Many paths, one God.
This statement, quite simply, is the Interfaith philosophy and spiritual outlook.
The six guiding principles of All Faiths Seminary International elaborate on the concept:
- We affirm the truth in all faiths and religious paths.
- We affirm our belief that seeking attunement to Spirit is the highest goal of conscious living.
- We affirm an inclusive vision of “WE.”
- We affirm the essential goodness of the human being.
- We affirm that each person, indeed all life, is a part of the healing of the world.
- We affirm the value of Interfaith interactions as enriching our awareness of Spirit in the world.
The Principles of Universal Spirituality from the Association for Global New Thought also reflect the essential – Interfaith -- truths of all great spiritual traditions:
- There is one infinite, all-inclusive, creative, living Intelligence beyond and within the universe.
Whether we call It God, Brahman, Allah, Spirit, or some other name, It is the Great All in which all things exist and of which all things have been made.
- Our essential nature is spiritual.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and as spiritual beings we share in God’s essential nature.
- We have a creative relationship with our experience of life.
The spiritual universe operates according to spiritual law, which allows us to co-create our life experience consciously.
- Life is a spiritual journey toward an awareness of the true source of our being.
The ultimate destiny of every individual soul is to awaken to the true source of its being – God Itself.
Quotations of the Interfaith Way
Some of my favorite quotations from varied sources and spiritual traditions that illustrate the logic, inspiration, universality, and profound implications of an Interfaith way of life:
- “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” – Shema, Hebrew prayer, Deut. 6:4
- “God hath made of one blood all nations that dwell upon the face of the Earth.” – Bible, Acts 17:16
- “There are many ways up the mountain and each of us must choose a practice that feels true to our heart . . . the practices themselves are only vehicles for you to develop awareness, loving-kindness, and compassion on the path toward freedom. That is all.” -- Jack Kornfield, Buddhist teacher and author
- “If we spend our time running around the bottom of the mountain trying to convert others to our particular path, we do not get any closer to the top. In the end it is not nearly as important what path we choose as it is that we get on one and begin our personal journey upward.” – Susanna McMahon, The Portable Pilgrim
- “Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One . . . You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too!” – Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior
- “The first peace is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its Powers. Anywhere is the center of the universe.” –Black Elk (Lakota)
- “If we dive deep enough into ourselves, we will find that the one thread of universal love ties all beings together. As this awareness dawns within us, all disharmony will cease. Abiding peace alone will reign.” –Amma
- “We possess a single infallible guide and this is the Universal Spirit that lives in men as a whole, and in each one of us, which makes us aspire to what we should aspire; it is the spirit that commands . . . us to reach out towards God and by so doing become united to each other.” – Leo Tolstoy
- “The supreme realization of man is his unity with God.” – Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity
- “However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end.” – Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita
- “As the different streams, having their sources in different places, all mingle their water in the sea, O Lord, so the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee,” hymn quoted by Swami Vivekananda
- “There is only One God.” and “One thing we know. All men are brothers.” – Chief Seattle
- “Allah is One.” – Koran, 112:1
- “All creatures are members of the one family of God.” – Mohammed
- “All people are your children, whatever their belief, whatever their shade of skin.” – Jewish prayer book
- “Praise be to the Lord of the Universe, who has created us and made us into tribes and nations that we may know each other, not despise each other.” –Muslim prayer
- “Never instead of, always in addition to.” –Rabbi Joseph H. Gelberman
- “Love all religions and all nations. Recognize and accept all religions as paths leading to the same destination. All of them teach love and compassion, humility and forbearance . . . There is only one religion, the religion of love. There is only one language, the language of the heart. There is only one God and He is omnipresent.” – Sai Baba
- “Now are we one in thought, for fear has gone. And here, before the altar to one God, one Father, one Creator and one Thought, we stand together as one Son of God.” – A Course in Miracles, Workbook Lesson 187
- “There is one body and one Spirit . . . one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” –Ephesians 4:4,6
- “There is one mind common to all individual minds.” –Emerson
- “The best known, even if not understood, view holds that ultimate reality is a unity – pure, bare, complete, perfect unity. All plurality is illusory.” –Patanjali
- “Instead of marveling at the fact that providence allows such a great variety of religions, we should be amazed at the number of common elements found within them.” --Pope John Paul II
- “God has made different religions to suit different aspirations, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God Himself. Indeed one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole-hearted devotion.” –Ramakrishna
- “Those who wish to embody the Tao should embrace all things. To embrace all things means that one rids oneself of any concept of separation: male and female, self and other, life and death.” –Lao Tzu
- “When thou strippest the wrappings of illusion from off thy heart, the lights of oneness will be made manifest.” –Baha’ u ‘llah
- “Regard all men as equal, since God’s light is contained in the heart of each.” –Guru Nanak, Sikhism
- “Spirit is a field of conscious energy that connects everything with everything else, everyone with everyone else.” –Deepak Chopra
- “Let us pray that all living beings realize that they are all brothers and sisters, all nourished from the same source of life.” –Thich Nhat Hanh
- “There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable.” –Gandhi
- “God is One, but the paths to Him are many. Countless, too, are the ways in which He may be experienced, and described.” –Paramhansa Yogananda
- "Unitary being need not be acquired;" it is our very Self always -
Sri Ramana Maharshi