Spirituality

The Universal Tenets

Like many former fundamentalists I lived in a bubble. Everything I knew about God was taught to me from the podiums of traditional christian churches. Early in my teenage years I began to realize that something was wrong and the pieces were not fitting together. I knew the nature of this God being taught to me was not the nature of the God that I knew within my soul. I began to question why. Why would god send good people to hell because they believed differently? Why were Christians preferred by God when he had proclaimed the Jewish people as his chosen ones? Why would Native Americans who never had the opportunity to know Jesus be doomed by God? And the questions went on and on.

It took several years, one small revelation and discovery at a time, but I eventually distanced myself from the flock and stepped out into my own journey. And even though there are some good souls who quickly tell me that I am a heretic and eternally lost and damned to hell, I have not looked back since. Nor would I choose to step back into that bubble and live within a small man-made spiritual box.

Symbol of the major religions of the world: Ju...

Symbol of the major religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my greatest spiritual discoveries was that of universal tenets. When I understood the major religions to have within their beliefs the same two tenets that I had been taught in Christianity it changed my entire outlook on spirituality. Everything that is relevant to God is based in love. All we need to know, and live by, are the two universal tenets: Seek God, and, live in peace and harmony with others. This is God’s universal law. Everything else is the superficial interpretation of men projected as the spiritual body of truth.

Below is a list of familiar religions and the universal tenets as described by their religious sayings. If we will accept that there are many roads to God and his will is universal and known to all we could choose not to condemn, judge, or hold in contempt other people based on their religious beliefs. There is little to dispute amongst us when the dogma is stripped away from the universal tenets.

Christianity
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this is the law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31

Judaism
What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow man. That is the whole of The Torah and the remainder is but commentary.
Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Islam
Do unto all men as you would they should unto you, and reject for others what you would reject for yourself.
Mishkat-el-Masabih

Buddhism
Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
Udanavarga 5.8

Confucianism
Tzu Kung asked: “Is there any one principle upon which one’s whole life may proceed?” Confucius replied: “Is not Reciprocity such a principle?- what you do not yourself desire, do not put before others.”
Analects 15.23

Hinduism
This is the sum of all true righteousness -Treat others, as thou wouldst thyself be treated.cDo nothing to thy neighbor, which hereafter Thou wouldst not have thy neighbor do to thee.
Mahabharata (Ganguli, Book13 CXIII)

Sikhism
Treat others as thou wouldst be treated thyself.
Guru Angad (Macauliffe vol2,p.29)

Jainism
A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.
Sutrakritanga Sutra 1.11.33

Taoism
Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain; and regard your neighbor’s loss as your own loss, even as though you were in their place.
Taoism Tai-Shang Kan-Ying Pien

Bahai
Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee.
Bahaullah

As this new year begins I hope that we will learn to accept each other in our diverse expressions of faith by acknowledging the foremost tenets of our respective religions…because as shown above, each prizes as its tenet the harmony of living well with others.

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9 thoughts on “The Universal Tenets

  1. Hi there! I’m sorry you had a bad experience with a narrow-minded or limited church. I would say though, that just because you have encountered a particular form of Christianity that couldn’t answer your questions, doesn’t mean there aren’t good answers out there.

    For example, I believe that all these religious teachings are expressions of the truth. But when I started to follow Christ (with no religious background), and to try to live the two greatest commandments, I discovered that I couldn’t do it. I found that even my best efforts didn’t get me to a pure state of love, or even a lukewarm state of love! I found that it was only the freedom of trusting in Christ that led me to make any progress at all, and that led to great intimacy and stores of love in my soul, through absolutely no credit to myself but only through God’s grace and power.

    So I found this concept helpful: all religions point to Christ, but they can only be fulfilled in Jesus as the Christ.

    I also found that the teachings of other religions did often conflict with Jesus’ own, when going into depth. So when you say ‘his will is universal’ – different religions have different teachings on this, so how could it be universal?

    And I think it is unlikely that the only people in heaven will be those who label themselves evangelical Christians. However if while on Earth a person does not accept God’s love, why would they do so in the spiritual world? But only God truly knows a person’s heart and whether they have rejected Him or not. I do believe in hell, but only as a place that a person has chosen to go to through rejecting the love of God (not a caricature or an extension of ego etc). And I believe that ultimately what Jesus taught about himself was true, and he is the vine.

    I’d be interested to get your thoughts.

    • When I left behind the dogma of Christianity I didn’t leave behind the teachings of Christ, but it took a different path for me to understand what he was teaching and to assign him a true value in my spiritual journey. The first step was discovering his reference to “other sheep”, and from there scriptures that spoke to the knowledge of God being written into the heart and into the heavens and all that is around us. As I began to have dialogue with people of different beliefs I started to see the similarity and not the differences. And the similarity is what I call the universal tenet, the one which speaks of living in peace and harmony with each other. I understand the rest of religion, whichever one, as just commentary and interpretation of what is believed by the congregants to be God’s laws as it pertains to that particular religion.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your own spiritual insight. I hope we have further discussions.

  2. “Seek God, and, live in peace and harmony with others.” Even in that, I believe the two are one and the same. God is Unity, and in finding harmony with others, we find harmony with God, in understanding others, we come to a greater understanding of God. I prefer to use the term exploring, because to me, seeking places something outside of my field of awareness, whereas exploring accepts that it is in fact inside of my field of awareness, but that a greater understanding is possible through closer scrutiny. But that’s just semantics and not something I tend to dwell on much.

    • We think alot alike and I agree with everything that you are saying here. Understanding unity and oneness has been a spiritual awakening for me, and I am much happier, more at peace and enjoying spirituality and my everyday life much greater than I ever did as a dogmatic believer.

    • I think they were not teaching another god but rather their perception and portrayal of what they believed god to be as fitting within their own preferences and need.
      I think human consciousness is hard wired to acknowledge a force greater than ourselves. I think this is most evidenced in children who innately explore fantasy, magic and the imagination and who instinctively have a fear of evil such as “monsters, boogieman”.
      Whether or not this hardwiring is the result of something biological like the god gene, or the design of a creator is beyond what I can say. I know it exists and I feel compelled to explore the mystical, and there are many others like me. That is all I can say with any measure of certainty.
      Why do you think they taught other versions of God?

      • There isn’t a one-size fits all answer. However, I believe that the god of the Old Testament was an attempt to understand actual experiences with more advanced beings.

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