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Statement of Faith Statement of Faith
by Matt Williamson
2007-10-03 09:41:34
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Book
Autobiography of a Yogi
Written by by Paramahansa Yogananda
Self-Realization Fellowship, 2006

Why is it hard for many people to accept miracles in a religion other than theirs? Very normal, logical and sane people accept that Jesus walked on water, changed water to wine, healed the sick, brought Lazarus back from the afterlife and rose himself three days after his own death; but these same people think miracles in other religions are myth and fable.

Maybe I am able to suspend reality and accept imagination better than others? Perhaps I am equipped to see divinity in people where others can not? I don't know; I do however know that it bothers me that many Christians can not accept that the divine can choose to show itself to any one anywhere.

Why can some people not understand that what they call God might show itself to others as gods, or devas, or angels or whatever it is that a person or people might need to experience? If a mother from the Amazon prays and begs for the forest spirits to heal her child, why would the divine not intercede and do just that? Just because she uses a name other than Jesus, or Yahweh or Allah or Buddha; don't we think that the divine can hear all?

OK, I will stop ranting now...

This all started because I am reading a book right now called Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda. I am not far enough in to the book to offer anything like a review or insightful comment, but I know that the book describes the lives of many yogis from India and the Himalayas. I know that it describes men and women that could heal the sick, float over rivers and become non-corporeal with thought.

I can buy all of that. I believe that Jesus did the works associated with his ministry, and I can accept that there might be others who can do many if not all of those same miracles, even today; all by faith in themselves and faith in the divine. I have faith that the divine creator of the universe can manifest itself anywhere in any time. To do otherwise would be to limit the limitless, to contain the universe in my own box. I can't do that, can you?

I know that I cannot be considered an orthodox Christian any longer, nor could I be counted among the orthodox Buddhists, but I am comfortable with my own beliefs. I see the divine in others and myself, I see the divine in the world around me and I welcome it and call out to it. I also know that we all have eternal souls that suffer because we are mired in delusion.

I am no Bodhisattva, but I pray, I meditate and I smile. I try to be compassionate and mindful at all times, though I do fall short sometimes. "Loving kindness is my religion," His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that once, but I will use it from now on as my own statement of faith.

So for now I am back to work, love you.


    
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Emanuel Paparella2007-10-03 15:02:01
Some musings on miracles: St. Augustine said that the birth of baby is a greater miracle than walking on water. Unless we reduce religion to a fanatical irrational cult and miracles to some kind of magician’s trick, miracles always go together with faith and a sense of wonder at God’s creation, they are a sign of it leaving Man free to see beyond the sign or to remain in darkness. Quite right, to limit miracles to one religion or denomination is also to misguidedly conceive of religion as an irrational a cult of sort. Jesus, for one never limited faith to one people and saw it in the Roman centurion too. He also told his disciples that they too could do the same miracles he did if they had faith and also pointed out that there will plenty of surprises at the end times: those who think they’ll end up on the right (the complacent do gooders) will find themselves on the left, and vice versa. I have no doubt that a Gandhi will find himself on the right and the Nazi who went to Church on Christmas and to the lager the next day will find himself on the left. What miracles ought to reveal is that God cares for his creation and we are co-creators and he providentially intervenes at crucial times into Man’s history to bring out good out of evil (see Joseph’s story), not as a magician with the magic wand from some kind of transcendent Olympus, but by working immanently from within human history. The incarnation is that kind of “miracle,” God with us, God who reveals himself at a particular time, in a particular place, from a particular people. So the particular matters too or the universal and infinite become incomprehensible to Man.


Emanuel Paparella2007-10-03 18:50:07
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRWa1K_USVY&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fhologramthoughts%2Eblogspot%2Ecom%2F

P.S.Here is a miracle of sort: in surfing the internet I came across this poetical prayer of sort from none other than Mr. Williamson's blog. I think I will replay it tomorrow, the feat of St. Francis of Assisi, that most kind of saints in love with God's creation. I am sure Mr. Williamson will not mind the sharing.


Emanuel Paparella2007-10-03 19:06:03
P.S. Jung would call it serentipidy: here is a poem from Angelus Silesius which I came across while reading "Search for the Meaning of Life" for my daily morning meditation, by Willis Jager (a German Benedictine monk):

God dwells in eterna light,
to which no road can take you.
Unless you become that light itself,
eternity must forsake you.

Indeed,we may well be the missing link between the ape and the true human being. We are the missing piece anthropologist are searching for, on the path to becoming humans. We are on the way to experience who we really are. And "...The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time" (T.S. Eliot).


Jack2007-10-03 21:51:52
Even with seeing "divine in self and others", it is impossible to have this, alone, bring eternal life. The key is finding God to have Him impart this to a temporary, physical entity. Otherwise the mind and intellect cease functioning and of itself can not bring life.

I agree that miracles are not confined to one particular religion. The Bible holds many examples of miracles involving polyeistic, moneistic and even pagans. Indeed the Divine One does and human history is replete with examples of Him answering prayers via miracles. Those who think it is in only their religion that miracles are performed, then they are limiting whichever god they pray too.

If we are simply the missing link, there is much more important things missing; where is the evidential, transitionary lines of species from one into another. There remains not one single shred of evidence to support such theoretical transitions, even with over 300 million fossils catagorized and documented. Not one. No link can be important as stated as "missing" when the entire chain itself has never been found. The chain ought to be the more urgent portion of the search for what is missing.


Emanuel Paparella2007-10-03 23:34:01
Jack, te point was not so much about evolution which remains a theory but about the perceivable phenomenon of history and how it seems to give meaning to man's journey through time and space, in fact man is his own history. Within the world of art, Michelangelo was perfectly capable of sculpturing like the Greeks and he proved by making a Bacchus and fooling people in making them believe he had found a Greek statue. Then he made the David which nobody can mistake for a Greek statue. Why? Because 1500 years of Christianity had intervened and that face and its spirituality cannot be found in an ancient Greek face. If one does not understand that the Renaissance was a synthesis of Greco-Roman and Christian culture, then one has understood precious little of the Renaissance despite their alleged "enlightenement." The "barbarian of the intellect" will look at the David and the first thing he will notice is that it is naked like Greek statues, Thus missing the point that there is meaning in the passage of time and that meaning is tied to a Creator which gave it a purpose and a meaning form the very start. "And the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." (T.S. Eliot)


Jack2007-10-04 01:03:38
Well put Emanuel. What fascination there is in this T.S. Eliot. What I know for sure is that he is as deep a thinker as Rodan's is.

Incidentally Mr. Williamson, you make most excellent points. One great one: We should never judge another person by their religious or spiritual beliefs, since they are so absolutely personally and subjective. Great enlightening article!


Emanuel Paparella2007-10-04 03:02:39
In the beginning there was light
At the Omega poin there shall be light
Christ’s body is pure light after the Resurrection
Silesius is on target: the journey is toward the light,
Back to the beginning.
Not to take the journey is to be forsaken by eternity
and to get caught in the circle of eternal return
As within a crooked cross closed upon itself.
“In the beginning was the Word
And he was the light of the world
And he came into the world"

And the world mistook him for Superman.
The Parousia.
Let’s give time to time!


Matt Williamson2007-10-07 06:59:50
Emanuel and Jack: I wanted to thank you both, I read your comments as they came in over the last few days with great interest. I try not to comment on my own work, it seems so egotistical to do so. But I wanted to say these few things...

Emanuel, thank you for taking the time to put your comments down for me, they are helpful and sometimes send me off to learn, I love that.

Jack, you a mention miracles in other religions, which I do as well in the article. Is there a chance you would have any first hand knowledge? I would like to include those stories in an upcoming post I am working on.


Matt


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