Jesus in the Quran, Part Two

by Robert Engelbach on May 25, 2014

Jesus written in QuranMuhammad’s ministry as a prophet who preached monotheism had gotten well off the ground in Mecca by 622 CE. He had gathered a following of Muslims and instructed them to practice non-violence and personal “jihad” (struggle) to overcome one’s carnal resistance to submission.  But then came persecution. Just as Jesus angered the Pharisees by overturning the tables of the moneychangers, Muhammad angered the polytheist authorities by removing all 360 idols from the Kaaba. This both insulted the polytheistic culture and threatened to interfere with trade from polytheistic merchants from out of town.  On top of this, Muhammad spoke his message in the public squares at every opportunity.  His life was protected because his clan was obligated to seek revenge if anyone outside the clan tried to hurt him.  But his followers were not all protected.  Many were beaten, rounded up, and murdered.  In this atmosphere, the concept of a “greater jihad” began to emerge, of using force to defend and advance the cause of Islam against interference from the infidels (people who refused to convert to Islam and acted against it).  In personal matters, the Quran and hadiths instructed Muslims to follow the Golden Rule, but in larger matters it instructed Muslims to act preemptively against opponents. No turning the other cheek or dusting off your sandals as you moved on. Instead, it was the law of the jungle – eat for be eaten.

The Hijrah

When the Meccans eventually ran the fledgling Muslims out of town in 622 CE, in an event referred to as the “hijrah” (migration ) they fled to Medina, an agricultural community of polytheistic Arabs who were not that tied to the commercial concerns of Mecca and easier for the Muslims to get along with. In fact, Muhammad was welcomed as a neutral spiritual leader and statesman who could arbitrate disputes between polytheistic tribes, thus avoiding armed conflict.  Medina also included a substantial Jewish minority and some Christians, both of whom welcomed living side by side with these new Muslim monotheists. At least at first.

Here, Muhammad proselytized the Arabs, like wise Solomon, taking wives from the various tribes to promote harmony, only he did one step better then Solomon – he converted all his wives to Islam so they would not interfere.  And so Muhammad’s influence grew in numbers and power.  As revelations were added to the Quran, many of them reflected a kinship with Judaism and Christianity and alluded to Jews and Christians as People of the Book.  However, Muhammad soon ran into problems proselytizing the Jews, who were very set on continuing in the Mosaic traditions of their ancestors.  And for most Christians, no one could top Jesus three centuries after the Church proclaimed Jesus the Son of God and Lord of all.  Even so, the entire third sura in the Quran is dedicated to pleading with the People of the Book to see the error of their ways and convert to Islam. As Muslim influence increased in Medina, they took over the city and enforced Sharia law, but they allowed Jews and Christians who lived under their rule and paid their taxes to govern themselves, to some extent, according to their own laws.

Treaties Made to Break

Various treaties have been made between ruling Muslims and non-Muslims under their authority throughout history and this practice continues in modern Islamic countries. However the Quran and hadiths provide for abrogation of treaties whenever Islamic rulers perceive a potential obstacle to the advancement of Islam.  Also the rules of engagement in war and diplomacy outlined in Quran and hadiths instruct Muslims to offer concessions to opponents only if they (Muslims) are in a weakened position, and to demand concessions when they are in the stronger position. This was all for the purpose of advancing the Islamic vision for worldwide domination, not necessarily in the interest of worldwide tolerance and peace. Lying, distorting, and exaggerating was, and still is, considered acceptable and necessary if it advances the cause of Islam as determined by Islamic leaders.

The tune ”We are world, we are the people” is not part of the conventional Muslim playbook. The mystical Muslims who are a very small and uninfluential minority (such as the Sufis) are the only element of Islam sensitive to such higher consciousness. Therefore, as long as this condition persists, most Western political strategists believe that, at best, only temporary peace can be obtained with aggressive Islamic nations and factions by placing them in a weakened position. Otherwise, “You give them an inch and they take a yard” is the warning that has been learned the hard way by painful experience. We see this frustration reflected in much of Israel’s hardline dealings with the Palestinians and in the Western world’s not-hard-enough-line dealings with Iran.

Things could be worse. We could all be as crazy as some leaders in North Korea.  But as we speak, while Iran is engaged with negotiations over disarming its nuclear weapons capacity, it is quietly shipping long range missile technology to North Korea.  North Korea is officially an atheist state, so this is a surprising alliance of Muslims with infidels, one not advised by the Quran.

The Battle of the Trench

According to one school of historical perspective, Muhammad responded to harassment by passing Meccan caravans by raiding the caravans.  Mecca responded by raising from its allies an army of 10,000 horsemen to attack Medina. When Muslims got wind of it from sympathetic contacts in Mecca, they harvested their crops early outside Medina proper. They then dug a long trench across the only access to Medina proper by horseback and gathered an infantry of 3000 to defend the trench.  The Meccan forces were stopped from advancing beyond the trench.  They tried several times but backed down after and decided to use the strategy of a long siege to starve the Muslims out. This also failed because the Muslims were well stocked from an early harvest, leaving the Meccans with nothing to harvest. The Meccans then tried to persuade non-Muslim clans in Medina to allow them access through their lands. Muslim contacts got wind of this and took action to prevent such an alliance.

Eventually the Meccans ran out of food and retreated to Mecca.  A total of only 9 of the total 13,000 men involved on both sides of the battle were killed.  After the battle, a Jewish clan was totally wiped out when Muslims, with questionable proof of any wrong doing by the them in conspiring with the Meccans, made them line up in front of the trench and beheaded all males old enough to have pubic hair and who would not convert to Islam (some 800 of them were executed). Slaves were then made of the woman and children.  There are other schools of historical perspectives with a different spin. Because some of these schools even deny the Holocaust, I tend to go with the one I have already described.

As founder, prophet, governor, and warlord of the Muslim world, Muhammad then created a theocratic war machine that exacted deadly revenge on those perceived to be an obstruction; and then attacked, conquered, and converted surrounding cities, including his arch enemy, Mecca.

After Muhammad died in 632 CE, a battle for leadership ensued.  The Shiites believed succession should follow either along family lines or to a leader “chosen by Allah”.  The Sunni believed in electing a leader.  Under the direction of various Sunni and Shiite leaders (Caliphs), Islam spread and conquered nations and subcontinents in the name of Allah.  Holy War was at its peak.

Inconsistencies and Flaws of Fundamentalism

Muhammad taught that the laws of Moses and the teachings of Jesus were ordained by Allah, but he insisted they were corrupted by their followers and that he himself was the final prophet to bring perfection to all of God’s people. Eventually he and his successors started to refer to Jews and Christians as the Reprobate People of the Book.  Jews are singled out in the Quran for not following the Book and rejecting Allah’s prophet, Jesus. Christians are singled out for changing the book and not submitting to all of it. The Muslim is thus exhorted to avoid the mistakes of the People of the Book, and to follow a combined path of trying to obey all the law and voluntarily submitting totally to Allah, trusting in his mercy to be perfected.

Personally, I think that exhortation is not too bad, as long as the submission is voluntary and would not be hijacked into Holy War.  I would strongly prefer if the People of the Book had not been singled out as bad examples, because it provided fuel for stirring up religious intolerance and hate by Islamic extremists. And I would probably prefer the phrase “harmonize with an inner witness to Allah” instead of “submit to Muhammad’s witness”.

But I do not think “submission” is always a bad thing.  For instance, when I am not in a state of higher consciousness, which is very often, I find it valuable to submit my ego self to following a backup plan, an automatic code based on memory of higher consciousness. The act of voluntary submission can be a very powerful spiritual tool.  Mental images of the accounts of Jesus submitting himself to the will of God at Gethsemane and on the cross are helpful at these times. Also submitting myself to renewing my consciousness to a higher level frequently and consistently never hurts.

Although I find it difficult to argue with the claim of religious corruption among Jews and Christians, that being said, I have problems with militant, judgmental, and manipulative tendencies in Islam emerging after the Hijrah.  Is this not a violation of the teachings of Allah’s earlier prophets, Moses and Jesus?  Combined with Islam’s violent expansion across subcontinents during the Middle Ages, this amounts to a gigantic contradiction in terms with its earlier development and compatibility with the good parts of Judaism and Christianity. In my opinion, Islam is more like a divergence from the best of Moses and Jesus than an extension or improvement. One can point to ayat in the Quran advocating goodness and moral responsibility, but also to ayat condoning the murdering of women and children, even genocide.

Admittedly, there are verses in the OT where God commanded the Hebrews to annihilate the Philistines, but the evolving interpretation of the OT and the modern practice of Judaism is humane and respectful of other ethnic and religious entities. Also admittedly, when Christianity became manipulated politically then horrible things happened (the Crusades happened, the Spanish Inquisition happened, and maybe even the 21st century “Jesus is Lord” Tea Party happened).  But the NT did not condone what happened, and modern practice of Christianity has also evolved to become more humane and respectful, with the exception that fundamentalist Christianity has some serious lessons to learn about judging the innocent and interpreting scripture too literally.

Like fundamentalist Christianity, fundamentalist Islam teaches that there will be a worldwide apocalypse and then a final judgment resulting in unrepentant sinners being punished in Hell and the good Muslims being physically resurrected in Heaven.  There is a slight difference in that Hell in Islam is not an eternal punishment, and is aimed at eventually redeeming the infidel the hard way.  Some rare sects of mystic Muslims, including some Sufis, believe that Islamic literature is largely allegorical and symbolic, and that it is up to the believer to commune with God to find the inner, deeper meaning for oneself and for one’s community.

More about Jesus

The Quran says when Jesus is brought before Allah at the final judgment, he will deny ever claiming he was a god who should be worshipped:

And behold! God will say, “Oh Jesus the son of Mary, didst thou say unto men worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God?” He will say: “Glory to Thee, never could I say what I had no right. Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart. Though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.”  (Quran 5: 116).

The Quran claims that the coming of Muhammad was foretold in the Bible:

“Those who follow the Apostle (Muhammad), the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures) – in the Law and the Gospel.”  (Quran 7:157)

In support of this, Muslim scholars claim Allah referred to Muhammad as the prophet in Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him”.  Christians have a much stronger case for Deuteronomy referring to Jesus based on other verses from the OT and NT.

The Muslim scholars also believe that Muhammad is the comforter that Jesus promised in John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you”. They claim the Greek word for comforter “paracletos” was a mistake and should really have been “periklutos” (the praised one) which is the meaning of the word “Muhammad” in Arabic. However Muhammad does not fit the bill of the Comforter in John 14.16-17, “And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you (the disciples of Jesus) know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you”.

Finally, the Quran claims that Jesus was not crucified, but was made to appear so:

And they said we have killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God. They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them. Those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition. They certainly did not kill him. On the contrary, God raised him unto himself. God is almighty and wise. (Quran 4: 157-158).

Conclusion

In summary, the Quran teaches that Jesus was a prophet, the son of Mary, not the son of God, and who, like Moses and Muhammad, brought God-inspired teaching to mankind. He was not crucified as an atonement for the sins of mankind.  According to the Quran, Jesus was holy but not above any other prophet.  Of course, these assertions in the Quran supports Muhammad’s claim that he is the final prophet with a perfect scripture and way to God for all peoples. Later Muslim hadiths claim that Jesus will return during a great battle between Muslim forces and the Antichrist and Jesus will defeat the Antichrist. At that time the People of the Book will be humbled and all become Muslims. Later Jesus will die a natural death. This contradicts the Christian version which asserts that when Jesus returns, all peoples will be humbled and converted to Christianity.  Notice that these later hadiths contradict a major assertion in the Quran that Jesus was not more special than Muhammad.

Like many others, I have grieved over the suffering from the conflict between Jews and fundamentalist Muslims in the Middle East, and how it has affected the rest of the world. I am trying to look at both sides of the conflict as objectively as I can.  It is not easy. I welcome any comments that would help me do this.

Rather than believe in the Christian and Muslim fundamentalists’ cataclysmic destiny of the Middle East based on literal interpretations of their scriptures,  I would like to believe that Israel is a grain of sand irritating the oyster of Islam surrounding it, and that this process will one day create a diamond out of both.

Meanwhile, friends and fellow meditators, while we are still sojourners in confines of this material realm, may we continually endeavor to be set free by the light that transcends the limitations of religion in it.  Consider the diligence of our Muslim brothers; they try to resist man’s nature to backslide by following their prophet Muhammad’s prescription to pray seven times a day.

So let us reach for the light of the universal prophet within us, again and again, and moment by moment.  Blessed be the ineffable one, most merciful and compassionate.

Resources

For more information on Islam that is Western-friendly, visit: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/muslimsforasafeamerica/2013/01/why-did-prophet-muhammad-go-to-war/.

For a balanced and in depth exposition of the Quran for English speaking Muslims and non-Muslims, written by a noted Muslim scholar prior to historical developments after the 1967 Six Day War, visit: http://www.muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm.

elyas May 27, 2014 at 6:35 am

Interesting article. Could the reference in the Quran about killing Infidels; women and children alike be interpreted the same we interpreted the OT in this blog? which is killing our negative thoughts and manifestations of our lower nature (infidels = gentiles).. And also, Muslims are instructed to pray 5 times a day not seven 😉

Justin May 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Robert,

Thank you for these two post on the topic of Islam. It is a set of teachings of which I know only the bare minimum. It deserves further investigation, for I see in it several pieces of the spiritual puzzle that are not as easily laid out in other belief sets.

The concept of discipline, which abounds in Judaism and is mentioned in Christianity shines in Islam. This is a concept that must not be taken lightly, while Grace and Faith can move mountains it is discipline that allows Faith to shine its brightest and Grace to be seen at its fullest.

You said the following “Like many others, I have grieved over the suffering from the conflict between Jews and fundamentalist Muslims in the Middle East, and how it has affected the rest of the world. I am trying to look at both sides of the conflict as objectively as I can. It is not easy. I welcome any comments that would help me do this.”

To understand this you must look at the last 100 years. Lands that had been in Islamic hands for centuries was stolen and given to a group that had been forced out by civilizations long since dead (it would be the equivalent of given Peoples descended from the Cherokee Nation much of the Southeast United States in anther 800 years, if the southeast US contained a holy site built on top of a Cherokee Holy site.) As much as I feel for the Jewish population after the Holocost, displacing the current population of a holy area in the middle east to create Israel may not have been the wisest solution. The fact that the Dome of the Rock and the Temple of Solomon were built on the same site further complicates the situation, it also shows us how Holy Sites, as physical places, create problems for humankind and helps to prove that God dwells in us, not in a specific place.

Justin

Robert May 27, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Justin,

You make some very good points, for instance, about the discipline feature of orthodox Islam. I noticed in reading some parts of the Quran that I felt a desire to be holy, to submit my ego to a higher principle, rather than exercising mindfulness whenever I feel inspired. I continue to read some parts because something inside me witnesses that this food is good for me now. I could probably find some of the same exhortations to discipline in the Bible, but they are not as focuses and I’ve read the Bible so much that it has become just a blur to me, like old soup. The Quran is new, so I pay attention more. I guess I like unchartered territory.

However, I also like the free will to pick and choose what I read and accept, rather than be psychologically manipulated into accepting all of the Quran, parts of which absolutely terrify me, even when I try to get the hidden meanings from esoteric commentaries.

When I read about Iran’s Supreme Leader’s repeated tirades against the West and the Jews, I am even more terrified. There are certain basic human rights that are viciously violated by orthodox Muslims and approved by their theocratic governments, like a family stoning one of their own to death in a public square because she married out of the faith. This is the Islam that violates it’s prophet Jesus – harsh, unforgiving, oblivious to its barbaric overtones and blatant inconsistencies. It gives permission for “clerics in wolves clothing” to become political tyrants who can direct their wrath at the innocent or fund terrorists who will blow themselves up in the name of Allah to do their dirty work. This has been the tone of orthodox Islam since 1900, a vendetta in response to the exploitations of European imperialism that should have been forgiven so that world powers can reconcile and we can all move on to making this planet peaceful and safe. The forgiving part is what is lacking in the Quran, and so much not lacking in the Bible.

I do not know if Mohammad made it all up as we went along in order to seize power, or if his original spiritual revelations that were meant for good went askew. Or perhaps destiny has allowed conflict to arise in order to set the stage for purification I think where I am going with
this will make more sense when you read my next few posts on the esoteric Muslims – the Druze and the Sufi. There are a lot more of them than we think, and their interpretation of the Quran and Islam is a whole other ball of wax that may eventually save the day.

You have a very valid comment to make about displacing people, and questioning the wisdom of creating Israel in the first place. The Orthodox Jews in America tried to oppose this, warning that the Messiah should come on his own terms in his own timing, not coerced by political activism. Perhaps you have seen the movie “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”.

The other side of the coin is that millions of traumatized Jews displaced by the Holocaust had no place to go. Truman would not let them settle in the US. No other country where they might feel safe would take them. The first Jewish immigrants sailed on a ship going from port to port, being told to move on. An attempt was made to create a Jewish colony in Africa that ended disastrously in more attempted genocide.

Jews were living in Palestine at the time in smaller numbers. It had always been a vision and a hope for Jews to return to their ancestral home, part of the liturgy in Synagogues to mourn and pray for it, and a minor Jewish holiday to remember the destruction of their beloved Temple.

With no place to go, the UK gathered support in the United Nations to create a Jewish State in a portion of Palestine, trying to be as fair as possible to allow Arabs to remain and live safely within this state or to live in areas apportioned just for them. Great efforts and concessions were made so that the Holy sites, which belong to the world, would be shared and accessible.

I had a Muslim Arab friend from Jordon on a visa to go to school in the US, who we invited to church functions and he played on our church soccer team. He explained to me personally what went wring with the UN plan. According to him, the Palestinian Muslim Arabs could have coexisted, but tensions were inflamed by the surrounding Arab nations who persuaded hundreds of thousand of them to voluntarily vacate their property and go temporarily to camps in Jordon and stay their safely until the Holy War was swiftly carried out by surrounding nations to destroy Israel, to push it into the sea, so that the Palestinians could return and occupy the entire land for Allah.

We all know the rest of the story; the Holy War was defeated several times by the IDF outnumbered 5 to 1 with left over WW II weaponry. This should have humbled the Islamic powers into considering that maybe Allah was not blessing this kind of aggression. But if you understand that this was not just a political vendetta against the West, but that Israel in its essence represented an affront to the authenticity of the Quran; in that the so called “Reprobate People of the Book”, people who would not accept Mohammad as their prophet, that they could succeed in establishing a humane working democracy, could turn the desert wasteland into flourishing gardens, that they could become benevolent and philanthropic to other third world nations, that they could trade effectively with the rest of the world, that they could invite other poverty stricken and oppressed peoples to make Aliyah, that the could develop medical technology that benefits all of mankind …

I can go on and on, but I think you will see my point that orthodox Muslims, who are taught to believe that Allah only favors Muslims, cannot deal with the success of Israel without vilifying it …. it must by the hand of the Western “Great Satan” that Israel has succeeded, not because Israel are the good guys. So the misguided Muslim strategy is to persevere as long as it takes to bring Israel and the Great Satan down, as long as it takes, in whatever good or evil means necessary .. all is fair to Muslims in Holy War. That is the underlying crux of the problem.

The Jewish People have always been willing to share the land and resources, within their own territory and as a mitzvah (good deed) to its neighbors, provided they are assured of security of the Jewish state within its tiny borders the size of Massachusetts, where 7 million Jews now live, half the Jewish population of the world, and 0.5 % of the world population, compared to 1.5 billion Muslims.

Also the fact remains that the destiny of the Jewish people has always been wrought with persecution, and less than 70 years after the Holocaust it is in the rise again worldwide.

I choose not to comment on the analogy with the Cherokees. Someone else might want to address that.

As I recall, the former Iranian President made an argument in front of the UN somewhat along those lines when the intellectuals in America realized they had been charmed into his deceptions, after which they abruptly cancelled his scheduled address at Columbia University and he then passed up an opportunity to shake hands with President Obama on his way out of the country.

But don’t get me wrong, Justin. At the end of day, you have the long term solution correctly identified . I applaud your insight and can’t agree with you more that physical holy sites and antiquated creeds that hijack spirituality are the problematic.

Y0u will find it interesting to know that the US government officially supports and funds the growth of Universal Sufism, an esoteric, eclectic, peace-loving offshoot of Islam. It has a Federal department, a budget, and a National director specifically created to spread this esoteric movement. No doubt, part of the agenda is to deter the influence of orthodox Islam. Who knows, some Sufi clerics may be trained operatives on the CIA payroll . But God works in mysterious ways… a leading world power spreading esoteric truth. Sanctions are not working much at the moment; esoteric revelation may be the best weapon we’ve got.

When it comes to this, you will also find it interesting to know that winning this battle against fundamentalist oppression of people anywhere simply comes down to allowing “singing and dancing”, aspects of life and the best qualities of human nature (and conducive to acquiring personal revelation) something orthodox Islam vehemently prohibits for obvious reasons. Wasn’t too popular with some evangelicals either.

I hope you and others will correct me and take me on if you disagree, and add other comments and suggestions. Its very healthy for all of us to express our views. I’m from a Messianic Jewish background and we MJs tend to have loyalties to Israel, maybe not Zionists per se, but our Christian outreaches have been focused heavily on Jews and we tend to bond with those we extend ourselves to . Maybe we should bond with Muslims too. I know of one MJ outreach in Israel that was very active in helping Muslim Druze deal with persecution from Arab Christians.

More comments please.

Justin Vavak May 27, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Robert,

Wow, that is quite the history lesson! When I first wrote, I did not know all of the details about the formation of Israel (thank you for humbling me). I hope you did not take any offense to my statements because of it.

I used the Cherokee as an example because their story is fairly similar to what I know of Jewish people (in fact it could very well be an extension of it; there are anthropologist who think they are one of the Missing Tribes mentioned in the Bible). They were marched out of their homeland by the US military just under 200 years ago. They walked 2200 miles from southeastern US (Georgia, Mississippi, etc) up through Missouri and over to Oklahoma. The land they were “given” was a desert and thought to be useless, when Oil was found under the earth on their lands they were moved again to a more “suitable” location. It was no Holocost, merely a way of breaking the spirits of a proud people. Additionally, I used that example because it strikes me close to home (Growing up I was in an organization that honored the memory of the native american peoples, and since I lived in what would have been Cherokee land they were the nation that learned the most about and interacted with on a regular basis).

I too had a Muslim friend in College, Dhya, he was from Saudi Arabia; amazing person, wore way to much cologne. Since I just recently graduated, I got to know about 5 years after 9/11; I am ashamed to admit that at first I did not even want to get to know him because of the ethnicity and religion (it truly makes me sick to think about the way I thought then). However, he was rushing the same fraternity as I was and we were forced to get to know one another. I learned so much from him, not about the religion of Islam (though I’m sure he would have spoke about it if I had asked) but about people who followed it. I saw in him a determination to live his life in a way that would please Allah. In a house full of drunks he would not drink, he would disappear at times and then reappear just as quickly (we later found out he went to pray). However, what sticks out the most to me about him was a single memory. Some grad student had gotten a bad grade and flipped out, threatened to blow up a building and spread anthrax around the university. Every one in the Fraternity house was standing around outside when Dhya suddenly pipes up and says “Stupid Terrorist, why do they have to make it hard on the rest of us?” Now when this was said, everyone assumed it was an act of Jihad, I went to school at one of the few places in the world that offer a petroleum engineering degree that Middle Eastern Oil Companies consider good enough to higher from so we had a very large Islamic student body. They day I got to see the affect that this Jihad is having on the base population of the Middle East.

I agree with you that Orthodox Islam contains many horrible things (as you mentioned stoning a family because they marry out of Islam). However, the same can be said of Orthodox Judaism and Christianity. Look at the hate being spewed towards homosexuals from the Orthodox Christian community today, and the Old Testament is littered with references to stoning, whipping, slave holding, and other things considered evil by today’s standards. However, it is not the Orthodox that contains truth, though it has allowed parts of the truth to be kept alive.

I love your thought that “perhaps destiny has allowed conflict to arise in order to set the stage for purification”. As I posted on Paul’s post about the cause of suffering, perhaps all the suffering and blood shed by extremist is leading the world to see the truth: the letter killeth; but the spirit giveth life.

So many would live without any kind of spiritual guidance, and others would live believing in a God that could condemn someone for being different. The path to truth is the middle way, it is a straight path with a narrow gate, it requires suffering and crucifying the lower self.

Much Love Robert
Justin

Robert May 28, 2014 at 8:17 am

Justin,

I was wondering how the major American Indian tribes were doing these days. I thought there was a lot of government assistance and education programs, plus Casinos and other ventures. I am familiar with the Great Smokey Mountains, not the Dolly world part, but the national park that was and is Cherokee territory. When I used to camp there, away from the tourist areas, it was a very mystical place, I could feel in in my bones. I have had mystical experiences there, and now even when I drive past it on the interstate I can sense it.

I remember reading about the Trail of Tears when modern civilized, middle class Indians were rounded up from their white picket fenced suburban houses and marched into the wilderness… a very ugly event in American history. The Hopi Indians have a very interesting spiritual belief.

Our nation has moved on in the 200 or so years since its establishment to become a tolerant pluralistic society. We get all bent out of shape by some of the political conflict, but it is actually very progressive and civilized compared to elsewhere. I would say that diversity in sexual orientation is accepted and here to stay, and evangelical rightwing conservative Christianity is on the decline and being replaced by progressive spiritual movements. That does n0t happen in theocratic countries like Iran. The Sufi’s in Iran are severely persecuted by the regime. Many participated in non-violent protests against the last president and were arrested. It makes you appreciate the freedom we have. America is like a family that likes to argue over the dinner table about issues, but we are a good family relative to elsewhere. We have paths for evolving. We have extracted the best of every culture in it and made it our brand.

Half the Muslims in the US are loyal to this country, and their contribution are invaluable, and the goodness rubs off on them and spreads to their more antagonistic contacts. The Children’s Hospital founded by Lebanese American actor Danny Thomas in a monumental philanthropic endeavor, and has a Mosque attached to it. But there are still Mosques in this country that hide sleepers and instigators, and I have no problem with the Feds wiretapping them. I still remember the celebrations in the streets of Patterson, NJ the day after 9/11. So people are cautious and suspicious, and the public opted for not allowing a Mosque/Community center to be built at ground zero. Probably over-reacting in retrospect because the Saudi Arabian backers (Sunni) were US friendly, not terrorist or Iranian. They did not realize it was insulting.

You touched on a very interesting incite, that the orthodox churches kept things alive, had the structure, conviction, and focus to bring some form of spirituality and community to an untamed world. One thing for sure though, The Times They Are A Changin’. The current Pope knows that his 2 billion base of Catholics can start disappearing very fast in the modern world if reforms are not made. There are so many alternatives and distractions in 21st century lifestyle. He seems to be going in a good direction. Not sure what the Baptists are doing these days. Jimmy Carter is not impressed with them.

We are the pioneers of a new and universal faith, but the way was paved by the churches we now have issues with.

Josh has always emphasized the role of personal and global suffering as a stimulus to awaken the Kundalini. It is like the bodies immune reaction to disease.

Thanks for the attention,
Blessings,
Robert

Robert May 28, 2014 at 10:08 am

Justin,

Oops, I got Danny Thomas mixed up. He founded St Jude’s Children Hospital. He is from Lebanese American descent and was a Maronite Catholic. There is a mausoleum adjacent to the Hsopital where he is buried, not a Mosque.

Robert May 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

“Helping Hands for Relief and Development” is an international Muslim Charity that is non-discriminatory and rated among the top ten charities on the planet.

Paul June 1, 2014 at 5:40 am

Thanks for the history lesson, Robert. I love the way you ended the article, with a call to “let us reach for the light of the universal prophet within us, again and again, and moment by moment. Blessed be the ineffable one, most merciful and compassionate.” Of course we are all seeking “truth” (a word for which there are many definitions), and of course many are misguided in our attempts to find it. Here is a story from ancient Indian legend that is one of the most powerful I have ever read, and captures beautiful your conclusion to this very fine article:

According to an old Hindu legend there was a time when all men and women were gods, but they so abused their divinity that Brahma, the ‘chief God’, decided to take it away from men and women and hide it where they would never find it again. Where to hide it became the big question.

When the lesser gods were called into council to consider this question, they said, “We will bury man’s divinity deep in the earth.” But Brahma said, “No, that will not do, for man will dig deep down into the earth and find it.” Then they said, we will sink his divinity into the deepest ocean.” But again Brahma replied, “No, not out there, for man will devise a way to dive into the deepest waters, will search out the ocean bed, and will find it.”

Then the lesser gods said, “We will take it to the top of the mountain and there hide it.” But again Brahma replied, “No, for man will eventually climb every high mountain on earth. He will be sure some day to find it and take it up again for himself.” Then the lesser gods gave up and concluded, “We do not know where to hide it, for it seems there is no place on earth or in the sea that man will not eventually reach.”

Then Brahma said, “Here is what we will do with man’s divinity. We will hide it deep down within man himself, in his Heart, for there he will never look”!

“Seek and you shall find.”

Blessings!

Robert June 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Paul,

Great comment. I’ll remember that story. It really cuts to the chase. Sounds a little like stories the older Rabbis used to tell.

The history lessons are preparatory to my later posts to come, introducing modes of esoteric practices evolving from “non-Christian” sources. The goal is to see development of unfamiliar religious systems into their transcendent counterparts, to gain perspective about this process in general, and to better understand the esoteric evolution of Christianity. Sort of like learning a foreign language to become better at your own. So I have been presenting the history and limitations of religions like Islam so we can see the similar patterns that develop with over-institutionalization and the remedy of esoteric supplementation. Gnostic Christians are very familiar with the role of Constantine in limiting the transcendent. Seeing this same pattern in other religions is eye opening. This will become more apparent with my next post on the Sufi’s, who are much more outgoing than the Druze, and have syncretized orthodox Islam with practices of the Christian Desert Fathers, The Neo-Platonists, and Hindu and Buddhist of India. The Sufi are the hidden jewels of Islam, currently oppressed in orthodox Muslim countries like Iran, although half of the Muslims there are Sufi.

Our paths to the source are intertwined with strangers with keys.

Joe February 14, 2015 at 9:07 pm

You contradict youself with your post . Could you explain this 11 point if you really sure it was not Prophet Muhammad Jesus was prophesied about ? Jesus told his disciples this ( John 16:7) 7″But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the ( 1 Helper) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8″And(2 He), when He comes, will convict the world concerning(3 sin and righteousness and judgment),12″I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13″But when ( 4 He), the Spirit of (5 truth), comes, ( 6 He will guide you into all the truth); for (7 He will not speak on His own initiative), but whatever (8 He hears), He will (9 speak); and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14″(10 He will glorify Me) , for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to(11 you).

Second (Deuteronomy 18:18) , “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him”. Moses has mother and father , Prophet Muhammad has Mother and Father . But jesus has mother but no Dad( point 1) Moses received his message from Mountain and Prophet muhammad received his own revelation from Mountain . Which Jesus was already anointed before his birth point 2) . Moses has wife and children and Prophet Muhammad has wife and children .Which Jesus didn’t even marry at all ,Point 3) I have many point with this but let just stop with that 3 point .

( According to Paul , Resurrected Bodies are Spiritualised 1st Book of Corinthians 15 verse 42 to 44 )
Gospel of Luke Chapter 24 verse 38 ,39 and 40
” 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39″See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet
What do you think he was trying to proof ? He was trying to proof to them that he was not a Spirit and he was not Resurrected )
For the person to be crucified , he should Die on the Cross , …. PROOF THAT JESUS WAS ALIVE The sign said that 3 days and 3 night ,but what we realise is that it was only 1 day and 1 night. Friday night to Saturday night is 1 night , Saturday night to Sunday night suppose to be 2 night right ?So explain yourself if you’re truthfull

(1) ” Jesus was on the Cross Only For Three Hours ” (2) ” Jesus was brought that down from the Cross ,he was Alive because Jesus Two Cross mates were Alive ” (3) Jesus Legs were not Broken ” (4) The Stone was Removed and Winding Sheets were Unwound ” (5) Jesus was Disguised as a Gardener ” (6) The Tomb was Roomy and Spacious ” (7) When Mary Magdalene wanted to touch him , Jesus Forbade her not to Touch him ” (8) Jesus says” I have not yet Ascended into My Father ” (9) Mary Magdalene not Afraid Recognising Jesus (10) ” In the Upper Room Jesus Shows his Hands and Feet” (11) ”Disciples Overjoyed to See Him” (12) ” He Ate Broiled Fish and Honeycomb ” (13) ” Sign of Jonah”
Sign of Jonah . Did jonah die in the belly of Fish ,When Jonah was troying into the sea ,Did jonah Dead or Alive ?
The fish comes and swalow him , Was he Dead or Alive?
He prays to the Almighty God from the belly of the fish . Was he Dead or Alive ?
The wales takes jonah for 3 days and 3 night round the ocean ,Was he Dead or Alive ?
The fish formit him out off the fish shore , Was he Dead or Alive ?

Robert February 15, 2015 at 2:50 am

Joe,

My understanding of the Quran is that Jews and Christians, the people of the book, are acceptable to Allah if they follow the book which is the bible, the Old and New Testaments.

The bible expresses monotheism differently than the Quran. The bible points to Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God who is part of the composite unity of the God of Israel, who incarnated as a teacher and prophet, died as an atonement for sin, and was resurrected as a sign of new life given to the believer when the Holy Spirit (The Helper, The Comforter) indwells him.

The Quran when interpreted as literal scripture, expresses monotheism in a different way. But it is illogical to try to change the meanings of various scattered verses in the bible to make the bible fit into the Islamic mold of monotheism. As far as literal interpretations, they are apples and oranges, different ways that different cultures understand God.

I would say that both the bible and Quran as literal scripture are somewhat inconsistent within themselves. I don’t know the Quran that well, but I know the bible backwards and forwards, and what I can say about it is that it is consistent enough within itself to point towards Jesus being the Messiah from a hundred different directions from prophetic passages from the first to the last book in it, a prophet like unto Moses who is prophet, priest, and King.

That means no disrespect to Islam and to the prophet Muhammad.

What many readers of this blog site agree on is that there is universal story about redemption that can be extracted from the scriptures of most every religion, that is the deeper truth than told by the different literal interpretations of the various scriptures of the world religions. And that this universal truth, which is the spirit of the scriptures, is more easily understood by preparing the mind to receive it through personal meditation that calms the mind and reduces its chatter.

Peace be unto you,
Robert

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