Archive for February, 2010

THE HIDDEN JESUS by Robert Beckford

February 17, 2010

THE HIDDEN JESUS by Robert Beckford

Tags: The Hidden Jesus, Robert Beckford, Jesus, Jesus Christ,  Christianity, Buddha, Islam, Mahatma (Mohandas) Gandhi, spiritual unity

Submitter’s Note:

These are the notes I took from Robert Beckford’s excellent TV documentary seen here in New Zealand; so am sharing with you. I hope, I trust that Robert’s personal thoughts and beliefs on the “person” and life of Jesus may be as uplifting, empowering and perhaps even inspirational to you, as they are to me.

craig

BUDDHA, JESUS, ISLAM and GANDHI:

Christianity has some common spiritual values with other spiritual traditions and religions (and some of the ‘miracles’ are not unique to Christianity).

Some Common Spiritual Values:
* Be humble
* Keep doors open
* Love as a powerful driving force
* a divine inner light that banishes all darkness and ignorance

Buddhism (along with other Eastern religions) has many common strains of teaching. Buddha taught ‘dharma’, a right way of living. The Buddha too was “visited and tempted” by the devil and performed miracles (similar to Jesus, like walking on water).
People simply want to be happy – the teachings of both Jesus and the Buddha. Buddhism is a guide to personal transformation, remarkably similar to Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.

Attempting to attain some objective and live with righteousness.

Here are some of the main guiding principles:
* Do good to those that hate you.
* Overcome anger with love.
* Overcome evil by doing good.
* Replace lies with truth.

The teachings of Jesus were similar to those of the Buddha: peace, justice and wanting people to have a good life.

Jesus taught people to follow the right path: that of equality, morality and justice.
Jesus challenged the religious authority of the day and their symbols of opression.
He challenged societies problems and religious dogmas… in a common search for truth and how to engage it.

*
ISLAM

Jesus is one of the prophets who performed miracles, a pre-curser to Mohammed, the LAST Prophet revealing Allah’s word to the people.

Muslims believe that there will be a day of judgment in everyone’s life.

Jesus will return, but only God knows WHEN.
Then he will live for 40 years and will be buried at Medina  (present day Saudi Arabia) in a tomb next to Muhammad

Muslims believe that Jesus will save humanity from injustice (ie. he is a messiah). That he preached eternal truths and is one of the great prophets of Islam.

*
MAHATMA (MOHANDAS) GANDHI

Like Jesus, Gandhi was a man of action, who wanted to change his country and so the world… through non-violence or passive  resistance. Gandhi was greatly influenced and inspired by the Sermon on the Mount (“Christ gave me the message” and “I love Christ; but I’m not so keen on his followers”.

Gandhi pondered the deep question: ‘Do I have the capacity not to hate?’
His teachings: Active non-violent resistance, transformed into non-violent resistance.
Like Jesus, Gandhi invoked major confrontation with the authorities (the Salt March has a parallel with Jesus entering Jerusalem on his donkey).

“My life is my message.”
– Mohandas Gandhi

It is PRACTICAL faith in ACTION:
Live the faith
Live the idealism
This involves a concern for human rights… as evident in the quote:
“Live simply, so that others may simply live.”

Great figures like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walensa (former leader of the Solidarity movement in Poland) were largely influenced by the teachings of Jesus. This is  evidenced by their concern for human rights and fighting for the rights of the marginalised of society, the opressed people living in their countries.

*

The core elements of Jesus’s story.
(as per the Coptic Museum in Cairo)
*

HOW DO I SEE JESUS?
WHAT DOES HE MEAN TO ME TODAY?

The teachings of Jesus are vitally important. But HOW to put them into action… today?

Doing this requires commitment, ie active participation to be a worker for reconciliation, a peace-maker and this involves taking risks.

Yet
“Those who work for peace will reap a rich harvest” (or something  like that)

I believe to fully understand the “person” that was Jesus, we have to strip away much of the dogma of religion, even of Christianity. Jesus was not only a new Jewish teacher, who challenged the tyranny and opression of the Roman empire of his day.

His simple teachings are still vitally important 2000 years after his death: His messages of justice (and opposing injustice with all ones means/”might”) and human rights for all.

Jesus wanted people to experience the Kingdom of God by whatever means is best for them???

The life of Jesus revealed what it means to serve God with all ones heart and soul, together with love (for oneself as well as one’s neighbour), as a powerful driving force for ALL humanity. His spirit is a divine inner light that banishes all ignorance and forces of darkness.

And we the “ordinary little” people are invited to claim a portion of His Immense Spirit. All we need do is ASK!

For me the simple message of Jesus Christ was: IF we follow the teachings of Christ and fully trust Him, we can all lead happier and more fulfilled lives going down this path. And in shining our own “little” lights we can change the world for the better.

Shared by craig

“Those whom you seek to change, you must first love.”
– Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr

“We can all be great; because we can all serve.”
– Martin Luther King, Jnr

“Many small (yet significant) steps by many ‘ordinary, little’ people will eventually reach their destination.
Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds for a brighter future ”

*           *

Who was Muhammad (from the Booklet: ‘A Brief Illustrated Guide to Islam’)?

February 12, 2010
Article Title: Who was Muhammad (from the Booklet: ‘A Brief Illustrated Guide to Islam’)?
Author:  I.A.Ibrahim
Shared by: Craig Lock
Category (key words): Religion, Islam, Muhammad (Mohammed), religious tolerance, faith, beliefs, peace, spiritual, spiritual unity

The subrmitter’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at craiglock.wordpress.com and
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, words of inspiration, “spiritual, spiritual writings” (how “airey-fairey”), and money management – how boring now, Craig!)
Publishing Guidelines:
This short article was directly sourced from a most informative and enlightening booklet ‘A Brief Illustrated Guide to Islam’ (easy-to-understand and well-written too!) available at http://www.islam-guide.com/
(If used please acknowledge the author, I.A.Ibrahim and the source website, thanks).
All my other articles may be freely published, electronically or in print
“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”
*
Introduction:
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to try to find ‘common ground’/principles/ in different faiths) and as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) regarding ‘eternal and universal truths.’ My motive, my aim in sharing this information written by I.A. Ibrahim is to try to contribute in some small way to a slightly better understanding in the West of the Islamic world. And as I share these basic principles regarding the Islamic faith, I learn too. Hope this piece may be of interest to you…
*
WHAT IS THE QUR’AN ABOUT?

The Quran, the last revealed word of God, is the primary source of every Muslim’s faith and practice.  It deals with all the subjects which concern human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, transactions, law, etc.; but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures.  At the same time, it provides guidelines and detailed teachings for a just society, proper human conduct, and an equitable economic system.
Note that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad  in Arabic only.  So, any Quranic translation, either in English or any other language, is neither a Quran, nor a version of the Quran; but rather it is only a translation of the meaning of the Quran.  The Quran exists only in the Arabic in which it was revealed.
*
WHO IS THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD?
Muhammad was born in Makkah in the year 570. Since his father died before his birth and his mother died shortly thereafter, he was raised by his uncle, who was from the respected tribe of Quraysh. He was raised illiterate, unable to read or write, and remained so till his death. His people, before his mission as a prophet, were ignorant of science and most of them were illiterate. As he grew up, he became known to be truthful, honest, trustworthy, generous, and sincere. He was so trustworthy that they called him ‘the Trustworthy’. Muhammad was very religious, and he had long detested the decadence and idolatry of his society.
At the age of forty, Muhammad  received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. The revelations continued for twenty-three years, and they are collectively known as the Qur’an.
As soon as he began to recite the Quran and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered persecution from unbelievers.  The persecution grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate.  This emigration from Makkah (or Mecca) to the city of Madinah, some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.
After several years, Muhammad  and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies.  Before Muhammad  died, at the age of sixty-three, the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula had become Muslim, and within a century of his death, Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China.  Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the truth and clarity of its doctrine.  Islam calls for faith in only one God (Allah), Who is the only one worthy of worship.
The Prophet Muhammad  was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful, and brave human being.  Though he was a man, he was far removed from all evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of God and His reward in the Hereafter.  Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of God.” #


# INFORMATION SOURCED (directly) FROM A BOOKLET ‘A BRIEF ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO ISLAM by I.A.IBRAHIM. Copyright C 1997, 1996
*
I hope that this brief introductory information about the life of Muhammad may be of interest to you…and perhaps get you thinking about these “deep and serious subjects”… and that’s my reason for sharing.
“Those of us who long for moderation will continue to hope for understanding of complex issues with reasoned dialogue and a spirit of understanding between different faiths.”
Humanity has far more in common than our differences, what seperates us.
So Isn’t WHAT UNITES US, our common (shared)humanity, FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT DIVIDES US!
“Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all cause – goodwill among men and peace on earth.”
– Albert Einstein
With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE and with TOLERANCE comes UNDERSTANDING.
Religion divides; whereas truth unites.
Walk your OWN path to Highest Truth and be happy
Shared by Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer, Incorrigible Encourager and People-builder”)
Former Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa Desmond Tutu once said these wise and inspiring words:
“We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”
“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– Jahrulal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India
“It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us. Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe… because what unites us is far more important than what divides us.”
“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”
“Let each one of us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation and peace. Let our leaders look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.”
– craig
About the submitter:
In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, Craig strives to break down social, cultural, religious and economic barriers through sharing information and “planting, then watering uplifting ideas and seeds of hope”. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share is way more important than what divides us.
Craig’s new manuscripts, ‘A New Dawn’ and ‘From Seeds of Hate to the Bonds of Love’ are set in the Middle East: In them he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building tiny bridges in an ever more dangerous, tubulent and uncertain world. A passionate story(stories) of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love.
The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html www.lulu.com/craiglock and www.myspace/writercraig
“With passion and purpose in our individual lives we can touch others and in so doing illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity to make a better world (through helping raise the ‘collective consciousness’). Let us encourage our leaders towards an alternate vision for the world to embrace: one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged. Each one of us in our own little ways can offer (and most importantly, LIVE) this compelling new horizon: a bright future of justness and justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values. Especially a vision of hope and thoughts of peace fuelled by the eternal flame of love, which can light the darkest night… always “
– me
Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better future.
“God is a mystery, the ‘mystery of life’, a Creative Presence, Who/That allows me to be who I really want to be and become.”
“God, the Essence of Life, is the great mystery in the vast unknown; yet He(??) is understandable.”
“God, The Essence of Life, the Ground of All Being, is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”
May the Grace of our loving Creator care for and watch over you all … always

What Are Some Key Similarities Between Christianity And Islam?

February 11, 2010
Article Title: What Are Some Key Similarities Between Christianity And Islam?
Shared by: Craig Lock
Category (key words): religion, faith, beliefs, peace, spiritual, spiritual unity

Web Site: Craig’s new blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is available at: http://craiglock.wordpress.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=my-blogs
Other Articles are available at:
http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!)


Publishing Guidelines:

All my writings may be freely published,
electronically or in print.
*
WHAT ARE SOME KEY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM?

Submitter’s Note:
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to find ‘common ground’/principles/ and as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) regarding ‘eternal and universal truths.’ These notes form part of Craig’s new novels set in the Middle East, titled ‘A New Dawn: Let the Journey Begin’ and ‘From Seeds of Hate to the Bonds of Love’, as well as his latest “labour of love” ‘The Real , the True Jesus – the One that I Know!’.

Hope this piece may be of interest to you too.

*
INTRODUCTION

The issue of RELIGION throughout history of mankind and today evermore plays a vital part in many conflicts around the world. Religion is (and was) often blamed as the cause of the conflicts; whereas it is/was people misusing religion for their own ends (often taking particular and significant interpretations out of context) that have shaped societies and cultures. I truly believe it’s critically important to emphasize the common values shared by different religions to drastically reduce tensions around the globe. So that religion (and it’s beliefs) can be turned around from being part of the conflict to be part of the SOLUTION. Instead of focussing on the differences between people, in this ‘battle of ideas/ideologies” we should focus far more on what we have in common.

So what are the foundations, what is the frame-work of the respective beliefs?

Most religions of the world espouse (nice word, eh!) good moral values as a code of conduct: the virtues of passion for liberalism, tolerance, compassion, decency and generous ideals. However, there is a fundamental doctrinal incompatability between the major faiths of Islam and Christianity (though together with the Jews, they worship the God of Abraham). These three major religions share the common truth of the Old Testament, having many prophets in common and consequently have many “shared values” that have shaped societies over the past two millenia.

Whilst there are some major differences between Islam and Christianity, from my research (fascinating and mainly online) some of the fundamental similarities in beliefs between these two main religions (as well as Judaism) are as follows:

ISLAM

The main beliefs:

* There is only One True God: the Sovereign Ruler of the universe…
and has full control over our lives (and will meet all of our needs)

* God (Allah) is the Creator of everything and central to Muslims lives. Allah is simply beyond human thought and understanding.

* True believers are not to worship any other gods

* Allah’s goodness and benevolence is seen everywhere, because He is compassionate and merciful.

* Many Old Testament prophets were from God (ie. were sent by God as messengers to the world)

* Jesus’s strong sense of mission, unity and sense of purpose.
He was sent by God, a messenger to serve humanity and being divinely inspired was a great moral teacher and prophet.

* God gave the Torah, the prophets, the Koran and the Gospel to guide our lives. ( I don’t know enough about Mohamed and his “divine destiny” to pass comment on his “mission”).

* We are to obey God’s words (as in the first five books of the Old Testament, the ‘Pentitukes’?)

* We should surrender/sacrifice ourselves fully to God
(in fact, the word ‘Islam” means ‘full submission to God’s will’)

* Jesus will return to earth one day (though in which form is uncertain). Though Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah
and I’m not sure on that point with Islam. (I’ll study some more)

* Humans have free will and exercise a choice between doing good or evil in their daily lives.

* Humans only live once on this earth, then face judgement:
One day there will be a day of Judgement for how we’ve lived our lives.

* Believers who die will go to ‘heaven’ and live forever (though the concept of heaven is not precisely defined).

* Disbelievers will go to ‘hell’ (or suffer torment, which is ‘seperation from God’ forever). Heaven or hell are written about in the Qur’an in poetic terms, ie. as symbolic rather than actual places.

* It is important to pray to God frequently (Muslims do it five times a day) and attend a congretion at least once a week (usually mid-day on Fridays)

* We should have a spirit of charity and help the poor and those in a less fortunate position to ourselves (with money and/or works)

* A person’s alotted time on earth is predestined.

* All people are equal before the law.

and finally

* We should respect our differences and Christians, Jews, and Muslims should never be killed purely on account of their faith.

NB:
The Qu’ran states that Allah will curse those Muslims who kill one another intentionaly. This is stated very clearly in Surah 4:93

“But  whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally; and Allah has become angry with him, and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.”
(And another version:
“If a man kills a Believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (forever): and the wrath and the curse of God are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.’)

*
CHRISTIANITY

Christianity and Islam are both ‘missionary’ religions. Both faiths believe they have a monopoly over the truth. Both want to share their version of truth with others and both compete in seeking converts. I am motivated to share these “truths” with others, so people may benefit and enhance their lives in a meaningful way…if they so CHOOSE.

There IS a significant difference from Islam: Christianity exists solely on the basis that Jesus Christ is the ‘son of God’ (ie. the fact is taken literally); whereas the faith of Islam exists purely on the basis that God dictated his laws to Mohammed and that the Koran contains God’s actual words. Most “informed” Christians, however, do not believe the Koran is the unintermediated word of God. “Most followers of Christ know very little about Mohammed being perceived as a ‘messenger of God.’ They can, therefore, only think that Mohammed was deluded, if not a liar. (Of course, most Christians are far too polite to say such a thing!).”

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the son of God/God incarnate (“the human face of God“) and that he died on a cross ro reconcile mankind and God. Then he was resurrected after three days and now lives in heaven. The gospel message teaches that reconciliation with God (and transformation) is to be found through the redemptive work of Jesus only.

And as regards Christianity, it’s the notion of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one), which rationalists find to be the most implausible aspect of Christianity. “If Jesus was not the Son of God, then he too was deluded, crazy … or perhaps even a ‘liar’. And if he – as opposed to He – was either of those things, then the Resurrection is also a lie and Christianity, as a faith rather than as a philosophy is utterly null and void.”

Good works as “entry” to heaven (as Muslims believe) count for nothing, in the absence of acceptance of Jesus. Christianity is based on the concept of FAITH and God’s Grace (ie, unmerited, undeserved favour).. We are “saved for eternity” (so our soul lives on when we die) through our faith in Jesus and are not solely judged for the ‘hereafter’ by our good works during our lifetime. (And these good works are inspired by our faith and the ‘divine spirit’ at work through God’s Infinite Grace).

This is a battle, a contrast of ideas. As Cardinal Ratzinberger once described the difference between the faiths: “Islam simply does not have the seperation of the political and religious spheres which Christianity had from the very beginning. The Koran… insists that the whole order of life be Islamic (ie. there is no seperation of religion/church and state). One must understand that Islam is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.”

True Muslims cannot accept either the seperation of powers or the freedom under the law (ie. “democracy”), which are the hallmarks of Western civilisation.

* extracted from an article (excellent) in ‘The Independent’ by Dominic Lawson.

As we are what we believe ourselves to be (You are what YOU believe), I believe that Jesus genuinely believed himself to be a ‘Son of God’, divinely ordained with a specific mission, a unique purpose which he CHOSE to fulfill in his short life. Christians say that the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth points us to a new life and new thoughts, as well as new possibilities… as an individual, community and as a nation. Still you may or may not CHOOSE to believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings as YOUR pathway to connect to God, a Higher Power, ‘the Ground of all Being, the Essence of Existence’, your spiritual (higher)self.
*
Whilst we can celebrate our differences, just remember the “Golden Rule”, a teaching common to ALL religions: Treat others as you’d like to be treated. And we should love God (whatever we understand the concept to be) with all our hearts, minds and souls… and our neighbour as we love ourselves (common teachings from both faiths of Islam and Christianity). Simple, eh!

It’s not such a matter of conflicting idealogies, the great ‘battle of ideas, of civilisations’ is it?

So
Isn’t WHAT UNITES US IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT DIVIDES US!

Shared by Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer, Incorrigible Encourager and People-builder”)

Craig’s new blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is available at: http://craiglock.wordpress.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=my-blogs

PS:
There’s a good article (in point form): “A Comparison Of Islam And Christianity” at http://executableoutlines.com/islam/islam_05.htm
Former Archbishop in South Africa Desmond Tutu once said:
“We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”

“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– J.Nehru, first Prime Minister of India

“It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us.
Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe…
because what unites us is far more important than what divides us.

In our own little ways in our individual lives we can touch so many others and share our common humanity. And in so doing we can illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity. We must offer a compelling alternate vision for the world: a bright future of justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values and especially a vision of goodness and hope fuelled by the flame of love – one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”
– craig (as inspired by and adapted from the words of Abdurahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia who died recently*)


* (and on whose epitaph are written these inspiring words…
‘here lies a humanitarian’)

About the submitter:
Craig likes to share information and insights to encourage
others to be all they are capable of being. He’d love to try to ‘build bridges’ (not metal or wooden ones, thank goodness!) between people, firmly believing that what we share is way more important than what divides us.
Craig’s new manuscripts, ‘A New Dawn’ and ‘From Seeds of Hate to the Bonds of Love,are  set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, tubulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love for the world.

“Those whom you want to change… you must first love.”

– Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr
These thoughts may be freely published, electronically or in print
“What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

Sharing Some Information on Major Religions of the World: The Jews and Judaism (Part One)

February 10, 2010


Article Title: Sharing Some Information on Major Religions of the World: The Jews and Judaism (Part One)
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words): religion, religions, Judaism, Jews, religious tolerance, faith, beliefs, spirituality, spiritual unity

Craig’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at craiglock.wordpress.com and
http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22Other Articles by the submitter are available at:
http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!)

Publishing Guidelines:
All my articles may be freely published, electronically or in print.
*
SHARING SOME INFORMATION ON SOME OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD: THE JEWS AND JUDAISM

INTRODUCTION:
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions, as he researches and writes his latest novel, titled ‘A New Dawn’ set in the Middle East. To attempt to find ‘common ground’/principles between the major religions of the world…and as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others). Hope this piece may be of interest to you too.
* This information has been sourced from http://www.jewfaq.org/beliefs.htm
*
WHAT DO JEWS BELIEVE?
© Copyright 5756-5761 (1995-2001), Tracey R Rich
This is a far more difficult question than you might expect. Judaism has no dogma, no formal set of beliefs that one must hold to be a Jew. In Judaism, ACTIONS are far more important than beliefs, although there is certainly a place for belief within Judaism. The closest that anyone has ever come to creating a widely-accepted list of Jewish beliefs is Rambam’s thirteen principles of faith. Rambam’s thirteen principles of faith, which he thought were the minimum requirements of Jewish belief, are:
1. G-d exists
2. G-d is one and unique
3. G-d is incorporeal
4. G-d is eternal
5. Prayer is to be directed to G-d alone and to no other
6. The words of the prophets are true
7. Moses’s prophecies are true, and Moses was the greatest of the prophets
8. The Written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral Torah (teachings now contained in the Talmud and other writings) were given to Moses
9. There will be no other Torah
10. G-d knows the thoughts and deeds of men
11. G-d will reward the good and punish the wicked
12. The Messiah will come
13. The dead will be resurrected
As you can see, these are very basic and general principles. Consequently, there is substantial room for personal opinion. Judaism focuses on relationships: the relationship between G-d and mankind, between G-d and the Jewish people, between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, and between human beings; because Judaism is more concerned about actions than beliefs… and books about Judaism tend to do the same. Most books emphasize holidays, practices and observances. As with other religions, Jews probably have more in common than many of them realize.
© Copyright 5756-5761 (1995-2001), Tracey R Rich
*
I hope that the above information may be of interest to you… and that’s my reason for sharing.
With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes UNDERSTANDING.
There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”
“Let each one of us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation and peace. Let our leaders look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.”
– craig
About the submitter:
In his writings Craig strives in some small way to break down social, cultural, religious and economic barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share is way more important than what divides us. http://www.craiglockbooks.com
Craig’s new manuscripts, ‘A New Dawn’ and ‘From Seeds of Hate to the Bonds of Love’ are  set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, tubulent and uncertain world. Passionate stories of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love

Craig’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at craiglock.wordpress.com and

“Those whom you want to change… you must first love.”

– Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr

“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

These writings may be published with acknowledgment to the source web site, thanks
May the Grace of our loving Creator care for and watch over you all… always

What Do Muslims Believe about Jesus?

February 10, 2010
 

Article Title: What Do Muslims Believe about Jesus?
(from Basic Principles of Islam)
Author: Mohammed F Thompson
Submitted (with permission) by: Craig Lock
Category (key words): religion, Islam, Jesus, faith, beliefs, peace, spiritual, spiritual unity

Craig’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at craiglock.wordpress.com and

(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!)

Publishing Guidelines:
All my articles may be freely published, electronically or in print This article was directly sourced from Voice of Islam with permission (If used please acknowledge the author, Mohammed F Thompson and source, website: www.voiceofislamtv.com, thanks).

 
“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”
 
                                     *
 
WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS?
(from BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ISLAM)
 
 
Introduction:
 
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to find ‘common ground’/principles/ for his novel ‘A New Dawn’. And as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) regarding ‘eternal and universal truths.’ And as I share these basic principles regarding the Islamic faith, I learn too. Hope this piece may be of interest to you.
 
                                        *
 
The Miracle of the Holy Quran, the Spirit of Truth.
 
# Islam is a Complete Way of Life: A Muslim’s whole purpose in life is to worship Allah (God). The concept of Allah in Islam is that there is only one Allah for ALL of mankind. He is the Allah for Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the atheists and all human beings, whether they believe in Him or not.
 
# Islam rejects the idea of a chosen people
 
# Prayer is the foundation of Islam, which literally means “submission”
 
The nearest to Muslims are the Christians.
                                    *
CHRIST IN ISLAM
 
Muslims believe in Jesus. The Muslim belief in Jesus Christ (pbuh) as a prophet of Allah is a fundamental article of faith in Islam. Muslims accept Jesus as one the most distinguished apostles of Allah. A Muslim believes that the greatness of Jesus (pbuh) arises from the fact that he was chosen by Allah and honoured with His word. Then he was entrusted with the revelations of Allah and commisioned to teach His message.
 
The Qu’ran Affirms the 2nd Coming of Jesus. It has been revealed in the Qu’ran that Jesus Christ (pbuh) will be returning to this world before the day of resurrection.
 
All Muslims believe, that Jesus (pbuh):
 
* Was one of the mightiest messengers of Allah.
 
* That he was the Messiah
 
* That he was conceived miraculously
 
* That he gave life to the dead with His (Allah’s) permission
 
* That he healed those born blind and the lepers by His (Allah’s) permission
 
In fact, no Muslim is a true Muslim, if he or she does not believe in prophet Jesus, his works, his teachings and his miracles.
 
                                       *
 
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN BELIEF?
 
The oneness of Allah: In Islam the greatest sin is to associate partners with Allah. It is forbidden for a Muslim to adolize any person or thing, like movie stars, singers, saints or any created beings (living or dead). This is why a Muslim cannot accept either that Jesus (pbuh) could be the son of Allah, or the notion of trinity.
 
The rejection of trinity: “Christ Jesus, the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah.”
 
Jesus was NOT crucified. Holy Qur’an: An-Nisa (4) Ayah:157-158 157. That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.” “But they killed him not, nor crucified him; but it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely they killed him not.” 158: But Allah raised him up to Himself. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”
 
However, Jesus (pbuh) is not Allah. A Muslim is not considered a Muslim, if he does not believe in Jesus (pbuh); but we believe in him as a Prophet, not as a God or the only begotten son of Allah and so on. The acceptance of Jesus Christ by Muslims is a fundamental article of faith in Islam. Muslims accept Jesus as one of the most distinguished apostles of Allah.
 
Islam is the way of ‘Unity’. Any relationship with Allah is direct and personal, without the mediation of a priest or Imam (learned Islam scholar). Only Allah can forgive sins.
 
INFORMATION SOURCED (directly with permission) FROM A BOOKLET BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ISLAM by Mohammed F Thompson (Published by Voice of Islam. Copyright C 2005
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QUALITIES OF CHRIST IN THE QU’RAN
 
Sura 2.87 He is endowed with the Holy Spirit.
 
Surah 3:45 He is the Messiah, the Christ.
 
Surah 3.45-46 He is the Mediator.
 
Surah 3.49 He healed the sick and raised the dead.
 
Surah 4.158 He ascended to God.
 
Surah 4.171 He is a messenger of God (Allah), the Word.
 
Surah 5.49, 110, 111
 
In Surah 5.49, it says about Jesus:
 
‘Confirming that which came before him in the Torah, we sent him the Gospel.
 
He brought the gospel of guidance and light.
 
Surah 6.85 He is Righteous.
 
Surah 19.19. He is Pure and Holy.
 
When the angel announced to Mary the ‘gift of a holy son’ in Surah 19.19, it meant that he would be faultless, without sin.
 
Surah 43.61 He is coming before the hour of Judgement.
 

And in the Bible St Paul declares that it was actually Jesus who brought this gospel to the world.
 
As Paul writes in Romans 1.
 
16: ‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
 
and
 
17: For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written,
 
‘The just shall live by faith.”‘
 
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ISLAMIC WEB SITES
 
Listed below are some useful web sites (for you to browse), if you are interested to know more about Islam and Muslims
 
 
 
 
 
 
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I hope that this information may be of interest to you…and perhaps get you thinking about these “deep and serious subjects”… and that’s my reason for sharing.
 
“Religion divides; whereas truth unites.”
 
“The way we live is far more important than what we believe.”
  

“Those of us who long for moderation will continue to hope for understanding of complex issues with reasoned dialogue and a spirit of understanding between different faiths.”

 
Humanity has far more in common than our differences, what seperates us.
 
So isn’t WHAT UNITES US IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT DIVIDES US?
 
With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE and with TOLERANCE comes UNDERSTANDING.
 
Walk your OWN path to Highest Truth and be happy
 
Shared by Craig Lock
 
 

“Let each one of us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation and peace. Let our leaders look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.”

– craig
 
Former Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa Desmond Tutu once said these wise and inspiring words: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”
 
“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– Jahrulal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India
 
“It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us. Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe… because what unites us is far more important than what divides us.”
 
“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”
 
About the submitter:
 
In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one soul, one life at a time, Craig strives to break down social, cultural, religious and economic barriers through sharing information and “planting, then watering uplifting ideas and seeds of hope”. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share as ‘human beans’ is way more important than what divides us.
 
Craig’s new manuscript, ‘A New Dawn’ is set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, tubulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love.
 
The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html www.lulu.com/craiglock and www.myspace/writercraig
 
“When people’s hearts are full of love, the world is filled with hope.”
 
“With passion and purpose in our individual lives we can touch others and in so doing illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity to make a better world (through helping raise the ‘collective consciousness’). Let us encourage our leaders towards an alternate vision for the world to embrace: one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged. Each one of us in our own little ways can offer (and most importantly, LIVE) this compelling new horizon: a bright future of justness and justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values. Especially a vision of hope and thoughts of peace fuelled by the eternal flame of love, which can light the darkest night… always “
– me
 
“God, The Essence of Life, the Ground of All Being, is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”
 
These writings may be freely published with acknowledgment to the source web site, thanks
 
“Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all cause – goodwill among men and peace on earth.”
 
– Albert Einstein

 

Craig’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at craiglock.wordpress.com and

 
May the Grace of our loving Creator care for and watch over you all … always

 

 
 

Sharing Some More Information on Major Religions of the World: Muhammad and Islam (from ‘The Story of God’ by Dr Robert Winston)

February 10, 2010
Article Title: Sharing Some More Information on Major Religions of the World: Muhammad and Islam (from ‘The Story of God’ by Dr Robert Winston)
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words): religion, religions, Islam, Muhammad, Robert Winston, religious tolerance, faith, beliefs, spirituality
Web site: http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/
Other Articles by the submitter are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, words of inspiration, “spiritual, spiritual writings” (how “airey-fairey”), and money management – how boring now, Craig!)
 
Publishing Guidelines:
These writings may be published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).
(Copyright Transworld publishers)
 
“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”
                                                 *                                             
SHARING SOME INFORMATION ON SOME OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD: MUHAMMAD AND ISLAM
 
Submitter’s Note:
This article is sourced from an excellent and insightful book titled ‘THE STORY OF GOD’ by Robert Winston (Publisher Transworld Books, UK). A personal journey into the world of science and religion (from the BBC television series).
Web site: http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/
 
I have taken what I feel to be the main points, directly as they appeared in Chapter Six of Dr Winston’s great book. and as I learn myself about other faiths, I am sharing what I’ve learnt about this “intriguing” subject of different religions. Like the author of ‘THE STORY OF GOD’, my motive, my aim in sharing this article is to try to contribute in some small way to a better understanding in the West of the Islamic world.
                                     *                                                                                          
INTRODUCTION:
 
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions, as he researches and writes his latest novel ‘A New Dawn’, set in the Middle East: To attempt to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures. And as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) about different religious faiths. Hope this piece (including a few thoughts of my own) may be of interest to you too.
                                      *                                                               
 
“Slowly and gradually, out of a rich experience of the world, one builds a faith.”
 
 
WHAT IS RELIGION? It’s a common system of beliefs, ‘divine law’. Religions represent an attempt to harness innate spirituality for organisational purposes…and not always for good! Whilst spiritual contemplation is intuitive, religion is dogmatic; however dogma in the wrong hands is always a risky thing.
 
It is said that religion divides, whilst truth unites!
 
But then what is truth, as it’s so subjective?
 
It’s one of the central tenets of religion that God’s Infinite Grace is available to everyone.
 
God, the Essence of Life, is the great mystery in the vast unknown; yet He is understandable.” 
 
“God, the ‘Fountain of all Goodness’, is beyond the realm of our own understanding.”
                          
                               *
                                                                                                      
 
So after those opening thoughts…
 
WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE?
 
“Islam is a worldly religion, which cares first for the worldly affairs of humanity. The core message of the Qur’an is similar to that of Jesus:
Muhammad’s message was that people had placed personal wealth and worldly success at the centre of their world. However, the people of the day had forgotten that, Allah, God was the Creator of everything. The Qur’an does not see itself as inventing a new religion, but as reminding the Arabs of a truth to which they had become blind (the centrality of God to everything in life). Like Jesus, Muhammad (‘Peace be upon him’) in no way sought to overthrow the traditions of the past; but said that his people had forgotten the meaning of these traditions. The signs of God’s goodness and benevolence were everywhere to be seen. Islam is voluntary surrendering to the will of Allah, of recognising his supremacy and importance. (Incidentally, the word ‘Islam’ literally means “submission”).
 
(For Christians, Paul’s attempts to make Jesus into a God resulted in considerable confusion. How could God be present as an ominoptent Creator, and also be present everywhere, any time in the Holy Spirit? Did that mean in effect that there were three gods? If so, WHO was the greatest?).
 
Allah is given 99 names, all of which emphasize His superiority to the created world: ‘The Supreme, the One, Eternal and Absolute. Rich and Infinite, Giver of Life, Knower of All Things, Creator’. He is thought more as a Creator of mankind, than as a ‘Father’. However, there are sometimes contrasts, like ‘ Giver and Taker of Life’. The Muslim God knows everything. Predestined – with no random or chance event in human life.
Allah is compassionate and merciful. Humanity is the highest physical creation of Allah. Each of us has a soul and each person’s alotted time on earth is predestined. Muslims also believe that humans have free will and exercise a choice between good and evil in their daily lives. In Islam life itself is a form of test, in which all humans are given choices.
 
The God Muslims worship is simply beyond human thought and language.
 
The Jews had expected a messiah; but had seen Jesus and others fail to deliver them from the Roman occupiers (and “opressors”) of the day. Muslims also believe in resurrection: At some point in time God will resurrect all people, irrespective of how they died.
 
When someone converts to Islam, God forgives all their previous sins and evil deeds!
 
The vast universe of God’s creation contains mystical unseen beings – angels. Each person on this earth has two guardian angels, who record that person’s actions and and are there to “prick their conscience”.
 
One important Muslim teaching is that humans live only once on this earth; after death, each individual faces judgement and eventually is committed to heaven or to hell. (The Qur’an describes heaven and hell in poetic, symbolic terms, rather than suggesting they are actual places, where physical pleasure or physical torment will be experienced).
 
.                                                                            *                                                           
THE FIVE PILLARS OF FAITH (a number of signs of commitment):
 
1. Bear witness to the faith. Once a person has sincerely taken the decision to become a Muslim, his first act is to declare his belief in Allah as the sole God and Muhammad as His Prophet, in front of two witnesses. Orthodox Muslims are expected tp pray in a congregation at least once a week, at midday on Fridays, when all work ceases.
 
Like the tithe given by both Jews and Christians, alm-giving or ‘zakat’  is a key pillar of Islam and should be given anonymously.
 
4. ‘Sawm’ or fasting. Most Muslims read through the whole of the Qur’an during Ramadan, in sessions of around two hours each night.
                                                                                                                        *                                   *
 
ISLAM AND MODERNITY ( ‘jihad’ and ‘sharia’)
 
Though the religion had very war-like beginnings, the term ‘jihad’ is often misunderstood and accordingly does not reflect the nature of the Islamic idea. ‘Jihad’ is certainly not ‘holy war’ to convert non-believers, but literally means ‘struggle’: usually that of the soul attempting to overcome the obstacles, which prevent an indidual from getting closer to God. Indeed, Islam has a proud history of being tolerant towards other monotheistic faiths, and defends individual liberties. Faith is a matter of choice of the individual.
 
Islam (through the Koran/Hadith) teaches that Jesus was a prophet only and never died. Salvation is attained through works alone after reciting allegiance to Allah
 
In the Qur’an, believers are required to be patient with non-believers, as Allah requested: “Bear with patience what they say, and when they leave, give a courteous farewell.”(sura 73:10)
“Deal gently with unbelievers; give them enough time (to change their minds)” (sura 86:17).
Jihad may be declared only in defence of Allah, and not for conversion or conquest.
Fight in the way of God those who fight you, but do not begin hostilities; God does not like the agressor.” (sura 2:190)
 
‘If they seek peace, then you seek peace. And trust in God – for He is the one that hears and knows all things.’ (sura 8:61)
 
In Islam all people are equal before the eyes of the law. Islam makes no discrimination on the base of race, colour or language.
 
Muhammed was intent on changing the status of women and gave them a level of independence and a degree of equality largely unprecedented in that region of the world; so like early Christianity, Islam had a distinct appeal to women!
 
                                  *                                                          
SUMMARY
 
There are around a billion Muslims in the world. Though the religion was born out of conflict with its early history frequently turbulent and violent, Islam was founded with peaceful values and is centred on a deep respect for human life. It has also been tolerant of other viewpoints, supporting the notion of religious pluralism in a way that few other monotheistic religions have. The Qur’an firmly asserts that: “There can be no compulsion in religion“, recognising the nature of human diversity, and perhaps the diversity of Islam itself.
 
Though we might not know much about or believe in the teachings of Muhammed, we can ALL nurture the real values common to ALL humanity: those highest ideals of tolerance, mercy and respect for all of life must surely triumph. ”
 
Dr Robert Winston
 
                                         *                                                                                    *
I hope that this information from Dr Winston’s excellent book may be of interest to you… and that’s my reason for sharing.
 
“Those of us who long for (and are passionate about) the ideals of moderation and religious tolerance will continue to hope for a better understanding of complex issues between people of different cultures and faiths through reasoned and ‘informed’ dialogue in a spirit of mutual tolerance and respect.”
 
With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes MORE UNDERSTANDING.
 
“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”
 
So
Let each one of us in our own ‘little ways’ attempt to build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of openess, acceptance of our differences, helpfulness, co-operation, mutual tolerance, respect, trust, peace and especially in a spirit of love, the most powerful force in existence. Let our leaders and each ONE of us look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.
 
What divides us as fellow citizens on planet earth is not nearly as powerful as the force, the divine spirit that UNITES us: The Spirit of God, the Ultimate Source that let’s us accept and even celebrate our differences …
and let’s the Love of humanity within EACH one of us to conquer anything at all.
 
May the Grace of our loving Creator care for and watch over you all… always
 
Shared by “not so serious, airey-fairey spiritual” Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer”)
 
“People fight and die for religion but they seldom LIVE for religion.”
– Jahrulal Nehru, former Prime Minister of India”
 
“The greatest good we can do for others is reveal the rich treasure inside themselves; so shine your own bright light on an often darkened world… with the highest level of humanity …and have great fun along the journey of life.”
 
“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”
 
About the submitter:
In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
 
 
The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.webng.com/writernz/index.html
http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html  www.lulu.com/craiglock+http://www.myspace.com/writercraig
 
“Together, one mind, one life at a time, let’s see how many people we can impact, encourage, empower, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials.” 
  
These writings may be published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).
 
“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”
 
“God is a mystery, a Creative Presence, the mystery, the Ultimate Source of Life, the Fountain of all Goodness, Who/That allows me to be who I really want to be and become.”

“God, the Essence of Life, is the great mystery in the vast unknown; yet He is understandable.”