The reason I am not an atheist: that the universe exists at all, that it obeys laws, that out of those laws come galaxies, stars and planets, that on one planet life and consciousness has evolved (and probably on many others), are all one wonder after another. It requires more gullibility to believe this all just happened by accident than to believe there is a Supreme Omnipotent Intelligence behind it all. Faith in God is not irrational at all.
Contemplation does not free you from conflict, anguish and doubt. Rather it creates serious questions about the whole status quo of everyday injustices we constantly see all around us and accept as if they were unquestionable dogmas. True contemplation leads one to social justice which is the proper distribution of love throughout society.
The Body of Christ is not bound to any one race, nation, tradition, culture or theology but can learn from them all new ways of expressing the truth of the message of Jesus the Christ. Churches can enrich, and be enriched by, many different cultures.
The codependent person is often a chronic worrier, a compulsive helper, suffers from a wounded inner child, and feels shamed in his or her essence. Surrendering to the grace of God in the intimacy of prayer can heal and transform these four maladies of codependents.
The very firstliberal Protestant, Friedrich Schleiermacher, wrote in the 1800s that “Religion does not come from fear of death or fear of God, as philosophers previously thought. Religion is neither a metaphysic (a grand philosophy of what is beyond the material world) nor a morality. In its essence, religion is an intuition, feeling, or direct experience of God. Even dogmas are not religion. Dogmas derive from religious experiences.” Religions that do not give people direct experiences of God, in spite of being strong on metaphysics, dogmas and morality, will gradually lose followers. This is what has happened most mainline churches.
The Fourth Precept of Buddhism is about mindful speech. Accordingly, when it comes to conversation, we need to avoid four things: lying/exaggeration/’forked tongue’ (telling one person one thing and another person something different about the same event)/and ‘filthy talk’ (insulting or abusing others). Things haven’t changed much: politicians, lawyers, and athletes could learn a lot from Buddhism.
Henri Nouwen saw Christian life as in three stages: communion, community, and commission. That is, life apart from others (in solitude with self and in communion with God), life shared with others (with kindred hearts in community), life given for others (in ministry).
The very essence of the New Spirituality (spirituality outside the church) is freedom to follow your own inner light without any pressure from dogma, teachers, leaders or institutions. As Oprah says “You are your own authority.”The only problem with this is that you are putting a lot of pressure on the one short life you have, and ignoringthe accumulated wisdom of centuries of religion and the tried and true experience of millions of people.
Jonathan Edwards, a 19th century Protestant theologian, wrote that “The Holy Scriptures everywhere place religion in the affections: love, hate, fear, joy, sorrow, hope.” Religion in his opinion, is a matter of feeling and emotion not intellect. This may be true, but Holy Scripture also says we should have “reasons for the hope that is in us.” (1Peter 3:15). This is particularly necessary in an age of science and the New Atheism.
The more one pursues spirituality in the teachings of world religious leaders like Jesus, Mohammed, Lao Tzu and Buddha, the more one experiences oneness, interconnectedness and less separation.
The new cosmology (the story of the origin and development of the universe and our place in it) that science is showing us: – things develop from matter (big bang, galaxies, planets) to life (plants) to sensitivity (animals) to thought (humans) – demonstrates that the whole universe is heading in a spiritual direction – the whole universe is moving inexorably towards more life and consciousness. This new cosmology can heal the former split between science and religion.Matter intrinsically moves toward spirit. The whole universe is bound for enlightenment!
Contemplation does not kill your pain and anguish. In fact it increases your awareness of the false faith in things that most “normal” people put their trust in: money and possessions. Once you start to grasp the folly of this – the cultural trance or sleepwalking that is the status quo – it increases your grief for the all those who are trapped in it. You shed tears of compassion for your fellow human beings. “Compassion” means “to suffer with.” Contemplation leads to suffering with and for others.
This is what God wants to say to you. Imagine yourself being full-immersion baptized like Jesus, the heavens parting and God saying to you “You are my beloved in whom I take great delight.” Let God’s voice resonate deep within you and heal all your emptiness and pain.
The point of both the Councils of Chalcedon and Nicaea is that only God can save us from destroying ourselves. And God can only save us humans through a fully human life, the life of Jesus.
According to St. Francis de Sales, God placed you in the world not because God needs you in any way, but just to exercise God’s own goodness by giving you God’s grace and glory.
The Cosmic Christ was already in the world before Jesus of Nazareth came along. The Cosmic Christ is the light that enlightens everyone who pursues goodness, truth, and beauty in any discipline. This includes non-believers, sincethe Cosmic Christ is goodness, truth and beauty.
Spiritual seekers went to India in the 1960s and 70s thinking they could become mystics through drugs, sex, or ‘siddhis’ (psychic powers). However the true test of mysticism is becoming merciful as God is merciful.
It is the imperfections in our universe, the wrinkles in space-time, that creates the galaxies, stars, and planets. If space-time was perfectly smooth, nothing would now exist. It is our imperfections that make us human, sensitive creatures. If we were all perfect, life would be perfectly boring.
The journey of enlightenment in any religion involves shedding not collecting; it is a constant process of letting go of more and more defences until you are spiritually naked.
The cure for anyone’s sense of emptiness, loneliness, and shame is to feel God’s unconditional love and acceptance.
Overall, evolution’s direction is from pre-personal to personal to transpersonal; from pre-rational to rational to trans-rational; from id to ego to spirit. For example: from subconscious (dog) to conscious (human) to superconscious (divinized human).