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Old 03-27-2006, 11:01 AM   #31
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Originally posted by yolland

I think this applies nicely both to deciding whether you're getting what you need from your religious community, and to deciding whether you're getting what you need from belonging to no community at all.
Then of course the challenge is to find a religious community (in my case one rooted in Christianity) that provides a good balance of shared belief/tradition and independent thinking, open-minded exploration of spirituality/religions to find threads of universal understanding versus being right or wrong.

Know of any?
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Old 03-27-2006, 12:05 PM   #32
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How we define God currently is merely someone else's personal revelation.
That's an interesting point. Though, I'm not sure you can call all religion personal revelation on the same level. Can we really lump together the authoritative writings of apostles with those of someone today? It seems it takes a combination of personal revelation together with God’s interaction with people that allows some writings to stand the test of time.

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It would explain why God/Allah might as well be two different gods, despite technically being one in the same.

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I think we've been through this one before. On a technical level, God and Allah cannot be the same because of the prophetic writings, the "requirements" of the relationship, and the role of Jesus Christ.
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Old 03-27-2006, 12:15 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy
Then of course the challenge is to find a religious community (in my case one rooted in Christianity) that provides a good balance of shared belief/tradition and independent thinking, open-minded exploration of spirituality/religions to find threads of universal understanding versus being right or wrong.

Know of any?
Well I'm afraid that's not really up my alley... although I will say some Christian friends of mine who kinda sorta share those concerns have been very happy attending local Quaker meetings.

As far as the study of other faiths goes though, I think that is--at least initially--best taken up on your own, and should ideally be done under the guidance of a respected teacher from that faith (who understands that you're not looking to convert, of course), or second best, a bona fide scholar (as in PhD) of it. If you start out studying Hinduism from a Judeo-Christian POV, for example, your understanding of its foundational concepts will likely be stunted and skewed in that they will all be defined *relative to* supposedly analogous Judeo-Christian concepts in your mind. A bit like trying to rely on one of these Web-based translators to read articles in French, rather than having someone who knows both French language and French culture deeply guide you through it. (Illustrative tip: Never choose the Bhagavad-Gita as your inaugural foray into "Hindu thought." While it's inarguably a definitive text within Hinduism, and the Hare Krishnas have endeared it to hippies everywhere, it was also written with deeply reactionary purposes in mind, and it's very important to first understand what it was reacting to before you go treating it as some sort of Hindu ur-text.) Then once you have a genuine appreciation for these other understandings on their own terms, then you can productively integrate them into your own faith and share that with others who've had similar experiences. For example, as mentioned, it was at an ashram where I really came to understand what meditation was, but later this naturally led to a (renewed) interest in Kabbalah and Jewish mystical tradition, where I was happy to discover that appreciation of and dialogue with Asian traditions is in fact a flourishing part of contemporary Jewish practice.
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:12 PM   #34
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Well I'm afraid that's not really up my alley...
Hehe damn, I was hoping you'd know lol. Bah, it was more of a rhetorical question since that approach is virtually non-existent in any conventional religious institution.
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