One Common Faith ~ The Polls

poll
You can take these polls without reading the series, One Common Faith ~ The Story, but if you’d rather read it first, here’s the beginning…

You can select multiple answers


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One Common Faith ~ The Story – Part Seven

peace

The End {?} of the Story…

Here’s the beginning…


The last two posts, about my Dark Night of the Soul, didn’t have much detail. I tried to convey the essence of my journey through the halls of worldly learning and my lack of well-being during the trek. What I didn’t relate was the gritty, dirty, degrading, disheartening details. I’m sure some of you can fill in those details…

Our human family’s trek through the ages has much more depravity and wrenching sorrow than I ever  could have lived. There have also, thank God, been eras of soaring success and glorious progress. We—all humans—have been on a Trek of Cosmic proportion!

And, most important, for the story of humanity, all the sacred Scriptures talk about a Promised Time when the Kingdom of God will be established on this earth. Most people are unaware of this historic record and, even if educated about its existence, would not believe it possible.

In the depths of my own disbelief, I still caught glimpses of a Light—an ineffable, indescribable Hope—a Way Out of the nauseating cycle of strive-fail-strive-fail-Wail …

I found my Answer, my Faith, when I was 42. Yes, it was a religion. But… If you’ve been following this story from the beginning, you realize that, when I use the word “religion”, I don’t mean the deplorable examples that are scattered over the earth—the shams and shells of religion that are so perverted with human failings and fantasies that God, in His Love and Wisdom, is buried under impenetrable mountains of falsehood.

Yet, God is said to be All-Powerful…

So, where is a religion that permits God to enter our lives without the impossible barriers of conventional religions?

1844

That year is very  important. That year was the latest rebirth of religion—a rebirth that has happened many times in human history.

Just like Spring overcomes the death and decay of Winter, there have been Springtimes of religious rebirth—every Prophet-Founder of the world’s major religions bringing a Fresh Spirit of Pure Spiritual Knowledge—Each, insanely rejected by the followers of the incumbent form of religion—Each, made to suffer incredibly from the spiritual blindness of humanity.

But, God is Love, right? So, God has continued to send His Messengers, no matter how many times we’ve rejected Them…

I accepted my Faith when I was 42 and I’m now 62. I certainly didn’t turn into an angel just because I saw the Light. These last 20 years have been an incredible uphill struggle for me but, of course, I had 42 years to practice being an egotistic, materialistic human…

I have more hope than I ever did but my journey now has an importance that requires more deep soul-effort than I’d ever expended—more listening to my heart, more discipline, more prayer…

The way I see it, I have one basic choice, go with the worldly flow and continue to be miserably disappointed or oppose the flow and learn to soar in the heavens of pure spiritual life.

Our human family has the same choice and also has the capability and power to make the right decision—person by person—to turn this hellacious mess into the Promised Heavenly Earth. If you don’t believe me, you haven’t been hanging out in the right spaces, you haven’t been exposed to the Truth, you’ve been stuck for too long, just like me, in the rut of what’s been,  unable to see what can be …

I’m not trying to convert you to my religion, I’m just trying to let you know there is  hope, there is  a way to make our earth a respectable Palace that caters to the well-being and tranquillity of All Peoples …

Here’s a video about the world-wide Bahá’í Community:

Here is the Statement, The Promise of World Peace

Spiritual Quote :

“Your efforts must be lofty. Exert yourselves with heart and soul so that, perchance, through your efforts the light of universal peace may shine and this darkness of estrangement and enmity may be dispelled from amongst men, that all men may become as one family and consort together in love and kindness, that the East may assist the West and the West give help to the East, for all are the inhabitants of one planet, the people of one original native land and the flocks of one Shepherd.

“Consider how the Prophets Who have been sent, the great souls who have appeared and the sages who have arisen in the world have exhorted mankind to unity and love. This has been the essence of their mission and teaching. This has been the goal of their guidance and message. The Prophets, saints, seers and philosophers have sacrificed their lives in order to establish these principles and teachings amongst men. Consider the heedlessness of the world, for notwithstanding the efforts and sufferings of the Prophets of God, the nations and peoples are still engaged in hostility and fighting. Notwithstanding the heavenly commandments to love one another, they are still shedding each other’s blood. How heedless and ignorant are the people of the world! How gross the darkness which envelops them! Although they are the children of a compassionate God, they continue to live and act in opposition to His will and good pleasure. God is loving and kind to all men, and yet they show the utmost enmity and hatred toward each other. God is the Giver of life to them, and yet they constantly seek to destroy life. God blesses and protects their homes; they rage, sack and destroy each other’s homes. Consider their ignorance and heedlessness!

“Your duty is of another kind, for you are informed of the mysteries of God. Your eyes are illumined; your ears are quickened with hearing. You must, therefore, look toward each other and then toward mankind with the utmost love and kindness.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 470

For an in-depth and rigorous discussion of the principles explored in this story, reference One Common Faith and Changeless Faith.

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One Common Faith ~ The Story – Part Six

devilnegative

The Story Continues…

{the beginning is here}

More About My
Dark Night of the Soul

Last post, I’d said my search for spiritual answers in secular haunts led me to a lot of devilish activity. I’m not knocking all secular (non-religious) knowledge—we’d still be in the Stone Age without it.

What I’m getting at is acquiring only  secular knowledge—keeping your knowledge grounded in materialistic concerns, not hitching it to a spiritual star…

“If the material details blind us to the spiritual meaning, then we should be better without them…”
Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 204

Our ancestors struggled with the material world one hell of a lot more than people now living in affluent countries. Of course, there are still millions forced, through a lack of spiritual will and conviction on the part of affluent governments, to live at a level of struggle much like our distant ancestors. Humanity has gained much material knowledge but the sharing of that knowledge leaves much to be desired…

Our ancestors also struggled with the religious knowledge they acquired. Most of it was so perverted by overly materialistic priests and clergy that it was only of benefit to the money bags of the spiritual leaders. It appears that, apart from the material advancements made over the centuries, the spiritual advancement of civilization was aided by a mere handful of devoted, truly “religious” individuals.

For most of my life I was a greedy gatherer of materialistic knowledge—eager for whatever would put me ahead of the pack, secure my earthly position, and bring me the adulation of others. Having come from a serious religious background, I plunged into what the world had to offer and continually failed to attain happiness. Oh, sure, I’ve had my moments of joy but they were always followed by depression and dejection.

Our human family’s been through the same thing—pulling themselves up to new heights of achievement only to plunge into hellacious backwaters of degraded existence. Certain countries have attained super heights of glorious prestige then sunk into forgotten holes of history.

The best way I can relate the continuing, overpowering feeling that haunted me in my misguided, ego-controlled secular exploits is to share a poem I wrote in the midst of one of the darkest times:

Again?

Creeping up a
Hill of life from a
Valley too well-known;
This time, this
Time reach some
Height not leading
Back to have-to;
This time, this
Time free enough to
See beyond these
Patterns locked in
Self so locked in
Dust.

Next post, I’ll share what I discovered that definitely has the potential power to keep me facing the Light so the swirling greys of earthly existence don’t pull me back down into the Dark as

the story continues…

Spiritual Quote :

“Man is not a pre-existent being, but a newly produced and created being, consisting of two aspects or portions, the spiritual and material, which may be likened to hell and paradise; and he does not know whether he will be in hell or paradise. For instance, man is composed of evil as well as good, of darkness as well as light, of guidance as well as misleading; the most evil character is to be found in man, while the greatest and most excellent character is also found in him. We must see that the good qualities gain victory over the bad. If so, the man will become an ‘angel’, but if the bad qualities conquer the good ones, then he will become a ‘devil’. If the light conquers the darkness in man, of course he will be true light, and if the darkness conquers the light, he will be of the material.”
Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 499

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One Common Faith ~ The Story – Part Five

devil

The Story Continues…

{the beginning is here}

My Dark Night of the Soul

I put an image of the devil over there because, even though I no longer believe in an incarnate evil power that acts against and opposes God, I do still believe that our ego consciousness, if not guided by our higher selves, can act like and is in fact a devil—leading us into all manner of immoral, unspiritual, and irreligious activity.

Our ancestors had to face many devils—forces outside themselves that they personified, made into separate psychological entities—nature forces with minds and plans of their own. I feel they also faced the same devil we all have, potentially, within us: the ego consciousness.

Some psychological scientists feel that the ego has not always been part of a human’s character, that it grew in response to the need to specialize our talents to meet increasingly complex social tasks. It still remains a mystery to sincere experts of the mind. It still is the major antagonist on any person’s spiritual path.

As past posts in this series indicated, I began life in the cradle of a serious religious family and, at an early age, began to question the theology I was expected to believe. The initial painful struggle for me was clearing up the mystery about my minister parents’ spiritual authority and how it fit into the Will of God. Aspects of this mystery were cleared up rapidly as my reasoning mind developed but there were emotional issues about spiritual authority that lingered well into my 50s.

There was another spiritual mystery that concerned the apparent exclusivity of the various religions’ Prophet-Founders—the Christians claiming Christ was the only Way, the Muslims claiming the same exclusivity for Muhammad, and, even though less vocal about their beliefs, the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and others seemed to have similar theological attitudes.

My response to this impossible situation was to cling fervently to my belief in one God and proceed down the road of secular scholarship to attempt to resolve the issue. I studied all manner of Self-Help approaches, dove into psychology and psychiatry, bore down into the vaults of scientific knowledge, and explored what are considered Occult arts. Along the way, in spite of my belief in God, I wove a path that entangled me in all the pitfalls of merely human learning—pride, intolerance, lack of real justice, rationalizations for purely selfish actions, and many other extremely devilish occupations.

Our ancestors traveled similar roads, repeatedly. The major difference between my personal development and the development of our human family is that I’ve never killed anyone for their religious beliefs…

I eventually, at 42, found my Faith, my solution to the perplexing and devil-like antipathies that have grown up between the various flavors of religion. More on this next time when,

Spiritual Quotes :

“Remember how Adam and the others once dwelt together in Eden. No sooner, however, did a quarrel break out between Adam and Satan than they were, one and all, banished from the Garden, and this was meant as a warning to the human race, a means of telling humankind that dissension — even with the Devil — is the way to bitter loss. This is why, in our illumined age, God teacheth that conflicts and disputes are not allowable, not even with Satan himself.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 275

“Now a procession passes. The Pageant of the World. Grand nobles and kings, high priests and dignitaries of the Churches, jewelled and gorgeously dressed. They look with scorn on those who believe, saying: ‘Why should we leave our ancient religions?’ They look like devils of malice and oppression. Yet each is miserable. One falls, the others pass on. One is dying, the others take no heed. Another breathes his last. They do not stop by the way.

“The poor who have believed look on sadly.”
H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – The Centre of the Covenant, p. 499

For an in-depth and rigorous discussion of the principles explored in this story, reference One Common Faith and Changeless Faith.

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