November 21, 2018

What’s the difference between interfaith, inter-religious, interspirituality, perennial philosophy, and world spirituality?

There are several kinds of spiritual expressions today. They are all expressions of universal spirituality and World Spirituality includes all of them. In a recent audio dialogue posted on Spirit’s Next Move, CWS Director Marc Gafni discusses the similarities and differences among several major different types of post-conventional spirituality. The comments posted on Marc Gafni: Dual Citizen delineate the essential distinctions he sees.

After reviewing the major alternatives, Marc concludes:

World Spirituality takes a perspective on all of these and deeply bows to each one of them, and at the same time says that they’re true and partial… basically what it says is that if we just respect each other we lose the traditions. Just respecting is a great thing to do, but what that means is that we’re being guided by pre-modernity. We receive reverentially the contributions of pre-modernity and we recognize a difference between surface structures and depth structures…

Marc Gafni on the positive and shadow sides of the interfaith movement

Marc Gafni, Director of the Center for World Spirituality, reflects on the article by Rabbi David Rosen, writing in Huffington Post (described in a recent blog post here) which gave his view on the importance of the launch on Monday of the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. In this 22-minute audio clip, Spirit’s Next Move Executive Editor Joe Perez invites Marc to reflect on this important moment in the emergence of the global religious interfaith movement.

Listen to the dialogue and read a partial transcript: [Read more…]

Marc Gafni and Charles Randall Paul: The Roots of Individuality

Charles Randall Paul, Ph.D., is one of the most creative leading edge orthodox theologians in the world today. He is board chair, founder, and president of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. He has lectured widely and written numerous articles on healthy methods for engaging differences in religions and ideologies, and he is currently completing two books: Fighting about God: Why We Do It and How to Do It Better and Converting the Saints: An American Religious Conflict. He is on the board of editors for the International Journal of Decision Ethics. Charles is also a member of the Wisdom Council of the Center for World Spirituality.

Today the Spirit’s Next Move blog features a 25-minute audio conversation between Dr. Charles Randall Paul and Dr. Marc Gafni, director of CWS and scholar-in-residence. In this segment, Gafni establishes the essential contours of Unique Self teaching on enlightenment and Paul asks for clarification regarding its implications for Eastern enlightenment. Gafni says that unattachment is a higher integral embrace of East and West, and its general position is that nobody is entirely wrong. Every great system has its own understanding that is true and partial, he says. The great understanding of the East is that to move beyond suffering, you have to move beyond your identity as a separate self. And Unique Self retains that central insight by incorporating the teaching that separateness is the source of suffering but it is different from uniqueness.

Charles takes issue with Marc at times, as their exchange on the nature of Western enlightenment in the Renaissance shows, along a path towards a greater shared understanding. They agree that the roots of Western individualism can be traced back both to Christianity as well as the Judaism’s teaching of Imago Dei, but neither religion fully escaped ethnocentrism. It was not until the Renaissance, Marc says, that the individual is given dignity qua individual without being located in a particular religious context.

Listen to the audio: [Read more…]

Launch of new interfaith center in Vienna raises hopes

Rabbi David Rosen, writing in Huffington Post, explains the importance of the launch on Monday of the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. The initiative was launched jointly by Austria, Spain, and Saudi Arabia, as well as an international organization headed by a nine-member board. Saudi King Abdullah played a key role in its founding including the enlistment of the Vatican as a partner in the center.

Rosen writes:

What makes this interfaith initiative so special is not just that it has been established by three governments or that it has a multifaith board. Rather, it is the fact that this initiative has come from the very heart of the Muslim world — from the custodian of the two holiest shrines of Islam. This gives it a unique standing and, hopefully, the potential to contribute globally.

While the center seeks to be a hub for interfaith work internationally and to provide state-of-the-art technology to help empower this work, it also explicitly seeks to address situations where religion is abused and exploited for violence and conflict, and to ensure that religion is part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

[Read more…]

God 9.0: Does Christianity Have a Future? by Tilmann Haberer

By Tilmann Haberer

‘I am spiritual, but not religious‘– many people make this distinction. They describe themselves as spiritual and maybe they mean by this that they follow a more or less intensive discipline such as Yoga, Vipassana or Zen. Or maybe they lay the Tarot. Perhaps they also believe that, for them, the existence of a higher order is self-understood. However, this higher order has little to do with the god spoken about in religion. For the established religions – in particular Christianity, Islam and Judaism in our part of the world – have gambled away our trust, which, for centuries, was taken for granted. Of course there are reasons for this. One of the most important of these must be that, historically, the churches often played a very disreputable role. Crusades, burning of witches, persecution of heretics and those with different beliefs, religious wars, the conquering of Middle and South America with fire and sword! The list is endless, as endless as the streams of blood and tears that the churches have caused over the course of the centuries. This list carries forward to the present day; the abuse scandals scream to heaven. [Read more…]

Who Does World Spirituality Serve? by Marc Gafni

Millions of spiritual seekers today are confused. Some grew up in religions that they left and charted their own spiritual path. Others were raised without religion and found their way to spiritual practice. Still others practice in a particular religion yet do not feel that it holds the exclusive truth, and feel powerfully attracted to other systems of spirit that might deepen or compliment their native tradition. It is clear that the time for the emergence of Spirit’s next step is now, and that the emergence of a World Spirituality is an evolutionary step in human history.

Watch this video:

[Read more…]

New World Conditions Catalyze the Evolution of a New World Spirituality – Part 1

Dearest Friends,

Wow, what a time it is! The world is in turmoil on virtually every level of reality even as it is pregnant with possibility and promise. The nature of the challenges that we face is, for the first time in the history of the cosmos, global in magnitude. The threat is a global threat to our very survival. The promise is the emergence of a global civilization, one rooted in an evolution of love beyond anything the world has ever seen. We need now, more then ever, a World Spirituality based on Integral principles.

New World Conditions Catalyze the Evolution of a New World Spirituality

The world faces world problems. Gone is the era where local kings, seers, and shamans dealt with their local issues. There are no more exclusively local issues. Everything affects everything else. Everything is interconnected and interdependent.

Of course, from a spiritual perspective, viewed through the eye of the heart and the eye of the spirit, this was always the case. However, the essential interconnectedness of all of reality was not apparent. The King of Burma had no felt sense or evidence that his actions and decision would affect the ancient Indians who populated the Americas.

Now, however, the underlying wholeness of all of reality, the inextricable interpenetration of all of its parts, is becoming visible to the naked eye. One needs to look only at environmental and ecological issues to realize the essential interconnectivity and indivisibility of it all.

New world conditions are always precisely what catalyze the next evolutionary leap. As we realize that the challenges that confront us are world challenges, we realize that we must evolve a World Spirituality to meet those challenges. But not only to meet those challenges.

[Read more…]