Sufism Jung Kabbalah Thesis

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Sufism, Jung, Kaballah

Interfaith dialogue and Peace

Interfaith dialogue and Peace negotiations: Jewish Kabbalah, Islamic Sufism and Jung

The present political situation in the world over the last decade has underscored and stressed the importance for interfaith and inter-religious discourse and dialogue. From one point-of-view "...Interreligious dialog is seen as an alternative to the much-discussed "clash of civilizations" (Jung Center - Interfaith Class Series).

Those who do not subscribe to the theory that a civilizational clash is inevitable are proposing instead a dialogue of civilizations, an exchange of views aimed at mutual enrichment, a sharing of insights that can lead everyone to a deeper understanding of the nature of the Mercy of the God and God's will for humankind on this planet

Jung Center - Interfaith Class Series).

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The questions that are being addressed in this paper can be stated as follows: can one talk of connections and parallels in the dialogue between faiths and different religious perspectives; and, if so, what can connections and parallels teach us today in terms of interfaith dialogue and peace negotiation? The first question is easier to answer. There are certainly connections and parallels between different religions and faith structures, especially in the Abrahamic religious groupings. There are many studies and articles that discuss the similarities and areas of consensus about various issues among the dominant faiths of the world, both East and West. For example, there is intensive discourse and numerous publications that explore the intersection between Zen Buddhism and Christianity, mainly through the intercession of the works of D.T. Suzuki.

Thesis on Sufism Jung Kabbalah Assignment

However, the second question is much harder to unravel and to answer in a concise and unequivocal way. The relationship between interfaith dialogue and peace negotiation is hampered and problematized by the knowledge that the majority of wars and conflicts in the world today are the result of fundamentalist differences and disagreements between religious faiths and worldviews. Many scholars such as Huntington in his work Clash of Cultures suggest that the cultural and religious differences between Islam and Christianity are causative factors in world conflict today and in the future. This thesis states that violence tends to manifest itself "...in areas which have been the meeting places of major cultures or races..." (Huntington1971, pp. 11-12) in other words, the close proximity of different ethnic groups with differing ideologies and religious views of life and reality creates a situation which can propagate radical acts of violence and aggression. An example often given of terrorist activities that have resulted from the close proximity of different ethnic and ideological groups is the Jewish - Palestinian conflict and related acts of violence.

Religious differences are seen as a source of terrorism that goes hand-in-hand with economic and ideological differences (Howell 2003, p.177).

One therefore has to approach this question with a certain amount of judicious caution as the areas being focused on involve a very extensive and complex range of experiences and competing views. While one acknowledges this complexity of the issues at stake it might serve as starting point to intentionally simplify the issues in the search for areas of interconnection. In other words, instead of becoming encumbered by layers of detail and argument a more simplified and obvious pattern may be discerned in the dialogue between the differing faiths and approaches to reality.

Simplistically put, religion is the search for and manifestation of truth and reality, or in other terms, of the transcendent or the numinous. Cultural differences aside, when one approaches the question of interfaith connections in this light it is preferable to strip away the outward and more superficial differences between religions and concentrate on the areas that can be seen to be similar or at least in agreement with regard to the larger issues of reality and truth.

Using this approach the central thematic that will be discussed is that there is a substratum, a core of meaning and understanding which can be metaphorically understood as a seed or generating point for comparison, interaction and connection - and which can also be seen to contribute to a better understanding between faiths and religious groupings, which in the end contribute to world peace.

The central point that is being made is that it is only through a deeper and more perceptive vision of the unity of all religions that any movement towards global peace can be achieved. In other words, the differences between religious faiths and denominations are often one of formality, dogma and superficial customs and ideologies. Beneath these often contradictory and divisive differences there are many common elements. The purpose of this discussion must therefore be to isolate these common aspects in order to create points of common inter-sections, nodes of reference and relevance that can awaken mankind to the commonalities between religions. In this process there are many seemingly paradoxical stances that will be encountered.

One of the central aspects of intersection is in the area of mystical and esoteric beliefs and knowledge and in the area as well of transcendence and non-duality. Non-duality is best known in relation to Eastern religions but recent explorations in psychology and transpersonal psychology, as well as in modern western philosophy, has brought aspects such as non-duality into the mainstream of modern thought. Postmodern thinking, deconstruction and other contemporary efforts to break done and place into rigorous doubt the often restrictive and hidebound thinking of the past has in fact also opened the way to a more inclusive and holistic view of religion and particularly of the underlying elements that unite all religions.

It should also be stressed that the advances in western thought and humanism initiated by Jung and the innovative thinking of the likes of James Hillman, have added a further dimensionality to this question. Modern thinking has tended to question barriers and differences in an attempt to focus on 'archetypal' core aspects that unite all human beings in the search for reality.

2. Religious foundation

There is a general consensus that interfaith dialogue is not something new in the history of human religious thought and action. Among the plethora of examples that can be cited is the fact that Catholic, Orthodox Christians as well as Muslims, Jews and Sufis lived in harmony in the Balkans under Ottoman Turk rule between the 15th and 19th centuries (History of Interfaith dialogue). There are also examples of dialogue taking place between churches of the Abrahamic faiths in the Early 20th Century (History of Interfaith dialogue). In 2008 an interfaith debate was initiated by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to solve world problems (History of Interfaith dialogue). And this year the Dalai Lama inaugurated an interfaith "World Religions-Dialogue and Symphony."

Despite these examples it is equally true that there has been in many sensitive areas of the world a contemporary 'hardening' of views and attitudes between different faiths, a fact that is often culturally driven. There are intense differences in dogma and ideologically that are endlessly debated and which hamper the true understanding and interconnections between religious faiths. One example is the difference between Buddhism and Catholicism with regard to certain central religious concepts; for example in a comparison between Theravada Buddhist and Catholic views on the subject of salvation.

Salvation is a concept that is central to the core meaning and theological trajectories of most religions. In brief, salvation refers to the centrality of being saved from the evil of illusion and finding eternal life beyond death. There are many often radically different views about the meaning and process of salvation in various religions, which also reflects on other core differences.

This aspect can be seen in a basic analysis of soteriology or the study of salvation. Soteriology is derived for the word Soter, meaning savior, and logos meaning word, reason or principle. (soteriology) From a Catholic and Christian perspective, "Soteriology discusses how Christ's death secures the salvation of those who believe. It helps us to understand the doctrines of redemption, justification, sanctification, propitiation, and the substitutionary atonement" (What is Soteriology? (www.gotquestions.org/Soteriology.html"). Therefore, the Christian doctrine of salvation can be summarized as "... spiritual rescue from sin and death; saving of the soul through the atonement of Jesus' redemption" (WHAT IS SALVATION ACCORDING to the BIBLE?).

From a Buddhist religious context the above definition of salvation would differ in many fundamental ways. In the first instance, Buddhism does not believe in a "savior" or in a concept of God. The more traditional mode of Buddhism thought, Theravada Buddhism, focuses on personal effort or Prajna and not on the grace and aid of a deity. In contrast, the Catholic Church rather focuses on the atonement with God and God's grace in the process of salvation.

Therefore, a central difference between these two religions is that Buddhism rejects the concept of God. "The concept of a supreme Creator God is rejected or at least considered irrelevant to Theravada Buddhism. Buddha, "the Awakened One," is revered above all -- not as "God" but as supreme sage, model of a fully enlightened person" (What Theravada Buddhists Believe).… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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