TODAY'S MESSAGE

1. Don't forget Thanksgiving Dinner on 11/22/14 -details at www.ThanksgivingCelebrations.org

2. This site is all my writings or writings about me.

3. I write full commentary at several of my dedicated blogs and site, which will not appear there, the main ones are at: http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com and www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Texas Faith - Do you think monotheism is a superior form of religious belief?

Monotheism would not be a superior form of religious belief, if it gets Abrahamic faiths to gang up against others. However, if it becomes a panacea to develop cohesive societies where no one has to live with fear of the other, then it is a belief that works superiorly along with the polytheistic, native, pagan, atheistic and humanistic traditions who aspire to create a kingdom of peace for its inhabitants.

If we can learn to accept and respect the God given (genetic for those who do not believe in God) uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

To read the take by all the panelists go to Dallas Morning News at: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/09/texas-faith-is-monotheism-supe.html

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MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

In spiritual terms, the phrase superior belief is oxymoronic. Religion is about humility and not arrogance. It is the inculcation of the value of humility that builds cohesiveness in a given society. Arrogance simply destroys it.

Every religious teacher and spiritual master was committed to harmony within the group and with others. Indeed with almost no exceptions, every tradition has established a form of prayer to connect with the creator. That, invariably, involves bowing, leaning, kneeling or prostrating, it is learning to be humble.

Arrogance and spirituality are inversely proportional to each other. The greater the arrogance, the lower the spirituality and vice versa. Arrogance depletes one's spirituality (humility), while humility enhances the blissful connection with oneself and the universe.

Claiming superiority of a "belief" gives a false sense of security to those whose belief is based on the assumption that the other is inferior. To them, other religions have to be wrong or inferior for theirs to be right. That's a false foundation for a belief to rest on. As with every aspect of life, monotheism, polytheism, theism or atheism is a security blanket and not a genuine source of solace to a small portion of the population resulting in discontentment and fear of learning the other.


Monotheism evolved as a panacea to "me and my God" attitudes causing one to dig in his (rarely her) heels leading to irresolvable conflicts and destructiveness. It was to offer a larger tent to accommodate everyone and develop the inclusive attitudes of "me, us and our God".

Much of this development originated in the Zoroastrian tradition and has been a part of Judaism, Christianity and Islamic traditions that firmly believe in Uno God as if God is a physical being. Even though Judaism and Islam do not collapse God into an image or a word, they still posit God as a being.

However, in the Hindu tradition, the causer and the creator was the same and was called by many names including Brahma, the ultimate reality. The societies accepted physical manifestation of that reality in different iconic forms. They found pluralism was the panacea to resolving conflicts involving abstract aspects of life.

The Baha'i and Sikh faiths evolved as unifying and inclusive traditions. Buddhism and Jainism did not see the need to manufacture God as an arbitrator of their conflicts and or a source of peace within. Many earth based and native traditions have their own systems that work beautifully for them.


Monotheism would not be a superior form of religious belief, if it gets Abrahamic faiths to gang up against others. However, if it becomes a panacea to develop cohesive societies where no one has to live with fear of the other, then it is a belief that works superiorly along with the polytheistic, native, pagan, atheistic and humanistic traditions who aspire to create a kingdom of peace for its inhabitants.

If we can learn to accept and respect the God given (genetic for those who do not believe in God) uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
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MY NOTES AT DALLAS MORNING NEWS IN RESPONSE TO READERS


There is no such thing as Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai or God. All that we can see comprehend or believe has evolved from a single act. The people of religion call that cause or the causer with many different names including God. This is the broadest definition.


Whether you call that element Manito, Yahweh, Elahi, Ishwar, Allah, Mahavira, Buddha, Wahe Guru, Ahura Mazda, mother earth, Jesus Christ or any name, it is the same thing.


Monotheism is fine, and I am a monotheist, meaning I see God as one energy and I have no problem if you see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names. I will not claim that my belief is superior to any, it amounts to arrogance. The religion I follow brings humility to me and not arrogance.


Claim of superiority makes the other inferior. Who am I to say that, and who will accept that non-sense? The conflict has continued for thousands of years. The guardians of every religion somehow pose that their faith is the only one, the best, the wise, the scientific, the oldest… so what? It does not make others anything less.


Twenty years ago, almost all Christians believed that Salvation is only through Jesus and others would go to hell – today nearly 30% of Christians subscribe to that, a survey is warranted for Jews, Muslims, Hindus and others. Muslims outside the religious institutions may have a similar percentage based on my discussions and the Quraan supports that where God says, whether you are a Jew, Christian or other, you need not worry, be good to fellow beings and your reward comes through me.


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Tex65


Madjess has addressed your concerns and I appreciate his (or her) take on it, which is very close to my understanding. It is the one that starts with "A person can believe that there is no god but God ….." I have also addressed it in my response to Nityananada Das, which starts with, "Even if there were multiple causes leading to creation, life evolved from one single act…" the following is related to the above referred comments.


Indeed, I am pleased to re-iterate your quote, "I testify that there is no god except God." As a Muslim, I see the corollary "there is no act but one act, the act that we call God. Not every Muslim will subscribe to this but he or she can see the validity. In Islam God is not a material, not a being, not an entity, it is just nature or the energy that powers the creation.


The idea of monotheism was to bring people on singular abstract platform and a form of God where most people can agree with the attributes ascribed to that energy, it was to mitigate the conflicts of your God vs. my god and agree to the idea of our God, hence we are one family (Hinduism – Vasudaiva Kutumubukum and other religions have expressed it in the format the Golden rule, what is good for me has got to be good for the other for both of us to co-exist without apprehension.


We are all learning to see the depth and meaning of God and the search continues, and I am happy for those who believe in absolutes and appreciate those who are on their journey.


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Nityanands Das;


Even if there were multiple causes leading to creation, life evolved from one single act. I believe the people of religion call that cause or the causer with many different names including God. However, the atheist may be content with not giving it a name to that cause; they may not even have the desire to create a system around it.


Monotheism is a belief in that singular energy, whereas polytheism is seeing that one causer in multiple forms. We all create God in our own image, to some it is absolutely one and to some they see different aspects of the same causer, as Hinduism calls it Demi-Gods, or Devas. Both systems work for the believers.


To believe that Monotheistic format is absolutely right and the other ain't reflects the arrogance of the believer. What is the need for such assertion? Monotheistic belief is to lead societies into coherence and reduce conflicts by accepting that we are all diverse people from one source and it is in our interest to maintain that cohesiveness. The polytheistic belief accepts the diversity to begin with, that in itself leads to cohesive societies. It is not the belief in one, none or many Gods that is the problem in the society; rather it is the greed and insecurities of the individuals that is the problem. Both the systems are designed to help the individual gain his own balance and balance in relating with others, they are good systems, most people get it and a few don't. Those who don't get, tend to be intolerant. It is our responsibility to share with them the purpose of life – to live without apprehension or live in balance, to the religious it means in devotion of God where one feels secure.


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Dear Nityananda Chandra Das;


"To claim God supreme is not arrogance but rather a humble recognition of the truth of our position in relation to God. ". Mr. Das, I fully agree with your comment, however to claim Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism or… other faith is superior, or monotheism is superior to polytheism, then it amounts to arrogance. No faith is superior; each faith is beautiful to the believer. Why one's faith has to be superior?


Indeed, our humility is realized when we realize the superiority of God. Humility is essential to build cohesive societies.


Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Politics, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam. Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find all of his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com

2 comments:

  1. Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets - Matthew 7:12

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  2. In PUNJAB, INDIA Guru Nanak Dev tried successfully to merge monotheism of Islam with polytheistic Hindu philosophy.The result was Sikhism, a monotheistic religion.

    ReplyDelete