The wisdom of balancing change and changelessness in communities of faith. (Juxtaposition 10/01/03)


In matters of religion I’m wondering if there is a drift away from a balanced understanding.

The balance is between the two parts of religion; the changeless and the ever-evolving.The second part is about the major prophets or Messengers changing of social laws in accordance with the exigencies of their particular time.

The first, the changeless is what has come to be called The Perennial Philosophy, or better ‘the essential mystical heart’ of all of the great religions – also called the ‘changeless faith of God“.The great Baha’i teacher Abdul-Baha says;

I wish you to be fair and reasonable in your judgment, setting aside all religious prejudices. We
should earnestly seek and thoroughly investigate realities, recognizing
that the purpose of the religion of God is the education of humanity and
the unity and fellowship of mankind.

Furthermore, we will establish the point that the foundations of the religions of God are one foundation.

This foundation is not multiple, for it is reality itself. Reality does
not admit of multiplicity, although each of the divine religions is
separable into two divisions.

One concerns the world of morality and the ethical training of human nature. It is directed to the advancement of the
world of humanity in general; it reveals and inculcates the knowledge of
God and makes possible the discovery of the verities of life.

This is ideal and spiritual teaching, the essential quality of divine religion,
and not subject to change or transformation. It is the one foundation of
all the religions of God. Therefore, the religions are essentially one and
the same.

The second classification or division comprises social laws and
regulations applicable to human conduct. This is not the essential
spiritual quality of religion. It is subject to change and transformation according to the exigencies and requirements of time and place…….
PUP 365-6

Ken Wilber’s model of The Perennial Philosophy is this;

Most of the great wisdom traditions agree that:

1. Spirit, by whatever name, exists.

2. Spirit, although existing “out there,” is found “in here,” or revealed within to the open heart and mind.

3. Most of us don’t realize this Spirit within, however, because we are living in a world of sin, separation, or duality-that is, we are living in a fallen, illusory, or fragmented state.

4. There is a way out of this fallen state (of sin or illusion or disharmony), there is a Path to our liberation.

5. If we follow this Path to its conclusion, the result is a Rebirth or Enlightenment, a direct experience of Spirit within and without, a Supreme Liberation, which

6. marks the end of sin and suffering, and

7. manifests in social action of mercy and compassion on behalf of all sentient beings.

The Bahai’s quote Baha’u’llah, the Founder, of their faith, speaking in relation to His own Revelation.  He said of His Reveltion that it is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future” but I’m discovering that some are almost violently antipathetic to the idea of the Perennial Philosophy.  

I’m wondering why?


Author: Roger - Dr Roger Prentice

Now I write, teach & coach mainly about interfaith as inter-spirituality - and how we can grow closer to our True Self. . As anyone who knows anything about IPF will realize my energy is curtailed - so I am concentrating primarily on 'inter-spirituality'. . In the past I would have said that: . 1) I run courses and give talks at conferences and in universities and colleges in the UK, China, USA, Canada, Scandinavia etc. . 2) I provide materials, outlines and lessons for Schools. . 3) My range of interests include personal development, learning and teaching, photography and film, the arts generally, spirituality and educational practice and theory. . 4) At the same time I continue developing the human-centred studies SunWALK PDS (People Development System) - a whole-person, high-achievement model for individuals, and for use in, NGOs, schools and other organizations. . 5) The key question that continues to animate me and my work remains, "What is it to be fully and positively human?" . Contact me via onesummit AT gmail DOT com (replace At with@ etc.). . All good wishes Roger (Dr Roger Prentice) . For those interested; My first degree is in English and Education. My masters is in Adult and Community Education. My doctorate presented a new holistic meta-model of education called SunWALK.

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