Hinduism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Islam, Janism, Sikhism and Buddhism are all foreign religions. The Bhagavad Gita, the Qur’an, the Tanakh, the New Testament, the Upanishads, the Dhammapada, the Tao Te Ching and the Avesta are all foreign sacred texts. Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Jesus, Lord Allah, Lord Buddha and Lord Yahweh are all foreign Gods.
Notice the difference between Gods and GOD. The Gods are tribal creations or manifestations. They are unique to the tribes or cultures that produced them; they are not Universal Gods. However tribal Gods could claim to be the GOD in a cultural, tribal or national context. For instance, in the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna gave Arjuna spiritual eyes in order to see the Lord as GOD. Arjuna’s response when he saw the Lord as GOD is one of the most breath taking reactions in spiritual literature. In the New Testament the Lord Jesus also considers himself as GOD. In a basic Buddhist Mandala, there are 4 Buddhas, one at each corner of the Mandala. The central Buddha represents Ultimate Reality or GOD. In the Tanakh, Lord Yahweh also appeared to Moses as GOD. You can see that the idea of cultural Gods claiming to be the GOD of the Universe cuts across cultures but the truth is that none of them is the Almighty GOD!
Who is the GOD of the Universe?
The tribal Gods may take the form of GOD but none of them is the real GOD because the real GOD has no form. However if we consider the real GOD as having a form then it must be many forms and not just one. But some cultures parade their Gods as the GOD of the Universe. This is probably acceptable if the religions understand the multiplicity of forms. In other words if you believe that your God is the GOD of the Universe I expect you to know that I also believe that my God is the GOD of the Universe. If both of us agree on this premise there will be no need for me to force my God on you or for you to force your God on me. We can even worship the GOD of the Universe together but in order to do so you must leave your image of GOD as well as your sacred text behind since both are the tribal or cultural elements that separate us. Here are some passages for further clarification:
I am the father of this universe, and even the source of the Father. I am the Mother of this universe, and the Creator of all. I am the Highest to be known, the path of purification, the holy OM, the three Vedas. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 9:17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Christianity: New Testament: John 3:16
I am the Way, and the Master who watches in silence; thy friend and thy shelter and thy abode of peace. I am the beginning and the middle and the end of all things: their seed of Eternity, their Treasure supreme. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita 9:18
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Christianity: New Testament: John 14:5-6
If you cannot feel Me within it is not I. If someone has to convince you of My existence, it is not I. I AM the only Mystery that does not need an introduction. UNISM: The Universal Holy Book
Masters of life may worship in foreign religious temples because they know and understand but the rest of us are stock with our images of GOD. The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is a classic case of being faithful to a cultural God in the midst of many Gods. Judaism: Tanakh: Daniel 3:1-30
Once upon a time, Nebuchadnezzar ruled Babylon. He made a golden image and set it up for worship. At the sound of a drum everyone was required to fall down and worship the golden image. Anyone who did not worship the image would be thrown into a blazing fiery furnace. At the first sound of the drum everyone worshipped the golden image as directed by the king apart from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; Jews who served as officers in a province of Babylon. When the news concerning the three Jews came to Nebuchadnezzar he ordered to see them. The king asked them if it was true that they did not worship the Gods of Babylon and that they would not bow to the golden image at the sound of the drum? Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego confirmed the Kings suspicion but added that they worshipped a different God and would never worship his Gods or bow down to the golden image. So the king ordered his functionaries to put the three Jews into the fiery furnace.
According to the story the furnace was so hot that the soldiers who took the three men to the furnace were immediately burnt to death but the three Jews plus a fourth person were walking around in the furnace. When the king saw that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not harmed in the furnace he asked them to walk out of the furnace. They inspected the three Jews to make sure that they were not harmed and truly they were all well. Thus King Nebuchadnezzar hailed the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and even promoted them and decreed that anyone who said anything against the God of the Jews would be killed.
In the same way we may refuse to bow down to any of the foreign Gods more especially Gods that were forced upon us. We are free and like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we are not swayed by threats of damnation and we are not excited by promises of heaven. We have conquered all pairs of opposites in the world. The Almighty GOD within us is way more than any God out there and one who has GOD has everything!
Differences Between the GOD of the Universe and the Gods
1. GOD pervades the Universe; the Gods are local.
2. GOD is within all creatures; the Gods are invited.
3. GOD is unknowable; the Gods are known.
4. GOD is nameless; the Gods have names.
5. GOD is one; the Gods are many.
6. GOD loves all creatures without conditions; the Gods love you with conditions.
7. GOD has no chosen people; the Gods have chosen people.
8. GOD has no sacred place; the Gods have sacred places.
9. GOD unites all creatures; the Gods divide creatures.
10. GOD has no Sacred Text; the Gods have Sacred Texts.
11. GOD is neutral in human conflicts; the Gods take sides in human conflicts.
12. GOD does not judge us; the Gods judge us.
13. GOD takes us to heaven at the end; the Gods take us to hell at the end.
14. GOD is self-existing; the Gods exist because of you.
15. GOD is all-powerful; the Gods derive their power from you.
16. GOD exists in all cultures; the Gods can only be traced to specific cultures.
17. GOD is the Universal Spirit; the Gods are culture bound.
18. GOD does not accept sacrifices: the Gods accept sacrifices.
19. GOD leads us to Enlightenment; the Gods crave for our worship and adoration.
20. GOD will be waiting for us at the end; the Gods will not be there!
The Case against Allah
You may notice that I included Allah as one of the cultural Gods at the beginning of the chapter instead of as the GOD of the Universe. On the surface it appears that Moslems worship GOD because Allah translates into GOD and I believe that the devotees think that they are worshipping GOD. There was actually a story on the Internet about a young man deciding to choose among the religions and he narrowed it down to Islam. According to his reasons, it is only Islam that has no images; all the other religions have images. This is not completely true because the Qur’an is regarded as the word of GOD in Islam and is therefore an image. GOD has no sacred texts, hence Allah is also considered as one of the Gods. Sorry!
How is the African Testament of GOD Different?
Admittedly the African Testament of GOD is also a Sacred Text but it is not the word of GOD. Instead it is the collective historical experiences of mostly the African people and members of the African Diaspora written in spiritual language. You may call it “the works of GOD. We can document the works of GOD in human experiences like the end of slavery; the end of colonization; the beginning of independence; the end of apartheid; the end of segregation; black Olympic glories; the contributions of African leaders to world peace and much more. The word of GOD on the other hand is spread throughout the Universe; the word of GOD is subject to individual interpretation but most important is that no text can contain it!
Spiritual Teachers in all Cultures
GOD did not send only one person to teach the whole world but has sent many spiritual teachers to all corners of the earth. Consider a situation in which foreign spiritual teachers are sent by GOD to save your people. Can you even conceive such a scenario? The Almighty GOD in all his wisdom and dominion is not able to produce spiritual teachers among you and has to resort to borrowing teachers from other cultures! The idea is inconsistent with UNIVERSAL LOVE and serves to degrade the receiving culture. Surely this is not of GOD but of humans who want to dominate and to enslave! Learn from history and examine every foreign idea thoroughly before incorporating it into your culture. And in all such cases the foreign idea must always remain subordinate to your ideas. Your spiritual teachers are already amongst you and you do not need foreign spiritual teachers to save you. Write the African Testament of GOD.
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