Perennial Philosophy: Are All Religions Guiding us to the Same Destination?

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Some ideas sound great but don’t work in reality.
 

Wouldn’t it be great if all religions pointed towards the same truth?
 

Is it possible, taking all religions in existence today as they are now, that this statement could be taken as true?
 

I find the idea hard to reconcile, if not impossible.
 

One man likened all the different religions in the world to a group of blind men all feeling a different part of the same elephant and describing these parts accurately, therefore far differently, despite the fact that they all had the same underlying source.
 

It sounds a bit like the great unifying theory which Einstein sought after: to put these seemingly incongruous parts into a neat and unified whole.
 

The fundamental flaw of the elephant argument is this: the existence of an elephant ear does not negate the existence of the tail.
 

Likewise the existence of the tail does not negate the existence of the trunk, and so on. Each blind man could describe his part of the elephant without denying the existence of the others.
 

Religions claims are not like this.
 

Their ideologies are, in the fullest sense of the word, contradictory.
 

One claims there is only one God and that no others exist, while some religions claim the existence of multiple gods.
 

Many religions claim that to follow anything different is to cause one’s damnation, and others state that we need not worry about death for every time we will come back for a second, third, and fourth chance, ad infinitum.
 

The bottom line is: these ideas of truth cannot co-exist, they cannot all be right.
 

Now I can say with certainty that there is a common human hunger that fuels the vast majority of all religious searching. This hunger, I believe, is the underlying truly universal principle in this equation. I must recognize that all religions are invariably products of the same source, though their contents are not equal.
 

If we acknowledge that all religions are pointing to the same truth, even though they contradict one another, then we must assume that some contain errors. If we acknowledge the existence of errors then we must also acknowledge the existence of the truth they contradict.
 

So the greatest question of all is not how can we reconcile our differences and accept every religion equally, rather how can we discern which religion contains the truth?
 

Only by answering this question will true fruit be drawn from such a perplexing tree.
 

Can the answer be known with certainty?
 

Yes.
 

How do I know when someone loves me?
 

It is the moment when I realise that they know me almost as well as I know myself.
 

Perhaps they indicate this with the perfect gift, or with a healing gesture that gives aid where I didn’t realise I needed it. Somehow, somewhere they communicate their love.
 

It is by this qualification (in combination with others) that I assert that God is not only knowable, but we can discern even His personality. One quality of which is His love.
 

I will go even a step further and state that the Catholic Church, the body of Christ, contains the Truth which our hearts hunger for and that this spiritual body is the fullest expression of God’s life within us.
 

Truth is a Person who awakens, enlivens, and beautifies every mind and heart that will accept Him.
 

My only supporting argument for my claim is the fire which burns in my heart, the vibrant life which pours out from my adherence to the Church’s principles, sacraments, and community.
 

All Christians come to the realisation sooner or later that their word is not good enough. I will take it as no surprise if any of my readers refuse to take my claims to heart based upon my words alone.
 

However, compelling me from within is the obligation of Truth.
 

Each human being is individually responsible to hunt out honestly what is, and what is not.
 

Even this pursuit, as with every worthwhile adventure, requires a leap of faith.
 

Someone reading this article who did not believe me but wanted to know more would have to trust me on at least one point: there is something in the universe worth knowing that they do not yet know.
 

I could repeat a thousand times that to be in communion with Jesus Christ is more valuable, more satisfying, more joyful than every pleasurable experience I have had combined.
 

However, my claim is easy to dismiss.
 

I would ask any doubtful person just this one question: If you had found something that truly achieved everything I have just claimed, wouldn’t you too be eager to share the news of this beautiful gift?
 

Wouldn’t it be supremely selfish to keep this knowledge hidden?
 

To conclude, I must reassert that all religions are not just different hands pointing to the same door. They are not different paths leading up the same mountain.
 

They are a multifaceted intersection departing and heading in different directions. Some lead to ruin, and others to life.
 

Truth can be known and there is no greater joy to not only know Truth, but to live it out as well.

Suffering (Part 3 of 3): God Will Never Test You Beyond Your Strength

torn_copyPain is awful.
 

Suffering can be unbearable, and unthinkable. Especially when the source of our torment is the suffering of someone we love, like our children, the discomfort can be extraordinary.
 

There is within scripture and Christian tradition the idea the God will never give us more pain, or a greater trial than we can handle.
 

Recently I noticed a couple articles online which argued the opposite: that God will overwhelm us.
 

In order to believe this a person must hold a very narrow interpretation and understanding of the commonly cited quote from 1 Corinthians 10, “God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength.” Beyond that, if we take two known characteristics of God, that He is both all-powerful and all-loving, then this also supports the notion that God would never test us beyond our limit.
 

Within suffering, powerlessness rears its ugly head. Our limitations and finiteness become apparent. That can be a terrifying realisation, but one from which the greatest drop of truth is born. In our helplessness comes the knowledge of our need for help, for divine assistance.
 

Those who seek to fight the crashing waves of suffering on their own are inevitably crushed and thrown about. Though a person may survive the onslaught, they emerge with jadedness, with anger. Either that, or they emerge with a dwelling attachment to suffering and the battle that surrounds it.
 

When you suffer, beg the Lord of all mercies for help!
 

He will come to your aid.
 

Not in the way you might expect or want, but He will come.
 

Do not forget, reliance on God is not a one off, once and done kind of deal.
 

Relying on God in our suffering means repeated prayers, a constant personal reminding, a striving to turn again and again, back towards He who can give peace in the world’s worst turmoil.
 

God will never give you more than you can handle.
 

Our human strength is frail, it is inevitably empty.
 

If it is our own strength which we seek to rely upon, then yes, we will encounter trials which are too great.

 

God always offers the grace, but it is up to us, the receivers, to accept it.
 

Like a tool with no one to wield it, without acceptance grace is impotent.
 

The notion that God will give us more than we can handle is a flawed one which extols the “glory” or significance of our suffering above God’s grace and love. Even if, as most of these articles point out, being overwhelmed leads to the knowledge that we need God.
 

One man claimed that this promise is not in scripture and remarks that the line from 1 Corinthians 10:13 is about temptation and not suffering. It is actually about both:
 

God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.”
 

In every form of suffering we have a choice: to rely on our own strength, or to trust in God’s.
 

To rely on our own is a temptation, and a serious one because it can lead to despair, the greatest separation from God’s mercy. It is pride that motivates us to shirk God’s help, and it is from this pride that God gives us ‘a way out’. The choices we make during our suffering is exactly what Paul is writing about. He asks us to trust God.
 

Trust placed in God is never in vain.
 

If we only trust Him so that the world may unfold in our image, it is folly.
 

Some struggle just to be able to accept that good may come from suffering. Those who can accept this reality often endure suffering only because they have their own notion of what they hope to accomplish through it. It is no wonder then, that the pain becomes too much, because they hope for something which has never been promised.
 

When we plan out for ourselves what good things we will receive from our suffering, we will be overcome. When we seek to embrace suffering only on a temporary basis; we will be overcome. When we attempt to utilize suffering for our own ends; we will be overcome.
 

Only when we embrace suffering with complete openness and abandonment to God’s mercy, plan, and love, will we have the grace–and as a result the strength–to endure anything.
 

‘God will give you more than you can handle is satan’s motto.
 

He spreads this notion because he wants people to lose absolute trust in God’s goodness.
 

For a God who delivers His followers into snares from which they cannot escape is either not loving or not powerful enough to deliver them.
 

The evil one glosses over this lie with notions of compassion and understanding. He whispers that if we don’t acknowledge the lie we are not compassionate towards those who suffer. When if fact, we steal from those suffering the very tool to find help immediately, not after defeat.
 

One author introduced the idea that Jesus had claimed that the passion was too much for Him, that in His agony in the garden he paraphrased this to God. Nothing could be further from the truth.
 

And He went al ittle beyong them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
 

Shortly after He continues, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
 

If it was too much, Jesus would have fled. He would not have given His will up to that of His Father.
 

Instead, Jesus handed Himself over to his own crucifixion. He who could have called legions of angels to his assistance. Instead He humbled Himself to embrace torture, beatings, slander, and eventually death. It was not too much, because Christ allowed it to happen, he willingly participated in his own execution.
 

The immensity of Christ’s suffering should never be confused with a bowing of His will before the pain.
 

In imitating Christ, we must all willingly lay down our lives in our sufferings. Our emotional reaction to suffering does not have to become our actions. We must acknowledge that without God our trials are too much, but with Him, in God’s love, we can do everything. God never gives us more than we can handle, because he also supplies the grace.
 

While staying at a community in Ontario I was suffering under immense pain and confusion. To find help I asked a question to three of the communities leaders: “What do you do if you’re overwhelmed?”
 

They responded, “Stop relying on yourself.
 

It is time to draw ourselves up, out of self-pity, and into God’s love!
 

Suffering is the precursor to glory if we remain in His grace!
 

Do not lose heart, but bear your afflictions with joy. For He who has created the universe, He who has risen from the dead, will also carry you through your current hardships and into a life so resplendent and glorious that this current moment of suffering will seem like a distant, faded memory.file8781234480355