Actually, it is not clear to me that the differences come off as just cultural, linguistic, etc. E.g. Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho contrasts Judaism to Christianity.Canute said:If one reads the teachings of the founders of Christianity and Islam (don't know Judaism well I'm afraid), particularly if one reads the non-canonical accounts of Jesus, then it is clear that any differences between them are just cultural, linguistic etc.
No, they don't. This is why Muslims constantly insist that Christians hold to a non-monotheistic religion. The whole Trinitarian doctrine makes Christianity fundamentally incompatible with Judaism and Islam.Canute said:although of course they share the same core belief in the divine.
But you started out saying that we need to go away from the canonical teachings of Christianity. The canonical accounts of Christianity are the earliest (we have manuscripts dating to the 2nd century!), and the most widely accepted by the early church (most of the canonical accounts show up as quotes in the early church fathers).Canute said:It is necessary always to distinguish between what followers of a religion believe or what the priests or other officials of the religion generally teach, and the original teachings from which the religion is derived. They are often very different, and in the case of Christianity and Islam they are very different indeed.
I'm not suggesting that everyone agrees about this.SteveRives said:Actually, it is not clear to me that the differences come off as just cultural, linguistic, etc. E.g. Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho contrasts Judaism to Christianity.
Fair enough. My comments were only mean to cover the main religions of today.Clement of Alexandria spends a great deal of time distinguishing the Christian religion from Greek and Roman religions.
That's putting it mildly. They didn't even consider their religion compatible with the Gospels of Mary and Thomas, let alone the Essene Gospels of Peace and so forth, and tried to destroy them all. The early Church view is the one that I'm suggesting is not in accord with Jesus's teachings. Many scholars, at the time of the compilation of the Bible and through to today, agree that the New Testament, as presented by the Church, is a mistransmission of Jesus's teachings, by ommission and by misinterpretation, and certainly all mystics hold this view, Christian or otherwise.Many early Christians writers did not see their religion as compatible with other religions.
But I'm suggesting that this very incompatibility is the result of a misunderstanding of Jesus and Mohammed. Christian mystics and Sufis have always been in complete accord in their cosmological views. I'm not suggesting that your average theistic Muslim and Christian have ever been in complete accord.The whole Trinitarian doctrine makes Christianity fundamentally incompatible with Judaism and Islam.
We should do for religion just what we do for physics, as William James argued. Strip away the icing and accretions and the mainstream religions can be seen to have the same root. The importance of this is that it is the search for what is true and what is not.At the core, belief in the divine, is different. Why does it matter? What does anyone gain by saying: oh, they are just the same? I don’t see how we have made any progress here by flattening all the religions this way.
Yes, but this is a misunderstanding of what is being said, which is that these internicene difficulties are caused by a misreading of the prophets, who did not disagree.Especially when the facts on the ground don’t match our musings: Assyrian Christians in Mosel (the center of the Christian population in Iraq) are dying (because of their beliefs) at the hands of Iraqi religious followers. If the religions were the same, this would not be the case. Palestinians and Jews would not be killing each other if their religions were the same. If they were the same, they’d be the same, and there would be no way to decide who to kill or whose land to take!
Most scholars, I believe it is true to say, agree that it is likely that the Gospel of Thomas is the source for significant parts of the New Testament, and is possibly even the 'Q' gospel. Many believe that the mystical parts of Jesus teachings were omitted from the New Testament for reasons of dogma, either by the Roman Emperor, who acted as editor-in-chief, or by the compilers themselves, who may have thought they were doing the right thing.But you started out saying that we need to go away from the canonical teachings of Christianity. The canonical accounts of Christianity are the earliest (we have manuscripts dating to the 2nd century!), and the most widely accepted by the early church (most of the canonical accounts show up as quotes in the early church fathers).
If you can find a remark from Jesus to support your view I'd be surprised. For Jesus the Kingdom was within everyone's grasp. Of course, this view did not survive inside the sectarianised Church, for reasons Bahoudin gives below.If we go to the founding documents of Christianity, those which spread widely and were used earliest by the religion, we get a picture of Jesus not compatible with other religions. The claims of Jesus in the most numerous and the earliest accounts are exclusive claims.
The point being made is that ceremony and rituals are accretions, activities that should not replace the pursuit of the central mystical experience, or, more theistically, not replace the pursuit of experience of the 'godhead' or of union with the divine within oneself. Mohammed warns against even worship. As Jesus says "The Kingdom of Heaven is within".Your Zen story has a lot of truth in it, but it is a warning about misapplied religions traditions. I am just not sure that it applies to deciding what are core beliefs between religions.
You can say that again. Strip away the details and at the core of the teachings of Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, Lao-Tsu, Meister Eickhart, St. Theresa, and all other Sufi, Buddhist, Advaita, Taoist, Theosophist, Esssene masters is the affirmation "I am God". This is why mystics tend to get branded heretical, even burnt at the stake, by the authorities, who stand to lose their authority.Again, like I said in an earlier post, the devil is in the details.
I agree that you are representing some people who go by the name of scholar. However, we may not need to rely on the word of experts in this matter. The data set is manageable enough that many of us can look at it for ourselves and draw our own conclusions. That's what I propose to begin in this post -- making it an excurses from the main philosophical question that started this thread (i.e. we are off track from the list's charter of General Philosophy). Regardless, following are three historical/archaeological facts as I understand them:Canute said:Most scholars, I believe it is true to say, agree that it is likely that the Gospel of Thomas is the source for significant parts of the New Testament, and is possibly even the 'Q' gospel.