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Mystical and Benign Religions

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posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 07:04 AM
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The same old Religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism) and their neverending conflicts make headlines constantly. What is forgotten is that there are thousands of other religions, many of which are highly fascinating. There are also more mystical versions/variations of the bigger religions. Many of them have a more friendly reputation than the big ones. Not everything is a matter of "atheists vs. christians", "christians vs. muslims", etc. There is a whole world of other stuff out there. I´d love to present hundreds of them, but I´ll only point out a few for now, just to make a point.

Two examples of mystical Religions:

1. Sufism


...is generally understood to be the inner, mystical dimension of Islam



Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God.", alternatively,"a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one’s inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits.".



Sufism was considerably influenced by the Hindu discipline of Yoga in such areas as physical postures (asanas) and breath control (pranayama).[6]





While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise — after death and after the "Final Judgment" — Sufis also believe that it is possible to draw closer to God and to more fully embrace the Divine Presence in this life.



In this state nothing one does defies God, and all is undertaken by the single motivation of love of God. A secondary consequence of this is that the seeker may be led to abandon all notions of dualism or multiplicity, including a conception of an individual self, and to realize the Divine Unity.



A great influence was exercised by Sufism upon the ethical writings of Jews in the Middle Ages



Some Sufi orders engage in ritualized dhikr ceremonies, the liturgy of which may include recitation, singing, instrumental music, dance, costumes, incense, meditation, ecstasy, and trance




________________________________________________________________

2. Sikhism


Sikhism advocates the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God. A key distinctive feature of Sikhism is a non-anthropomorphic concept of God, to the extent that one can interpret God as the Universe itself.





"Realisation of Truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living".[6] Sikhism believes in equality of all humans and rejects discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, and sex. Sikhism also does not attach any importance to asceticism as a means to attain salvation, but stresses on the need of leading life as a householder.



The beginning of the first composition of Sikh scripture is the figure "1"—signifying the universality of God. It states that God is omnipresent and infinite, and is signified by the term ēk ōaṅkār.[9] Sikhs believe that before creation, all that existed was God and Its hukam (will or order).[10] When God willed, the entire cosmos was created. From these beginnings, God nurtured "enticement and attachment" to māyā, or the human perception of reality.[11]



While a full understanding of God is beyond human beings,[9] Nanak described God as not wholly unknowable. God is omnipresent (sarav viāpak) in all creation and visible everywhere to the spiritually awakened. Nanak stressed that God must be seen from "the inward eye", or the "heart", of a human being: devotees must meditate to progress towards enlightenment. Guru Nanak Dev emphasized the revelation through meditation, as its rigorous application permits the existence of communication between God and human beings.[9] God has no sex in Sikhism, though translations may incorrectly present a male God. In addition, Nanak wrote that there are many worlds on which God has created life



The chief obstacles to the attainment of salvation are social conflicts and an attachment to worldly pursuits, which commit men and women to an endless cycle of birth—a concept known as reincarnation.




_________________________________________________________________


Two examples of Benign Religions:

3. Bahai


The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in nineteenth-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind.[1] There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.[2][3] Bahá'í teachings emphasize the underlying unity of the major world religions. Religious history is seen to have unfolded through a series of divine messengers, each of whom established a religion that was suited to the needs of the time and the capacity of the people. These messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and others, including most recently Bahá'u'lláh. In Bahá'í belief, each messenger taught of the next, and Bahá'u'lláh's life and teachings fulfill the end-time promises of previous scriptures. Humanity is understood to be involved in a process of collective evolution, and the need of the present time is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale.[4]




____________________________________________________

4. Unitarian Universalism


Unitarian Universalists (UUs) believe in complete but responsible freedom of speech, thought, belief, faith, and disposition. They believe that each person is free to search for his or her own personal truth on issues, such as the existence, nature, and meaning of life, deities, creation, and afterlife. UUs can come from any heritage, have any sexual orientation or gender identity, and hold beliefs from a variety of cultures or religions.









We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote

The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.



If anyone would like to introduce, share, talk about their own rare religion or speak out on the ones presented (pro or con), or speak on comparitive religion (a highly interesting subject!) here´s a place to do so.

[edit on 5-9-2009 by Skyfloating]




posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 07:25 AM
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Two predominant views:

"All Religions suck"

"All Religions except mine suck"

The Religions chosen for this OP have in common that they do not claim that other Religions or people who dont believe in them, are no good. This is what makes them benign.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 07:30 AM
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"All Religions suck"


Oh yeah, you know this is my view.

Good post though, or thread errh, yeah good thread


Enjoyed it, and learned something I may not of known!



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 08:23 AM
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The atheism vs. christianity thing seems to have such a hypnotic effect that all else goes unseen and unmentioned.

I was hoping to get some members of these religions talk here...



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 08:30 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


First off......there was no 2. next to Sikhism and that kind of annoyed me, im weird like that


Secondly, very good thread as usual Skyfloating, i didn't know of these religions and i am now forced to go and find out more.

Benign religions, its a nice thought.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 08:40 AM
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Originally posted by LiveForever8
First off......there was no 2. next to Sikhism and that kind of annoyed me, im weird like that




Im weird like that too. Promptly corrected.


_________________________________________

Anyone out there familiar with anything other than Judaism, Christianity, Islam?

[edit on 5-9-2009 by Skyfloating]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:14 AM
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Sikhs are warriors and the males are legally allowed to carry swords. Not everything about the religion is benign, and I'm not sure why you have included it in a separate category from the others. I love the Sikhs and am good friends with several (being as how they ran my local shop when I was drinking up to 24 cans of lager or cider a day, and made a great deal of money from me), but how actually have you decided that the religion is any more benign than, say; Buddhism?



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:31 AM
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Originally posted by Cadbury
but how actually have you decided that the religion is any more benign than, say; Buddhism?



I did not include Buddhism because its one of the big religions.

Edit-to-add: Sikh was in the "mystical" category, not the benign.

But from reading the Sikh website and materials they appear at least a little benign. Ive defined benign as being tolerant of other religions and being tolerant of the non-religious.

According to their materials the sword was used to defend against tyrants.

[edit on 5-9-2009 by Skyfloating]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:34 AM
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I think Wicca also should be mentioned in this thread. I am not a Wiccan myself, but their lack of judgement of other religions and great respect for nature appeals to me. Mother Earth would probably be in a much better state today if we all were Wiccans.




Magic and ethics

Like many Pagan religions, Wicca practices magic. Witches believe that the human mind has the power to effect change in ways that are not yet understood by science. In their rituals, as well as honouring their deities, Witches also perform spells for healing and to help people with general life problems. Magic is practised according to an ethical code that teaches that magic may only be performed to help people when it does not harm others.

Witches believe that the energies that we create influence what happens to us: negative magic rebounds on the perpetuator but magnified. This process is often known as 'Threefold Law'. Other important ethical teachings are that people should strive to live in harmony with others and with themselves, and with the planet as a whole. Environmental issues are important to Wiccans.

After death
Wicca teaches reincarnation. After death, the spirit is reborn and will meet again those with whom it had close personal ties in previous lives. The aim of reincarnation is not to escape life on Earth, but to enjoy experiencing it again and again until everything that can be learned has been absorbed. When the spirit ceases to reincarnate, it remains in a blissful realm known as 'The Land of Youth' or the 'Summerland'.

www.bbc.co.uk...


"When one defines oneself as Pagan, it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion, one that sees the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple, its plants and creatures our partners and teachers. We worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and father God, who together created all that is, was, or will be. We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings, and accept the sacredness of all creation."
Edain McCoy

www.religioustolerance.org...



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:36 AM
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reply to post by Cadbury
 


Yeah, i was gonna say that. They are legally allowed to carry a scimitar type sword, which they use to say that they are allowed to fight for their religion.

I have heard on the UU and Sikhism, but not the others. Nice thread, thanks for the insight.

Jacob



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:41 AM
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And if you guys read carefully I said "Here's two examples of mystical Religions and later "Here`s two examples of Benign Religions". Sikh was in the mystical category.

_________________________________________

ziggystar: Thanks for the addition


[edit on 5-9-2009 by Skyfloating]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:53 AM
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Suggestions:

1. Jainism (from Wikipedia 'cause it's easy for lazy buggers like me) is an ancient dharmic religion from India that prescribes a path of non-violence for all forms of living beings in this world. Its philosophy and practice relies mainly on self effort in progressing the soul on the spiritual ladder to divine consciousness. Any soul which has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called jina (Conqueror or Victor). Jainism is the path to achieve this state. Jainism is often referred to as Jain Dharma (जैन धर्म) or Shraman Dharma or the religion of Nirgantha by ancient texts. Jainism was revived by a lineage of 24 enlightened ascetics called tirthankaras[1] culminating with Parsva (9th century BCE) and Mahavira (6th century BCE). In the modern world, it is a small but influential religious minority with as many as 4.9 million followers in India and successful growing immigrant communities in North America, Western Europe, the Far East, Australia and elsewhere.

2. Taoism: (yeah, yeah Wikipedia again) efers to a variety of related philosophical and religious traditions and concepts that have influenced East Asia for over two millennia and the West for over two centuries.[ The word 道, Tao (or Dao, depending on the romanization scheme), means 'path' or 'way', although in Chinese folk religion and philosophy it has taken on more abstract meanings. Taoist propriety and ethics emphasize the Three Jewels of the Tao: compassion, moderation, and humility. Taoist thought generally focuses on nature, men-cosmos correspondence (天人相应), health, longevity, wu wei (action through inaction), liberty, and spontaneity.

3. Shamanism: (Wiki blah blah) comprises a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world. A practitioner of shamanism is known as a shaman, pronounced /ˈʃɑːmən/, /ˈʃeɪmən/, (|ˈshämən; ˈshā-|) noun (pl. -man(s)). There are many variations of shamanism throughout the world, but several common beliefs are shared by all forms of shamanism. Shamans are intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds. According to believers, they can treat illness and are capable of entering supernatural realms to obtain answers to the problems of their community.

4. Chaos magic is a school of the modern magical tradition which emphasizes the pragmatic use of belief systems and the creation of new and unorthodox methods.

5. Oomoto (大本 Ōmoto, literally "foundation"), also known as Oomoto-kyo (大本教 Ōmoto-kyō), is a Japanese religion, often categorised as a new Japanese religion originated from Shinto. Deguchi Nao (1836–1918) was its kaiso (original founder) in 1892. The spiritual leaders of the movement have predominantly been women; however, Deguchi Onisaburō (1871–1948) has been considered an important figure in Omoto as a seishi (spiritual teacher). Since 2001, the movement has been guided by its fifth leader, Kurenai Deguchi. (One of the formative influences of Aikido)

These are incredibly rich traditions that do not rely on a "daddy" god and that generally eschew the militaristic excesses of Islam and Christianity.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 10:00 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
I did not include Buddhism because its one of the big religions.


Sikhism is the fifth largest organised religion that we have. It's pretty big.



Originally posted by Skyfloating
And if you guys read carefully I said "Here's two examples of mystical Religions and later "Here`s two examples of Benign Religions". Sikh was in the mystical category.


Indeed you did. My mistake, sorry.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 10:34 AM
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reply to post by ziggystar60
 


Well said.


Which while by ancestry, i ascribe to Celt Neopagan/Wicca, our mother goddess Danu etc, i am pantheist as too are many who are Neopagan or of Druidic tradition etc.

At the end of the day, from beliefs and faiths as well as political ideology, i am only intolerant of intolerance.

I rather tend to regard monotheism as the most destructive belief there is, whatever flavour and colour!

Forever onwards to Aquarius, ay!!!



Paxus.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by DeltaPan


I rather tend to regard monotheism as the most destructive belief there is, whatever flavour and colour!






They desire to be Solar, but we are all of Stellar!



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 10:51 AM
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Originally posted by DeltaPan

At the end of the day, from beliefs and faiths as well as political ideology, i am only intolerant of intolerance.

I rather tend to regard monotheism as the most destructive belief there is, whatever flavour and colour!



All Religions in the OP are monotheistic. None of them have been especially destructive.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 10:53 AM
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Originally posted by Cadbury

Sikhism is the fifth largest organised religion that we have. It's pretty big.



And yet underreported (at least in the U.S. I understand you live in the U.K. where it is more known).

So...what do you know about Sikh people? Because I know nothing of them or of any of the other religions mentioned.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 11:16 AM
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Originally posted by DeltaPan

I rather tend to regard monotheism as the most destructive belief there is, whatever flavour and colour!



Monotheism is inspired by the ONE-ness of all things. Only in its corrupted form does it turn into "our ONE God is better than yours".



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 11:58 AM
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reply to post by metamagic
 


Nice additions. Are you familiar with any of them?



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
So...what do you know about Sikh people? Because I know nothing of them or of any of the other religions mentioned.


Going mainly by observation of Sikhs that I know personally, on the whole I'd have to say that the more serious adherents of this faith are usually very kind, polite and well spoken individuals. They all seem to smile a lot and tell light-hearted jokes, and I have never seen or heard one being rude. The males wear a Turban and the females don't. Several of the males I know carry swords, which they are permitted to do by law in this country. These men have at least a rudimentary level of skill in martial arts, and will have at some stage practised with blades. I would say that for the most part they are wise and trustworthy enough to carry that which they do. I've only ever known one of them, once, to brandish; he was a shop owner and was having some trouble with a rabble of dull-minded corner peasantry. If they hadn't of run away, he would have chopped a couple of them up.

Though you must now bare in mind, the above applies to only the more serious adherents of this faith (that I've met). The others are non-superficially indistinguishable from the rest of the population. They are usually ignorant of their culture and history, enabling anything left of it to be overridden easily. Some aren't ignorant of it at all, yet either rebel against it or lose interest to whatever else is around. I know several who have adopted the "black gangster" culture, including all the popular underground slang and mannerisms, but with heightened ostentation. The males wear something that resembles an amalgamation of a Turban and a Do-rag. The women have a lot of sex with lots of different partners. That is the only thing really worth mentioning about those individuals, if you can follow that.

Of Sikh spiritual practise in general I can tell you nothing more than you can learn on wikipedia.



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