In her 5th November post she quotes the Tao Te Ching. I love the Tao. I think I have quoted it here previously. Ember’s blog got me thinking again about how many of the great faith traditions have very similar images, metaphors and doctrines at their heart. The Tao is one of the oldest religious writings.
In one of the UK airports there is a prayer room with a poster giving quotes from many different faiths. I don’t think there was one that was at odds with another or with the Christian faith. All about love, peace, harmony, forgiveness, do to others as you would be done by.
If God is eternal, creator of all things including time and space then I don’t believe that God has only ever allowed Christians to know anything about him. The evidence all points the other way. So if we find things that are repeated spiritual truths and motifs across all the faiths then there is a good chance that these things speak of the essence of God.
According to the introduction to my translation of the Tao (Timothy Freke) the word ‘Tao’ means road or path in Chinese with additional meanings of walk ahead, travel ahead, travel to the end. By the 8th or 9th centuries BC it also came to mean the ‘Way of Heaven’ Another usage was as a description of a path of fate or destiny which could not be avoided, it is a path of virtue, of moral goodness. ‘Te’is translated as virtue and also power. It is the ‘moral behaviour that should flow from following the Tao’. The ‘outworking of the Tao’.
Buddhism has the Eightfold Path as the road map to the end of suffering
|on flickr by h.koppdelaney|
“Their thoughts on Him and one with Him, they abide in Him, and He is the end of their journey.
“Hear now of that Path which the seers of the Veda call the eternal, and which is reached by those who, in peace from earthly passions, live a life of holiness and strive for perfection.”
“These are the two paths that are forever; the path of light and the path of darkness. The one leads to the land of never-returning: the other returns to sorrow.”
“I am the Way, and the Master who watches in silence; thy friend and thy shelter and thy abode of peace. I am the beginning and the middle and the end of all things; their seed of Eternity, their Treasure supreme.”
Bhagavad Gita, translated by Juan Mascaro
Early Christians were called followers of the ‘Way’. Jesus said:
John 14: 1-6
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Matthew 7: 13-14
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
|The Way of the Cross by Niels on Reel Worship|
"He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.""
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
|By jeskaweska |
I don’t have much knowledge of other religions, so if anyone reading this can offer other examples that will be very interesting. The act of pilgrimage as both a physical and spiritual journey is found in both Christianity and Islam, but that is a whole other topic.