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Overview of the Tip of the Iceberg




by Gilles C. Dignard (1)                              Info - administration@laidley.com

It was in about 1971 that I first began a comparative study of contemporary religions. I am offering you some of the ideas that I noticed. From my viewpoint, theology has become an unsatisfying global specialty. Here are a few reasons why.

There are some who would defend the Judeo-Christian system, and others who would even demand that national governments make a special effort to maintain it and come to the defense of its traditional values; we are to believe that these values are clear, and
that Judeo-Christianity has offered and still offers the greatest possible satisfactions.

For my part, if I examine the history of the Judeo-Christian movement, I see major divisions and conflicts, and even as I write this, there are still some very serious disputes. There is not even any agreement on the essential point: GOD:
- what does Judaism make of the Trinity?
- could any Catholic imagine his religion without Christ, Son of God, truly God and truly Man?

So what is it in the Judeo-Christian system that functions so well and that you want to maintain?

In many circles, people call themselves Christians... What does that mean? Christianity is torn apart by serious differences of opinion: there are Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, etc. And Protestantism in turn is by no means monolithic; it has its own sects.

The Bible... Of course there are some things common to all Christians: the Bible and the New Testament. But there are different versions. Then again, there have been and still are interpretations: because of them, Catholics and Protestants do not always observe the same authorizations and the same prohibitions.

So when shall we achieve peace through Christianity?

Let us continue. If I direct my attention to Islam, what I find simply makes reconciliation even more difficult.

Let us look at Marcel A. Boisard's book "Humanism of Islam" (2). He discusses Muhammad:

"His mission was not to wipe out previous revelations, but to confirm them all, denouncing the violence that had been done to the scriptures. His purpose was to purify of all transgressions the teachings of the prophets who had preceded him, to amplify and
complete them, so that they would be fit for all of humanity, at every time and in every place."(3)

"The concept of group, or community (umma) is unique to Islam, involving as it does a gathering of believers bearing a witness centered exclusively on the divine, immutable and eternal Word, the Qur'an." (4)

"No person or party is competent to modify, amend or improve the revealed divine law." (5)

"Based on reason and emotion, the Qur'anic revelation has foreseen everything and claims to control everything." (6)

Looking at the gist of these arguments, in Islam, we find that which no one on Earth has the power to offer to negotiation, which in practical terms makes certain rapprochements (with other religions) quite impossible. Since the 7th century and the arrival of the Qur'an, it seems to me that for Muslims, systematically, there is no need for the Bible and the New Testament.

And under these conditions, shall we achieve religious peace by way of Islam?

We will now examine ideas of India. Our source is "The Bhagavad-Gita As It Is" (7) by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

"The Bhagavad-Gita is the most precious of all the revealed scriptures." (8)

"A spiritual master is regarded as authentic if he belongs to a succession of disciples going back to the beginning of time, to Krishna himself; if he deviates in no way from the instructions of the Lord as they were given millions of years ago." (9)

"No one may call himself a true spiritual master if he does not belong to a succession of disciples authenticated by Krishna." (10)

So it seems reasonable to me to think that for these people, the Jews, Christians and Muslims, for example, have never had and still have no reason to exist!

And we are going to attain peace through Vedism?

Let us continue. Were you looking for something new? Here it is, and this time it comes from America. A new arrival in the series of major and revealed texts: "The Urantia Book" (11).

After reading this book, one might think it is time to leave the Bible, the New Testament, the Qur'an, the Vedic writings, and other texts, because thanks to "The Urantia Book," humanity has just received new corrections, new directives. And they are coming from superhuman levels.

A solid, authentic text? What are we to believe?

Is this peace at last?

In the many laws promulgated by the systems we have just discussed, we look for a theme and we find one. It is precisely by way of REVELATION and the FIRM CONVICTIONS which result from it that we arrive at movements that are, in theory, CLOSED; they exclude their rivals. So here we have several large groupings, all presenting a written revelation which underlies the beliefs of the members and means that even today, believers cannot function correctly without these same sacred documents.

But ultimately, given the contradictions that they leave mankind with, are these books really so good? For example, what's in the Bible? The whole truth and nothing but the truth?

What is very serious is that there are many human beings who, because they believed or refused to believe in certain religions, suffered injury and/or sickness, and/or death! At the present stage of humanity's evolution, there are some religious traditions which, in rational terms, cannot continue.

Religious peace!
Because of the literature which exists and the mentalities which have been CAREFULLY CULTIVATED, finding such peace will require what might become an enormous theological upheaval. So, with the tools at our disposal, we should identify and eliminate all the fundamental falsehoods.

Note: A version of this article was published on-line by Delphi (3 Blackstone Street, Cambridge, MA, USA) in May 1987.

(1) Honorary Doctor of Divinity

(2) Marcel A. Boisard, L'HUMANISME DE L'ISLAM (Paris: Albin Michel, 1979)

(3) Ibid., p. 44

(4) Ibid., p. 137

(5) Ibid., p. 48

(6) Ibid., p. 133

(7) Sa Divine Grâce A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, LA BHAGAVAD-GITA TELLE QU'ELLE EST
(Paris: Éditions Bhaktivedanta, 1977)

(8) Ibid., p. 98

(9) Ibid., p. 100

(10) Ibid., p. 95

(11) THE URANTIA BOOK (Chicago, Urantia Foundation, 1973)

Copyright 1998 Gilles C. Dignard

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