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Philosophy of Astabora Interfaith Society

 

Creation, the destiny of humanity, and what might be called the emerging new mythology are some of the things we explore. The term ‘mythology’ and its root ‘myth’ usually denote dead religions. Within the context of our writings, these terms are not meant to imply anything that might be considered diminishing with regards to current religions. It is meant rather to denote the ever-changing nature of religions, bodies of belief, or matters of faith as they apply to all cultures and all times. We believe the emergence of new myths is inevitable. We try to bring things to the forefront in a conscious way with the hope of working closer to a collective conclusion. Failure to recognize the need for emerging new myths generally translates to a falling off of interest in religion in general by the masses.

Knowledge, faith, belief, and doubt are intimately related. Knowledge can lend support to a particular belief, while lack of knowledge can lead to doubt. A strong belief in the absence of knowledge is faith. It is possible to possess varying degrees of faith just as we can possess varying degrees of knowledge, belief, and doubt. Many of us are not blessed with the gift of perfect faith. Knowledge gained through the sciences can serve as a foundation for building a stronger belief, leading to a more nearly perfect faith. Any emerging mythology would be remiss to not include scientific knowledge. The new emerging mythology is an outgrowth of earlier and current mythologies. Science is used where possible, reasonable, and practical to improve on interpretations of earlier scriptures. We attempt to find the mode of expression adequate for the task of describing creation, similar to the way mathematics evolved as the mode of expression to describe the theories of gravity and relativity. It is in this spirit we go forward on our journey to new understanding.

We invite people from all faiths: Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Gnostic, Agnostic, Atheist, and others to fellowship with us. We like to hear what people from all areas of learning have to say: particularly physicists, astronomers, historians, anthropologists, and archeologists. We recognize the importance of all disciplines in shaping the emerging new mythology of humankind. The time has come to end the conflicts between people of different faiths and denominations. We find the poor relations existing between the Jews and Muslims in the Middle East of particular concern. We believe that the things we share in common far outweigh our differences. Those of us who are Muslims accept the Old Testament and the Gospels as inspired writings. As Muslims, Jews, and Christians we all hold the patriarch Abraham in high reverence. We honor Abraham as the progenitor of Muslims and Jews, brothers and sisters sharing common roots to a time before the advent of Islam and Judaism. As Christians, we accept that some might never accept the divinity of Jesus, the immaculate conception, or the resurrection. We find it comforting and significant that the moral teachings of Jesus are nearly universally accepted. This fact strengthens our resolve regarding interfaith relations, and the fate of humanity in general.

There is the one God of humankind, by whatever name you wish to give Him/Her. If God is truly infinite and all-encompassing, then it can safely be said that any description of God contains truth. God could be Allah as surely as God could be Jehovah or Krisna. The cultural interpretations are fine and we do not necessarily want to abandon forms of worship held dear to our hearts from childhood, but we are mindful that the cultural clothing should not conceal the underlying essence of God.

We are coming to the realization that our holy books were written for people of earlier times and different social conditions. The proscribed restrictions and punishments are not necessarily applicable today. In this day and age, people are not generally executed for committing adultery, and we don't chop off the hands of thieves. We see the Bible and the Koran as dynamic, living documents, subject to new and fresh interpretations to meet the needs of our changing times. Our new interpretations are reflective of our modern times, and the higher degree of knowledge we possess about the world in general. There are those who would say that the words to describe God and Creation are simply not there. They instead chose to start at some convenient point and go forward. While we are mindful of the difficulties in such endeavors, we believe that some effort should be made to push the limit of our understanding regardless. We should at least attempt to find the words, if we are to ever evolve a mode of expression adequate for the task. Mathematics evolved as the mode of expression to describe the theories of gravity and relativity, for example. It is in this spirit we go forward on our journey to new understanding. The following are some ideas we explore..

1) Perfection was lost at the moment of creation when somethingness sprang from the infinite void by way of something we might call the force of probability.

2) Each created particle is inherent with the desire to regain perfection. This fundamental desire drives the evolution of life and consciousness. This helps explain how the statistical odds against life ever occurring are overcome. Consciousness continues to evolve toward higher dimensions (applying quantum physics) as a way of regaining some measure of the perfection lost at the moment of creation. This process can be pictured as created particles flowing down a river of formation under the influence of desire very much like water flowing down a hill under the influence of gravity.

3) Knowledge when properly applied can serve as a foundation on which to build a stronger faith for those of weak or imperfect faith in the existence of God.
Our challenge is to explain the unexplainable.

We invite you to participate in our endeavor.