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September 03, 2007

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KathyJ

You CAN find an identity in any of the three options but you may want to consider which of the three options are based on truth. Do I want to find "an" identity that feels like it works for now or do I want to find my "true" identity? True identity flows from the truth of who we were created to be. Hmmm...if we were intentionally created then perhaps the Creator has something to say about the truth? I think that question lands us in Option 3...good place to start!

a

Best identity: Made in the image of God.

But Buddha, God, Jesus, Allah--not the same. Read on...

Referring to “God” is not the same thing as referring to Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, “The Force” ala Luke Skywalker, or any other anthropomorphic or made-up variation of what is generically described as “The Creator;” aka He/Her/It or Whatever Created The Universe — and man ultimately along with it. I’m not trying to belittle religious beliefs here; just making sure we don’t confuse what we believe “God” to be with what “God” really is. God exists as God exists, in whatever form or presence that is, regardless of whether we completely, partially, or don’t comprehend it at all. And since God by definition is that which started it all, then it is to God we must look for the infusion of a universal moral code in every human being that is not the result of human activity, environmental influences, or simple genetics.

Referring to “God,” therefore, is not the same thing as referring to “religion” or “religious tenets” like the Ten Commandments. They are related, but not identical concepts, and may be viewed very differently depending upon the nature of the society and culture it operates in, not to mention the specific beliefs of the religion itself. Most religions may reflect the basic concepts of morality, as well as urge individuals to make proper moral choices, but religion itself does not provide the content of that morality any more than society, culture, or an individual does.ix

Discussing universally-shared moral values is not the same thing as discussing Christian beliefs vs. Muslim beliefs vs. Jewish beliefs, and so on. Religion A may put forth a set of standards that differ from Religion B. But underlying both, I contend, is a basic, intrinsically-understood moral foundation that helps tell us right from wrong in a given situation. This means that certain options are always excluded, while other options may or may not be included, depending upon what each religion teaches.

One of my favorite comics was The Far Side. I'll never forget the one of God in his kitchen with a box of "Earth-Mix." As he takes the baked good out of His oven he looks and thinks to Himself, "Something tells me this thing is only half-baked."

Something tells me cartoonist Gary Larson was right. What in the world was God thinking? Did the Creator purposely set out to confuse his kids? I've always thought that there was one God (or Goddess, if you will) with many aliases. Yahweh, Buddha, Allah, God, Goddess, whoever a person chose to pick as their creator. And all the religious manuals from the Bible to the Koran to the Book of Shadows all want us to do the same thing. To put it simply:

"Know that I'm here and in charge and, above all, be nice to everybody."

That's religion in a nutshell.

If we are all God's children, if Jesus loves all the children of the world, then God must be the most unhappy parent in the universe. God's world has become the Romper Room from Hell. Everybody thinks that they're right.

And they are. And they're not. And that is religion. Whatever works for you and your family, whatever makes you a better person is the right choice. For you. Not your neighbor, not your brother or sister, not your congressman or woman - just you. And whatever you do, don't go trying to push your beliefs on me or anybody else

The Christian god and the Muslim god are clearly not the same god.

The Christian god is both a trinity (father, son and holy spirit) and a unity whereas the Muslim god is very much a unity - it's probably the single most important aspect of Islam (tawhid).
God
Christian:
God is a trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is not three gods in one god, nor is it one person who took three forms. Trinitarianism is strictly monotheistic. There is no other God in existence.
Islam: God is known as Allah. Allah is one person, a strict unity. There is no other God in existence. He is the creator of the universe (3:191), sovereign over all (6:61-62).
Holy Spirit
Christian: Third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is fully God in nature.
Islam: The arch-angel Gabriel who delivered the words of the Koran to Muhammad.
Jesus
Christian: Second person of the Trinity. He is the word who became flesh. He is both God and man.
Islam:A very great prophet, second only to Muhammad. Jesus is not the son of God (9:30) and certainly is not divine (5:17, 75)) and he was not crucified (4:157).
Man
Christian: Made in the image of God. This does not mean that God has a body, but that man is made like God in abilities (reason, faith, love, etc.).
Islam: Not made in the image of God (42:11). Man is made out of the dust of the earth (23:12) and Allah breathed life into man (32:9; 15:29).
Son of God
A term used to designate that Jesus is divine though he is not the literal son of God in a physical sense
Islam: A literal son of God. Therefore, Jesus cannot be the son of Allah.

"With the remarkable exception of the death of Jesus on the cross, and of the doctrine of atonement by vicarious suffering, which is absolutely excluded by Buddhism,

There are important differences between the Enlightened One and the Son of God, who together had taught moral values to over half the world's population.
Some differences that get right out of my head are:
How authorities treated them: Buddha was born of a royal family and therefore He had little problems going to see Kings and Emperors of those days to spread the Dharma. On the other hand, Jesus was a tradesman (a carpenter was not even a high earning professional those days) from a peasant family. He could not simply go to Rome to see the Roman Emperor (He could not even see King Herod) to talk about His Gospels.
Length of Preaching: Being a prince (India was and still is a class society), the Buddha was relatively safe from persecution (except by His cousin Devadatta). He preached over 40 years until He reached an old age of 80. Jesus, on the other hand, was born in a politically turbulent colonial environment. Thus He barely opened His month and was crucified, unfortunately. I am sure if He had lived to old age like Prince Siddhartha, He would have a lot more to say about things like human relations, cause and effect, karma, compassion, suffering and emptiness - the sort of stuff that the Buddha talked about.
Family life: One important difference is that the Buddha had a normal family life: normal parents (King Suddhodana with Queen Maya), a beautiful wife (Princess Yasodhara), a son (Rahula), as well as brothers and cousins (such as Nanda and Ananda) - all are well documented and seldom disputed by Buddhists or non-Buddhists. On the other hand, Jesus' family life is highly controversial - even among Christians. Non-Christians have doubt about Virgin Birth, no one knows if He had any brothers or sisters (some says James was His brother), most say He remained single, but some say He was secretly married to Mary Magdalene, no one knows where He had gone during His youth (reference: "Life of Jesus" on the History Channel and the Learning Channel). He had unusual parents, Yahweh, Joseph, and Mary. In short, we know the historical Buddha fairly well but the historical Jesus remained a mystery.
Second Messiah: Jesus said He will return the second time as a future Messiah (at the end of the world) to judge people. There will be Heaven on earth for those who follow Him. On the other hand, the Buddha had gone outside the cycle of rebirth and will NOT come back. The next future Buddha that will come to earth is Ajita Maitreya, not Gautama Himself. But Gautama Buddha also predicted that there will be Heaven on earth for those who follow him when Maitreya returns. Strangely, they talked the same thing essentially.

KathyJ

Dear a,

I think JoeCraveman wanted to be less confused:) I hope that you will come to the upcoming series on SoulCraving to hear the less confusing truth about a loving, relational God who pursues His children.

serenity_chick

Kathy J: the less confusing truth about a loving, relational God who pursues His children.

Joe Craveman: are connected because something bigger has connected us. Something like God ... You can call it Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, or Buddha, but something has connected us. ... Our future is found in what this God has determined it to be in one way or another.

A: Lots of detail about who Allah, Buddha, and Jesus are and are not.

Isn't it a wonderful thing that we all present differernt aspects of the truth?

Kathy? Who is the relational God?
Joe: Your future with Allah, Jesus, or Buddha is vastly different. That's the point in presenting all the detail about how different Allah, Jesus, or Buddha are.

As Dave Ferguson put it (expanded):
Allah isn't coming back for you.
Buddha isn't coming back for you.
The new age "God" - an ascended master - isn't coming back for you.
The 12 step Higher Power - God as you (a human) understand him, her, or it - isn't coming back for you.

Only Jesus is coming back for you.

This is who you find your meaning and purpose in. From this is the meaning of your service to others derived

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