World Religions

Huston Smith’s classic World Religions is so easy to read and very satisfying.  He goes not for comparisons or for historical roots but, rather, for how each religion faces, reaches to, or is reached down by the divine.  The divine is the extrasensory realm in which all objects exist.  Somehow, we know that the O.S. of the world of objects is outside the world of objects.

While he does not detail the historical roots or the historical wars fought over, through, and by religions, he does mention it a bit to “kick” each religion into gear.  Well, not each, for with the first, Hinduism, we have no evidence except that evidence which burns in each one of us to ask the question:  Who am I? or perhaps better “What’s going on.”  HInduism is too ancient to have left any traces of its origin–except as it still lives in each human heart.  Buddhism “corrected” the excessive cults and insistences of what Hinduism became.  Confucianism and Islam both emerged and grew in the historic context of tribal rivalries, organizing the human groups and the human heart more towards a North star.

Written as it is with an eye to appreciation of each valiant effort to make sense of life and to place it in a supra-objective context, I “felt” each religion as I came to it.  By the time I got to Judaism and I had only it, Christianity, and native religions left, I did not know where in the mental-heart caverns Smith could travel, for he seemed to have explored all the innards already.  But he found more.  He found the brilliant evocation of human relationships and linear time and history with the Jews; he found the feeling of visitation by the Lord among the Christians (the “good news”); and he found the comfort of living in a finite world where everything symbolizes something and where the thrust of time seems to move back towards the beginning rather than out towards the scary future among the primitive beliefs.

How I love them each and all.  How they all are in me.  How I am in them.  How we are.  Thank you Huston Smith once again.  Look over us.

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