Thursday, 9 September 2021

We Are All One

 It is a popular and almost unquestioned truism of modern spirituality that everything is one. We are all connected, all brothers and sisters in the great family of humanity with a deep unity that ultimately overrides all other considerations. I went along with this idea myself once because it seems true in an underlying spiritual sense. After all, there's only one God, one Creator. I had reservations but took it as broadly true.

But what if it's not true or, at least, not as true as it is taken to be? To begin with, from a Christian perspective we are all one in Christ but for that to be the case we have to accept Christ. We are not all one outside Christ and even if you extend this to a more universal plane to mean we are all one in God then we surely still have to accept the reality and truth and meaning and fact of God? We have to respond to God within us and do so on a spiritual rather than mere intellectual or emotional plane. Only then can we meet in a real unity.

Then there are good grounds for thinking that the present time is not one of unity but of separation, of dividing the sheep from the goats. Jesus said he did not come to bring peace (unity) but a sword (division). This is often ignored by those who wish to paint a picture of a false Jesus who loves humanity in its fallen state more than he loves God. Of course, Jesus does love humanity but he does not love the fallen state and he wants to redeem us from that state and bring us to the reality of God. But for that to happen we must repent our evil nature. Yes, our evil nature. We cannot continue in the worldly path and expect God's love to operate regardless. God may love all human beings but above all he loves truth and he loves those more who reflect his own truth back to him.

The modern world demands that we accept everyone on their own terms. We are all one regardless of what we are. Essentially, this puts quantity above quality. It is totally at odds with the true spiritual attitude which reverses that hierarchy and sees that what you are is much more important than the basic fact that you are. Spiritual unity can only come about at higher level and to know this unity you have to fit yourself for that level which means respond to spirit. The material world is not the world of unity but of separation and to force unity onto it on its own level is to create a lie. No wonder that agenda is being pushed so hard in this day and age when spiritual truth is being parodied and reinterpreted in material terms to deflect us from the hard (for the ego) facts of reality.

There is another point to take into consideration on this matter of oneness. Evolution is a growing out from sameness to difference. We become more individual as we evolve not less. Insects are a lower form of life than animals, and the higher animals show more individuality than the lower ones. Then when you get to the human kingdom you have real individuals. This no doubt continues. The glory of the saints is that they are so individual, all one in God but fully themselves too. And there is no one in the history of humanity more individual than Christ which is partly why the force of his personality persists through the centuries. He is not a cardboard cut-out saviour but a wholly unique person, as we all are and we will become more so as we progress into the heart of God. That journey brings out our uniqueness. It does not obliterate it in some faceless, tasteless spiritual porridge. The very fact of love proves this. You can't have love in oneness, not real love of the sort that lays down its life for its friends. Love needs separation. Love is the denial of oneness.


Bruce Charlton said...

"Jesus said he did not come to bring peace (unity) but a sword (division)."

That explanation of these terms is good.

The final division comes after death - as symbolized by CS Lewis in The Last Battle, when the hosts of dead approach and each is confronted by the choice either to enter the gate to Heaven, or else veer off to one side.

Until that moment (or rather, what it symbolizes) the choice is not final and eternal; but in the world now, we are seemingly being required to make an advance commitment in mortal life.

I think this is probably because evil (value-inversion) has so much the upper hand in the world that (perhaps for the first time in history) damnation is now the default choice.

So only those who commit during mortal life to the choice of resurrection in Heaven are likely to make that final choice after biological death.

William Wildblood said...

I have always been very struck by the picture in The Last Battle. See here

It seems that what brings out the decision to enter Heaven or not is the reaction to Aslan's face which is either complete love or something like horror. The damned damn themselves.

MagnusStout said...

This is a very good post, which I read several times in order to unpack meaning. Your link to your earlier post on the "Last Battle" was also very profound.

I believe deeply spiritual writings (such as the Scriptures) have a multidimensional quality. It is why such writings (and even art) cannot be understood with intellect alone. Prophecy is perhaps the most complex of these forms and is also the most difficult to understand for the same reason.

Truly sublime art has that same multidimensional quality, which I think ties into your discussion on individuality (as opposed to bland oneness). This is probably why "Goodness" is so often parodied as being "simple" vs evil as “clever.” The reverse is actually the Truth, as our joyless, ugly and banal totalitarian overloads have repeatedly proven since the 2020 coup.

Reflecting on that Truth should help to bolster Christians everywhere. That is, we have an “otherworldness” that offers glimpses of the Divine. It doesn’t matter if they control every single media outlet: our individual actions should speak to a higher reality that is intrinsically appealing to the souls of others caught in the current dehumanizing blob of evil.

William Wildblood said...

It seems to me that the demons do not just want to foster materialism. They want even more to encourage spurious spirituality which makes people think they are drawing closer to God when in fact they are moving further away. This oneness doctrine feeds into that which is why discernment is so important.

Kirstie said...

And that discernment must come through Jesus?

Bruce Charlton said...

@W. I think you are right about oneness as a spurious spirituality (here and now). It is used to attack Christian discernment and the need for choice; while its advocates nonetheless are nearly-always zealously on-side with leftist issues; and regard those who disagree as dumb, ignorant or evil (and deserving of coercive measures). In other words advocacy of oneness is always selective and partial, and never rigorous.

William Wildblood said...

Yes, and it is also used to promote an impersonal kind of spiritual awareness as favoured by Western Buddhists etc. These people can easily be lured into abstractions in which a living personal spiritual awareness centred in God is replaced by an I am God or I am the Self mentality that is really a subtle form of egotism.

BSRK Aditya said...

> Yes, and it is also used to promote an impersonal kind of spiritual awareness as favoured by Western Buddhists etc

I hang out with western buddhists at r/buddhism, and I am satisfied with their understanding. Please do not malign them so broadly, they follow the Buddha's teaching.

Which teaching? When asked "is the world one?" or "is the the world a multiplicity?", He said both are extreme views.

Having set that aside, you seem to be advocating the view that there are two kinds of people, those who love God/Jesus Christ, and those who do not love God/Jesus Christ.

I do not see these categories as of great relevance for judging if a person is of surpassing purity. Why? Because there are those of surpassing purity in both categories.

William Wildblood said...

Well, BSRK, I make no secret of the fact that I am a Christian even if a somewhat unorthodox one. Therefore I believe that Christ is the highest, purest, best and most perfect representation of spirituality, and the pattern that all should follow if they are to reach the highest goal. I still have the greatest respect for the Buddha and for Buddhism but I see its lack of an understanding of God as a personal being as a major flaw. This necessarily devalues the individual self and weakens the main purpose of the spiritual process which is to make many creative gods. The Mahayana slightly corrected the original lack of God but in a rather unsatisfactory way rather like someone trying to ride two horses going in different directions.

Also, please note I said Western Buddhists. I believe it was the task of the West to include the individual in its spiritual quest. The East may traditionally have had a different task. But that means that Westerners who become Buddhists are never completely true to their inner selves. They may be good, pure people, full of the best intentions, but there is always something a little false about them. I have had experience of such people. This is not just a personal prejudice. Yes, of course, there is purity in both categories and I don't believe that the East should become Christian because I actually think that Christ works through Hinduism and Buddhism as well in a form suitable to those religions. For example, the idea of the Boddhisattva is influenced by Christ, both in the inner worlds and probably the outer too, and so is the devotional strand in Hinduism manifesting through Krishna, Ramanuja and many others.

I'm sure that the Western Buddhists you know are excellent people and that they do follow the Buddha's teaching. I would simply question if that is what they really should be doing. But perhaps it's the right thing for such people at the present stage of their spiritual journey.

By the way, you say that the Buddha when asked "is the world one?" or "is the the world a multiplicity?" said that both are extreme views. I have heard that and similar responses before. I find there is something a little trite about such a response. It is correct but it also slightly dodges the issue of saying what reality really is. You can't say belief in God, for instance, is an extreme view or one about which there can be equally valid opinions. It is the simple, basic, root truth.

William Wildblood said...

Also, I said that such people can be lured etc. I didn't say they automatically would be. But it is a real possibility given the flaw in their philosophy and I have seen examples of it.