God and Religious Toleration/Christianity
Christianity is a religion with many different sides. There are the mystics, politicians, missionaries and charitable Christians. The medieval Christians led bloody wars among themselves, made crusades against the Islam, exterminated indigenous peoples in the colonization, killed in witch hunts many innocent women and recorded themselves in the inquisition processes by particular cruelty. In the past Christianity often was a religion of intolerance, although its founder Jesus was an enlightened (Son of God) and taught love and peace. If a peaceful religion gets connected with worldly power, it is a great danger that the goal of the religion changes. Instead of making all people happy religion becomes a tool to dominate other people. In today's world we can see many Christians return to values such as peace, love and tolerance.
Threefold Proof of God’s Existence
In Christianity, God is defined as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From this point of view comes the threefold proof of God’s existence. The threefold proof is attained by bringing spirituality and science together into a cohesive harmony of concept.
1. God as the Father is the universe.
2. God as the Son is every enlightened being.
3. God as the Holy Spirit is the spiritual being that every sensitive being can sense around him or herself. This can be perceived as light, love, peace and bliss. With this power, enlightened and highly developed spiritual people can help others. The bible describes how Jesus poured Holy Spirit onto his disciples on Pentecost. He filled his followers with this Holy Spirit. The followers felt radiantly and divinely happy and radiated an aura of pure light.
The Sermon on the Mount
- "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you." "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. 'But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you."
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
- Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
- Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
- Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
- Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Jesus meant „poor“ in terms of the inner self, and not the outer self. Outer poverty does not lead automatically to inner happines. Those who let go of outer attachments, can simply exist and find a way to inner contentment in God.
Suffering in and of itself does not lead to happiness. However, those who can take suffering in their lives and raise themselves through spiritual exercises, can find solace in inner peace. Mourning can help to let go, but one should not allow the self to be overwhelmed by grief. Grief is not the center of life, rather inner peace.
Those who can greet their fellow beings with non-violence and placidity, can live in a relaxed and peaceful way and relinquish into a cosmic consciousness. Those who are at peace with all things, are at peace with themselves.
Justice means correctness in the Bible. To long for a correct life, means to long for a life in the light. Those who long for happiness and search for it in the right places will receive it one day, in the form of inner peace.
Those full of empathy, will feel with the cosmos. Those who love their enemies will experience inner harmony. Those who experience the center of their existence as a love for all other beings will be rewarded by God with an all-encompassing love, peace, and inner happiness.
To dissolve inner tension, exercises for the body are required (going, meditation) and exercises for the spirit (reading, thought exercises). Those who exercise spiritually every day will reach a lasting happiness one day. Then one day the meaning of God will be found.
Those who let go of the ego, come into the light. Without a sacrifice, the breakthrough to enlightenment cannot be made. Those who live according to these teachings and therefore experience difficulty in their daily lives, provide the basis for such a spiritual sacrifice. To let go in a spiritual manner is an art. Those who do not go about this the right way create inner tension and conflict. We should not sacrifice too little or too much. Those who go about this the right way will be rid of their inner conflict.
A peacemaker is a person who makes peace within the self and the world. Those who are enlightened can be called holy, a son or daughter of God. Those who live in peace radiate peace into the world.
The central message of Jesus’ Mount Sermon is that a person cannot serve two lords. He cannot serve God (inner happiness) and money (the outer form of “happiness”). One has to decide for him or herself as to what form of happiness he or she will seek to attain. As a wise person, one must place the way of peace, serenity, love, and spiritual exercises as the central point of existence. In this way, he or she will one day find true happiness and live in the light.
Is There a Hell?
The topic „hell“ is hotly debated. Some people do not believe there is such a thing. The larger religions, however, emphasize its existence. In Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and also in Buddhism, it is taught that there is a hell. How can we find out the truth regarding Hell? What do the people who can travel with their consciousness into the other side say about this? What do the enlightened have to say regarding Hell?
The exact meaning of the term „hell“ is also often discussed. In Buddhism and Hinduism, Hell is considered an plane of energy that exists between earth and paradise. The word “hell” is only another term for the astral world. This description can be confirmed with a look into the history of the word. The word “hel” was originally used to describe the afterlife. One meaning of this word was “to enshroud”. The afterworld is hidden from most people, and only reveals itself to clairvoyants.
When considering the term „hell“ from this perspective, as a thing merely hidden from view, it sounds much less threatening. To go to hell simply means to go to the afterlife. It is already a step up on an emotional level. The individual gets happier. When we look at death more closely, the individual loses the material body and all the suffering which goes with it. The individual loses sickness and bodily injury or handicap.
The afterlife reflects the tendencies one has in the material life on earth. Those who are addicted to some form of enjoyment, or are addicted to attaining more and more material belongings or riches, or are obsessed with rage, fear, or sadness, take these spiritual states with them into the afterlife. These beings are somewhat happier than they were on earth, but not by much. In principle, such individuals stay the same as they were before.
Christianity subscribed to heavily to the term „hell“ in the Middle Ages. From this hell, it was supposed that a realm of fear and torture existed. Christian priests used this angle of fear to motivate their followers to exercise their spirituality. Others used this fear to manipulate from a purely power- driven standpoint, devoid of spiritual gain. This was not just a traditional Christian problem, but also in religious systems such as Hinduism and Buddhism was the concept of a painful afterlife overstated.
This misuse of the term „hell“ should be pushed aside. A bit of nervousness regarding this concept is not such a bad thing as a motivator towards a more spiritual life, but fullblown fear is damaging to a spiritual worldview and hinders the development of a spiritual soul. Modern near-death research emphasizes light and not darkness. Most experiences with the other side are positive.
Is There a Devil?
The Christian faith believed the Devil occupied Hell. The Christian image of the Devil was an evil demon who tortured poor souls in his domain. A ruling devil with many lower demons as his minions who tried to tempt the pious from their faith completed this image.
When we look closely at the Bible, we see that the Devil is not discussed very often. Moses reported of a snake who lived in paradise and wound itself around a tree. The snake is the symbol for Kundalini energy in yoga. This snake winds itself around the tree of enlightenment, the middle energy canal. The snake embodies the wisdom of life in the energy of inner happiness.
The snake gave Eve an apple of paradise. The apple had a spherical shape. The sphere is a symbol of unity, of entirety. A person is whole in and of him or herself. He or she has reached a cosmic consciousness. The sphere is the cosmos, the God, in which the enlightened individual lives.
The snake in the Bible is not the devil. Where then is the devil? Jesus spoke of demons. He exorcised demons, drove them out. Demons are souls with many negative characteristics. Generally speaking, good people have more good characteristics, bad people more bad characteristics. Good people become helpful spirits and bad people tend to be more evil-doing, problem causing ghosts.
Despite this tendency, there are still good points in bad people. They are only mislead. Sometimes bad people are considered devils of sorts, but they are not really. They are only poor, lost souls in need of help and guidance. This is exactly the case with malevolent spirits. There is no such thing as a real devil who is a manifestation of absolute evil. This is only a construction of the minds of some priests.
The Bible refers to a devil who came to Jesus as he sat for forty days in the desert and meditated. Shortly before Jesus came to enlightenment, the devil appeared to him. The devil wanted to stop him from destroying his ego and from attaining the point where he could stay in the light. Before the inner conflict within a person dissolve, they strengthen for a time. A strong feeling of aversion to a spiritual life appears and the worldly pleasures appear for a time to be more important than god. They appear as a large source of confusion and temptation.
With a little imagination, the devil can be imagined. One can see the ego as a sort of inner devil who stops one in the path towards enlightenment. However, this devil is not a being, but a part of the individual’s own self. This is a visualized ego conflict. In the Bible it is described with an image, a presence, but this is not to be taken literally.
In Buddhism, the devil is called Mara. Before he achieved enlightenment, Mara came to Buddha. Buddha reached his hand towards the earth, activated his root chakra, and rid himself of this ego conflict. Mara and his entire army of temptation disappeared. After Buddha triumphed, the light of enlightenment flowed within. With Jesus, it meant that angels came and served him, after he managed to overwhelm his ego.
Reformation of the Church
Atheist: The Catholic Church has other ideas, unfortunately.
Yogi: The Catholic Church is partially stuck in the Middle Ages, in terms of their ideas and beliefs. They missed an opportunity to change with the times, which they should quickly rectify, otherwise there will only be atheists in the world. And that would be a real shame.
I believe in the Catholic Church. I have friends who are Catholic Christians. The way to fit Christian beliefs with current knowledge, is not as difficult as the Catholics believe. They already have many progressive thinkers. I refer to Bede Griffiths (who was an undogmatic, enlightened master, and a Catholic priest in India), David Steindl-Rast, Frere Roger, Mother Teresa and Anthony the Great (the first Christian Yogi).
Jesus was a teacher of enlightenment. The Roman emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion, from which point it became a way to control the population, to use as a tool for power. The Second Vatican Council (1963-1965) then made a big change in ideology from religion of oppression to a religion of love and peace. But remants of the past still hinder the Church’s ability to move forward into the future.
The Church needs to comprehend what is intended with the term God. God is not a person, rather a dimension of consciousness. God is a term from the experiences of the enlightened (the holy). The Bible didn’t fly down from heaven, rather it was developed by enlightened prophets. The real saints of the Catholic Church are the enlightened.
Father Ödön: I’ve been following the discussion for awhile. I’d just like to say that religion is important for salvation. Greetings from my Saxonian rectory, and I wish you a fulfilling life!
God is Love
Anna Franziska: I am a Christian, but I respect Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and other religions.
Yogi: Thanks. We should all respect one another.
Atheist: You have your interpretation of the Bible, but I could imagine another just as well.
Yogi: Jesus gave humanity a new idea of God. God is a God of love according to Jesus. Most Christians believe in a God of love. We should defend ourselves against confused fanatics. They have the wrong idea about religion.
Agnostic: You mean God has something to do with love, but you cannot prove it.
Yogi: I can prove that. God is a term from the experiences of the enlightenment. When you live in God, you experience love. You live in the energy of peace, love, and happiness. God has everything to do with love.
Esther: God’s most important concern is love. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”( John 4,16)
Nils: Thank you. That is exactly the way it is. God and enlightenment (holiness) are two sides of the same coin and the middle is love.
Agnostic: The Bible is a collection of myths.
Nils: That’s right. That’s how I see it as well. The old Testament is mostly a collection of myths. The myths serve as a description of the way to enlightenment. The new Testament, which is what Christianity is based on, is however not a collection of myths. The mountain sermon is the most important part of the new testament and is a direct indication of the way to go about the spiritual path. The statements made there fit according to the knowledge of many of today’s enlightened.
---> "Mother Teresa: The fruit of calm is prayer. The fruit of prayer is belief. The fruit of belief is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is happiness."
In meditation, conflict and tension dissipate. When all conflict recedes, inner happiness remains. The human lives in God. He or she experiences God and believes in God. With God, love and goodness awaken. He or she would then like to help his suffering fellow beings. He or she remains in God when he lives from that point of inner calm, and for the good of all beings.
Jesus as the One Way?
Christian: Jesus Christ said: "I am the way and the truth and life, no one comes to the Lord without me."
Yogi: This sentence has been misunderstood by many Christians. Jesus didn’t say that he was the only enlightened and the only way to God. If that were so, he would have denunciated spiritual masters such as Abraham, Moses, John the Baptists as false prophets. Jesus didn’t seek to start his own religion. He explained clearly “I did not come here to dissolve the teachings of Moses or other prophets, I am here to fulfill their teachings”.
Jesus saw himself as a person who had realized the laws and testaments of the Bible in his life. He wanted to take the Jewish people back to the original point of the Bible. He wanted them to practice spirituality. Many Jews had interpreted the teachings at the time in a dogmatic way and were missing the true point of these teachings.
Without enlightened teachers, every religion can become dogmatic. The task of the enlightened is to bring humans back to effective spiritual exercise. The words “I am the way” should be understood in this light. Every enlightened is a way to God. When we understand the words in that sense, then we can refer to the necessity of enlightened masters to effectively practice spirituality. The Desert Fathers (St. Anthony) had this principle and were therefore successful on their spiritual path. Later the Christian church has abandoned this principle incorrectly. One can also understand this sentence, that one has to develop the qualities of an enlightened (Jesus, Buddha) to attain enlightenment. Personally, I can accept that every religion thinks its founder is the only true enlightened one. Scientifically and with respect to tolerance and religious freedom, we should honor all positive religions as paths to God.
Those who consider their religion as the one true religion, only serve to strengthen violence on earth. When we fail to stop this, there will always be faith driven wars. When a group of believers think they are the only ones who are right, they need to then slay their foes, those who believe otherwise in a physical or spiritual way. A too rigid interpretation of the sentence “I am the way” is incorrect. Every enlightened is a son or daughter of God. He or she embodies God consciousness. The Christians need to let go of the idea that Jesus was the only enlightened master. This idea is understandable from a psychological standpoint, but fully unacceptable in scientific terms.
Practice and Grace
Christian: We are saved through grace. Grace cannot be worked on.
Yogi: Enlightenment occurs through spiritual practice and grace. To reduce enlightenment to grace is a big mistake. It encourages spiritual laziness. One has to practice intensively if he or she wishes to get a life in God. The Dalai Lama teaches, „enlightenment is hard work.“ I can confirm that after twentytwo years living as a yogi. Grace is part of it, but laziness is not smiled upon by God.
Jesus explained, “those who believe in me will go to heaven.” He meant a real and deep belief with that statement. The non-enlightened are not capable of total belief. The Dalai Lama has the “two hand” teaching. One hand is that of the student, and the other that of the master. Only when both hands work towards the goal, can the student be brought to the world of light.
Jesus Christ sat for forty days and nights in the desert. Than the angels of God came to him and served him. Those who wish to live in God must meditate. The Gospel of Thomas says “search for a place of calm.” Meditation is the way to a godly life. The early Christian desert fathers meditated in the desert like Yogis.
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