Thanks for your post and thoughtful comments.
>>So here goes- with the risk of being the proverbial elephant cow in the china-shop_
Moller said "A way" and Philippe asked something to the affect whether other ways are travellable.
As you know, Moller, my bugbear is the phrase "The only way" i think, in my particular "search for truth" I have traversed and wallowed in a good few forms and expressions of religion and philosophy, and in all of them, including Sant Mat, this phrase has been the reason for my hoisting my backpack and leaving.
My contention is that all of these ways at one time started off as a clear and simple way, recognised as truth by some, and then claimed as "The only truth", and therefore all other ways as "non-truths" Then the old territorial mayhem kicks in with the "us and them" thing.>>
(M) Indeed! The truth (if there is such a state or thing or condition)can never belong within the confines of any teaching or teacher. But I think we could make a reasonable distinction between the many different paths we choose to get to our projected notion of truth.
>>if our train is taking us where we want to be (and surely, where we want to be is where it will necessarily take us) then looking out the window , seeing all the other trains, going in what just might be the same direction can we not recognise that they just might get there?
So what I mean is, the chap on the Jesus/Buddha-train in search of "God", who searches at the heart of his religion- and I mean sincerely and with humility-surely that will also take him to the heart of true humanism ?>>
(M) My feeling is that everything depends on how we perceive the problem we want to solve. All paths are attempts to solve some kind of problem, whether it is existential, emotional, spiritual, mental and so on. So how we define the problem our path should solve, will determine the nature of our path. From this perspective not all paths lead to Rome. There are so many destinations as there are paths. The Buddha guy is likely to end their search in a very different place to the Jesus guy. The reason is they want to solve two distinct problems. The Buddha guy may believe that transcending the separate self-sense is the way to go about things. The Jesus guy may hope to get to heaven or be saved from their sins. Different needs, different paths.
The humanist who has no sense of God or heaven and hell, may look at their human situation and decide that there is too much confusion and suffering in the way folks live. So, he/she may then choose to investigate the causes of suffering and set up a path which may be very different to many other seekers after 'truth' And no, in my understanding sincerity is not the operative term. Experiential reality is. The man seeking to be relieved at death from his sins in order to go to heaven, may indeed be very sincere. But sincerity is not going to make him an atheistic humanist. He has to let go of his God-idea before he can become a true humanist. No-one has ever seen or come face to face with God, despite all the God-talk doing the rounds. Reality alone can free the person from mistaking the projection of God for God – not sincerity.
>>The elephant cow is leaving the building
The elephant cow then continues (despite standing outside the building she has just left) shouting to be heard by those on the inside:
>> yes I know this is a question you have answered before, and do I hear a communal sigh of "Not this old question again?" But..
yes your old goodhearted Afrikaner defending his spiritual laager..but thats when Jaap uses the religion as a vehicle for his otherwise indefensble prejudices and real fears. I am talking about when chaps like St Francis use the religion as a vehicle for compassion and love and humility, and recognition of our humanity,and find the answer in self-examination and meditation.>>
(M) I cannot speak for St. Francis. He discovered his own 'truth' and I can really not comment on what he wrote. If he did self-examination and meditation, perhaps he shared some of my views on these matters. He did his own thing. If he used religion to get to humanism good for him. But my sense is that in order to get to humanism he could not have held on to the notion of God as some ultimate divining force in the universe. The two notions are mutually exclusive.
>>And surely to self-examine in the first place requires a modicum of intelligence. What about the inarticulate uneducated old lady who settles on the path of simple love and compassion without any goals?>>
(M) Its not easy to say how the 'good old lady' actually felt about things. Perhaps her innate goodness was allowed to shine through whatever obstacles she might have put in the way of her goodness and love. In this way she was manifesting her innate human goodness -a true humanist. To be a true humanist in my view is to live that which we already are. The question I ask is 'how'?
>>I'm sure you get my whatchamaycallit..fairly humbly, but persistently>>
(M) Indeed! But why bother yourself with how the little old lady or St. rancis went about their lives? What about yours, dear friend? Have you no life to speak for itself? Or is it easier to relate stories about the weird and wondeful ways of others, deflecting the light of enquiry away from oneself?
Just a question. Persistent? You bet.
Love and light to you, Elizabeth. Good to have you around.