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Sound and Silence

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February 2017

Belief separates, love unites

To most people, “belief” defines what they hold dear. In creeds, confessions, and unspoken ways, belief codifies in word and concept the structures of thought, and is often ratified by the authority traditions in their world. When one is believing “correctly” one feels a sense of security. When religions disagree, or even go to war, the justification for this is difference of belief and the divinely sanctioned rightness of the cause.

Belief is about concepts, law and controllable, measurable precepts. It judges, controls, “divides asunder” and discriminates. Belief creates walls and categories. Belief separates.

So here’s the point … belief is very different to faith, to trust, and to love. The Yang-nature of belief does not empathise or seek connection, it cannot operate in compassion. Only love does this.

There is possibly no greater text on Love than the of Paul letter to the Corinthians. If there is going to be a guiding text for an interspiritual movement, this must be it. Do not read this narrowly, as an exclusive banner for Christianity, but rather see it as Paul’s free gift to the world, to all of us, regardless of what we believe:

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled.

1 Corinthians 13:4-10, The Message


Part of a blog series “Why Interspirituality is the future” leading up to The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture “BELONGING TO GOD: Spirituality, Science & a Universal Path of Divine Love” by Will Keepin , PhD , co-founder of the Satyana Institute and a leader in the “interspiritual” movement.

The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture will take place on Tuesday 21st February 2017 at Erin Hall Rondebosch, Cape Town, 19h00 for 19h30 (7.30 pm), hosted by the CTII (Cape Town Interfaith Initiative). See our Facebook event.

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Relate or Die

One of the most straightforward and pragmatic reasons to believe in an interspiritual future is that if we do not learn to co-operate, and continue the all too apparent trend of unbridled competition, the human world as we know it, will cease to exist.

It’s by now a rather hackneyed thought that “religion is the root cause of war”. Of course this observation by Enlightenment rationalists who broke free from the dark ages imposed by Christendom was important. To step outside of the paradigm that created the crusades requires one to acknowledge the awful truth of institutional religion’s role in fanning the flames of hatred and xenophobia, exercising  judgement and genocidal hypocrisy, and of power mad avarice in the name of God.

But many now agree that despite all the negative aspects of our religious traditions that these traditions have bequeathed to us a rich heritage of wisdom. In overcoming our prejudices against others and their beliefs, we may find that we have been changed in ways that “staying put” could never have done.

An important example of such prejudice is the dismissal of Eastern thought and paths by many middle-western monotheists. But I am convinced that Eastern and Western thought need each other far more than they know. For example the idea of “yin”, the feminine receptive principle, shows the “Christian west” an alternative to its Trinitarian patriarchy which casts God as majority masculine shareholder in the Divine.

If we are not relating to our “other” in any of its manifestations, we are in fact dying. This could be in very small ways, bothering to learn an greeting in a foreign tongue, catching ourselves dismissing the voice of one we have always considered “wrong”, or “irrelevant”, making a visit to a temple or church that we have always thought of as “not us”, attempting to see the beauty in someone else’s scripture.

Or it could be in much larger ways, such as bringing peace to parts of our world that remain in the grip of demonically arrested, fundamentalist, and power-crazed forces.

Interspirituality offers us a way into our own prejudices, our own poisons, our own stale ideas that have not been expanding and reaching for deeper understandings of what Love might mean. And it may just be a blueprint for a new model of being human.

Integration IS salvation

Some religious traditions (most notably monotheistic ones) insist on their exclusive path to “Truth”, and create categories for the opposite, the “other”, such as “unbeliever”, “heathen”, “gentile” and “kafir”. They also create sophisticated theologies explaining why some are “in” and others “out”.

Other traditions accept those not of their kind, and are more generous and less damning towards outsiders.

However, the inner truths of all traditions stress a path to Oneness, variously described by terms like salvation, tawhid, enlightenment, moksha, individuation, or sagehood. No matter how divisive a religion is towards the whole, it is attempting to find oneness inside of itself.

The real meaning of “idolatry” is allowing the part to be taken as the whole. It therefore denies a larger reality outside of its self-imposed system. Every religions tradition aspires towards oneness of some sort, but many get arrested in their development in smaller idolatrous versions of the whole. Much of the fundamentalism of this age can be well understood this way.

We must therefore assert that all religions seek oneness and integration, and at some point if they can transcend the insularity of their partial view, all religions in their best expressions, seek integration. This includes every type of integration, that of the individual, the body corporate, and therefore, by the logic of this same truth, interfaith dialog, shared practice with other faiths and what we are coming to call “Interspirituality”.


Part of a blog series “Why Interspirituality is the future” leading up to The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture “BELONGING TO GOD: Spirituality, Science & a Universal Path of Divine Love” by Will Keepin , PhD , co-founder of the Satyana Institute and a leader in the “interspiritual” movement.

The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture will take place on Tuesday 21st February 2017 at Erin Hall Rondebosch, Cape Town, 19h00 for 19h30 (7.30 pm), hosted by the CTII (Cape Town Interfaith Initiative). See our Facebook event.

Why Interspirituality is the future

A blog series “Why Interspirituality is the future” leading up to The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture “BELONGING TO GOD: Spirituality, Science & a Universal Path of Divine Love” by Will Keepin, PhD , co-founder of the Satyana Institute and a leader in the “interspiritual” movement.

The lecture will take place on Tuesday 21st February at Erin Hall Rondebosch, Cape Town, 19h00 for 19h30 (7.30 pm), hosted by the CTII (Cape Town Interfaith Initiative). See our Facebook event.

What is Interspirituality?

Interfaith dialog is known to many, but Interspirituality is a new concept. It is a positive vision of the future of humanity drawing on all the wisdoms available, including ancient and modern religious traditions, and the new understandings unleashed by science.

There are four stages leading to the interspiritual:

  1. Interfaith monolog

My faith talks to you, (or preaches at you!), with no need to hear your point of view, because I am absolutely certain that I am right.

  1. Interfaith dialog

My faith talks to you and your faith talks to me. We enter conversation about our respective positions, and hopefully learn something. Theodore Zeldin says “A true conversation occurs when both parties come away slightly changed.”

  1. Shared practice

We transcend mere exchange of ideas and experience each other’s space. I pray at your mosque, you visit my science club meeting, and we spend authentic time in each other’s worlds.

  1. Interspirituality

Beyond talking and doing, a space of shared being where none of us are the owners, it is a radically new mode of being that is created as we go. But we bring all we have to offer including our home traditions, enriching all.


Next post to follow: “Integration IS salvation”

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