Thursday, December 26, 2019

God Is Not One




God is not One by Stephen Prothero makes the point that all religions are indeed different.  There are similarities between them, but many fundamental differences.  That’s why there is conflict between nations’ political, economic, and cultural belief’s systems.  Prothero therefore examines eight rival religions, viz., Islam: The Way of Submission, Christianity: The Way of Salvation, Confucianism: The way of Propriety, Hinduism: The Way of Devotion, Buddhism: The Way of Awakening, Yoruba: The Way of Connection, Judaism: The Way of Exile and Return, and Daoism: The Way of Flourishing.  In the 9th Chapter a Brief Coda on Atheism: The Way of Reason was addressed.
   
         ‘“The Tao has ten thousand gates,’ say the masters,
            and it is up to each of us to find our own.”

Prothero wrote, “To explore the great religions is to wander through these ten thousand gates.  It is to enter into the Hindu conversations on the logic of karma and rebirth, Christian conversation on the mechanics of sin and resurrection, and Daoist conversations on flourishing here and now (and perhaps forever).  It is also to encounter rivalries between Hindus and Muslims in India, between Jews and Muslims in Israel, and between Christians and Yoruba practitioners in Nigeria.  Each of these rivals offers a different vision of “a human being fully alive.”  Each offers its own diagnosis of the human problem and its own prescription for a cure…. Muslims say pride is the problem; Christians say salvation is the solution; education and ritual are key Confucian techniques; and Buddhism’s exemplars are the arhat (for Theravadins), the bodhisattva (for Mahayanists), and the lama (for Tibetan Buddhists).”

Conflicts at the national and international levels are to be expected.  But people and societies should aim at fostering inter-religious understanding to be able to work together in peace.      

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