin of Jesus. Jesus represented himself as having come from God, whon he called father.

Titian (1490-1576), Saint John the Evangelist on Patmos, c. 1547.

Titian (1490-1576), Saint John the Evangelist on Patmos, c. 1547.

 

The Claim of Divine Revelation

The following may be specified as outstanding revelations of truth:

Hinduism -  The immanence of the divine in the world; human society, a divinely ordained structure; union with the divine, the goal of existence.

Jainism – Self-renunciation, the condition of salvation; the ideal of a liberation of the spirit with subjugation of the flesh.

Buddhism – Selfishness as the root of misery; salvation through inner purity and self-discipline.

Confucianism – The essential goodness of human nature, as divinely implanted; religion as exercised in proper social relationships.

Taoism – Religion as exercised in humbly following the divine Way.

Zoroastrianism – Religion as involving active co-operation with a cosmic power of goodness in a struggle against evil.

Shinto – Nature to be recognized as a beautiful divine creation; religion as involving purity and also loyalty to the supreme authority.

Sikhism – Religion as discipleship of the One True God, with trust in His Name.

Christianity – The supreme power in the world is a perfect person; that He may best be conceived of and lived with as a Father-God; that He has been presented by His Son Jesus Christ; and that the supreme satisfaction of every human being consists in loving obedience to Him and in loving service to brother man.

Islam – Superlative satisfaction to be obtained through submission to an omnipotent God, who is not only a sovereign, but also a judge and rewarder.

Rembrandt (1606-1669), the Evangelist Matthew Inspired by an Angel, 1661.

Rembrandt (1606-1669), the Evangelist Matthew Inspired by an Angel, 1661.

 

The Claim of an Inspired Scripture

Living religions do possess definite sets of documents which are regarded unique divine truths which need to be known for salvation. For all of them claims have been made as pre-eminent above the rest of literature.

Hinduism – Vedas, book of knowledge.

Jainism – Angas, bodies of knowledge.

Buddhism – Tripitaka, three baskets of of teachings.

Sikhism – Granth.

Confucianism – The Five Classics and The Four Books.

Taoism – Tao-te-Ching, the canon of reason and virtue.

Shinto – Ko-ji-ki, the records of ancient matters and Nihon-gi, the chronicles of Japan.

Zoroastrianism – Avesta, the knowledge.

Judaism – The Old Testament.

Christianity – The New Testament.

Islam – Koran.

 

Comparison Of The Living Religions 1

The religions of the world have some features in common.

  • The belief in One Supreme Being,
  • The claim of divine incarnation,
  • The claim of a supernatural origin of the founder,
  • The claim of divine revelation,
  • The claim of an inspired scripture,
  • The report of miracles wrought,
  • The principle of the “golden rule”,
  • The recognition of an especially sacred community,
  • The hope of a universal religion,
  • The hopes and fears of a future life.

The Belief in One Supreme Being

This idea was repudiated by original Jainism and by original Buddhism. But in the later developments of both systems the founder was worshipped.

Judaism believed in one supreme worshipful God, Jehovah. After the period of the Exile the Jews were consistently monotheistic.

Confucianism teaches the beliefin one Supreme Being, designated either personally as Supreme Ruler or impersonally as Heaven. But Confucianism has limited the worship of this Being to only one person in China, the emperor, and only once a year, on the night of the winter solstice, December 22. Popular Confucianism encourages the common people to worship many spirits, both nature spirits and the spirits of deceased ancestors.

Zoroastrianism sets forth one cosmic power, which is supremely worshipful, Ahura Mazda. But this being is not supremely powerful, because there has always existed an opposing cosmic power, Angra Mainyu, the spirit of evil. Furthermore, Zoroastrianism recognizes many other good spirits, subordinate to Ahura Mazda, yet deserving of worship.

Both Hinduism and Taoism believe in one supreme impersonal cosmic being, named Brahma and Tao, respectively, to be meditated upon, but not exactly to be worshipped. But in both religions the popular phases have been polytheistic, characterized by the actual worship of many deities.

A definite belief in and a worship of one supreme cosmic power by all people, can be found in only four religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. These four religions agree as to the oneness of God.

The Claim of Divine Incarnation

The idea that deity can become incarnate is found in several religions, but with various settings and applications.

In philosophic Hinduism, ever since the period of the Upanishads, every object may be regarded as a temporary manifestation or embodiment or impersonation of the impersonal, non-moral, eternal Brahma, though the high cast Brahman priests are especially venerated as such.

In popular Hinduism there are several deities, who are believed to have taken the form of men. For instance, the god Vishnu, is believed to have entered upon several incarnations; the list varies from nine to twenty-two, but always includes animals. None of these Hindu avatars are represented as morally perfect, nor are they represented as manifestations of one supreme personal cosmic deity.

In Buddhism, despite its explicitly non-theistic basis, Buddha came to be regarded as a kind of incarnation, yet even so only as one of some twenty-four incarnate Buddhas, with a twenty-fifth still to come.

In Christianity, Jesus Christ is the unique incarnation, the Word of God.

In Islam, despite its dominant doctrine of the absolute transcendence of Allah, Shi’ism broke away from Sunni’ism on the issue of imams, divine incarnations. Some subsects among the Shiites differ concerning the exact number of still other incarnations, seven or twelve, and concerning the identity of the last one.

 

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1601-02, Neues Palais, Potsdam, Germany. The Divine One became human so that human beings might become divine.” — Athanasius Photo:www.ibiblio.org

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1601-02, Neues Palais, Potsdam, Germany.
The Divine One became human so that human beings might become divine.” — Athanasius
Photo:www.ibiblio.org