Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Rare Inter-Faith Moment in Human History

A Rare Inter-Faith Moment in Human History! In antiquity, Greek became a universal language, and there was indeed some communication -- various religions, philosophies, and spiritual movements did influence each other: Platonic thought, Hermetic philosophy, Judaism including the Essenes, Jesus Movement, Pythagoreans, Gnostics, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus, Mithras and followers the other mystery schools.

Now we have English as the universal language and the the worldwide web as a global communications system. The internet age does help to promote synthesis and will probably lead to some interesting new spiritual movements that incorporate elements from various world religions. I've noticed some of this already. An example of this. I remember reading about one group that has three holy books: Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Koran. A kind of unified Abramahamic faith seems to be their goal.

The following passage is from the, Recognitions of Clement, composed sometime during the second or third centuries AD, from chapter twenty. The author has very nice things to say about those in India who worship One God, follow peaceful customs and laws, and are vegetarian. IMAGINE! Clearly he sees parallels between his own religion and that of his brothers and sisters "in the Indian countries." This is one of the most amazing passages I know of in the extra-canonical scriptures, as it is a rare example of one religion (post-Essene Ebionite or Hebrew Christianity) recognising "Truth" in another religion (Hinduism), a rare inter-faith moment in human history, and one later stamped out by Orthodoxy when the Ebionites were declared to be "heretics". Recognitions of Clement, and, the Clementine Homilies, are surviving Jewish-Christian texts representing an Ebionite point of view.

"There are likewise amongst the Bactrians,
in the Indian countries,
immense multitudes of Brahmans,
who also themselves,
from the tradition of their ancestors,
and peaceful customs and laws,
neither commit murder nor adultery,
nor worship idols,
nor have the practice of eating animal food,
are never drunk,
never do anything maliciously,
but always fear God."

-- Recognitions of Clement,
Volume Eight, of the,
"Ante-Nicene Fathers"

OM Shanti,