Humanity - Our Place In the Universe
This book shows how Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism view the place of humanity in the universe. Each religion is investigated by considering how the it answers the five big existential questions: 1/ Is there a God, or an Absolute Reality, and if so what is His (Its) nature? 2/ How was the universe created and what is the nature and purpose of this creation? 3/ What is the essential nature of a human being – are we just ephemeral material beings or do we possess some kind of indestructible essence? 4/ What is the purpose of life? 5/ What happens upon the death of the human body? Does this entail annihilation or is there some kind of afterlife, and if so, what is its nature? The answers to these questions give the essential beliefs of each religion, showing the nature of creation and our place in it. This a unique contribution to comparative religion, as by studying these religions using the same framework, the central beliefs of these religions can be clearly... More > presented and compared.< Less
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May 9, 2016Review by Ramaji, American Spiritual Teacher and Author. In "Humanity," a one of a kind overview of modern religion on our planet, Colin Drake takes on the remarkable task of making sense of the many obvious contradictions between major religious belief systems. Curiously, he does not argue for a unity of message as some authors have done. Instead, he sensibly limits his investigation to five simple core questions that he applies to each well-known global religion. The religions he analyzes via his questions are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. He acknowledges main subgroups within these major denominations. For example, he includes Kabbalah, Sufism, Gaudiya Vaishnavism (popularized by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) and the Theravadan, Zen and Tibetan Buddhist branches of Buddhism. The five questions are about God, Creation, the Nature of Man, the Purpose of Life and the Afterlife. Drake reports on boldly irrational religious beliefs with... More > transparent objectivity. These five basic queries are sufficient to arouse some fascinating original insights which he summarizes in his final chapter. Drake smartly includes the extraordinary spiritual accomplishments of the Hindu saint Sri Ramakrishna. Some consider him to be an avatar in the Hindu tradition. Whether he was or not, he took it upon himself to personally achieve the highest goals of devotional Hinduism (bhakti), Advaita Vedanta, Christianity and Islam. Ramakrishna's insights regarding the unity of world religions are a valuable highlight of Drake's keen investigation. The final chapter brings this book together with startling aplomb. Thanks to Drake's approach, there are sparks of insight found in no other text. For example, based on the plain facts with regard to life after death beliefs, Orthodox Judaism gets closely coupled with Buddhism, fundamentalist Christianity walks hands in hand with Orthodox Islam, and Catholic Christians cozy up with Gaudiya Vaishnavas! This chapter offers a refreshing resurrection for this cleverly unprovocative yet ultimately revelatory text. Here Drake offers his own summary remarks. Frankly, it has been a confusing journey, for he has not tried to harmonize the many contradictory views. He has aspired only to empathically report them. This he has achieved with admirable grace. At last the harsh thorns of theological contradiction resolve themselves. It cannot be any other way. The differences are needed for the unity to thrive.< Less
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- Colin Drake (Standard Copyright License)
- Beyond Awakening Publications
- July 12, 2014
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- Comparative Religion ,
- Buddhism ,
- Hinduism ,
- Christianity ,
- Islam ,
- Judaism ,
- Self identity ,
- Purpose ,
- Meaning ,
- God ,
- Nature of Universe ,
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