Universalism

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Spirituality is much wider than any particular religion, and in the larger ideas of it that are now coming on us even the greatest religion becomes no more than a broad sect or branch of the one universal religion, by which we shall understand in the future man's seeking for the eternal, the divine, the greater self, the source of unity and his attempt to arrive at some equation, some increasing approximation of the values of human life with the eternal and the divine values. ~ Sri Aurobindo
Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different road, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarrelling? ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, ethical, theological, and other philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability. Religious or social alliances, communities or churches which call themselves Universalist often emphasize the universal principles of most religions and accept many aspects of other religions in an eclectic and inclusive manner, believing in a universal reconciliation between humanity and the divine.

See also:
Unitarian Universalism

Quotes[edit]

  • We are, the great spiritual writers insist, most fully ourselves when we give ourselves away, and it is egotism that holds us back from that transcendent experience that has been called God, Nirvana, Brahman, or the Tao.
    What I now realize, from my study of the different religious traditions, is that a disciplined attempt to go beyond the ego brings about a state of ecstasy. Indeed, it is in itself ekstasis. Theologians in all the great faiths have devised all kinds of myths to show that this type of kenosis, or self-emptying, is found in the life of God itself. They do not do this because it sounds edifying, but because this is the way that human nature seems to work. We are most creative and sense other possibilities that transcend our ordinary experience when we leave ourselves behind.
    • Karen Armstrong, in The Spiral Staircase : My Climb Out of Darkness (2004)
  • Spirituality is much wider than any particular religion, and in the larger ideas of it that are now coming on us even the greatest religion becomes no more than a broad sect or branch of the one universal religion, by which we shall understand in the future man's seeking for the eternal, the divine, the greater self, the source of unity and his attempt to arrive at some equation, some increasing approximation of the values of human life with the eternal and the divine values.
  • Given that only the religion of pervasive kenosis can be truly universal, no single historical individual can exhaust its fullness by virtue of his redemptive acts, and no religious institution can grasp and articulate its meaning by means of dogmatic or doctrinal teachings. In the last resort, it is in the name of religious universalism that Simone Weil calls for a reversion of historical Christianity to its origins as a religion of kenosis.
    • J. Edgar Bauer, in "Simone Weil: Kenotic Thought and "Sainteté Nouvelle" in The 2002 CESNUR International Conference : Minority Religions, Social Change, and Freedom of Conscience (June 2002)
  • After long study and experience, I have come to the conclusion that [1] all religions are true; [2] all religions have some error in them; [3] all religions are almost as dear to me as my own Hinduism, in as much as all human beings should be as dear to one as one's own close relatives. My own veneration for other faiths is the same as that for my own faith; therefore no thought of conversion is possible.
    • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, in All Men Are Brothers: Life and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi as told in his own words (1958) edited by UNESCO, p 60.)
  • Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different road, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarreling?
    • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, speaking of the conflict between Muslims and Hindus, in Hind Swaraj, Or Indian Home Rule (1946), p. 36
  • Every truth—if it really is truth—presents itself as universal, even if it is not the whole truth. If something is true, then it must be true for all people and at all times.
  • To believe it possible to know a universally valid truth is in no way to encourage intolerance; on the contrary, it is the essential condition for sincere and authentic dialogue between persons. On this basis alone is it possible to overcome divisions and to journey together towards full truth
  • Those of us who are Gnostics believe that all people are ultimately saved and that God always loves us, no matter what we do. These beliefs are true, but they can very easily be simplified and misunderstood. God is never angry with us in the way in which a vengeful human would reject us, but God’s love for us has a dark side and one which we should rightfully fear. God loves us not in a sentimental way which aims at our ease and pleasure but, rather in a way which aims at our highest good and with an intensity which no one, even the highest angels, can understand.
  • There are two alternatives, and only two, before us. First, which is unlikely, is that we unscramble our modern interdependent culture, returning to separate and isolationist lives … Such a world would not demand greatness. The other alternative is to so expand our spiritual powers that we vastly increase the range of our understanding and sympathy. There is no middle way. It is greatness — universalism — or perish.
    • Clarence Skinner, in The Universalist Leader, Vol. 125, Issue 24 (1943), p. 748

External links[edit]

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