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Is there such a thing as a universal religion?

Rival

Si m'ait Dieus
Staff member
Premium Member
Or will every religion always be considered from a particular culture and carry those marks?

Is Christianity a universal religion? Islam? Given their Middle Eastern focus, their almost exclusive interest in a limited geographical area, Semitic language and concepts not known by those outside that culture, limited view of history etc.

Is it possible to have a truly universal religion that doesn't just end up being a bland, sterile philosophy?
 

SalixIncendium

अग्निविलोवनन्दः
Staff member
Premium Member
Well, there are the Unitarian Universalists. They are considered universal but in my experience, they are quite liberal (not at all "universal" if one happens to be a conservative). As to whether or not it is merely a bland and sterile philosophy would be determined by those that are well versed in the religion. I only attended a few services before I realized it wasn't for me. But I'm not prepared to judge them as bland and sterile based on my limited experience with them. They were just far too liberal in their politics for me. Nice group of people, though.

I certainly wouldn't consider Christianity, Islam, or any other religion universal or conclude they have the capacity to be universal.

Baha'i would tell you they are, but they have shown me here that they are selective in what views and beliefs they acknowledge as true.

That said, I would imagine there might be certain religious philosophies have the capacity to be universal.
 

PureX

Veteran Member
A universal religion? Mmmm ... kind of.

But for the umbrella to be that big, it has to become very imprecise in it's definition of religion. And the more that happens, the more people will want to opt out to retain their sense of individual purpose.
 

LuisDantas

Aura of atheification
Premium Member
There is certainly no lack of candidates for an universal religion, nor a lack of effort at making it so.

Personally, I don't think that the Abrahamics qualify.

They are just way too reliant on the idea that all people might somehow turn out to believe in some version of Abraham's god - or at least accept not to challenge the existence of some such deity.

That is a decisive flaw, because it amounts to demanding people to not be people or instead to demanding them to lie all the time and call that religious practice. Not a promising trait.

But there are good, workable candidates. Candidates aplenty. Hinduism, Buddhism, arguably Shinto, Paganism, even Secular Humanism and LaVeyan Satanism. All of those at least try to acknowledge religion as an activity of bridging specific, even personal realities with wider, arguably universal values and goals.

Of course, they can only attempt to be in some sense universal by adapting themselves to the specific circunstances and environments that they meet. Quite a few of those do not even attempt to be recognized as "universal" and in fact emphasize their links to specific cultures, times and places. That may sound odd, but maybe it is not; once you make the effort to acknowledge a given cultural environment and establish some form of expression and nurture of values, it may well be fairly easy to make a similar effort in some other environment.

But I will freely grant that those are not "universal religions" in the sense that the Abrahamics (except Judaism) attempt to be. I find the Abrahamics very unusual and arguably self-sabotaging.
 

Mock Turtle

Oh my, did I say that!
Premium Member
Or will every religion always be considered from a particular culture and carry those marks?

Is Christianity a universal religion? Islam? Given their Middle Eastern focus, their almost exclusive interest in a limited geographical area, Semitic language and concepts not known by those outside that culture, limited view of history etc.

Is it possible to have a truly universal religion that doesn't just end up being a bland, sterile philosophy?
For me, no, there never will be a universal religion, given that all such religions carry with them the baggage of their origins, and hence such tends to speak more as to their being human inventions. As you mention, their origins in particular cultures, even though so many do spread around the world, does tend to indicate why they first formed. Not sure we actually need any religions anyway, but we sure do need something to unite us rather than dividing us.
 

Debater Slayer

Vipassana
Staff member
Premium Member
Or will every religion always be considered from a particular culture and carry those marks?

Is Christianity a universal religion? Islam? Given their Middle Eastern focus, their almost exclusive interest in a limited geographical area, Semitic language and concepts not known by those outside that culture, limited view of history etc.

Is it possible to have a truly universal religion that doesn't just end up being a bland, sterile philosophy?

I don't believe it is possible to have a universal religion given the vast diversity of cultures around the world as well as individual differences among people (e.g., different patterns of thinking, personality types, personal experiences, etc.).

I believe that some religions, sects, or denominations may have more universal appeal or flexibility than others, but I don't think any could be truly universal—nor do I see any need for them to be. It seems to me that acknowledging and respecting human diversity is healthier than trying to make everyone fit into or adopt the same religious or philosophical paradigms.
 

Kfox

Well-Known Member
Or will every religion always be considered from a particular culture and carry those marks?

Is Christianity a universal religion? Islam? Given their Middle Eastern focus, their almost exclusive interest in a limited geographical area, Semitic language and concepts not known by those outside that culture, limited view of history etc.

Is it possible to have a truly universal religion that doesn't just end up being a bland, sterile philosophy?
IMO in order to have such a Universal religion, everybody would have to agree on one religion. Heck a quick look at the religious community, you can't even get people of the SAME religion to agree on their one religion; hence the different denominations, and sects that seem to plague all religions.
 

SalixIncendium

अग्निविलोवनन्दः
Staff member
Premium Member
IMO in order to have such a Universal religion, everybody would have to agree on one religion. Heck a quick look at the religious community, you can't even get people of the SAME religion to agree on their one religion; hence the different denominations, and sects that seem to plague all religions.
Plague?

Many see diversity as a good thing. Hinduism is a perfect example of a religion that accepts the inevitability that not everyone will agree on every religious idea. Seems to work out just fine for Hindus.
 

Regiomontanus

Ματαιοδοξία ματαιοδοξιών! Όλα είναι ματαιοδοξία.
Or will every religion always be considered from a particular culture and carry those marks?

Is Christianity a universal religion? Islam? Given their Middle Eastern focus, their almost exclusive interest in a limited geographical area, Semitic language and concepts not known by those outside that culture, limited view of history etc.

Is it possible to have a truly universal religion that doesn't just end up being a bland, sterile philosophy?

Yes, of course. There is one Creator. So, by definition, universal.
 

Rival

Si m'ait Dieus
Staff member
Premium Member
Yes, of course. There is one Creator. So, by definition, universal.
Sigh.

I don't think some folks are getting it.

Christianity and Islam are Semitic, they have histories that don't include China, Canada, Hungaria etc. They're not universal in that sense. They're all about a particular group of people.

I notice a lot of people fall back on 'one god and wisdom literature', which is not what I'm talking about.

The Torah is constantly saying 'Speak to the children of Israel'. How is this universal?
 

Link

Veteran Member
Premium Member
Salam

It won't happen till the Mahdi (a) rises, Jesus (a), Enoch (a), Khidr (a), Elijah (a) and others we don't know who are alive all come back. Till then, it will come with cultural baggage.

God has saved from every Ahlulbayt including from Adam's (a) Enoch (a) (Idris (a) in the Quran) a person for a big event in the future. And since has risen from every people - an Ahlulbayt - we can expect a chosen one from all nationalities will be present in the final revolution. The disbelievers will accuse them of sorcery or aliens or hidden technology or whatever, when they perform miracles.

While the Mahdi (a) is the mastermind of the revolution that will take place, they will all help him.

Till then, we can't go past cultural baggage.
 

Regiomontanus

Ματαιοδοξία ματαιοδοξιών! Όλα είναι ματαιοδοξία.
Sigh.

I don't think some folks are getting it.

Christianity and Islam are Semitic, they have histories that don't include China, Canada, Hungaria etc. They're not universal in that sense. They're all about a particular group of people.

I notice a lot of people fall back on 'one god and wisdom literature', which is not what I'm talking about.

The Torah is constantly saying 'Speak to the children of Israel'. How is this universal?

The Good News is for all people (panta ta ethne).
 

Link

Veteran Member
Premium Member
Delivered by a Jew, with a background in the Jewish Torah, written in Hebrew.
You are right, revelations come with background of the people of a certain geography and time, what truths they have and what falsehoods they hold, and tries to guide through that paradigm.

The Quran is written both with that cultural baggage and transcends it beyond that to universality from my experience. However, since it uses the cultural baggage to universalize, it as you said, not free from culture local to a place and time.

And till the Mahdi (a) rises, the universalization won't be realized fully by society nor take place. So you are correct Islam currently is not a universal religion as it's presented.
 

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
Sigh.

I don't think some folks are getting it.

Christianity and Islam are Semitic, they have histories that don't include China, Canada, Hungaria etc. They're not universal in that sense. They're all about a particular group of people.

I notice a lot of people fall back on 'one god and wisdom literature', which is not what I'm talking about.

The Torah is constantly saying 'Speak to the children of Israel'. How is this universal?
So "universal" as in "accessible to everyone"?
 

F1fan

Veteran Member
Or will every religion always be considered from a particular culture and carry those marks?

Is Christianity a universal religion? Islam? Given their Middle Eastern focus, their almost exclusive interest in a limited geographical area, Semitic language and concepts not known by those outside that culture, limited view of history etc.

Is it possible to have a truly universal religion that doesn't just end up being a bland, sterile philosophy?
I suggest the religions of planet earth end on earth. So not universal, just global.

But then again perhaps the reason God/Jesus is absent from earth, and Christians waiting centuries for his return, is because he has been cheating on us with the people of some other planet. Maybe he likes them better. I suggest divorce.
 

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
Or will every religion always be considered from a particular culture and carry those marks?

Is Christianity a universal religion? Islam? Given their Middle Eastern focus, their almost exclusive interest in a limited geographical area, Semitic language and concepts not known by those outside that culture, limited view of history etc.

Is it possible to have a truly universal religion that doesn't just end up being a bland, sterile philosophy?
Weirdly, when I try to think of what a "universal religion" could be, I think about the worldwide popularity of Japanese martial arts and my mind goes to Shinto.
 

Balthazzar

Christian Evolutionist
Or will every religion always be considered from a particular culture and carry those marks?

Is Christianity a universal religion? Islam? Given their Middle Eastern focus, their almost exclusive interest in a limited geographical area, Semitic language and concepts not known by those outside that culture, limited view of history etc.

Is it possible to have a truly universal religion that doesn't just end up being a bland, sterile philosophy?

I guess that depends on the way you define religion. Beyond this, it would depend on our ability to understand the concepts or principles attached and honored. Truth and facts aren't always readily accepted and often enough, take many years of convincing after the facts have been established for the unknowing to actually accept them as truth's. With this stated, I'll suggest yes and no due to the reasons listed.
 

Regiomontanus

Ματαιοδοξία ματαιοδοξιών! Όλα είναι ματαιοδοξία.
Delivered by a Jew, with a background in the Jewish Torah, written in Hebrew.

Yes, the human Jesus was Jewish (primary language probably Aramaic). But the only Begotten Son, part of the triune Godhead, carried a universal message (see above), written down by others in Greek.
 

Rival

Si m'ait Dieus
Staff member
Premium Member
So "universal" as in "accessible to everyone"?
As in, not attached by language, concept, geography etc to any one culture/people.

I'm asking a rhetorical question. The answer is no, obviously not.

So can a universal religion exist, or would it just be a philosophy. For instance, even legends have to take place somewhere, be written in some language with certain concepts etc.

Samson only makes sense in the Middle East, for instance, as does Abraham. No Japanese would have written these stories.
 
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