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Closer To Truth: ESP

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By John Prytz

There is an ongoing PBS TV series (also several books and also a website) called “Closer To Truth”. It is hosted by neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn. He’s featured in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of the cream of today’s cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, etc. on all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of broad topics – Cosmos; Consciousness; Meaning. The trilogy collectively dealt with reality, space and time, mind and consciousness, aliens, theology and on and on and on. Here are a few of my comments on one of the general topics covered, ESP and related psychic subjects.

Does ESP Make Sense 1?

Does ESP make sense? Well if ESP made any sense, if say telepathy actually existed, then I probably wouldn’t be here writing this in the here and now. Why? If most people sensed and knew what I was thinking about them, especially drivers, they would have long since beaten me about the head and body until I was a bloody pulp. In a more general vein, I’m not aware of any assault or any crime involving violence that can be attributed to anyone reacting to what anyone else was thinking. I mean what if you walked down the street of some fundamentalist Islamic town thinking all sorts of nasty things about Allah and company. Nothing would happen. As the saying goes, “you can’t go to jail for what you are thinking” because thoughts are private. Given the number of people thinking nasty thoughts that would seriously offend other people, probably millions of such occurrences per day, yet nothing transpires as a result, would seem to discredit the idea of ESP or telepathy as a viable phenomena.

Does ESP Make Sense 2?

If ESP made any sense, how could teachers guard against students cheating on exams? How could the military protect highly classified documents? How could you protect yourself from others finding out the most intimate details of your love letters, you bank account numbers, the contents of your will, and associated privacy issues? There’s been a lot of angst recently displayed over the issues of electronic snooping, but I don’t seem to recall any concern over ESP as being part of the everyday tool-kit used for terrorism; diplomatic, corporate or military espionage; or as a ways and means used by criminals to further their get-rich-quick schemes. If ESP were legit, well blackmail would really be rampant.

Does ESP Make Sense 3?

If ESP/Telepathy/Remote Viewing and related psychic phenomena really existed it would make for an absolutely level playing field since all knowledge and all secrets would be in theory equally available to all. Even your most private thoughts wouldn’t be private any more. We don’t seem to have a level playing field – never have; not now; never will.

There are various absurdities of things that would have to have been documented but haven’t been, like levitation. What hasn’t been documented is prisoners floating out of their prison courtyards to freedom. Surely that should of happened at least once!

Speaking of prisoners, if there were really such a thing as mind-over-matter then prisoners could mentally unlock their handcuffs and prison cell doors. You could mentally pick door-locks and bank vault safe locks, or maybe just float valuables from where they are to where you are. The law could never trace murder to you if you murdered at a distance by say giving your victim a mind-over-matter heart attack. There’s no shortage of criminal mischief you could get up to. I don’t recall any court cases where mind-over-matter was established as the ways-and-means of doing the crime.

If there were such a thing as precognition then we’d all be billionaires. Or, perhaps one might like to argue that all billionaires past and present have had or currently have precognition and they just like to keep that their little family secret.

In short, you could take any of the various individual phenomena that collectively make up all things psychic and come up with things that could and should eventuate as a consequence, yet don’t.

Does ESP Make Sense 4?

Let’s explore the notion that mind-over-matter exists. What sort of things might we expect to have been the case if such a concept were really true and a property of the mind that is part and parcel of each and every one of us, especially if it were non-physical and could violate the laws, principles and relationships of physics.

Well one question that comes to mind is why NASA didn’t employ mind power instead of chemical rockets to send humans into space and to the Moon? It would have saved the taxpayer millions and millions. Related, why do planes require aviation gas or jet fuel? Surely the pilot could just use mind power to get passengers or cargo from place A to place B. In fact you could commute to work in your car on an empty tank!

I gather you could supply all the energy requirements for your home, supply the heat and light the lights, just cause those electrons to flow, all with just a flick of your mental power and abilities. For that matter, what need of the Large Hadron Collider when physicists could accelerate and slam particles together using just their minds?

If your mind had control over chemistry, there would be no excuse for the obesity epidemic. You could smoke without fear and drink like a fish. For that matter, you could turn lead into gold!

Sports wouldn’t be very sporting-like. A routine fly ball would be willed by the batter to become a home run. A baseball pitcher would be invincible game after game since his mind would control the twisting flightpath of the ball instead of relying on aerodynamics. In golf every shot would be a hole-in-one; in tenpin bowling every ball bowled would be a strike; in basketball every toss would go through the hoops. Chess on the other hand might still be aboveboard.

Any condemned convict could ensure their execution would be negated. The rope breaks; the rifle bullets miss; the lethal cocktail of chemicals turn into harmless substances; the neck is mightier than the sword or the guillotine.

If you were so inclined, you could change the wording on documents to benefit you, change a one dollar bill into a one hundred dollar bill, or alter the actual appearance of playing cards and thus never loose a game.

History would certainly be different. If Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan had applied mind-over-matter abilities to their war efforts, they would have won World War Two in a matter of just weeks – or less.

Seriously, all these ‘what if” scenarios imply that mind-over-matter must have a physical mechanism since in each and every case matter and energy is being manipulated. If you do believe in ESP and related psychic phenomena, like mind-over-matter, yet you can’t come up with a physical explanation that independents can verify, well okay, you do have an escape clause. You could be a virtual being in a simulated universe and all psi phenomena is just programmed software.

Does ESP Reveal the Nonphysical?

For ESP to reveal something about the non-physical, one must first demonstrate that ESP actually exists. Since ESP has not been so demonstrated in any peer-reviewed scientific journal, since if it had been there would be no need to have these discussions on “Closer to Truth”, then the bona-fide existence of ESP is still up for grabs. While there is a near total lack of evidence for the establishment of ESP, there is lots of evidence that points in the direction that ESP doesn’t exist. There has to be an actual mechanism that links the sender or the target with the receiver. Claiming that there is a non-physical mechanism that is beyond detection is a cop-out. One can claim all manner of phenomena but when asked to put-up-or-shut-up one just says that it has a non-physical explanation which nobody can actually pin down. As to what that non-physical mechanism is, it’s just pure pie-in-the-sky mysticism. It’s not scientific to a scientist; it’s not acceptable to the average layperson either. It’s like claiming to have an invisible friend but not being able to convince anyone because nobody else, including the claimant, can actually see, touch, taste, smell or hear anything tangible about this invisible entity. Okay, there has to be an actual physical mechanism for ESP if ESP is to claim to have some sort of validity. Alas, as has been more than adequately pointed out, if our brain/mind can detect ESP signals then it must be possible to construct an artificial detector that does the same thing. Further, we can build detectors vastly more sensitive than anything the human sensory apparatus, hence the brain/mind, can detect. Results to date equate to absolute zero. Resorting to a non-physical mechanism is a cop-out; nothing that can be construed to be a physical mechanism can be independently verified.

Is ESP a Window on a Larger Reality?

For ESP to be taken as a window on a larger reality, one must first prove in an accepted peer-reviewed manner that ESP (and related bits and pieces) actually exists. Now there are some phenomena that don’t sit still, phenomena that are so random that it is difficult for investigators to come to terms with their reality or non-reality. Examples are UFOs, ghosts, Bigfoot (Sasquatch), and related. However, ESP doesn’t fall into that category. ESP sits still. You have target A and person B or person A and person B and they are both fixed and static. They can be tested again and again. There’s nothing hit-or-miss or random about this. Now what is telling about all of this, quite apart from the idea that nobody has an actual clue what the ESP (and related) mechanism is, is that despite thousands of experiments and millions of “I know what I experienced” events, despite the elapse of hundreds of years of these sorts of investigations, nothing has been set in stone. You would think that by now, if there was any structure and substance to the entire validity of the ESP field, that issues would have been settled long ago. The fact that this debate over ESP and the nature therefore of a theoretical larger reality is still going on, is suggestive that nothing is going on. If there were any nuts-and-bolts reality to this whole area of parapsychology, it would have long since been documented and written up in the textbooks and taught to students with as much conviction as the teachings of the reality of those laws of gravity and of motion.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/mysticism-articles/closer-to-truth-esp-7050978.html

About the Author

Science librarian; retired.


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Religious Americans view others

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the ea...

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the early 1900s, Russian Jews, packs in hand, gaze at the American relatives beckoning them to the United States. Over two million Jews fled the pogroms of the Russian Empire to the safety of the U.S. from 1881-1924. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

It is only human for most people to think more highly of themselves and the groups (academic, professional, social, religious, political and national) that they identify with, than they think of others. It is only natural to notice more of your own and your own groups virtues than the virtues of others; and it is only normal to to be less aware of your own groups vices and prejudices than those of others groups.

Thus, it is not surprising that a survey last week by Pew Research, found that Evangelical Protestants, who are confident that they are going to Heaven, score a warm rating of 79 with people who called themselves “born-again” or evangelical, but only receive a rating of 52 from others, a 27 point difference.

Catholics also give themselves a similar warm 80 score, while non-Catholics give them a six point warmer score than Evangelical Protestants rating at 58. but that still is a 22 point difference.

And Jews, who do not fear original sin and eternal damnation, rate themselves at a very warm 89, while non-Jews rate Jews as a warm 63, which is 5 points warmer than Catholics, and 11 points above Evangelical Protestants, but still a 26 point difference between self and others ratings.

On the other hand while Atheists gave themselves a 62 rating, others gave them a cool 41 rating, a 21 point difference.

White Evangelical Protestants rank Buddhists at 39, Hindus at 38, Muslims at 30, and atheists at only 25; the lowest score of any group.

Atheists give evangelicals an equally low overall rating of 28. But Atheists give much warmer ratings to Buddhists 69, Jews 61 and Hindus 58.

Americans are somewhat polarized about evangelicals. The survey found that, “roughly as many people give evangelicals a cold rating (27 percent) as give them a warm rating (30 percent).”

The most important results for Jews in this study is the very positive views Americans have of Jews and Judaism. Jewish anxieties about religious anti-semitism are greatly exaggerated.

On the other hand, many Jews need to examine their own negative attitudes toward evangelical Protestants who clearly differ with us in as many areas as we differ with them, yet still have a warmer view of us then we have of them.

White evangelicals rated Jews at a very warm 69, while Jewish respondents gave evangelical Protestants a very cool 34. Most people explain this as due to their ‘southern style’ and Evangelical Protestant Missionary efforts to convert Jews; which acts to offset their support for Israel.

Jews and Catholics have warmer views of each other than Jews and evangelical Protestants have because Catholics have no active missionary activities directed toward Jews, and Jews are more likely to know Catholics then they are likely to know evangelical Protestants.

Thus, Catholics are viewed more warmly than evangelical Protestants (58 vs 34), and this is only a little less than the Catholic view of Jews at 61.

These ratings are not a fluke. The Pew results match closely with a similar study in 2007 by political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell for their 2010 book, ”American Grace.” The overall order of warm-to-cold views for religious groups is unchanged between the two studies.

Rabbi Maller’s web site is: rabbimaller.com


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Only 22% Americans know a Hindu

English: Bhagavad Gita, a 19th century manuscr...

Bhagavad Gita, a 19th century manuscript. North India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to Earthpages.org

Only 22 percent Americans know someone who is Hindu, according to a Pew Research Center survey published on July 17.

This number is lowest than any other religion/denomination surveyed.  Catholics rank highest with 87 percent, followed by evangelical Christians, Jews, Atheists, Mormonscial , Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.

Americans express warmest and more positive feelings towards Jews (average rating 63); followed by Catholics, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., the survey adds.

Reacting to this survey findings, Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged American Hindus to make outreach efforts towards non-Hindu communities, do charity, invite others to visit Hindu temples/ashrams, offer help to neighbors, be good role models, act for the benefit of all, volunteer, try to stay pure and exhibit warmth and love towards fellow Americans.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) urged us to act selflessly without any thought of personal profit.

Rajan Zed suggested to each American Hindu to take a vow of undertaking at least one charitable project during this year for less fortunate members of the community. Quoting scriptures, Zed stressed that charity was a duty, which should be undertaken with sympathy and modesty.

Headquartered in Washington DC, “Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world”. Alan Murray is President.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.


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Do not judge, or you too will be judged

Pope Innocent III has a dream of St. Francis o...

Pope Innocent III has a dream of St. Francis of Assisi supporting the tilting church (attributed to Giotto) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

Romans 2:1 New International Version

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

To make a judgment is to draw a conclusion or make a decision about something. People typically make judgments in one of three ways – (1) according to outward appearance, (2) according to the opinion of others, or (3) according to economic status. And often the judgment we make does not have all the details of the situation (in fact is limited), includes our personal bias, and is often wrong.  Judging others may also be a symptom of, or give to rise to, smugness, arrogance, and self-righteousness. It may even be a way of deflecting attention from our own moral weaknesses and failings.

 ‘To make a quick judgment does not make one right. The wise person looks at both sides of the matter, with fairness, impartiality, watchful of the truth, wisely and without haste. Such a person is called righteous.’                                                                  -Buddhist saying.

Passing judgment…  we all do it.  But is it biblically acceptable? Romans 2:1 provide us with the answer.  In short we are told that every one of us who passes judgment on another condemns himself.  Something I heard at a martial arts seminar from a Kempo master that rings true related to this subject, he was speaking during a session that he was presenting on knife techniques and speaking in regards to the attacker, but what he basically said was (and I paraphrase), ‘I can’t pass judgment on my attacker; I don’t know why he is attacking me, or what his thoughts are… Only God can pass judgment.  I am simply reacting to his action and should respond appropriately with love and compassion.’  How often do we see a photo of someone on FaceBook and instantly pass a judgment on the individual without knowing, as Paul Harvey used to say, ‘the rest of the story’?

Think about this God is ‘all-knowing’, and in turn has the full picture of the situation as well as the right to send judgment appropriately; for only God knows what happened leading up to and after the incident, and only God knows the intent in the ‘attackers’ heart at the time of the incident. A human judge is limited when it comes to knowing or understanding the truth and ascertaining the true facts of any case; humans afre influenced by their own bias and prejudice, as well as their ego related to the situation. God is pure in thought and judgment. With God the true facts of every case are naked and open before Him; He needs no witnesses and no jury because He has personally witnessed every act and thought sin that has ever been performed. He knows all the facts (see Hebrews 4:12-13). He never misrepresents a person’s case! We can be sure that God’s judgment is always according to truth. Man on the other hand, even with the best of intentions, is far from God.

Let me paint you a picture based on a real life event.  A local cleric attended a martial arts seminar.  At the end of the formal seminar it was tradition for attendees to come to the home of the martial arts master hosting the seminar and socialize as well as continue to informal training.  The hosting family had two young girls ages 6 and 11 who fondly loved by the attendees.  These two girls were now in the presence of mostly adult male martial artists.  The girls asked each of the men if they would play with them, particularly dress up.  The men, who all adored the little girls, declined… upon seeing the hurt faces of the little girls the cleric agreed to play with them, putting his personal ego aside. In short time the girls had his toenails and fingernails painted with bright pink polish,  and the cleric joined them in a dress-up, dressing in one of their mother’s dresses as they had a little tea party.  The macho men who declined first began to poke fun at the cleric for his play participation; but soon they saw how happy the little girls were and saw that the cleric… was well, still the same person… and had only brought some joy to the little girls. Shortly after, the men put aside their own ego’s and were undergoing pedicures by the little girls making the night memorable and happy for these little princesses, as well as learning themselves a lesson in humility.  One of the men took a photo of the cleric dressed up, and without ill-thought innocently posted the photo on social media. The cleric’s immediate supervisor saw the posted photo and straightaway commented negatively on the actions, ‘What are you thinking!’.  The supervisor passed his immediate judgment for the world to see, assuming the cleric was acting less than the perception of what a member of the clergy should.  The reality was the cleric put aside his own ego to bring joy to two little girls, while teaching his peers to act with humility, to put aside personal ego and to act with love and compassion in bringing happiness to another. St Francis of Assisi in quoted to say, ‘Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary’.  In essence is this not what the cleric did?

Judging another does nothing but bring on suffering- for all involved. Judging another is a choice. I am reminded of a quote one of my teachers once shared with me, ‘We can neither love nor hate something about another unless we love or hate that very thing in ourselves.’  In reality we should practice a life of non-judgment, leavening judgment itself in the hands of the Lord.  This is not easy. I have often challenged my martial arts students to be non-judgmental.  I have shared this particular exercise with them’ Upon awakening see how long it takes for you before you pass a judgment. Your goal is to go through the entire tire day being non-judgmental.’  It has taken me 15-years to get from awakening to placing my feet on the ground from my bed before I pass my first judgment.  And I only recently got my foot to the floor. It’s not easy… it requires a practice in non-judgment. Suffering is mostly created by our own minds- in short we create our own suffering. A practice of non-judgment helps us to avoid a lot of the suffering we encounter on a daily basis.  When we practice non-judgment, we unburden ourselves from needless, self-created suffering.

‘It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.’                                                                     -Arnold Bennett

So, going back to the story of the cleric; who was truly suffering?- the cleric who put aside his ego and humility to bring joy to others and lead others to do the same (By the way on a side note, later that weekend one of the attendees came to the cleric to talk about God and to come back to the faith he left behind do the fire and brimstone judgments that drove him away years ago) or to the cleric’s supervisor who passed the initial judgment based on one photo?

It is not our place to judge.  We are responsible for our own actions.  Set aside judgment and set yourself free of suffering. Allow God to judge.  See each person with love and compassion; act with love and compassion in each moment.  Think of the good for others in every thought.

‘Distinctions drawn by the mind are not necessarily equivalent to distinctions in reality.’

                                                                                                                  – Thomas Aquinas

 ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/do-not-judge-or-you-too-will-be-judged-7045757.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.

 


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The Balance of Male and Female Energy

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By Tony Fahkry

A Whole Mind Approach

In a recent discussion with a health professional, I was curious why a growing number of people seem to rationalise their health concerns via logic alone. Rather than examining the mental and emotional issues to their failing health, we both agreed that our teaching system educates us from an early age to rationalise the world through reason. Surely solving our problems at the level of the mind is the best approach – or is it?

In Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, the author argues that the future belongs to the artists and creatives among us, rather than the traditional left brain professionals like accountants, lawyers and computer programmers. He postulates that with the advent of the Information Age, left brain thinkers (logic) dominated the landscape for much of this period, as evident with the development of the internet.

What does this mean in the larger context? Pink suggests that left brain orientated jobs have moved off-shore in recent times to countries where labour rates are less expensive. Jobs that previously required analytical processing are now sourced to countries like India and China for far less than major countries. Creative jobs on the other hand have seen a rise in demand since they cannot be automated due to the specialisation of the creative process.

I find this discussion fascinating on a number of levels. Firstly, our society has been largely male dominated for a number of centuries. The heads of major countries continue to be led by men, although this is now beginning to change. We typically value the masculine energy, as evident by a recent documentary on television in view of the World Cup. It was revealed that in poorer areas of Brazil, parents have two wishes in life: that they be blessed with a boy as a child and that he can kick a soccer ball.

Having been raised in a Catholic Middle Eastern family, I still recall the voices of my parents and relatives filled with optimism when someone within the community gave birth to a baby boy. Even as a young male, the same relatives reinforced the image of a powerful archetypal male aligned with logic and reason.

The Balance of Energy

You might be interested to learn that in Eastern philosophy the body is considered to be balanced energetically in two halves, known as polarities – male (right side) and female (left side). This is also expressed as the Yin (female) and Yang (male) energy. The notable Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung wrote about the anima and the animus which are the two unconscious archetypes that each gender possess.

What are the distinct qualities of these respective energies? Well, the male energy is: protective, logical, analytical, and grounded in reason, action orientated and sets boundaries. This energy is depicted as air and fire elements. The female energy in contrast is: nurturing, listening, emotional, intuitive, perceptive, calm, empathetic and compassionate. This energy is depicted as earth and water elements. Note, I am not describing the differences between men and women. These qualities relate to the energetic relationship inherent in both sexes.

We all have male and female qualities, resulting in a harmonious union of balance. When we favour one energy over the other, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Nature therefore thrives on a sense of balance and equilibrium.

As stated earlier, our society values left brain thinking from an early age. Children are taught in school to examine and deduce the world through logic and reason. In contrast, the Steiner education model urges children to harness right brain thinking with a focus toward creative pursuits. Whilst criticism has been labelled at this method of teaching, Steiner children nonetheless mature with highly advanced emotional intelligence.

It was Daniel Siegel author of Emotional Intelligence who coined the term EQ (emotional intelligence) in the early nineties. His studies into EQ have shown that it is not one’s IQ which is the measure of success in life, rather their EQ. As an example, men are taught to disregard their feelings or alternatively ‘stuff them down’ since feelings are something women have. Therefore men have inadvertently associated strength and power with reason and logic much to the detriment of EQ.

Image via Tumblr

Integration over Separation

Similarly gender roles have been obscured in recent times, as evident through various movements which sought to liberate the sexes from periods of repression. These days, women find themselves competing with men for senior roles within the workforce, at a cost to their family life. Balancing career and family has become a challenge for working women.

One would have thought that the feminist movement liberated women from the need to play on the same level as men. Rather, women have felt compelled to compete with men by playing by their rules in order to get ahead in the corporate world. Albeit this is one minor example, yet it underscores the disconnect apparent when there is a separation of male and female energies.

In a similar context, men are encouraged to deny their intuition for fear that they’ll connect with their emotional self. Intuition and feelings are deemed irrational to men, since it is devoid of scientific evidence. Women on the other hand understand the importance of intuition. They know where intuition resides within their body and trust it well. It is no wonder that women make better leaders, since they have sought to develop both male and female qualities in their leadership roles.

My contention in this article is to highlight that the future lies in integration rather than separation i.e. uniting our male and female energies. The emphasis will be towards the union of our male and female energies in a holistic sense, much like the Eastern principle espouses.

Bruce Lipton PhD, author of Spontaneous Evolution notes that humanity is advancing forward into a new paradigm known as Holism; the union of spirit and matter. ‘The new science of holism emphasises that, in order for us to transcend the parts and see the whole, we must acquire an understanding of Nature and the human experience.’ I have purposely bolded the last sentence. If we are to seek happiness and fulfillment in our lives, we must be willing to work in harmony with nature or run the risk of being at her mercy.

Uniting with our male and female energies will allow us to seek balance in order to optimise our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Problems become apparent when we swing toward one direction over the other. When we favour our male energy, the female side is minimised causing a disruption in our life-force and resulting in physical and emotional ailments.

The key is to unite both male and female energies by regarding them as the wholeness of your being. In order to thrive mentally, emotionally and physically you will need to harness each energy force at respective times throughout your life.

Men and women can live together afterall – even under the one roof!

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/new-age-articles/the-balance-of-male-and-female-energy-7043041.html

About the Author

If you enjoyed this article by Tony Fahkry, why not gain access to Tony’s full body of knowledge by getting a copy of his new book ‘The Power to Navigate Life’

The Power to Navigate Life is arguably the most complete and powerful teachings on the mastering of life. The Power to Navigate Life is your opportunity to experience a rewarding life from the very first page. Visit http://www.tonyfahkry.com to get your copy.


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Sports: A Symbol of Faith

Headquarters of the FIFA in Zurich, Switzerlan...

Headquarters of the FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

Tonight is the final showdown. The football world champions will be crowned in one of the most spectacular sporting events. But as the FIFA World Cup draws to a close, one cannot help but wonder what is it about sports that uplifts the human soul.

In all honesty, I never have been a big fan of any sport, be it our national games of hockey and cricket, American football, or the ever-popular soccer that has a huge fan following in Pakistan. But at the same time, I cannot evade their influence as well. Even with all my reluctance, I had to sit through the England vs. Italy match which ended in a 2-1 victory for the latter.

Not to mention, this FIFA World Cup held special attraction for Pakistani fans due to the ‘Brazuca’ being manufactured here. This was truly a high-point in a country otherwise torn apart, most recently by the army operation against terrorists in the northern areas.

Anyway, the theme of sport connecting to our innate desire for excellence, competition, pride, and success has been explored in various movies as well:

  • In Rocky III, the statue of the boxer stands as a testimony to the ‘indomitable spirit of man’
  • In Benhur, it is the (masterfully directed) chariot race that redeems the Hebrew prince
  • In Chariots of Fire, the ability to run is seen by the Scottish preacher as gift from God, while his Jewish counterpart runs the Olympics for national pride

Shawn Michaels (see note 1 below) via Wikipedia

Also in Chariots of Fire, we see the Eric Liddell preaching a sermon after a race, where he delves on the use of sports as a symbol of faith by NT writers, St. Paul in particular.

The Believer as Wrestler

12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6)

8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4)

The Believer as Runner

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9)

The Believer as Gladiator

11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6)

Kaka’s Boots (see note 2 below) via Wikipedia

But perhaps most surprising is the fact that Paul actually uses the theme of sports to describe a life of faith when he says:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

We find many people around us, especially on social media, that are quick to claim that these massive sports events breed on capitalist interests of greed and manipulation, and that this is some kind of massive conspiracy to distract people from the ‘real issues’.

I am not saying that there is no truth to these claims. But ultimately it is not the advertisements, the showgirls, and the fireworks that draw the crowds. It has something to do with sports itself, something so innate that we our forced to leap from our seats and raise our hands in the air, as if we about to touch God Himself.

Enjoy the finals!

Eric Liddell (see note 3) via Wikipedia

Image Notes

  1. Legendary professional wrestler ‘Shawn Michaels’. His controversial career in the WWE almost came to end in 98’ when he suffered an injury that forced him to stay out of action. During this time, he professed faith in Christianity. In a TBN interview, he stated that while he doesn’t endorse the lifestyle promoted by the WWE, he sees his presence in the company as Joseph’s presence in Pharaoh’s court. He made his comeback 2002, adorning a T-shirt with Philippians 4:13 on it: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’
  2. Brazilian footballer (Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite) Kaka’s boots. He removed his jersey to reveal an “I Belong to Jesus” t-shirt and openly engaged in prayer moments after the final whistle of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup, and Milan’s 2004 Scudetto and 2007 Champions League triumphs. He also had the same phrase, along with “God Is Faithful,” stitched onto the tongues of his boots. (Wikipedia)
  3. Eric Liddell, Olympic gold medalist and Scottish missionary to China. At the Paris summer games of 1924, Liddell refused on run heats on Sunday as not to violate his religious heritage. As a result, he had to compete in the 400m dash instead of the shorter 100m race. Before the race began, an American masseur handed him a note which read ‘Those who honor me I will honor’ (1 Samuel 2:30). He ran and won, breaking the existing Olympic and world records with a time of 47.6 seconds in the process.

 
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About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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A Passion to Serve

Cosmos bipinnatus on a field of Cosmos sulphur...

Cosmos bipinnatus on a field of Cosmos sulphureus, Compans Caffarelli garden, Toulouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Meena Suresh

‘Each one of us has a moral duty to help those in need’ this is a basic lesson taught in any moral science class. There is a much deeper significance and wider perspective to this lesson.

Every individual inhabiting this planet wishes to be happy at all times. The question to be asked is why do most people find happiness in life to be elusive ?

While happiness is the birthright of every individual, often man draws boundaries around himself in his search for happiness. Happiness is perceived to be attained through the fulfillment of one’s desires and possibly the health and wellbeing of one’s own family and loved ones.

What is the reason for man confining himself and his happiness to these boundaries ?

The question finds an answer when man analyses his life from birth. By his very nature man is a free soul longing to exist without boundaries in the infinite space. However, with no choice that he can perceive, he finds himself trapped in an infant body. This infant is taught by his parents and older siblings to view them as his own. As he keeps growing, he is told that this is HIS house, those are HIS friends, these are HIS relatives, this and that is HIS…likewise these and those are THEIRS (others).

These concepts act as a double edged sword. They expand his boundaries and therefore his sense of responsibility, duties and belongingness to include perceived near and dear ones i.e. makes him grow beyond his immediate selfish / self centered notions, however they also prevent him from feeling a sense of belongingness with the rest of creation.

To what extent do participants in joint activi...

To what extent do participants in joint activities experience a sense of community? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some families, societies, communities and even governments foster a feeling of oneness in each growing child, instilling in him a belongingness to a wider group, community and even country.  A man who feels his oneness with all his fellow countrymen and women develops a sense of patriotism for his country. Great heroic acts of patriotism and service to their countries are done by these men and women.

Going a step beyond identification with one’s country is the identification with the world and universe at large. True teachers are those who instill a sense of belongingness by removing all boundaries which prevent man from expanding his vision to consider all of creation as his own OR to put it differently recognizing his true nature of being a free soul with no boundaries.

Such a man, finds his very being overflowing with love and compassion for all creatures of the world as they are all his very own. He feels their pain as his own. Serving others just comes naturally to such a man. Thus arises in him the very passion to serve.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/psychology-articles/a-passion-to-serve-6933672.html


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Reiki: Black Magic or God’s Grace

Logo del RC

Logo del RC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

Throughout  Christianity, we have been told innumerable accounts of Jesus the Christ’s ability to heal using the laying-on-of-hands while on this earth as the Son of Man. In scripture, particularly John 14:12: ‘… he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do…’ , Jesus communicated to his disciples that those who followed His teachings would surpass his abilities.

Hands-on healing, also known as Energy, Lightwork, or Spiritual Healing, has been performed by almost all cultures throughout history and around the global. Greek mythology talks of Chiron, the wise Centaur, who taught Asclepius, the God of Medicine, the practice of hands-on healing. Both Pagan and Christian cultures have embraced this form of healing throughout history.  Our ancient legacy of hands-on healing is today comes in a number of diverse forms, from; Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, (TT) ,  A Healing Touch (AHT), and a number of others.

As the attractiveness of Hands-on Healing develops and grows in today’s society, many Christians are exposed to these healing styles.  And many Christians are told that incorporating these modalities into their treatment plans or practicing these modalities is wrong… against God.  This false fear of systems like Reiki is perpetuated by church goers who are ignorant in both healing and the teachings of Jesus.  Healing is God’s calling, and the spiritual gift of healing that Reiki and its cousin modalities offer is fulfillment of this calling.

Increasingly more and more Christians view Energy (Medicine) Healing as a practice that provides an opportunity to follow more closely the teachings and examples of Jesus, Son of Man, healing the sick. Yet there are others that voice a concern that Reiki and the other energy healing modalities have an Eastern origin and in turn are automatically dismissed as ‘evil, the work of Satan, or non-Christian’.  Often those who bad-mouth energy medicine have never researched it or understood it and in turn speak of it in a fear-based mentality.

True Christians seek ways to increase and strengthen their spiritual relationship with Christ.  We have examples of our saints adopting different practices to strengthen their faith develop the ‘Gifts of the Spirit’, of which reinforced their relationship with God and Christ Himself.

1 Corinthians 12:4-12 New International Version

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

In I Corinthians 12:4-12, Paul speaks of the gifts to including speaking wisdom and knowledge and the power to heal.

1 Corinthians 12:28-31 New International Version

28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret?

31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

Paul goes onto describe the people within the church as having roles of apostles, prophets, teachers, those who perform miracles, those who heal, those who direct others and those who speak in tongues.

One of the spiritual gifts spoken of is healing. Dedicated Christians who understand scripture have investigated the practices of Hand-on Healing to include the practice of Reiki and its cousin modalities.

John 14:12-14 New International Version

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Within John 14:12-14 is both instruction and task.

As Christians study the teachings of the Master and search for ways to follow more fully Jesus’ teachings in order to draw closer to God, we must keep in the forefront of our mind those the examples Jesus set for us.

Matthew 14:14New International Version

14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Mark 3:10New International Version

10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.

Luke 4:38-39 New International Version

38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

Mark 1:40-42 New International Version

40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’

41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Matthew 20:29-34 New International Version

29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’

32 Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked.

33 ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Mark 8:22-25 New International Version

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’

24 He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Mark 7:32-35 New International Version

32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ (which means ‘Be opened!’). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Luke 7:12-15 New International Version

12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Luke 8:49-55 New International Version

49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher anymore.’

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

English: The healing hands of Penny the Wonder...

The healing hands of Penny the Wonder Nurse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the list of scriptural teachings goes on….

If one studies scripture, prays, sits in contemplation the truth on Hand-on Healing will be revealed.  The Scriptural evidence clearly reveals that healing is something appropriate for Christians to be participating in. Christians, who have a solid foundation in their faith, know that God always look after and directs them to do His will. Those Christians who practice modalities such as Reiki do so within the direction and armor of God, assured in the confidence that they have been guided to follow Jesus’ model to be a healer.

So, more particularly what is Reiki? Reiki is a Hands-on Healing modality that balances and rejuvenated the bio-electric magnetic energy (science proven) of the human body balancing the body, mind, emotions, and spiritual essence of a being. Reiki is a Japanese term meaning ‘Universal Life Energy’ referring to that bio-electric magnetic unseen energy that permeates and gives life to everything. A Japanese Tendai Buddhist monk named Mikao Usui was given the method of healing, a gift after 21 days of fasting and contemplation on a mountain outside of Kyoto. He used this gift to heal those in need; he was able to teach others this system of healing.  Just because Usui was Japanese… just because he was Buddhist does not invalidate the modality, nor does it mean the ‘Love of God’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ was not or is not present in healing.

Romans 2 13-16 (NIV) tells us this:

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Even a Buddhist practice can follow the Will of the Christian God. Reiki delivers a magnificent system for Christians to make use of God’s grace. When giving or receiving Reiki attunements or treatments, call on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to work directly through you and do the healing for you (in essence this is what Reiki practitioners are doing- though they use different Buddhist or New Age terms). This can be done through prayer before Reiki sessions, attunements or classes etc. By doing this your connection with God’s love (what some identify as that bio-electric magnetic energy we earlier discussed) can become very powerful and act as a source of support, healing and grace that is always be available to you. Reiki practitioners feel that they do not heal, but the energy or God’s Love does the healing; they are simply tools in the process.

Reiki is not Black Magic. Black Magic has a purpose to cause harm and suffering to another. There is no ill intent in healing. Reiki can only be used to heal and to help people and is always guided by God. In fact the practitioner must enter the session with no attachment in the outcome and allow the Grace of God to heal. Healing is not curing, but bringing a balance of body, mind, emotion, and spiritual bodies into harmony to accept the problem(s) at hand. Here is something to keep in mind when someone says Reiki is Satan’s work… our knowledge about Satan comes from the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible do we find where Satan healed someone. Satan tempts people to sin but Satan does not heal people. Furthermore, in Luke 6:44, Jesus speaks, ‘Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.’ Which translates to, ‘if something is helpful and benefits individuals with positive results, such as with Reiki, then it must be trustworthy and come from God.’ Reiki the system and Reiki the energy comes from God, which is understood to be the one or Universal God, AKA The Source.

Challengers of Reiki often argue against the attunement process and the use of Reiki Symbols. The attunement process is simply turns on your healing energy which has been lying dormant. During this process God connects you more powerfully to His grace which in-turn supports the healing energy coming from your hands. Those who receive a Reiki attunement have noticeably stronger healing energies coming from their hands. As for symbols and rituals, they are throughout Christianity: the Sign of the Cross, and the fish for example. The symbols are used in Reiki to connect with different intents for the healing (physical, emotional, spiritual) which come from The Source, God. But the uses of the symbols are not necessary to use with Reiki for the healing to be effective. And Spirit Guides. Not an original Reiki concept or teaching. They do not need to be used.  Christians often call on the Christ for guidance or saints.  So why stop?

In the end you must decide if Hands-on Healing is ‘Christian’ or not. As for me I will continue to follow the teachings set out by Jesus utilizing my skills as a Reiki Master/Teacher as one of the tools in my kit.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/reiki-articles/reiki-black-magic-or-gods-grace-7038641.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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Jesus and Buddha; brothers from another mother

Thich Nhat Hanh at Hue City, Vietnam (2007)

Thich Nhat Hanh at Hue City, Vietnam (2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

What I am about to share with you is not endorsed by my church. Nor is it endorsed by my order.  It might even be considered heresy by many.  And up until a couple hundred years ago I may have been put to death for even mentioning what I am about to share, or at the very least excommunicated from Rome. Even today there are Christian-based church hate groups that may end up coming to my door to picket and demonstrate against me as this thought reaches their ears (and I will say now, that these groups are so far removed from the teachings of Jesus I cannot fathom how they call themselves Christian).

I learned more about true Christianity from a Buddhist monk then all my years of catechism.  Thich Nhat Hanh has written a number of books on regaining our spiritual connection; but to me his two most important books in the life of a Christian were ‘Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers’ and ‘Living Buddha, Living Christ’.  In short the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh takes the two most pivotal characters in our worlds spiritual history and draws the correlations between the two through their lives and their teachings. In essence he looks for the similarities in the two, which in the end discards the petty differences and prejudices man places on the subject and see the beautify of both.  I reminds me of the saying that, and I paraphrase, ‘we all attempt to climb the same mountain; some take the cleared and worn path, others narrow and dangerous trails. While others even bushwhack upward. At times we all slip, stumble and fall, only to get up and continue to move forward. Upon reaching the summit, no matter our path or vehicle to get there… we all experience the same glorious view of the moon.

In referring to the context of Hanh’s teachings it has been pointed out, that the he association between Jesus and Buddha can teach us to ‘practice in such a way that both Buddha and Jesus the Christ is born every moment of our daily life.’ For at the junction of compassion, mercy, benevolence, and holiness at which the two traditions meet lies the understanding of both. Regardless of our spiritual or religious tradition if we see the similarities in all things we then live like true Christians is our case, with tolerance and coexistence.

I want to stretch your mind a bit… What if the there is more to the story of Yeshua ben Yosaf (Jesus, son of Joseph)?  I agree that the bible is Divinely inspired by men (and we have to think that quite possibly women had a hand in it as well) who recorded the events of His life for the particular groups the represented and were in turn trying to teach. I also acknowledge that these chronicles were recorded several decades after the death of the Son of man. (During his earthly ministry, Jesus was referred to Himself as Son of Man. Think about this… why did He represent to himself as the Son of Man? The cause for this is evident? He lived like a man during this time; fact is he died like a man. He lived with us as a real human being. He was the Son of Man.  It is not until after his human death when he was reunited with the Father that he became the Son of God. And it will not be until his return to this earth that He will take on the role of king. It will be then that He will be called ‘Son of David’.) The aspects of the readings that were canonized and excepted by the newly emerging Christian leadership of its time (hundreds of years after the death of Jesus) in regards to the life of Jesus (as they wanted to portray that life) include little of his infancy, childhood, and even his adult life but focuses mainly on his three-year ministry and demise. So what happened leading up to those events? None of us know for sure what was left out of the story, or why it was not included. What I do what you to consider is this Buddhist tale out of Hemis Monastery, Ladakh (a region of India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south. The area is inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent with a culture and history very much related to that of Tibet.). To most theologians this is controversial territory to enter, but I am going to ask you put aside your prejudices and read on with an open mind before considering this a hoax and inconceivable. It has been established there were well-established trade routes that included the Roman Empire through this territory.  So it would not be impossible to conceive someone venturing from the Holy Lands coiuld have traveled to the region and back… even Jesus in his younger pre-ministry days. Now I am not stating that He did, nor that this is fact, merely an unrecorded canonized possibility. We do know there were many temples in the area of the regions indigenous spiritual traditions, one spiritual practice being Buddhism or Buddhism derived. And if Buddhism was alive and well in the region (remember Buddhism is a philosophy of love, mercy, benevolence, and compassion toward enlightenment more so than an actual religion taking on the traits of the culture it inhabits) why is it so hard to expect that travelers along these caravan routes would not come into contacts with the priestly cast of these traditions.

This particular tale tells of splinter sect of area Buddhists who speak of a manuscript about a man named Issa or Isa. Interestingly enough the name Isa is an Arabic name is commonly paralleled to the name for Jesus. Within the words of this manuscript the person Isa is revered as a Boddhisattva (a Buddhist term signifying an enlightened (bodhi) being (sattva); traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who is motivated by great compassion). Though the actual manuscript has never been produced the region tells of stories of this Isa, this living saint and Boddhisattva and of his compassion and miracles. Could this Isa be our Jesus? Before you answer this remember the three year ministry of Jesus was built on a love of our Father, a Divine Source of Love. Remember that throughout the ministry of Jesus he preaches about acts of love, mercy, benevolence, and compassion in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (AKA enlightenment).  I cannot say yes, nor will I say no that this is not our Jesus.  But the similarities are interesting to say the least. … I’m just saying.

The Buddhist tale of Isa ends with him leaving the region returning to his homeland sharing those teachings of love. I believe we must expand the narrow minded view that Buddhism and Christianity separate; the fact is that Buddhism and Christianity have more in common than their believers are willing to admit. The story of Isa may or may not be true. This Isa may or may not be our Jesus, and there may or may not be an ancient manuscript in some remote monastery in Ladakh that tells the truth of Isa. Regardless of your belief and your personal truth on the matter of the Buddhist Isa (be it that you feel there is truth in the story or be it that you feel it is all a hoax, we cannot deny that there are many points of similarity between the first millennium religious movements of Christianity and Buddhist India which persist to be studied and investigated.

In theory as Christians we follow the New Covenant of Jesus the Christ. Those who call themselves ‘Christian’ must have the character and actions that define the term as set by the New Covenant. That make-up includes becoming Christ-like. Living a life of charity, compassion, love. Living a life of of non-judgment toward others. Living a life of peace and honesty. Living a life deserving of entering the Kingdom of God. (Starting to sound similar to being a Buddhist doesn’t it? Amazing!).  My purpose and how I define myself as being a Christian is to love God and to love others as I love myself. Remember Buddhism is a philosophy of enlightenment (touching God, being with God,) it is not per say a religion, as it can be adopted by the culture that accepts it without changing the spiritual traditions of said culture but enhancing them.  Thich Nhat Hahn teaches us in his books the essence of the Kingdom of Heaven as defined by our own bible:

Romans 14:17 ESV

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 6:10 ESV

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Matthew 5:10 ESV

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

1 Corinthians 15:50 ESV

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

 

John 18:36 ESV

Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’

So, I leave these questions with you… Is the Kingdom of Heaven a place or a state of being we achieve through our thoughts, actions, words?  Is the Kingdom for those who practice only the Abrahamic religions (A religion is defined as an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence based on the people of the culture practicing it that include but are not limited to their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle.) or can those who live the life of these teachings of love and compassion and found enlightenment, even those who have never heard of Jesus the Christ enter heaven?  Before speaking read Thicht Naht Han.  Then look within for the answers.

Be well on your spiritual journey.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/jesus-and-buddha-brothers-from-another-mother-7032977.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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Touché!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

I remember that it was 2006 that I first became a believer in Christ and it was His providence that I would end being involved in evangelism and apologetics. At that time I was just 15 with virtually no background in Biblical interpretation or logic.

Nevertheless, the “zeal” of my faith did not allow me to stay silent. The internet in general and social media in particular was getting popular by the day (do remember that I live in Pakistan), and so I found a whole new venue for “spreading” the Gospel.

I came across a number of non-Christian groups that were challenging the authority of the Christian faith, largely based on the arguments of a famous Islamic speaker in the subcontinent. It is important to note here that everyone around me including my own parents were enthusiastic about my new found interest, yet no one made any effort to mentor me.

I think along with my own stupidity, it is was this factor that made me write things on these websites that I wish I never have written.

For instance, one person wrote that since we do not know the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, therefore it must not be the word of God. In reply, I asked him for some evidence, and he happily obliged by quoting authoritative commentaries.

You know how I responded ? “The commentaries are all false!”

No effort to research and no willingness to divert from my position.

Later that evening I told my parents that commentaries are simply rubbish. My father simply smiled, while my mother got angry. Yet no one of them simply took out the time to correct me.

It was a couple of months later that I finally realized that it is true, that it is not only Hebrews but a lot of books in the Bible have debatable authorship And I also learnt that authorship does no harm to the the Christian view of Inspiration.

Sometime later, I came across this wonderful website that presented scholarly articles in the defense or Christianity while criticizing a major worldview. I started whole-sale copy pasting from this website, thinking in my mind that since others are also plagiarizing their arguments, why shouldn’t I do the same?

Overtime, I had stopped responding to objections (which is the only form of apologetics that the Bible talks about) and started pin pointing the flaws in other people’s religions. I had no regard for the sentiments (since they did not have respect for our faith), I made no effort to check the arguments for accuracy, and I simply had no regard for the sources.

Surprisingly, I was doing pretty good and I developed a reputation as challenging online debater. But this shows the quality of religious discussions that were widespread on the internet.

The point that I want to raise by writing all this is that when people discuss religion or other ideologies, all they need is conviction and that’s it. While conviction is necessary for propagating a worldview, we also need to consider the logical aspect of the whole matter.

Jesus told us to love our God with all our minds as well, but we as Christians don’t follow this, right? And then we consider that since we are promoting our faith (which is obviously true), everything we say or do is legitimate.

A lot of my Christian friends, when I contradict something they say, respond by saying “Oh man, you don’t know!” or “you’ll see”, and this according to them is a fairly legitimate argument. Or consider how two people usually debate about 9/11:

For: Hey man, Islamic terrorists bombed the WTC”

Against: No man, it was an inside job!

For: Yeah? Well how do you know?

Against: Well I saw videos where they showed all the details of the conspiracy.

For: Nonsense, I have seen a video where bin Laden himself stated who did it!

As you can see, none of them realizes that they are in fact saying the same thing. The problem is, most of the people who make such arguments are not 15 year old boys who flunked the 9th grade, but educated and aged men and women who have some standing in the society.

So here is my call to all of you. I make the effort to admit my mistakes and tread the path towards honesty in all things, even if they go against what I already believe.

If we claim to follow the Truth, we have to be honest.Sure people bring up absurd theories, like Jesus was the leader of a mushroom cult, but do you also have to say that a certain denomination is the “anti-Christ” because they “changed” the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).

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