It’s Sunday, a good day for a religious, or spiritual, discussion.
I just happened to be reading a web page entitled:
“What are Sabellianism, Modalism, and Monarchianism?”
If you have a theological or philosophical streak in your personality, you might find this short discussion very interesting (at least I hope SOMEONE does). Now just what does all this have to do with Modern Spirituality? Well, I’ll get to that in a minute (or so, depending on how fast you read). What I am calling “Modern Spirituality” is an emerging tendency of many people today to describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious”, distancing themselves from organized religions. More on that shortly.
My own personal understanding of the Trinity, from a Christian upbringing and perspective, was that a.) There is only ONE God, and b.) that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were three ways in which the One God expressed different aspects, modes, or roles of Itself, but that the three were intimately a part of the One Whole. That was about as good an understanding of the Trinity as I gained through discussions with various pastors of liberal denominations of Christian churches throughout the years. These denominations all considered themselves to be part of “Orthodox Christianity”. Now, I always considered that this view of mine matched up pretty well with what I read in the Bible, and I thought I had a pretty good handle on it. Guess I was wrong.
In comparing this (maybe somewhat naive) view with the discussion on the web page, my understanding seems to most closely match with the description of the Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism / Sabellianism / Patripassianism view, which is considered HERESY. Hmmm, I always thought I was a little heretical – guess I was right. According to this web page discussion, my problem is that I need to see the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three SEPARATE personalities, which taken together, comprise the One God, rather than being three different expressions/modes/roles of the One God. Hmmm, now hold on a minute here… Now maybe my mind just isn’t keen enough, but I really do not see much of any difference or fine distinction between the Orthodox Christian view, and my own. It seems to me to be more of a semantic difference in language, rather than an actual difference in the CONCEPT of the Trinity. Now obviously I am in error, since the “Church” (as in Christian Orthodoxy) says it is heresy, which makes me a heretic. Well, OK, I knew that already.
It is terribly ironic to me that this web page emphasizes the fact that this view of God as Three, is way beyond the ability of the human mind to really comprehend. Yet, the “Church” regularly used such precise and nebulous differences, as the excuse to torture human beings to death. Now, is it just me, or do any of you see something very wrong here?
Honestly, sometimes I think that the “Church” political leaders had a little bit too much to drink, too much love of torturing heretics to death, and therefore, too much motivation to invent new heresies. What motivation, you ask? Why, the motivation to find new souls to torture and burn at the stake, of course. I really think they enjoyed this torture/burning/killing thing WAY too much in the “Middle Ages”, and maybe still today. I really think they perfected God’s ability of “ex nihilo” creation a bit too much for the good of humanity (in other words, making a mountain out of a mole hill).
But what do all my opinions and ramblings have to do with “Modern Spirituality”? I do not pretend to represent Modern Spirituality for all, but rather only MY take on what I think is happening with a large number of people these days. I think the tendency of my own mind is to see “commonalities” between the various religious beliefs, rather than focusing on the differences. One of the defining aspects of this Spirituality, for me, is the recognition of the commonalities between ALL, or almost all, of the Earth’s major religions, and many of the minor ones. I look at a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Christian, a New Ager…and see that all of us are basically worshiping the exact same God (by various names), and have similar legends or myths, such as the Garden of Eden, Tree of Life, and the many flood myths. If you really look closely, you can see that the commonalities are MUCH more extensive than generally admitted. This tendency I see in Modern Spirituality, to be all-inclusive, and accepting of all human beings as equally valuable, equally Divine, is a major departure from the norm of religions to separate humans, and look down on those who believe differently. I think one major goal of Modern Spirituality is leading people “toward” the brother/sisterhood of all humanity; bringing together, rather than tearing apart. I believe this sentiment is shared by many in this opening Aquarian Age.
In most religions, including Pagan, you can find some sort of trinitarian view of the Godhead. It may be expressed as Father, Mother, and Son/Daughter/Child, or Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, or some other variation of three-in-one concepts. The idea is very prevalent as found in all sorts of religions throughout the past, and throughout the Earth.
I hope to have much more to say about both, Modern Spirituality, and the similarities between religions, in future blogs. For now, this is just what “popped” into my little brain today. Please leave me comments, as I want to encourage discussion. I also hope to avoid arguments as much as possible. I value other views, even if I disagree with them. For now, Peace!