Given that Jesus said the only way to the Father is through Jesus Himself, I cannot see how following Islam can be compatible with a very basic Christian teaching.
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him." John 14 http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/john/john14.htm
Hindus and Sufis would understand Jesus differently than westerners atheistic or believers do. I don't have the documentation at the moment but I know that Sufi's would get in trouble, I believe I recall some were killed because they would enter into ecstatic states and speak in words that seemed to imply they were Allah.
Since the beginnings of Christianity are almost totally obscure there is no way I know to verify this but I think it's possible that Jesus was an awakened individual who was killed before he could develop any disciple to the point of understanding his mind.
It could be that Jesus was teaching the same thing Ramana was teaching that the only way to realize God was through the "I Am". There is no external salvation rather the way is through realization of consciousness being.
While Ghazali stayed within an outwardly orthodox framework, Arabi offered a clearly monistic, gnostic system. "His commentary on the Koran is a tour de force of esoteric interpretation."9 With Arabi the emphasis on the Sufi path "was shifted from moral self-control to metaphysical knowledge with its sequence of psychological ascent to the â€˜Perfect Man, the microcosm in whom the One is manifested to Himself."10 In his Bozels of Wisdom Arabi explains: "When you know yourself, your â€˜Iâ€™ness vanishes and you know that you and God are one and the same."11
Arabiâ€™s poetic usage of erotic language to signify the relationship of the soul with God set the tone for much of medieval Sufism. Poetry became a favorite medium of expression, the imagery sometimes becoming so sensuous that it is difficult to distinguish whether the "Beloved" being referred to is heavenly or earthly. For the Sufis, this made little difference, since they believed that "â€˜Whether it be this world or that/Thy love will lead thee yonder at the last!"
My argument at this point is independent of mystical teachings. I'm simply saying that there are mystical states experienced by individuals East and West where they feel one with the universe, or God, etc. They are not referring to their organism or ego when they do this but to their consciousness which they also see as singular. In this understanding Jesus spoke a truth, the truth but it was misunderstood by his disciples to refer to the individual Jesus rather than that the individual had experienced his oneness with the universe and was speaking of that.
Ramana held that the only path to liberation lay in experiencing the pure "I Am" but that all paths if followed long enough lead to that point. The rest is human delusion and politics.
If you were to use the word compassion as in be compassionate, view others compassionately, have compassion for the suffering and difficulty of others, or treat others with compassion would that change your feelings in any way?
It is a nice cosy wee faith that is being described, but it isn't Christianity.
This raises a question for me as to the boundaries of the definition of Christianity. Primitive Christianity developed into the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches in the East and then changed by the Protestants and then later the Mormons, and now we have the Moonies and I don't know what all.
What critera do you propose to evaluate Christianity? I'm guessing something along the lines of the NT or Nicene creed but all of those groups would claim they follow those. So it would be a matter of interpretation? or do you have some other basis or approach?
I would imagine that if I had come to the conclusion that the Christian message was false I would find Lewis boring as well. As it is however I find him to be fascinating.
I grew up attending the Episcopal Church. I remember reading Lewis's book The Great Divorce. I was intellectually fascinated with his ideas about what hell was like.
A bit later reading Lewis's rationalization about all the virgin births of deities recorded throughout the Near East religions as good dreams God sent prior to the birth of Jesus struck me as intellectual dishonesty on his part. He had the education and knew what was going on but chose the emotionality of faith over the honesty of what he knew. Sometime thereafter realizing I didn't believe in the virgin birth or a lot of stuff in the Nicene creed I dropped Christianity.
In a way what I saw as Lewis's intellectual capitulation to the pointless miracles of the Bible when he clearly knew better was an inspiration to just leave the whole thing behind.
For me Christian apology always has this forced strained grasping at rationalizations. Spirituality requires beliefs in miracles that though acceptable to pre scientific peoples are simply not neccesary at this point and the gyrations to maintain this aspect of the faith is a bit painful for me to watch. I think Lewis had much better things to do with his intellect than try to come up with rationalizations for Christianity.
So I don't know for me if it's boredom or painful impatience with him that makes reading his works unappealing.
It was my interest in Thoreau and Emerson that led to my reading in Eastern religions. They made a lot more sense to me and I still prefer that approach over any of the Near Eastern religions.
I don't even know how Christians decide who is a Christian. Only members of their church, denominaion, etc.? At one point I thought it was you had to be baptized. But I'm getting the impression here that some Christians have more exclusive definitions. Doesn't surprise me. In the third grade a playmate of mine who was Catholic told me I was going to hell. Apparently that was what was taught to him. And I read interviews with Mel Gibson where he says his wife who is Church of England might go to hell because she is not Catholic. But then some Christians here seem to be saying Catholics aren't really Christians.
Just writing about this silliness fills me with renewed relief that I'm no longer a Christian. I don't have to worry about all that stuff.
That statement is more than a little bit presumptuous. Who are you to say that Lewis was dishonest in his faith. Just because you have come to a different conclusion than Lewis does not mean that his faith is a dishonest one
I could have softened that statement and been accurate also if I said that was how it struck me on reading it decades ago, though honestly I've not come across a reason to change it, though that could happen. I do find much of Christian, and other religious apologetics disingenuous, though I suppose it's often from good even the best of motives, I still feel Lewis knew better but gave into to his desire to believe.
I suppose after that point he really did believe and I took that information and put it with the others and came to what seems to me something that should be obvious to everyone except for the weight of tradition and that is the virgin birth is a pagan concept foreign to Judaism and that the historic claim was that Jesus was born of a young woman. That is presuming a lot but that is my belief.
I also don't understand why living in the scientific era has anything to do with whether miracles happened, still happen or not. Science is the study of the physical, miracles would be a product of the metaphysical.
The point I was making is the science disproves or discredits or demonstrates the scientific impossibility of miracles such as a 6000 year old universe, the Flood, or virgin birth.
I think the universe is one long miracle and the most intimate miracle of all is that I and you are conscious of being.
I don't know why Brian is bored with Lewis. I've a ton of reading to do this summer. I just checked and my library does have a copy of Miracles by Lewis but it's currently out. I may take a look through it though I doubt I'll read it cover to cover, though occasionally I surprise myself at what I end up reading.
I am aware that I have this assumption probably from high school and college that it's understandable that some one who doesn't know better for example the fundamentalist who show up here knowing nothing about science except what they read on AIG and little of history to believe literally in the Bible, but I do just have this impatience with someone like Lewis who is well educated and even knew better but then backed off from his knowing. I expected more of him. That is presumptious on my part. I'll neither defend myself nor apologize for it though. It's just something I do.