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Religion

 
The title question of these ruminations might seem to be pointless—a query to which the answer is obvious and well known. After all, the very first question and answer in H.P. Blavatsky´s handbook, The Key to Theosophy (p.1), go like this:
 
ENQUIRER. Theosophy and its doctrines are often referred to as a newfangled religion. Is it a religion?
THEOSOPHIST. It is not. Theosophy is Divine Knowledge or Science.
 
And that is not HPB’s only pronouncement on the subject. Just a bit further on, in speaking of the ancient Alexandrian theosophists, she says:

By James M. Somerville

Originally printed in the MAY-JUNE 2005 issue of Quest magazine. 
Citation: Somerville, James M. The Four Stages of Religious Development. Quest  93.3 (MAY-JUNE 2005):86-89

True open-mindedness is not a condition we are born with. Children assume that their parents' values and prejudices are the correct ones and that the way things are is the way they ought to be. In adolescence, we may begin to challenge the values and assumptions of our childhood and become open to other ways of thinking and acting. This attitude of receptiveness to new ideas develops in stages, and it can be spoken of as a kind of enlightenment.
 

Anyone on the road to enlightenment should be able to view objectively and sympathetically opinions quite different from what may be the sectarian absolutes accepted by his or her friends and relatives. In searching for a few words to characterize each of the four stages of religious development, I have settled upon the following: (1) the ecclesial or sectarian, (2) the retrospective or familial, (3) the transcendent, and (4) the nondual or advaitan. The ecclesial or sectarian adheres to the present, the way things are now and should forever be. The retrospective or familial looks to the past, to the anointed founder or flag bearer of one's faith. The transcendent goes beyond both the present of the ecclesial and the past of the retrospective to the eternal source of all being. Finally, the nondual transcends transcendence in the sense that it encompasses the present and past as well as the eternal in the realization that there is only one Reality in which we have our being. Enlightenment is the conviction that we, as free and intelligent agents, participate in the Source, that in some sense We are That.

Originally printed in the January - February 2003 issue of Quest magazine. 

Citation: Ravindra, Ravi. "Pigrim, What Calls You? (Part 1)." Quest  91.1 (JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2003):16-25.

By Ravi Ravindra

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
          to my cry give ear;
          to my weeping be not deaf!
For I am but a wayfarer before you,
          a pilgrim like all my fathers.
                             Psalm 40.13

In a generous comment on my book The Yoga of the Christ, the justly highly regarded comparative religionist, Huston Smith, hailed it as a landmark in interfaith dialogue. However, I have become increasingly uneasy about this comment because I do not believe that I was engaging in interfaith dialogue in that book or in any of my other writings or talks. I have wished to engage in what may be called an interpilgrim dialogue. In my judgment, there is something wrong with interfaith dialogues. When the East-West or interfaith dialogues are too much bound by the past, the dynamic nature of cultures and religions, and above all of human beings cannot be appreciated.


By Robert Ellwood

Originally printed in the MARCH-APRIL 2007 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Ellwood, Robert. “Religion in the World Today.” Quest  95.2 (MARCH-APRIL 2007): 53-56.

Why is it important to understand religion? What is the real picture of religion in the world today? And why is seeing that portrait, with all its contours, all its foreground activity, and deep background important for Theosophists and others interested in the spiritual evolution of individuals and the world?

To begin with, consider the second object of the Theosophical Society: To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science. Comparative study ought to mean not only the timeless setting of the essences of religions alongside one another; it should also include perceiving how they stand in the world at any given point in time, including the present.

Reincarnation is the theory or belief that human beings are born into the physical body, not just once, but multiple times. In many religions and teachings, it includes being born into animal bodies, but in others, such as in theosophy, only in human forms.

 

Leslie Wolf presentaion on the religion of Islam which is more than 1,400 years old, and it has had an enormous impact on world civilization. Unfortunately, most Americans have little understanding of Islam, and media coverage of the religion is almost always sensationalist and superficial. Islamic law (sharia) remains especially misunderstood, despite its great importance both for Islam and Islamic countries. This presentation will provide an overview of Islamic law and the role it plays in Islamic spirituality. There will also be some discussion of religious law and spirituality in general.

 

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  2. To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.
  3. To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.

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