Religion Universality

Topics: Religion, God, Human Pages: 9 (3087 words) Published: October 3, 2013
"The aggressive and quite illogical idea of a single religion for all mankind, a religion universal by the very force of its narrowness, one set of dogmas, one cult, one system of ceremonies, one ecclesiastical ordinance, one array of prohibitions and injunctions which all minds must punishment by God, that grotesque creation of human unreason which has been the parent of so much intolerance, cruelty and obscurantism and aggressive fanaticism, has never been able to take firm hold of the Indian mentality." ~ Sri Aurobindo

since there are many different conceptions of God, in any discussion where this word is used there will be a tendency to confuse one meaning with another and thus lead to misunderstanding. If we are in search of a universal religion, then we must seek for experiences properly called religious which are in some sense universal. They must not be merely reflections of a special culture. If, then, the deity in such a universal religion is an expression of universal experiences, he must be one with whom all men must directly and inescapably have dealings. The deity of universal religion must be universally evident. It is true that human beings are selfish and willful. But it is difficult to see how this fact bears upon the acknowledgment of God. World peace is difficult to attain, and mankind seems constantly to defeat it, yet we are not for that reason any less clear about what world peace is. The ideal which it represents is fully evident. In fact it is the more evident precisely because it is so difficult to attain. In the same way, the fact of human perversity ought to be one of the factors making the recognition and understanding of God more attainable. Is it asking too much to be clear about religious matters ? The usual answer is in the affirmative. It is said that religion is primarily a matter not of reason but of faith. Faith is regarded as a way of grasping the truth quite beyond the power of reason. It is usually asserted that the demand for clarity is detrimental to faith.

How to Make Religion Intelligible
The obvious and time-honored way to begin describing a religion is to introduce its God or gods. The deity is regarded as the central object of worship and the source of religious inspiration. It would seem, then, that once he is defined the other aspects of the religion may be derived easily. In practice this approach does not work well. The idea of the deity is not the proper starting-point. Understanding it is the end-process in a long series of more easily understood ideas and experiences. Only as one begins with commonly-shared and understood experiences which go to make up a religious attitude can intelligible results be achieved. The days of tribal religion are over. That is why we refer to commonly-shared and commonly-understood experiences. Formerly, in the particular religions of tribes or nations religion was the expression of special interests, needs, insights, and cultural peculiarities. The gods were the reputed defenders, authors, or even the critics of particular cultures. In order to discover the nature and source of any concept of deity it is necessary to analyze the culture in which it arose and whose needs it expressed. When we examine even casually the...
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