Powered By Blogger

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rare Inter-Faith Moments in Human History

Rare Inter-Faith Moments in Human History

In antiquity, Greek became a universal language, and there was some communication developing between world religions. Various religions, philosophies, and spiritual movements did influence each other: Platonic thought, Hermetic philosophy, Judaism (including the Essenes), the Jesus Movement, Pythagoreans, Gnostics, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus, Mithras and followers the other mystery schools. The Library of Alexandria once contained books from all over the ancient world. Now we have English as the universal language and the the worldwide web as a global communications system: Library of Alexandria dot com.

A shining example of knowledge beyond artificial borders, a theology of INclusive revelation as opposed to EXclusive revelation, is the Nag Hammadi Library found in Egypt. Compiled and studied by monks during the early centuries AD, Nag Hammadi contained sacred scriptures of not just one religion or school of spirituality, but many: early Christian texts such as the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary Magdalene, and the Books of James the Just, writings of the Valintinians (a Christian sect with Gnostic leanings), the Sethians (a Jewish mystical sect), Hermetic philosophy, the Pythagoreans, and scriptures used by several Gnostic groups. The equivalent of this today would be a sacred library containing Buddhist sutras, Hindu Upanishads and Vedas, Sufi texts, Kabbalist writings, along with books by Christian mystics. The Gnostic Library Online:

Another Rare Inter-Faith Moment in Human History

The following passage is from the, Recognitions of Clement, a Christian scripture 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 universal truths and 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 (Ebionite, Hebrew Christianity) recognising Truth in another religion (Hinduism), a peaceful, good-natured spirit of human unity, and one later stamped out 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 within early Christianity.

"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", a book in my library

Godspeed, Peace, Salam, ShalOM, OM Shanti, OM Nam Padme Hum,