The perennial philosophy basically says that all religions share a single, universal truth; and that all faith aims to reveal the ultimate purpose of life to humanity. This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future. Everyone who takes a path toward inner maturity can probably locate themselves somewhere on one of these maps. Following such a path means gaining inner knowledge with the goal of transcending ourselves and expanding our moral and spiritual consciousness.
They all urge us to leave the smaller, more constricting, more temporal levels in favor of the wider, the higher, the more unified. Scientist and philosopher Guy Murchie described this universal law of the progress of the spirit in his book The Seven Mysteries of Life :.
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To be sure, the self is elementary and down-to-earth, as any beginning tool must be if it is to be grasped and used. For, as with time and space, your spheres of awareness inevitably increase and in imperceptible but progressive stages you find and lose yourself as part of a family, a nation, a world… And, without forgetting your name or who you are, if you are growing spiritually, you begin to care less what happens to you and increasingly think and feel and act in causes beyond your individual self—at the same time letting that self diffuse and re-condense into a bigger, more universal consciousness.
The resonance of this big idea—a scientific, stage-development model of human spiritual maturity—lies in the immutable, universal natural law of higher-order structures emerging and evolving from the lower. The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith. The official website of the Baha'i Faith is: Bahai.
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Are we morally accountable to it? Can we be forgiven in some ultimate sense? Is our nature merely biological, or is there a nonmaterial soul that points toward eternity? The intensity and pervasiveness of these and other big questions about human nature and destiny in the cosmos have in no way subsided in our scientific age. Indeed, from New Age spiritualities to the global rise of Christian Pentecostalism, from the undiminished appeal of religious traditionalism to the pervasiveness of faith-based philanthropies, modern times are as defined by spirituality and religion as any other in history, perhaps more so insofar as technological innovations force us to ask questions about our growing capacities to modify the essential nature of humans and to bring our species to an end through massive violence and ecological perils.
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Physicians who interact empathically with patients understand that such questions are very much a part of the illness experience. We all know that religions can bring out the very best in people and the very worst, like marriage and parenthood, like corporations, politics, and even the profession of medicine itself. And yet these are all institutions that will remain with us and, at their best, contribute to human flourishing. The spate of neo-atheist best-selling books calling for the end of religion and spirituality in favor of a pure secularism can only be understood as the frustrated gasp of those who observe the continued modern importance of spirituality and religion, despite elite secular philosophies.
Medicine arose in theological contexts. The ancients swore their healing oaths to the gods and goddesses, thereby adding an aura of sacred depth to the task of preserving life and ameliorating suffering. A revolution in medicine occurred with the Abrahamic faiths, all of which gave rise to a more deeply impassioned concern for the ill than had been seen in classical antiquity. Rather, medical science has been energized with the noble religious commitment to healing.
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In this there has been no contradiction, but rather a great synergy whereby empirical methods devised by Christian Renaissance humanists like Francis Bacon merged with a religious stewardship for human lives. To think that modern medicine can be explained in secular terms is to be neglectful of its spiritual history. Good healers have always understood that the art of medicine requires empathic attentiveness to patient spirituality.
The patient who is loved feels that his or her life has value and significance in the eyes of the nurturer.
It reflects back to the beloved the significance, dignity, and even sacredness that would otherwise be obscured. The need for significance is not the quest for fame or renown.