Issues IN COMMON that transcend global boundaries AND human DIVIDES

STANDPOINT

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World Order

Genesis of Change

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Introduction (Part Two)

Oneness Of Humanity: Religious Context

The oneness of humanity in a religious context continues with the GOAL in this series of four or more parts, to convey a holistic understanding of human life on Earth, rooted in a history that projects the human species on a trajectory of mutual effort. This understanding represents a collective experience that, of necessity, allows humankind to attain the level of conscious reality where it understands itself as an entity of one and then accrues the benefits to be derived.

In World Order: Genesis of Change(Part One) we provided an outline of Human History since the 15th century, with discourse centered on Europe, perceived, then and now, as the source of civilization. But recent and ongoing discoveries in archeology and anthropology provide holistic scientific evidence that questions this assumption, providing evidence that also contradicts the systemic prejudices rooted in western academic discourse. We are now being provided with inclusive, factual, and impartial narratives of humankind’s progressive development, and those contributions made by innumerable sources that advanced civilization.

In World Order: Genesis of Change (Part Two) we explore the oneness of humanity within a Religious Context; examining its appearance in recognized religions, new religion claimants, and the dimension of oneness based in Animism.

Religions

■ Jainism (c. 599-527 BC)

“When Jains speak of “oneness,” they are referring to the systematic, interdependent nature of a pluralistic reality, and the various qualitatively similarities that living entities possess.”

An underlying hidden unity, which includes everything, provides links to creation. This unity is especially clear in creating the human being. By designating people as insiders and others as outsiders, we create a split that divides humanity into multiple parts, conveys a sense of being fractured, that ostracizes and isolates humanity into segments. Instead, we must see humanity's diversity as a part of the whole to be approached with openness and acceptance.
Pg. 191-216.

■ Taoism (600 to 400 BCE)

Taoism is a positive philosophy that aims for the holistic unification of an individual’s reality with everything that is not only real but also valuable, encompassing both the natural world and society. The principle of oneness acknowledges the unity of opposites as aspects of the Tao and especially humanity’s place within the natural order. From the metaphysical principles of Taoism emerge its ethical tenets, which are compassion, humility, and frugality.

■ Zoroastrianism (6th century BCE)

Zoroastrianism, founded in ancient Persia, influenced Judaism. It predates both Christianity and Islam. A basic belief is that a final savior, at the end of time, will bring the complete and final victory over evil, ending dualism and restoring the oneness of reality. With a sense of duty, humans embrace their responsibility and champion equal dignity and rights. The purpose in life is to join with those who desire to renew the world, to move humanity toward progress and perfection. Pg. 238-259.

■ Confucianism (551–479 BCE)

People prioritize their own interests and show little interest in others. But we must perceive a profound sense of oneness not only with other human beings, but with the entire universe. The self, in some deep sense, is not only connected or intermingled with other people and creatures but also coextensive with all things within the universe. Pg. 102-114.

■ Buddhism (5th century BCE)

“This is the teaching of Oneness; a teaching that states all living beings live in the same pot, we share the same roots, and what benefits one of us naturally benefits us all. Similarly, what hurts one of us hurts all of us. So, we must practice Right Mindfulness and use our inner wisdom in daily life.” Pg.147-190.

■ Hinduism (2300 B.C. to 1500 B.C.)

This concept of oneness is central to Advaita Vedanta, a philosophical and spiritual school of Hinduism. It expresses the idea of nondualism, or that all things are by the law of nature the same. The lack of a unifying vision with spiritual dimensions makes religious divisions untenable. Therefore, Hinduism rejects the approach which divides humanity into believers and non-believers, kafirs, and heathens, understanding that such divisions are untenable because of the lack of a spiritual dimension. Pg. 134-146.

The Vedas. Compiled sacred texts of Hindus (c. 1100 - c. 500).

The Vedas, meaning “knowledge,” are the oldest texts of Hinduism. The Vedas, meaning “knowledge,” originated from the ancient Indo-Aryan culture of the Indian Subcontinent and started as an oral tradition that people passed down through generations before eventually writing them in Vedic Sanskrit between 1500 and 500 BCE (Before Common Era).

Is there any scientific knowledge that expresses the concept of oneness in and around us and in controlling the senses as well by chanting the Vedas? Science unequivocally states that the Vedas teach the existence of only one entity, which can be referred to as divinity, whether we label it as energy or micro-particles.

That which exist is Divine energy. The Vedas call it Shakthi (or Purusha) and science calls it particle physics or nano-science. We need to see that as oneness.  Eminent scientists like Albert Einstein, Newton, and many others find that there is no difference between science and spirituality.

■ Christianity (1st century CE).

Christianity developed in Judea in the mid-first century CE, based first on the teachings of Jesus and later on the writings and missionary work of Paul of Tarsus. Judea [or Judaea] is a mountainous region of the Levant, the eastern part of the Mediterranean, and dominated by the city of Jerusalem. Palestine and Israel both claim it as their own. Pg. 312-473.

Concerning oneness: First Corinthians 12:13. We read: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” And in Genesis 1:26: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness [spiritual, not literal]. And let them [humankind] have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

■ Daoism (500 B.C.)

Indigenous to China, Daoism arose as a secular school of thought with a strong metaphysical foundation, a time when fundamental spiritual ideas were emerging in both the East and the West. Daoism emphasized oneness in the sense of unification, uniformity, a singular decree, or law. Pg. 155-132.

Recent Claimants to Revealed Religion

Two recent claimants to the category and status as a major (world) religion are Babism and its successor, Bahaism. Both are proponents of humanity linked to creation as an entity of one, and diversity is inclusive.

■ Babism (1844)

The Bab (founder of Babism) revealed the Bayán (Utterance) as the source book of the Bábi Faith. The fundamental beliefs cover those addressed in other divine revelations, in particular, those of the Semitic religions, but with one difference: in the Bayan concepts of oneness and the destiny of humanity (Day of Judgement) portray new interpretations that conform with reason and scientific developments. Far from contradicting the holy books of past religions, they influence their theological tenets with a spiritual interpretation that expresses their true allegorical significance.

■ Bahaism (1896)

The Bahá’í faith promotes unity among humanity and has, as one of its major goals, the desire to dissolve conflict that exists among the various religions. And summarizes its core teachings as the “Oneness of God, the Oneness of Religion, and the Oneness of Humanity”, aiming to resonate with a pluralism based on recognizing differences. Its teachings affirm the legitimacy of other religions, encourage social action, and public discourse. The Bahá’í approach to pluralism is based on affirming ontological oneness and emphasizes honoring, respecting, and engaging with the social reality of human diversity. Pg. 295-311. (Inclusive of Babism).

Other

■ Animism

Animism encompasses beliefs that material phenomena have agency, that there is no categorical distinction between the spiritual and physical world, and that soul, spirit, or sentience [able to perceive or feel things] exists not only in humans but also in other animals, plants, rocks, geographic features (such as mountains and rivers), and other entities of the natural environment. ⎯Wikipedia

SUMMARY

To summarize, the principle of oneness remains contingent on a religious dimension as a pathway for humanity to realize its destiny; a destiny filled with a series of unified collective engagements based on actionable milestones and objectives, that through various levels and stages of development, humanity realizes its age of maturity.

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Reference

Spiritual Guidance Across Religions is a sourcebook that present two meanings of interfaith, (1) people who practice a particular faith tradition but seek understanding of a variety of faith traditions; and (2) those who derive ideas and inspiration from a variety of spiritual and traditional faith traditions. This book provides information on how to deal with common spiritual problems encountered by people no matter what their faith-practice, and methods employed when working with people from those traditions.

Spiritual Guidance Across Religions: A Sourcebook for Spiritual Directors and Other Professionals Providing Counsel to People of Differing Faith Traditions. ⎯John R. Mary, 2014, SkiLight Paths Pub. ISBN 978-1-59473-546-2. (Note: This is supplimental reading. Follow the page numbers as listed in each section above). For additional information see Prallagon Library⎯Spiritual Guidance Across Religions

Readings

Pythagoras’ Philosophy of Unity as a Precursor of Islamic Monotheism. Pseudo-Ammonius and Related Sources. ⎯Daniel De Smet

Lecture delivered at Sardar Patel University (SPU), Vallabh Vidyanagar, Anand City Gujarat, India. ⎯Dr. H. Maheshwari, Sardar Patel, 25-26 Nov. 1992.

Links

Oneness: East Asian Conceptions of Virtue, Happiness, and How We Are All Connected. Prallagon Library:

Religion and Development: The resilience of religion in developing countries is now plain to see.

Palmer, D. A., & Tavangar, T. (2021). The Bahá’í Faith and Covenantal Pluralism: Promoting Oneness, Respecting Difference. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 19(2), 29–39.

 

     ⎯Continue to Part Three; Oneness of Humanity: Spiritual Intervention.

     ⎯Previous, Part One; Oneness of Humanity: History of Humankind.

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