WEBVTT 00:00:00.000 --> 00:00:04.000 This book really starts with my childhood, 00:00:04.000 --> 00:00:09.000 I was raised catholic. 00:00:09.000 --> 00:00:14.000 And those things that you hold as good, 00:00:14.000 --> 00:00:17.000 inside of you that sort of are center 00:00:17.000 --> 00:00:20.000 for your own barometer, for how to evaluate 00:00:20.000 --> 00:00:24.000 the world around you. The older we get, the more challenged they get. 00:00:24.000 --> 00:00:28.000 And given that we have this global community with 7 billion people in it, 00:00:28.000 --> 00:00:32.000 the challenges come left and right. 00:00:32.000 --> 00:00:39.000 So my interest in it led me to the seminary, 00:00:39.000 --> 00:00:41.000 I was in the catholic seminary for a while. 00:00:41.000 --> 00:00:47.000 But I never lost that center of this being 00:00:47.000 --> 00:00:51.000 important to me. And I believe that it's important to everybody but 00:00:52.000 --> 00:00:56.000 it just takes a different shape, mine came out of a catholic background. 00:00:56.000 --> 00:00:61.000 And this was because there was such tension going on around religion, 00:01:01.000 --> 00:01:06.000 my own path had brought me to a very pluarist sort of understanding 00:01:06.000 --> 00:01:09.000 of the nature of religion. 00:01:09.000 --> 00:01:17.000 And so this book came out of an intent to put some thoughts down 00:01:17.000 --> 00:01:25.000 about my own process of thinking in this and it matches many other people's thoughts but at that point it was just my voice added to 00:01:25.000 --> 00:01:31.000 a "lets go beyond tolerance to an actual acceptance of that diversity" 00:01:34.000 --> 00:01:39.000 So, with respect to the academic environment, these are some folks that 00:01:39.000 --> 00:01:46.000 it comes out of this little march toward and academic approach to religion. 00:01:48.000 --> 00:01:54.000 We'll start here with Durkhiem, studied aboriginal religious behavior 00:01:54.000 --> 00:01:59.000 and viewed religion as an expression in social cohesion in human societies. 00:02:00.000 --> 00:02:10.000 By the time we get to Eliade, he argued that religious experience is human awareness of the manifestation of God, 00:02:10.000 --> 00:02:14.000 Which is experienced within conceptions of the sacred. 00:02:14.000 --> 00:02:21.000 We move a little further to Smith, that's not Smigh, that's th not gh. 00:02:21.000 --> 00:02:29.000 Explains that religion is integral to human culture and is expressed in an ongoing evolution of cumulative traditions. 00:02:29.000 --> 00:02:37.000 The keyword there being cumulative, because at this point this is in a sense, one body of work. 00:02:37.000 --> 00:02:42.000 It's just expressed very differently in a different cultural context. 00:02:42.000 --> 00:02:47.000 And then we get to Karen Armstrong who was a catholic nun. 00:02:47.000 --> 00:02:52.000 And is very prolific writer. 00:02:52.000 --> 00:02:61.000 But she focuses on the common underlying reality, unity and wisdom of the world's faith traditions. 00:03:01.000 --> 00:03:04.000 And she expresses it in a very personal way. 00:03:04.000 --> 00:03:09.000 Then we move along to Diana Eek who embraces religious pluralism, 00:03:09.000 --> 00:03:16.000 as a believer and promotes interfaith dialog through the Pluralism Project at Harvard. 00:03:16.000 --> 00:03:26.000 So it's an awful lot of folks now that are trying to get honest about their own sense of what is the good, 00:03:26.000 --> 00:03:30.000 what is reality, what are my most intimate experiences with that, 00:03:30.000 --> 00:03:40.000 and how can we free people up to talk to one another so that we're certainly not fighting wars over it. 00:03:40.000 --> 00:03:44.000 So, where do we start? 00:03:44.000 --> 00:03:53.000 Well the first place to start in my mind was 00:03:53.000 --> 00:03:59.000 the controversy that came out of Darwin, 00:03:59.000 --> 00:03:64.000 And that created this huge rift throughout certainly the christian community. 00:04:04.000 --> 00:04:10.000 And who found it pretty untenable to think that they came from apes. 00:04:10.000 --> 00:04:18.000 So I thought I'd start there and if we look at 00:04:18.000 --> 00:04:23.000 humanoids, we're looking back at about 14 million years ago. 00:04:23.000 --> 00:04:34.000 And we about 5 millions years evolved from the chimps in terms of where the line splits. 00:04:36.000 --> 00:04:47.000 And if you look over the last 3 millions years or so and some of the evidence we've collected of some of the different 00:04:47.000 --> 00:04:58.000 predecessors to modern humans. The questions comes in, where does religion come in? 00:04:58.000 --> 00:04:67.000 Now we certainty have evidence of religion but you have to wait until actually you find some implements, 00:05:07.000 --> 00:05:13.000 The Neanderthals, we've got some evidence there that they buried the dead 00:05:13.000 --> 00:05:20.000 specifically and that they had some rituals so there are some indicators that there was religion there. 00:05:20.000 --> 00:05:25.000 But how far back does it go, it's really difficult to know when does this kind of concern, 00:05:25.000 --> 00:05:28.000 begin to evolve? 00:05:28.000 --> 00:05:34.000 And to what degree does it have to do with social continuity for group continuity. 00:05:36.000 --> 00:05:42.000 So from there, in order to sort of clarify what we know about things, 00:05:42.000 --> 00:05:47.000 I like Vygotsky because he was a social psychologist 00:05:48.000 --> 00:05:52.000 and was really concerned primarily with the development of language. 00:05:52.000 --> 00:05:56.000 Where did this come from, how did this evolve? 00:05:56.000 --> 00:05:68.000 And he studied chimps and humans. The interaction of mother and child. 00:06:08.000 --> 00:06:19.000 And what this brought him to was a polarized view from the one that 00:06:19.000 --> 00:06:24.000 he was sort of rebelling against Piaget's view that language came out of tool development. 00:06:24.000 --> 00:06:32.000 There was fundamentally the processes that were associated with 00:06:32.000 --> 00:06:39.000 our brains being able to help us develop better and better tools that allowed the species to evolve in that direction 00:06:40.000 --> 00:06:44.000 because they survived better because they could do tools and language comes out of this side of the brain. 00:06:44.000 --> 00:06:50.000 And Vygotsky differed with him, he said well yeah there certainly is a relationship there, 00:06:50.000 --> 00:06:59.000 but fundamentally language development is about a social connection. 00:06:59.000 --> 00:06:63.000 So I like these two quotes. 00:07:04.000 --> 00:07:11.000 The first one in particular, "If at the beginning of development there stands the act, independent of the word," 00:07:20.000 --> 00:07:27.000 So both humans and chimps their actions are set 00:07:27.000 --> 00:07:40.000 in the context of an environment and most of our processes are intuitive. 00:07:40.000 --> 00:07:47.000 It's more that they're instinctive, they happen. You don't think about them, they happen. 00:07:48.000 --> 00:07:52.000 What happens with the word, 00:07:52.000 --> 00:07:63.000 is that there's a little interruption, you're stepping aside from that and you have a separate view of it. 00:08:04.000 --> 00:08:16.000 So there is a conceptual process that allows you to stand aside from the things itself so you have a separate consciousness. 00:08:16.000 --> 00:08:20.000 Well I'll go there later. So the second quote, 00:08:30.000 --> 00:08:36.000 So, in order to get a handle on this, 00:08:36.000 --> 00:08:41.000 basically he said that 00:08:41.000 --> 00:08:45.000 language doesn't evolve primarily or only from practical operations or the use of tools, 00:08:45.000 --> 00:08:50.000 But the beginning of language in the individual is social. 00:08:50.000 --> 00:08:54.000 The infant uses the mother to problem solve. 00:08:54.000 --> 00:08:60.000 And triangulation over problem solving requires the unity of two selves. 00:09:00.000 --> 00:09:04.000 So each of us has two selves. 00:09:04.000 --> 00:09:09.000 We have the one that is the separate self. 00:09:09.000 --> 00:09:12.000 And the other that is us. 00:09:12.000 --> 00:09:16.000 And we see ourselves in each other. 00:09:16.000 --> 00:09:20.000 If we couldn't do that, we would have no audience to talk to. 00:09:20.000 --> 00:09:22.000 You could not triangulate. 00:09:22.000 --> 00:09:32.000 You can teach chimps 3 or 400 words via sign language. And they can communicate with human beings, they can't communicate with each other using it at all. 00:09:32.000 --> 00:09:39.000 Because somebody has to see the other as themselves. 00:09:39.000 --> 00:09:44.000 And human beings can see animals too, they can identify themselves in the animal to a certain degree. 00:09:44.000 --> 00:09:49.000 Not necessarily the full length that you're going to get from human being because they can't look back. 00:09:49.000 --> 00:09:54.000 They don't see you back, they respond to you back. 00:09:54.000 --> 00:09:61.000 So human awareness of the other is the Matrix, out of which language and religion develops. 00:10:01.000 --> 00:10:07.000 It provides a transcended freedom of choice and action 00:10:07.000 --> 00:10:11.000 With respect to each other that is unavailable to the primate. 00:10:16.000 --> 00:10:22.000 murmuring. 00:10:22.000 --> 00:10:29.000 So now we move into religion, because now you have the fundamental point at which religions comes from which is 00:10:29.000 --> 00:10:40.000 you have a separate self, and you have unified self. Which makes the separate self alone. 00:10:40.000 --> 00:10:46.000 Because your unified self needs fulfillment. 00:10:46.000 --> 00:10:53.000 And it's empty without the experience of the other. 00:10:53.000 --> 00:10:59.000 So here we have an opening line in Genesis. What I did with this book throughout 00:10:59.000 --> 00:10:62.000 is, I went to scripture. 00:11:02.000 --> 00:11:10.000 To see if my own gut that there's one reality and if I'm experiencing these things, I don't care if you're a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Muslim 00:11:10.000 --> 00:11:17.000 you're going to have this interaction with other folks, and you're going to have some sense of what the sacred is, some sense of 00:11:17.000 --> 00:11:28.000 what reality is that is fundamental to being human and having and experiencing this aloneness and togetherness. 00:11:28.000 --> 00:11:36.000 So I go to the scriptures and as you go to the scriptures, I mean my interpretation of them is that I can find them it's 00:11:36.000 --> 00:11:41.000 cherry picking, but it's cherry picking to see, you know, I have things I want to answer, do they answer these things everywhere? 00:11:41.000 --> 00:11:45.000 And well they do. They're talking about the same situations, the same human being. 00:11:45.000 --> 00:11:51.000 So they, as it turns out, they're basically talking about the same reality. 00:11:52.000 --> 00:11:55.000 That's the center of the book, that's where it came from 00:11:55.000 --> 00:11:63.000 is that I wanted to show and I started going to scripture. I also spent 10 or 15 years, every Friday night, 00:12:03.000 --> 00:12:09.000 having dinner discussions over religion with Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims and Christians 00:12:09.000 --> 00:12:21.000 and Jews and so we shared scripture. And so I'm here to scripture, I'm going to Christian scripture to begin with because that's really where 00:12:21.000 --> 00:12:27.000 most folks in my neighborhood are familiar. 00:12:27.000 --> 00:12:32.000 So this is Genesis 1: 14, 15. 00:12:32.000 --> 00:12:37.000 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmaments of the heaven to divide the day from the night. 00:12:37.000 --> 00:12:43.000 And let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for year. 00:12:44.000 --> 00:12:51.000 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and it was so. 00:12:51.000 --> 00:12:54.000 So here's my translations, here's my take on that, 00:12:54.000 --> 00:12:58.000 Let there be means for discerning spiritual and temporal reality 00:12:58.000 --> 00:12:62.000 for the progress and developments of humankind with respect to 00:13:02.000 --> 00:13:04.000 the heaven of the will of God, 00:13:04.000 --> 00:13:08.000 and the will of humankind on the earth. 00:13:08.000 --> 00:13:13.000 At that point, there's some ambiguity here I'm sure and you might wonder what I mean by God. 00:13:13.000 --> 00:13:19.000 So we'll talk a little bit more as we move along. 00:13:20.000 --> 00:13:25.000 And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. 00:13:25.000 --> 00:13:28.000 He made the stars also. 00:13:28.000 --> 00:13:32.000 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven 00:13:32.000 --> 00:13:36.000 to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, 00:13:36.000 --> 00:13:45.000 and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. 00:13:45.000 --> 00:13:50.000 And my take on that, God made the light of the Spirit of God, 00:13:50.000 --> 00:13:53.000 the reference up there is the sun, 00:13:53.000 --> 00:13:58.000 to rule the spirit of humankind and the light of the soul of humankind, 00:13:58.000 --> 00:13:64.000 to rule the actions of humankind, he provided teachers in both realms, the stars. 00:14:04.000 --> 00:14:14.000 So my take on scripture is that it's poetry, it's poetry of the human spirit. 00:14:14.000 --> 00:14:22.000 It's also poetry of the rational mind, but throughout 00:14:22.000 --> 00:14:29.000 the scriptures, you find references to aspects of human consciousness. 00:14:29.000 --> 00:14:34.000 One that is transcendent, which an example of that is the relationship between the mother and child. 00:14:34.000 --> 00:14:39.000 It is the side of us that can experience unity. 00:14:39.000 --> 00:14:43.000 You can't hold that in thought. 00:14:43.000 --> 00:14:47.000 It has a reflection in thought but you can't hold it in thought. 00:14:47.000 --> 00:14:53.000 You can experience yourself in the other but you can't hold the other in thought. 00:14:53.000 --> 00:14:58.000 You can even experience the other without them being present. 00:14:58.000 --> 00:14:67.000 The reference there is to the spirit, the human spirit has the capacity to transcend. 00:15:07.000 --> 00:15:11.000 The human soul is thought, emotion, memory. 00:15:11.000 --> 00:15:20.000 It's the construct and the images that we can accumulate. But they are impressions and 00:15:20.000 --> 00:15:34.000 they are our separate understanding of reality, rather than a unified one. In the context of the scriptures, 00:15:34.000 --> 00:15:45.000 people report throughout human history in all sorts of ways and in their art and in their writing. 00:15:45.000 --> 00:15:53.000 That they have experiences of God. Now it's all of the scriptures make it pretty clear that 00:15:53.000 --> 00:15:58.000 that the author of reality is totally and completely unknowable. 00:15:58.000 --> 00:15:61.000 Absolutely unreachable and unknowable. 00:16:01.000 --> 00:16:09.000 At the same time they all say that our whole purpose is to know that unknowable. 00:16:09.000 --> 00:16:13.000 Which is the paradox that sits on all of us 00:16:13.000 --> 00:16:19.000 because it's certain I understand the difference between when I'm unified with a human being, when I notice that, 00:16:20.000 --> 00:16:24.000 and that experience and when I am separate. 00:16:24.000 --> 00:16:28.000 So I notice this void when it's gone, 00:16:28.000 --> 00:16:33.000 and every now and then, you know I've been doing prayer mediation since I was young, 00:16:33.000 --> 00:16:39.000 I do it everyday, and so it's part of my life's experiences. 00:16:40.000 --> 00:16:44.000 And so I put a lot of effort into prayer meditation. 00:16:44.000 --> 00:16:49.000 And there are times when I have experiences that are 00:16:49.000 --> 00:16:55.000 they can not fit in thought and it's very clear that it can't fit in thought, they can't even fit close to my consciousness. 00:16:55.000 --> 00:16:59.000 In terms of consciousness I normally have. 00:16:59.000 --> 00:16:66.000 There's lot of folks that report these experiences and it's 00:17:06.000 --> 00:17:12.000 my belief that this is because that's who we are, we have this capacity, even if for the most part, 00:17:12.000 --> 00:17:16.000 we don't experience it. And I can go from intense meditation 00:17:16.000 --> 00:17:21.000 and connection to, you know, somebody outside honks and I say "who's that jerk?" 00:17:21.000 --> 00:17:32.000 So you lose it very quickly and it's like I can approach, I can make the effort to move toward it, I can not do it. 00:17:32.000 --> 00:17:37.000 I can't think myself there. I can not emote myself there. 00:17:37.000 --> 00:17:41.000 I make efforts and it happens. 00:17:41.000 --> 00:17:46.000 So which is this really interesting thing because sometimes it happens and I wasn't even trying. 00:17:46.000 --> 00:17:55.000 But I think this is available to all of us, but I think this is process of learning that is fundamentally what we're about here. 00:17:55.000 --> 00:17:58.000 But it's not the only way to learn, 00:17:58.000 --> 00:17:65.000 and the variety of experiences that human beings have 00:18:05.000 --> 00:18:08.000 are infinite. 00:18:08.000 --> 00:18:12.000 Each individual's experiences are infinitely unique. 00:18:12.000 --> 00:18:19.000 The majority of embryos 00:18:19.000 --> 00:18:23.000 by some estimates, in some studies, 80 percent of them 00:18:23.000 --> 00:18:28.000 are cast aside, they never make it, they never even implant. But they're fertilized 00:18:28.000 --> 00:18:32.000 that's a human being on the trajectory but it doesn't make it. 00:18:32.000 --> 00:18:36.000 At least here. 00:18:36.000 --> 00:18:46.000 But what is the destiny of humanity and at what point in its evolution is there a connection? 00:18:46.000 --> 00:18:55.000 In the discussion that so many of the scriptures have about being 00:18:56.000 --> 00:18:62.000 One of the things that comes up again and again is the term that Christ used, 00:19:02.000 --> 00:19:04.000 The term the Alpha and the Omega. 00:19:04.000 --> 00:19:11.000 To describe the nature of his own identity. 00:19:11.000 --> 00:19:19.000 Because he was basically casting himself as the manifestation of God. As a reference point, 00:19:20.000 --> 00:19:24.000 that's who his identity is, not his body, not his physicalness, 00:19:24.000 --> 00:19:28.000 not anything he did, that's not God. 00:19:28.000 --> 00:19:39.000 but the reference is if you try to pay attention to the 12 type written pages or so that he's quoted in the New Testament, 00:19:40.000 --> 00:19:45.000 You often make these connections that bring you somewhere that is transcendent. 00:19:45.000 --> 00:19:50.000 So that is before and after. 00:19:50.000 --> 00:19:52.000 That's the Alpha and the Omega. 00:19:52.000 --> 00:19:56.000 Time has little consequence there. 00:19:56.000 --> 00:19:63.000 Which Einstein would remind us of later with a very different way of looking at it but it's the same principal. 00:20:06.000 --> 00:20:12.000 So basically their religions are reflections and expressions of meaning, understanding and guidance. 00:20:12.000 --> 00:20:16.000 In the realms of both the spiritual and the temporal of human personal 00:20:16.000 --> 00:20:24.000 and social evolution and are unified within the oneness of reality, speaking for itself to the human spirit. 00:20:24.000 --> 00:20:30.000 So, the spiritual and the temporal are just our, we may have spiritual experiences, 00:20:30.000 --> 00:20:33.000 but they work their way into our conceptual framework. 00:20:33.000 --> 00:20:36.000 They help us to form it, to grow it. 00:20:36.000 --> 00:20:40.000 Told mold it and shape it, and that helps shape our actions. 00:20:40.000 --> 00:20:44.000 So, we're less likely to say "that jerk" 00:20:44.000 --> 00:20:48.000 but its an effort, any way you go about it. 00:20:48.000 --> 00:20:53.000 So from here, I'm going to move into some scriptures and I'm going to talk about 00:20:53.000 --> 00:20:57.000 one of two themes and I'll use the scriptures to do this. 00:20:57.000 --> 00:20:60.000 So we're going to talk about the unity of religion. 00:21:00.000 --> 00:21:04.000 And I'll pull from these scriptures. 00:21:08.000 --> 00:21:12.000 So Hinduism, "Like the bee gathering honey from different flowers, " 00:21:24.000 --> 00:21:35.000 Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai said, "Just as the sin-offering atones for Israel, so righteousness atones for the people of the world." 00:21:36.000 --> 00:21:40.000 These are not exclusive statements, these are totally inclusive statements. 00:21:40.000 --> 00:21:48.000 The Buddah says, "To be attached to a certain view and to look down upon other's views as inferior, this the wise men call a fetter" 00:21:52.000 --> 00:21:57.000 And Peter opened his mouth and said, "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality" 00:22:04.000 --> 00:22:07.000 Islam. 00:22:20.000 --> 00:22:24.000 This is from the Baha'i faith, "there can be no doubt," 00:22:36.000 --> 00:22:42.000 And the thing is reference points are over and over and over again throughout scripture. 00:22:42.000 --> 00:22:47.000 There's confusion that happens, 00:22:47.000 --> 00:22:51.000 but I'm going to go into that with the next time, which is the station of the messenger. 00:22:52.000 --> 00:22:56.000 We've got "okay they're all saying everything's okay, then what's all the fighting about?" 00:23:08.000 --> 00:23:17.000 So when you're talking about the nature of the messenger, there are some clues and the best way to go there, 00:23:17.000 --> 00:23:24.000 to get some clues about that, is to look at the scriptures where they're talking about the nature of the messenger. 00:23:24.000 --> 00:23:28.000 So this is Christianity, this is from John's gospel, 00:23:58.000 --> 00:23:65.000 So I mean that certainly looks pretty exclusive, so "the only of the father" 00:24:05.000 --> 00:24:14.000 So but let's move on, well no let me go further. 00:24:14.000 --> 00:24:18.000 So we have a very similar statement, here's Buddhism, 00:24:20.000 --> 00:24:24.000 So that was referring to Christ, this is referring to Buddha, 00:24:43.000 --> 00:24:48.000 Hinduism. "Fools misjudge me when I take a human form" 00:25:04.000 --> 00:25:08.000 And this one is from the Baha'i faith. 00:25:08.000 --> 00:25:15.000 It's much elongated but at this point it reiterates the same statement about the nature of the messenger. 00:25:15.000 --> 00:25:20.000 These are modern scriptures, 00:25:20.000 --> 00:25:27.000 These are 19th century scriptures, the Baha'i faith is about 170 years old. 00:25:44.000 --> 00:25:48.000 "in the kingdoms of earth and heaven." 00:26:00.000 --> 00:26:03.000 So we're back around to let there be light. 00:26:03.000 --> 00:26:09.000 There's the sun, there's the moon, there's the spirit, there's the soul. Well we've got spirit and soul here. 00:27:00.000 --> 00:27:11.000 So now this gets very hard to grasp intellectually. And that's why they come up with things like the trinity. 00:27:11.000 --> 00:27:17.000 To try to explain this. But it's throughout all of the scriptures. 00:27:17.000 --> 00:27:24.000 And it gets confusing because what it's saying here is that 00:27:24.000 --> 00:27:32.000 there's this statement that Christ makes for example, when he's talking about 00:27:32.000 --> 00:27:36.000 that if you know him, you know the father. So he's making this identity statement. 00:27:36.000 --> 00:27:42.000 That he is the very presence of God, the voice of God. He is this transcendent being. 00:27:44.000 --> 00:27:48.000 At the same time he turns around and said "And I will make you all sons of God" 00:27:48.000 --> 00:27:52.000 But then he says he's the only son of God. 00:27:52.000 --> 00:27:55.000 There's only one of those. But he's going to make you all sons of God. 00:27:55.000 --> 00:27:61.000 That's because at the transcendent point that anyone hears the voice of God, it is God. 00:28:01.000 --> 00:28:08.000 At that point, there is no differentiation, you can't have a separate self there. 00:28:08.000 --> 00:28:14.000 So there isn't a distinction, there is a presence. And a unity. 00:28:14.000 --> 00:28:19.000 And the realization that that entity sustains your entity. 00:28:20.000 --> 00:28:24.000 And is your entity because you can't be separate. 00:28:24.000 --> 00:28:29.000 So there is an identity statement that is made in being. 00:28:29.000 --> 00:28:37.000 So this is the transcendent point but these particular focal points like Buddha's or Ashok Krishna 00:28:37.000 --> 00:28:45.000 They are human beings and they're walking around on the earth like anyone else, subject to death, subject to hunger. 00:28:45.000 --> 00:28:51.000 But they walk in the presence of the reality that sustains them. 00:28:52.000 --> 00:28:56.000 They speak only from that position. 00:28:56.000 --> 00:28:61.000 So in speaking from that, or let me say 00:29:01.000 --> 00:29:06.000 They are enriched to a point in their speaking that they are addressing 00:29:06.000 --> 00:29:09.000 the whole of humanity before a particular period of time. 00:29:09.000 --> 00:29:13.000 They are messengers, they are intended to be here. 00:29:13.000 --> 00:29:15.000 And they are intended for guidance. 00:29:15.000 --> 00:29:24.000 This is the sun and the moon in human evolution in terms of it's spiritual maturation. 00:29:24.000 --> 00:29:29.000 And they periodically show up. 00:29:29.000 --> 00:29:38.000 But the reason they show up is because it's like Jesus was talking about, "What do are you here for, we have Moses, we don't need you" 00:29:38.000 --> 00:29:43.000 One he said, "if you knew Moses, you know me." So that's an identity statement and then the other thing that he said was 00:29:47.000 --> 00:29:53.000 At that point, what he's talking about is, you're sitting in a new age here. 00:29:53.000 --> 00:29:59.000 and this new age, you can't try and it into these 00:30:00.000 --> 00:30:06.000 old conceptual framework, it wont work. It splits the framework, you can't do it. 00:30:06.000 --> 00:30:12.000 The messengers come and address the age of the living and they age from there on. 00:30:12.000 --> 00:30:22.000 There to the next messenger for the period of time that this particular dispensation of light, 00:30:22.000 --> 00:30:27.000 is going to be effective and integrated into the physical realms. 00:30:27.000 --> 00:30:38.000 So because the physical cultural realms are expressed, the moon of understanding changes. 00:30:38.000 --> 00:30:43.000 The face of the moon changes rather readily. 00:30:44.000 --> 00:30:52.000 We're very different from when we were ten and our thinking about the nature of God 00:30:52.000 --> 00:30:58.000 than you are when you're in your teens. Or when you're in your 50s. You change. 00:30:58.000 --> 00:30:60.000 Your conceptual framework changes. 00:31:00.000 --> 00:31:06.000 But so does your integration of that experience change, and what you do about it changes. 00:31:06.000 --> 00:31:12.000 So this is the messenger and we get messengers that come periodically. 00:31:12.000 --> 00:31:16.000 The second station, 00:31:16.000 --> 00:31:20.000 of the messnger, is the human station, exemplified by the following verses: 00:31:27.000 --> 00:31:33.000 These Essences of Detachment, these resplendent Realities are the channels of God's all pervasive grace. 00:31:33.000 --> 00:31:36.000 Led by the light of the unfailing guidance and invested 00:31:36.000 --> 00:31:42.000 with supreme sovereignty, they are commissioned to use the inspiration of Their words, 00:31:42.000 --> 00:31:46.000 the effusions of Their infallible grace and the sanctifying breeze of Their Revelation 00:31:46.000 --> 00:31:54.000 for the cleansing of every longing heart and receptive spirit from the dross and dust of earthly cares and limitations. 00:31:56.000 --> 00:31:62.000 So now I'm going to move from from there to some teachings of the Baha'i faith. 00:32:02.000 --> 00:32:09.000 And these teachings have to do with, so you had a messenger that came 00:32:09.000 --> 00:32:15.000 about 170 years ago, and basically a reiteration of the same fundamental principals of the nature of 00:32:15.000 --> 00:32:28.000 reality. But at that point it articulates some teachings, specific teachings to the current age. 00:32:28.000 --> 00:32:35.000 The thing that has become clearer and clearer to me is that 00:32:36.000 --> 00:32:41.000 I rendered the faith, the Baha'i faith when I was in my mid twenties. 00:32:41.000 --> 00:32:46.000 But initially my reaction to it was, they told me about these teachings. 00:32:46.000 --> 00:32:51.000 Went though the tenants, and I thought, I figured that out a long time ago. 00:32:52.000 --> 00:32:56.000 Most people reading scripture 00:32:56.000 --> 00:32:58.000 any scripture and trying to look at the age that they're in, 00:32:58.000 --> 00:32:64.000 if they're getting the spiritual message out of the scriptures they're reading, I'm going to come up with those tenants. 00:33:04.000 --> 00:33:11.000 That's a no brainer. But I didn't really want to have anything to do with this new messenger concept. 00:33:12.000 --> 00:33:16.000 It was okay to look back aways and say "I can accept Buddha." 00:33:16.000 --> 00:33:21.000 But a new one? Come on. So I wasn't really interested at first. 00:33:21.000 --> 00:33:24.000 And my friend who introduced me to the faith 00:33:24.000 --> 00:33:28.000 he was just passing through, he said 00:33:33.000 --> 00:33:36.000 And that's all it took. 00:33:36.000 --> 00:33:40.000 I read them so. So this is, 00:33:40.000 --> 00:33:44.000 A statement from one of the figures of the faith, 00:33:44.000 --> 00:33:52.000 clarifying the nature of this religious faith or dispensation. 00:33:52.000 --> 00:33:57.000 The Baha'i message is a call to religious unity and not an invitation to a new religion, 00:33:57.000 --> 00:33:60.000 not a new path to immorality. 00:34:00.000 --> 00:34:03.000 It is the ancient path cleared of the debris of imaginations 00:34:03.000 --> 00:34:07.000 and superstitions of men, of the debris of strife and misunderstanding 00:34:07.000 --> 00:34:12.000 and is again made a clear path to the sincere seeker, that he may enter therein in assurance, 00:34:12.000 --> 00:34:17.000 and find that the world of God is one work, though the speakers were many. 00:34:20.000 --> 00:34:26.000 So here are the basic tenants. There's one God, one religion, one people, one flock, one Shepard, there always has been. 00:34:26.000 --> 00:34:30.000 Their underlying unity is just beginning to be realized globally, 00:34:30.000 --> 00:34:36.000 because of the ascendancy of science and technology and convergence of the world's peoples into one community, 00:34:36.000 --> 00:34:42.000 Religion has always been, its primary function was to unite people, was to put them together. 00:34:42.000 --> 00:34:44.000 Was to help unify them. 00:34:44.000 --> 00:34:53.000 And this was the studies earlier about well you know, even in primitive societies, it was a form of social cohesion. 00:34:53.000 --> 00:34:57.000 And it always meant to group larger and larger groups. 00:34:57.000 --> 00:34:63.000 And the messengers that came, as they had bodies of groups of folks who stayed 00:35:03.000 --> 00:35:10.000 in one location, they evolved one religious understanding and ideology, 00:35:10.000 --> 00:35:19.000 even though that at times like Roman times, there were many Gods, and they were all accepted and that is because 00:35:20.000 --> 00:35:30.000 they were all legitimate. They were just that city state's understanding of the conceptual framework for the experience. 00:35:30.000 --> 00:35:35.000 Each individual is is responsible for the development of his or her own relationship with God. 00:35:36.000 --> 00:35:40.000 It is the time for the individual to independently investigate the truth. 00:35:40.000 --> 00:35:44.000 Religious and civil law are to reflect this essential human capacity and responsibility. 00:35:44.000 --> 00:35:56.000 So this is the time when there's an unfolding capacity both spiritually and culturally, socially. 00:35:56.000 --> 00:35:60.000 For human beings, technologically for human beings. 00:36:00.000 --> 00:36:04.000 So there is a corresponding spiritual enlightenment that is moving along so that 00:36:04.000 --> 00:36:11.000 people can see what Buddha saw, can see what Jesus saw, can see what the saints saw. 00:36:12.000 --> 00:36:19.000 Rather than just the teachings, there is more and more, people are themselves perceiving the spiritual reality. 00:36:20.000 --> 00:36:25.000 for themselves and being able to interpret scripture for themselves. And understand what it means 00:36:25.000 --> 00:36:31.000 Both spiritually a connection with God and also, and these have always been available in religions but 00:36:31.000 --> 00:36:33.000 typically, you had a few. 00:36:33.000 --> 00:36:38.000 that would get things, and everybody else sort of, they were the teachers and you did what you were told. 00:36:38.000 --> 00:36:46.000 They were the accepted wise ones, and there was an orthodoxy which formulated that everyone had to fit into. 00:36:46.000 --> 00:36:55.000 Anything extraneous or outside of that was unacceptable. But at any rate, this is 00:36:55.000 --> 00:36:61.000 we've come to a period of time where education can proliferate everybody really can move here for themselves, 00:37:01.000 --> 00:37:04.000 it's not up to me to tell somebody else what it means. 00:37:04.000 --> 00:37:12.000 It's not very helpful at all. It is most helpful for the individual to have their own search, their own struggle with it , their own fight with it, 00:37:12.000 --> 00:37:17.000 because we all fight with it, we don't just get it, we fight with it. 00:37:17.000 --> 00:37:24.000 All differences, gender, class, racial, religious, cultural, are to be respected and embraced. 00:37:24.000 --> 00:37:28.000 All to participate equitably in global community. 00:37:28.000 --> 00:37:31.000 This is just, we are now global. 00:37:31.000 --> 00:37:36.000 So this is the next level of unity is global unity. 00:37:36.000 --> 00:37:42.000 Special emphasis is given in the teachings of the faith addressing social parity of men and women. 00:37:42.000 --> 00:37:45.000 There are separate evolutions here, 00:37:45.000 --> 00:37:48.000 They're linked. 00:37:48.000 --> 00:37:52.000 They're integral to each other, but they are separate evolutions. 00:37:52.000 --> 00:37:56.000 Both physically and socially. They are different evolutions. 00:37:56.000 --> 00:37:65.000 So because social responsibilities were different because of the physical difference and their capacity, one can give birth and one can't. 00:38:05.000 --> 00:38:10.000 And all sorts of things are associated with that. 00:38:10.000 --> 00:38:19.000 But in that context, the constructs of the social order have been imbalanced in terms of the social structures. 00:38:19.000 --> 00:38:23.000 Who controlled the social structures, it was primarily men. 00:38:23.000 --> 00:38:29.000 It was a male proclivity, the internal ones to a family may have had great deal of influence for a moment 00:38:29.000 --> 00:38:38.000 but not the structures of society, that is in this age changing very rapidly. 00:38:38.000 --> 00:38:51.000 And from the teachings of the baha'i faith, they are seen as critical for the evolution of the capacity, this latent and global culture. 00:38:52.000 --> 00:38:56.000 And for it's peaceful development particularly. 00:38:56.000 --> 00:38:60.000 The development of human capacity is to be assisted through the global implementation of education for everyone. 00:39:00.000 --> 00:39:07.000 And this is just kind of a no brainer. If we want to be able to govern ourselves now, it's clear that we're going to have to make sure that 00:39:07.000 --> 00:39:12.000 we all have access to education. 00:39:12.000 --> 00:39:14.000 Education must address the mind and the heart, 00:39:14.000 --> 00:39:22.000 Science and faith reach harmony and productivity through dialog. Faith provides reason with meaning and purpose. 00:39:22.000 --> 00:39:25.000 Science guards faith from superstition. 00:39:25.000 --> 00:39:29.000 The dialog is essential, it must continue. 00:39:29.000 --> 00:39:35.000 The one I remember my first exposure to 00:39:36.000 --> 00:39:43.000 to Camus and Satre, and it's like the existential dive off the cliff. 00:39:43.000 --> 00:39:57.000 It's like "oh yeah wow, okay there is nothing," there is a coldness that is so penetrating and so pervasive and so eternal in nature that it is 00:39:57.000 --> 00:39:62.000 it's beyond thought, it's so dark. 00:40:02.000 --> 00:40:07.000 and its like well that's where we can go now, we have this available. 00:40:08.000 --> 00:40:16.000 So where is this? And you try to chase after something to keep you occupied. 00:40:16.000 --> 00:40:22.000 If you're chasing after something to keep you occupied rather than actually have something that solves that riddle. 00:40:22.000 --> 00:40:32.000 And fills that emptiness, what you end up with is a lot of addictions to a lot of things that keep you running so you don't have to look. 00:40:32.000 --> 00:40:40.000 One way or the next, we're going to fight with this. 00:40:40.000 --> 00:40:45.000 And it's not like spirituality is something that you 00:40:45.000 --> 00:40:48.000 get and it's done. 00:40:48.000 --> 00:40:52.000 It must be challenged by the intellect by experience. 00:40:52.000 --> 00:40:59.000 Everything in the world challenges my faith and continues and will continue to challenge it. 00:40:59.000 --> 00:40:64.000 Even with these incredible experiences I get in meditation and have throughout my life, 00:41:04.000 --> 00:41:08.000 I doubt it. I doubt it instantaneously after it's gone. 00:41:08.000 --> 00:41:11.000 What was that? 00:41:11.000 --> 00:41:18.000 Did my brain fart? This is something that just, I just wanted it or something? But no, I can't get it by wanting it. 00:41:18.000 --> 00:41:21.000 I can't manufacture it. 00:41:21.000 --> 00:41:29.000 But the experience is so intensely beautiful and it's a unity but a unity of being, and it's very similar to what you experience 00:41:29.000 --> 00:41:33.000 when you give way to another person when you don't need to, because you're being stupid? 00:41:33.000 --> 00:41:40.000 And you rather than go for pride, you go for together. 00:41:40.000 --> 00:41:44.000 And the together is fulfilling. 00:41:44.000 --> 00:41:51.000 But it's always going to be challenged again, there'll be another hiccup you're going to have to deal with. 00:41:52.000 --> 00:41:58.000 But science at that point, because our religious experiences or our spiritual experiences, 00:41:58.000 --> 00:41:65.000 build a framework of understanding in our soul, or that part of us that is separate, 00:42:05.000 --> 00:42:11.000 we can stand alone with it and we have avenues back to, 00:42:11.000 --> 00:42:20.000 attempts to make peace with others, attempts to, you know we practice and as you practice you actually do get a little better. 00:42:20.000 --> 00:42:25.000 The extremes of wealth and poverty are to be eliminated if the world's people are to rid themselves of tumult. 00:42:25.000 --> 00:42:30.000 This is not to be accomplished solely through the development of political or economic systems, 00:42:30.000 --> 00:42:35.000 solution also requires spiritual and cultural maturity in the development of human economy. 00:42:36.000 --> 00:42:44.000 So this calls on, you better balance men and women and not just the destructive force side but you get the 00:42:44.000 --> 00:42:49.000 creative, fluid side that can bend too. 00:42:49.000 --> 00:42:54.000 Because you need at times, stability. 00:42:54.000 --> 00:42:60.000 And strength. But at other times you need really do need gentleness. 00:43:00.000 --> 00:43:04.000 But the extremes of wealth and poverty at that point 00:43:04.000 --> 00:43:11.000 have to do a lot with understanding the nature of not just "can I go out there and get all I can get and compete," 00:43:12.000 --> 00:43:20.000 but "am I participant in something that really needs to be supported and there are lots of people would cannot compete, 00:43:20.000 --> 00:43:23.000 in the way that I can at the moment, " 00:43:23.000 --> 00:43:29.000 That at that point, we owe stuff to each other. We owe justice to each other. 00:43:29.000 --> 00:43:32.000 And you have to continually search for that. 00:43:32.000 --> 00:43:41.000 But you have to be willing to look. This is not actually a call for it to be forced. 00:43:41.000 --> 00:43:44.000 It's a call for it to be taught. 00:43:44.000 --> 00:43:48.000 So that we will choose to do this. 00:43:48.000 --> 00:43:51.000 And we can see expressions of this happening in our own time, 00:43:51.000 --> 00:43:56.000 We're seeing the rich coming around saying, "tax me, it's reasonable." 00:43:56.000 --> 00:43:60.000 And it's really clear to me that 00:44:00.000 --> 00:44:06.000 this wasn't just because I'm so great and capable, it's because I was at the right place at the right time. 00:44:06.000 --> 00:44:09.000 And that's why I have the wealth. 00:44:12.000 --> 00:44:14.000 The people of the world need to select or create a secondary world language, 00:44:14.000 --> 00:44:20.000 through which the practical and spiritual unity of the world's peoples will be expressed and its culture established. 00:44:23.000 --> 00:44:29.000 This is a practical thing, almost every group of people anywhere that have different languages and they have to trade with each other 00:44:29.000 --> 00:44:33.000 and deal with each other, form a common speak. 00:44:33.000 --> 00:44:37.000 That's what French was for, the common speak for a while. 00:44:37.000 --> 00:44:41.000 English at the moment seems to be the common speak. 00:44:41.000 --> 00:44:49.000 I spent a little time studying Esperanto, 00:44:49.000 --> 00:44:53.000 now if you create a language, that's my idea of the ideal. Create one. 00:44:53.000 --> 00:44:57.000 Because you know you can make it simple, it doesn't have to be complex. 00:44:57.000 --> 00:44:66.000 When you let the course of the social history of the language develop, it's really not logical and reasonable it's just what it is. 00:45:06.000 --> 00:45:12.000 But if you create one, you can make it logical, you can make it reasonable, you can take words. 00:45:12.000 --> 00:45:16.000 We share an awful lot of words in common in the different languages, 00:45:16.000 --> 00:45:21.000 So you try and move it towards common cognates, 00:45:21.000 --> 00:45:27.000 as much as possible, and you strip it of the difficult things and the illogical things you make the grammar really easy to deal with, 00:45:28.000 --> 00:45:31.000 and it becomes the common speak you can speak everywhere. 00:45:31.000 --> 00:45:37.000 Everyone learns one language. And if we did this, if we decided globally 00:45:37.000 --> 00:45:42.000 to either create or choose one, and we all decided to do that, and we all decide to teach it to the 00:45:42.000 --> 00:45:45.000 children of the world, and in one generation of time, 00:45:45.000 --> 00:45:48.000 we wouldn't have a problem with language anywhere we went. 00:45:48.000 --> 00:45:52.000 It's just reasonable, it's logical. And it's likely to happen at some point. 00:45:52.000 --> 00:45:56.000 Probably over a fairly long and slow evolution. 00:45:56.000 --> 00:45:61.000 Global governance by law must replace war as the arbiter of disputes. 00:46:01.000 --> 00:46:07.000 We are in the final stages of nation building. It is now time to safeguard all of the world's borders 00:46:07.000 --> 00:46:12.000 with the creation of binding set of rules for the peaceful integration of the world's peoples. 00:46:12.000 --> 00:46:18.000 We are too big for war and must instead set policy and settle conflicts through political consultative and legal processes. 00:46:18.000 --> 00:46:22.000 So this is just where we're at. 00:46:22.000 --> 00:46:26.000 Peace is a lot of work. 00:46:26.000 --> 00:46:34.000 But I don't know if any of you are familiar with Steven Pinker and the work he's done. 00:46:34.000 --> 00:46:39.000 He did a megastudy of studies 00:46:40.000 --> 00:46:47.000 of violence in human society, the death of individuals, one on the other. 00:46:48.000 --> 00:46:52.000 And what came up was basically throughout the agricultural age, 00:46:52.000 --> 00:46:58.000 till about 500 years ago, about the average rate of death 00:46:58.000 --> 00:46:63.000 about half of it internal to the culture and about half of it with war with other cultures, 00:47:04.000 --> 00:47:11.000 but internal it's family feuds but at any rate, 00:47:11.000 --> 00:47:16.000 as it turns out the average for that period of time was about 1000 people 00:47:16.000 --> 00:47:24.000 per 100,000. 1 percent of the population per year on average was sort of norm. 00:47:24.000 --> 00:47:26.000 Till about 500 years ago and it started to change. 00:47:26.000 --> 00:47:33.000 When we started rather rapidly evolving new technologies for war, 00:47:33.000 --> 00:47:38.000 new technologies for how we live together and trade together, 00:47:38.000 --> 00:47:41.000 and our structure of wealth was changing, 00:47:41.000 --> 00:47:48.000 So we were moving off of land for the only thing we needed was to get armies because now it was 00:47:48.000 --> 00:47:54.000 how efficient were you with the use of the land and with trading in order to buy your food from somewhere, 00:47:54.000 --> 00:47:58.000 so that you could supply an army through commerce. 00:47:58.000 --> 00:47:61.000 And you wouldn't need just land to do it. 00:48:01.000 --> 00:48:09.000 And serfs, 80 percent of the population had to be producing the food to keep the the army running to keep those people at bay. 00:48:09.000 --> 00:48:12.000 But at any rate, it started declining. 00:48:12.000 --> 00:48:18.000 By the time you hit the first half of the twentieth century, with the two World Wars in it, 00:48:18.000 --> 00:48:21.000 instead of 1000 people per 100,000 or 1 percent, 00:48:21.000 --> 00:48:24.000 it's down to 60 people per 100,000. 00:48:24.000 --> 00:48:29.000 Since World World Two, it's down to about 5/8 of a person per 100,000. 00:48:29.000 --> 00:48:33.000 So we're becoming much much more peaceful. 00:48:33.000 --> 00:48:38.000 And we're becoming much more sensitive to human beings and how they live on the planet and how we're living on the planet 00:48:38.000 --> 00:48:47.000 and how we're living with the planet. And not just the people on the planet, but the vegetation and the animals on the planet. 00:48:47.000 --> 00:48:50.000 We're concerned about whether or not those butterflies are going to survive. 00:48:50.000 --> 00:48:54.000 So we're becoming very very sensitive, 00:48:54.000 --> 00:48:58.000 this is a spiritual maturation as well as a physical maturation. 00:48:58.000 --> 00:48:62.000 It's not just political systems, it's sensibilities. 00:49:02.000 --> 00:49:06.000 But they evolve more and more sensitive political systems. 00:49:06.000 --> 00:49:13.000 That are more fluid and flexible and capable of handling a global community of seven billion people. 00:49:13.000 --> 00:49:17.000 We made it to the end.