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  1. #1
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    New eBook: One God, Many Faces

    My friend Craig Paardecooper just sent me a link to his free new eBook:

    http://www.craigdemo.co.uk/craig.htm

    It presents the amazing "coincidence" that all the primary religions of the world (except Hinduism and Islam) sprang into existence during the time of the Babylonian Exile (600 - 539 BC) which marked the beginning of the "Times of the Gentiles."

    It's a quick read, well written. I'd love to know what others think about this "coincidence."

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  2. #2
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    One God Many Faces

    You can download the book - "One God Many Faces" at -

    http://www.craigdemo.co.uk

    Craig
    Last edited by Craig.Paardekooper; 06-27-2010 at 03:31 AM. Reason: made mistake

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig.Paardekooper View Post
    You can download the book - "One God Many Faces" at -

    http://www.craigdemo.co.uk/onegod.pdf

    Craig
    Hi Craig!

    Welcome to our forum!



    I look forward to discussing your book(s) with you, and I also would be delighted to have your contribution on the many other threads we have here.

    Do you have any thoughts about Hinduism and Islam that don't fit the pattern you found in your book?

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  4. #4
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    Hinduism follows the same pattern

    A LIGHT TO THE INDIANS

    Hinduism

    'The roots of Hinduism can be traced to around 1500 BC, but it was very different to the Hinduism of today. It was polytheistic and ritualistic and originally the rituals were generally performed at home. They gradually became more complex and a priestly class was created and trained in order to carry out the rituals. The priests thus became the means of access to the gods.
    In 600 BC the people revolted against the priests, who had become controlling. A new form of Hinduism gradually developed, with more of an emphasis on personal meditation.'
    http://www.omf.org/omf/uk/about_asia/religions/hinduism

    'After many years of total dependence upon the priests for all religious activity, the people of the early Hindu religion revolted around 600 B.C. They focused their religion on internal meditation and wrote the Upanishads, their version of the New Testament. They believed that behind many gods stood one ultimate reality, which is called Brahman. Gradually, their perception of Brahman began to be that of a personal God called Ishvara. Ishvara manifested as a trinity - Brahama the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer
    www.cccstudents.org/pdf/Hinduism.pdf

    'The sixth century B.C. saw a revolt against the power of the priests. It was not only in India. A tidal wave seems to have swept across the ancient world, from Zoroaster in Persia, to Buddha and Mahavir in India, to Confucius and Lao-tze in China. They all represent a move away from dead ritual to something more inward – ethical behaviour, or withdrawal from desire, or conformity to the Way. One group in India, the Charvakas, were atheists. They denied the existence of any gods and said that happiness was the highest goal.

    Buddha and Mahavir became the founders of new religions, Buddhism and Jainism. Buddhism spread rapidly among those who were frustrated with the priestly religion. Jainism emphasized right conduct, especially Ahimsa or non-violence. It was through Jainism that vegetarianism spread throughout India.'


    Hinduism was completely transformed in 600 B.C.. There was a movement away from polytheism, ritual and animal sacrifice, towards an inward religion of compassion, devotion, and ego-transcendence. The new Scriptures of Hinduism were called the Upanishads.


    The Upanishads (basic scriptures of Hinduism proper) are the records of the teachings and discussions of forest hermits, holy men who accomplished the task of transforming Vedism into Hinduism during and after the 6th century B.C.E. The earliest Upanishads date from 900 to 600 B.C.E., and represent the first development of philosophical reflections in Sanskrit literature. According to a widespread tradition the oldest Upanishads are the Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Kaushitaki, and Maitri Upanishads. The fundamental concern of the Upanishads is the nature of reality. The basic theme of the Upanishads is the unity of the individual soul (Atman) with the impersonal, absolute world soul (Brahman) as expressed in the famous formula tat tvam asi ("that art thou"), the realization that the self within and the ineffable holy power sustaining and pervading the universes are essentially one. The Vedic gods are reinterpreted as manifestations symbolizing a single divine reality, multiple reflections of one single truth. Because they are the final portions of the Vedas, the Upanishads are also known as Vedanta, "the end of the Vedas."

    Quoted from http://www.usao.edu/~usao-ids3313/id.../hinduism.html


    We see from these quotes that Vedism was transformed into Hinduism 'during and after the 6th century B.C.'

    The Sanskrit term upaniṣad literally means "sitting down beside"[1] or rather, sitting close, laying siege to. This is rather a coincidence, since the Upanishads were written at the very time that God was literally 'laying siege' to the old priestly system of temple sacrifice in Israel. It is of interest that Upanishad also means 'Secret Knowledge' or 'Secret Doctrine'. Remember that Daniel was given wisdom to understand secrets.

    Just as the Greeks found philosophy at this time, so in the Upanishads we find 'the first development of philosophical reflections in Sanskrit literature.'


    Monotheism

    Here we find a movement towards worshipping a single divine reality - in Hinduism 'the Vedic gods are reinterpreted as manifestations symbolizing a single divine reality, multiple reflections of one single truth.' This coincides with the decline of idolatry and the establishment of monotheism in Israel.

    'The Upanishads were the foundation of Hindu thought and philosophy and introduced some of it’s most distinctive beliefs. They provided a way of thinking about God and reality called Monism. They offered a way to the knowledge of God without ritual, a deeper meaning behind the sacrifices. They said that the inner Self was as much a reflection of absolute reality as the absolute Brahman. The goal in life was union with the One.'

    Unity

    In the Penguin Classics Series 'The Upanishads' the author says that
    'The spirit of the Upanishads can be compared with that of the New Testament summed up in the words – ‘I and my father are one’ and ‘the Kingdom of God is within you’'.
    'The basic theme of the Upanishads is the unity of the individual soul (Atman) with the absolute world soul (Brahman) as expressed in the famous formula tat tvam asi ("that art thou"), the realization that the self within and the ineffable holy power sustaining and pervading the universes are essentially one'
    The Upanishads – Penguin Classics
    Paul Deussen provides an overview of the Upanishads. In his discussion of their history and significance, Deussen makes analogies to Christianity, stating that the Upanishads

    'are for the Veda what the New Testament is for the Bible.'
    Philosophy of the Upanishads By Paul Deussen, A.S. Geden

    He shows that in the old Vedic religion moral behaviour was based on fear and retribution or reward – and appealed to people’s self-interest to elicit obedience. Whereas the Upanishads say that true good lies in going beyond self-interest. True love and compassion are inward, and go beyond the ego. Herein we encounter the truly divine.

    So we can see how the central themes of the Upanishads mirror the themes in the New Testament. But it wasn’t just the central themes that we find mirrored. Scholars (George Wolfe – 'Parallel Teachings in Hinduism and Christianity') have noted that many passages of text in the Upanishads seem to reflect, word-for-word, similar passages in the New Testament – as if they both came from the same mouth – or rather as if both were inspired by the same Mind.

    In 600 B.C., when God turned from the Jews to the Gentiles, what happened? Was the essential heart of the Christian message, the spirit of the New Testament, made known to the different nations of the world? Could it be that God really did put the Gentiles first and the Jews last – revealing to the Gentiles what would only become clear to the Jews 600 years later?

    Such questions can only be answered when we see the full picture, but such a scenario now seems plausible.

    It certainly seems the case that the religious movements of 600 B.C. 'prepared the way' for Christianity. When God turned to the Gentiles, He gave them light.
    "Thus philosophy, a thing of the highest utility, flourished in antiquity among the barbarians, shedding its light over the nations. And afterwards it came to Greece. First in its ranks were the prophets of the Egyptians; and the Chaldeans among the Assyrians; and the Druids among the Gauls; and the Sramanas among the Bactrians ("Σαρμαναίοι Βάκτρων"); and the philosophers of the Celts; and the Magi of the Persians, who foretold the Saviour's birth, and came into the land of Judaea guided by a star. The Indian gymnosophists are also in the number, and the other barbarian philosophers. And of these there are two classes, some of them called Sramanas ("Σαρμάναι"), and others Brahmins (Βραφμαναι)."
    —Clement of Alexandria "The Stromata, or Miscellanies" Book I, Chapter XV[21]( 2nd Century A.D).


    All the nations are God’s children and always have been.

  5. #5
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    Craig,

    That was an excellent post! I am enthralled with this insight.

    But how do you understand this in light of the primary message of Christianity ... that we become children of God through faith in Christ? That seems to imply that not everyone is a child of God "by default." Of course, we have the competing passage from Acts 17:29 that says everyone is the "offspring of God." But that is only one passage versus many that seem to teach that not everyone is a child of God. Perhaps it is like the prodigal son - eveyone is born a child of God but has gone astray through sin, and when we return to God through faith it is like being born again?

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  6. #6
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    Islam and the Axial Age

    As regards Islam,

    Broadly speaking, the religions of the world fall into a number of families -

    Family 1 - India
    Hinduism
    Buddhism
    Jainism
    Sikhism

    Family 2 - Near East
    Judaism
    Christianity
    Islam
    Zoroastrianism

    Family 3 - Far East
    Confucianism
    Taoism
    Shintoism

    Family 3 - Western
    Philosophy

    As you are aware, Islam belongs to the Judaeo-Christian family of religions.

    Just as Sikhism developed out of Hinduism at a much later date, similarly Islam developed out of a Judaic culture at a much later date.

    As we have seen, Judaism was a foundation block for Islam. So Islam fits into the pattern as being a child of an Axial Age religion - just as for example Plato (who lived after the Axial Age) was part of the stream of thought that began with The 7 Sages, Pythagoras and Socrates.

    The axial age religions spawned many offspring - some deviating somewhat from the original axial vision.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig.Paardekooper View Post
    As regards Islam,

    Broadly speaking, the religions of the world fall into a number of families -

    Family 1 - India
    Hinduism
    Buddhism
    Jainism
    Sikhism

    Family 2 - Near East
    Judaism
    Christianity
    Islam
    Zoroastrianism

    Family 3 - Far East
    Confucianism
    Taoism
    Shintoism

    Family 3 - Western
    Philosophy

    As you are aware, Islam belongs to the Judaeo-Christian family of religions.

    Just as Sikhism developed out of Hinduism at a much later date, similarly Islam developed out of a Judaic culture at a much later date.

    As we have seen, Judaism was a foundation block for Islam. So Islam fits into the pattern as being a child of an Axial Age religion - just as for example Plato (who lived after the Axial Age) was part of the stream of thought that began with The 7 Sages, Pythagoras and Socrates.

    The axial age religions spawned many offspring - some deviating somewhat from the original axial vision.
    Wow - this is getting deep. I had never heard of the concept of the "Axial Age." Here is how it is defined on Wikipedia:
    German philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term the axial age (Achsenzeit in the German language original) to describe the period from 800 BC to 200 BC, during which, according to Jaspers, similarly revolutionary thinking appeared in China, India and the Occident. The period is also sometimes referred to as the axis age.[1]

    Jaspers, in his Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte (The Origin and Goal of History), identified a number of key axial age thinkers as having had a profound influence on future philosophy and religion, and identified characteristics common to each area from which those thinkers emerged. Jaspers saw in these developments in religion and philosophy a striking parallel without any obvious direct transmission of ideas from one region to the other, having found no recorded proof of any extensive inter-communication between Ancient Greece, the Middle East, India and China. Jaspers held up this age as unique, and one to which the rest of the history of human thought might be compared. Jaspers' approach to the culture of the middle of the first millennium BC has been adopted by other scholars and academics, and has become a point of discussion in the history of religion.
    In my own studies of World History I have discovered a symmetric pattern that links each century with a Hebrew letter. I call it the "Key to the Kingdoms" because the two great theocratic Kingdoms - of Israel and the external Church - are aligned at opposite extremes that "just happen" to be spanned by the central letters of the Hebrew alphabet that spell out the word MLK (Melek) = KING:




    Now the thing that is really intriguing is that the "Times of the Gentiles" began in the 70 year period of the Babylonian Exile (606 - 536 BC) which corresponds on the chart to the Letter Ayin which means "Eye" and which has the numerical value of 70, and the Number 70 is itself understood in the ancient Jewish tradition as a symbol of the Gentiles because of the 70 nations listed in Genesis 10.

    And yet there is more, since the letter Ayin means Eye and is a symbol of "enlightenment" and it seems that the eyes of the whole Gentile world were enlightened during the period corresdonding to Ayin. And this, of course, corresponds to the title you chose for the conclusion of your book, "A Light to the Gentiles."

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  8. #8
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    A Light to the Gentiles

    Thanks Richard for your comments.

    The Book of Isaiah also indicates this World revelation in 600 B.C.

    It should be noted that in chapter 39 Isaiah narrates the history of Israel up UNTIL THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY. He then "jumps" to the "Light for the Gentiles"

    Could it be that Isaiah forsaw the light coming to the Gentiles in 600 B.C. with the Babylonian Captivity - this being a fore-shadowing of the Light that was to come into the world in the time of Christ.

    What is remarkable is that Isaiah seems to predict both the Axial Age and the New Testament - both being a Light to the Gentiles.

    The more I investigate the content of the world religions that emerged in 600 B.C., the more I come across the most amazing parallels to the New Testament. It's like I can feel God's hand working behind the scenes.

  9. #9
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    A child of God

    But how do you understand this in light of the primary message of Christianity ... that we become children of God through faith in Christ? That seems to imply that not everyone is a child of God "by default." Of course, we have the competing passage from Acts 17:29 that says everyone is the "offspring of God." But that is only one passage versus many that seem to teach that not everyone is a child of God. Perhaps it is like the prodigal son - eveyone is born a child of God but has gone astray through sin, and when we return to God through faith it is like being born again?

    It is not clear why God seems to have worked through the Gentile nations in this way. Why He seems to have created 7 + "different" centres of religious insight.

    But God's voice is detectable....and the teachings about compassion
    and renouncing the ego (taking up ones cross) seem to echo the central themes of christianity

    The Spirit of God moved across the world - it touched people through their hearts rather than through the logic of doctrine. This movement of the heart inspired the enthusiasm and creativity of thought rather than it's content.

    But even so, as one goes deeper, one comes across uncanny parallels that bear a familiar Signature

  10. #10
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    The Menorah

    In 590 B.C. Ezekiel records that Gods Spirit left the Temple - only to return 70years later in 520 B.C.

    The presence of God in the Temple had always manifested in the Light of the Menorah - the 7 flames of the candle stick - the light of revelation.

    One flame was eternal - and the other flames were lit from it each day.

    When God departed from the Temple, it seems His spirit was poured out upon the world. During the seventy years of his departure a flame went to every nation -

    1. Zoroaster
    2. Buddhism
    3. Jainism
    4. Confucianism
    5. Taoism
    6. Philosophy
    7. Shintoism

    However, all were lit from the central flame - the flame of Israel.

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