You may know God as Allah. These and still other names and images of God are all equally honored in this text, and any of these names may appropriately be given to the One whom I see as the source of the thoughts I seek to share with you in these pages. In nearly all conceptions of God, it is agreed that the divine will is for humanity to be united. And one of the great ironies is that the various religions which share this belief are, themselves, so often responsible for the disunity -even the outright hatred and war-between human beings, all in the name of God and truth.
The burning question that this book tackles, then, is why it should not be possible for people with various religious alignments to treat one another's beliefs with respect and learn to live together in peace even amid their religious differences. Religions often make reference to "the end times.
The physical world as we know it, for sure-even scientists must attest to that fact. But more. Consider this possibility: "The end times" bring the end of separation between people who have all been created "in the image and likeness" of God. They are the beginning of the unity of all people. It stands to reason, then, that all our efforts toward human unification are efforts toward ushering in "the end times. And prevail we will! I ask you to take the words of this text into your heart and mind as you decide for yourself if what I brought through rings true to you and for you.
Perhaps you may experience a paradigm shift. Perhaps you may understand more about divine will and every religion that exists on earth. There is much that will be asked of you. Much that, in the deepest core of your heart and mind, will ignite with the kind of understanding that is as deep as it is crucial. The human race needs you. You come to this book with your own understanding of religion-perhaps with a skepticism or mistrust that is born from experience.
Trust that experience: It is real. Use your experience as a measuring stick to judge the truth of what others tell you about religion. Use it to judge the truth of this book. Concepts of Deity. Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press. Peeters Publishers. Collier's Encyclopedia: With Bibliography and Index.
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Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. Brill Academic. The Religion and Culture of Israel.
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Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Encyclopedia Britannica. Oxford Dictionaries. Cambridge English Dictionary. Handbook of Hindu Mythology Reprint ed. In general, Deism refers to what can be called natural religion, the acceptance of a certain body of religious knowledge that is inborn in every person or that can be acquired by the use of reason and the rejection of religious knowledge when it is acquired through either revelation or the teaching of any church.
Jewish Encyclopedia. DEISM: A system of belief which posits God's existence as the cause of all things, and admits His perfection, but rejects Divine revelation and government, proclaiming the all-sufficiency of natural laws. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization.
Malden, MA: Blackwell. Deism is a rationalistic, critical approach to theism with an emphasis on natural theology.
The Deists attempted to reduce religion to what they regarded as its most foundational, rationally justifiable elements. Deism is not, strictly speaking, the teaching that God wound up the world like a watch and let it run on its own, though that teaching was embraced by some within the movement. Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment Revised ed. New York: Facts On File. The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Eerdmans Publishing Company. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference. In the most general use of the term, agnosticism is the view that we do not know whether there is a God or not.
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in God, whereas an atheist disbelieves in God. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist. In so far as one holds that our beliefs are rational only if they are sufficiently supported by human reason, the person who accepts the philosophical position of agnosticism will hold that neither the belief that God exists nor the belief that God does not exist is rational.
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OED Online, 3rd ed. Oxford University Press.
Also: person of indeterminate ideology or conviction; an equivocator. Also: holding this belief. In extended use: not committed to or persuaded by a particular point of view; sceptical. Also: politically or ideologically unaligned; non-partisan, equivocal. The doctrine or tenets of agnostics with regard to the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena or to knowledge of a First Cause or God. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Fall ed.
Lane, Cybele, Attis and related cults: essays in memory of M. Vermaseren The Story of Prehistoric Peoples. New York: Rosen Central.