The concept of living faith, as opposed to simple belief, is a fundamental principle of religion. This does not refer simply to Christianity. In reading "The Case for God" by Karen Armstrong, I was struck by how universal the concept of letting go of self and doing for others was. To demonstrate this, I collected a group of quotes that I found significant. All the quotes below are from her book, referenced at the bottom. I highly, highly recommend purchasing and reading the entire book; it is amazing.
The Upanishadic sages (Vedic spirituality, India) put forth that "the truths of religion are accessible only when you are prepared to get rid of the selfishness, greed, and self-preoccupation that, perhaps inevitably, are ingrained in our thoughts and before...Once you gave up the nervous craving to promote yourself, denigrate others, draw attention to your unique and special qualities, and ensure that you were first in the pecking order, you experienced an immense peace" (p.20).
"Nirvana was the natural result of a life lived according to the Buddha's doctrine of anatta ("no self"), which was not simply a metaphysical principle, but, like all his teachings, a program of action. Anatta required Buddhists to behave day by day, hour by hour, as though the self did not exist....by far the best way of achieving anatta was compassion, the ability to feel with the other...One of the first people to make it crystal clear that holiness was inseparable from altruism was the Chinese sage Confucius" (p.24-25).
"Plato's disciples had to live out this separation [of soul from body] on a daily, hourly basis, paying careful attention to their behavior, as if each moment were their last. They must constantly be on their guard against pettiness and triviality, thus transcending the individualized personality that they would one day leave behind" (p.66). It goes on to counsel separation from earthly affair, not loving money, accepting misfortune, and being moderation in food and drink.
"Anselm is saying something quite different: religious truth made no sense without practically expressed commitment" (p.132).
Al-Ghazzali (Muslim) put forth the concept that "those who did not have the time, talent, or inclination for this type of spirituality could make themselves conscious of God in the smallest detail of daily life" (p.137).
Confucius advocates constant altruism. When practiced "'all day and every day,' it elevated human life to the realm of holiness and gave practitioners intimations of transcendence" (p.308).
Armstrong, K. (2009). The Case for God. New York: Random House, Inc.
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong