Written by: Michelle Belanger
We of House Kheperu do not precisely espouse any specific religious belief. Rather, we style ourselves Universalists, for we see and appreciate the validity and underlying truths of every world belief. Yet we also acknowledge the downfalls of many current religions, which is why we each follow our own personal, and very individual, spritual path. We feel that the greatest wrong committed by any religion is to declare itself the only way to believe. To us, this is a rather naive and short-sighted view that indicates that that particular religion has lost sight of the true nature of the divinity it claims to understand so thoroughly.
God, by very definition, is infinite. There is no single name, scripture, or doctrine that contains all of the divine truth. These systems cannot contain all of the truth nor can they contain the "only" truth because they are the creation of man, and man, unlike God, is finite and therefore fallible. The very act of describing divinity in words limits it, and thus loses some aspect of its divinity. At best, each system captures a small portion of the vastness of divinity, but for as much truth as any one system might possess, there is still an infinite amount of God-truth that it cannot contain. This is why every religious tradition the world over is at once partly right and partly wrong. No matter how enlightened or all-embracing the doctrine, it cannot contain the truth for every person or every situation.
This is hardly a new concept. Mystics in all times and all places have known that no single tradition can ever encompass all of the truth. As the Muslim poet, Jelaludin Rumi observes, "there are many ways to bend the knee and pray." Religions, in trying to define God, sacrifice a great deal of the truth in order to construct a doctrine. Mystics, who rise out of individual religious systems, such as Christianity, Judaism, and, in Rumi's case, Islam, shatter the barriers of doctrine and develop intensely personal spiritual paths. Rather than trying to define God, they simply experience it, and by surrendering themselves to the experience, they often come much closer to a true comprehension of the divine that moves through them and through everything around them.
When you realize that God is infinite, you also realize that no finite human authority could ever claim to know everything about God. God (the divinity, Brahmin, Goddess, the force - whatever you want to call it, since names mean very little to something so vast - no name can truly name it without limiting it anyhow!) is the entire universe, and everything in it, and everything beyond it that cannot be sensed yet is still God. This fundamental truth was expressed best in the Qabbalah as the concept of non-duality. Non-duality is the basis for the monotheism that separated Judaism from most of the contemporary religions of its day, and yet to describe this belief as monotheism as we understand the word today is to lose a great deal of the meaning behind "non-duality."
Simply put, non-duality does not simply mean that there is only one God. It means that *everything* is God. This is the truth that the mystics surrender themselves up to, becoming one with God and with all the universe in their ecstatic visions. There is only one God because there cannot be anything *but* God in the universe. I'm God, you're God, the rocks and trees are God, even the tiniest bacteria is God. To say that God is this and not that is, according to the Qabbalah, to be dualistic. And thus, to say that the God of one system is not the self-same God of another system is essentially recognizing the existence of a different God, or at the very least something which is *not* God, and that again is duality.
What this all comes down to is the inescapable fact that every religious and spiritual tradition the world over is at least somewhat correct, and should be respected for that correctness. Not all religions are created equal, however, and some have a great deal more garbage mingled in with the truth than others. So the true seeker must be discerning and always seek the truth on their own. Yet a religion by its very definition is striving to understand divinity. Some seek to unify man with the divine. Some seek merely to put man in contact with a nearly unreachable God through some intermediary. Yet all religions and spiritual paths are concerned with helping the individual gain a better understanding of their Self, their relation to the world around them, and their relation with or connection to divinity.
To put it in a metaphor -- some paths might go through brambles. Some might wend their way around treacherous gullies and cliffs. Some might even meander through vast, faceless plains. Yet all are pointed toward the same destination, and all will help the diligent traveler to eventually arrive at that destination with a better understanding of his journey and himself. No one can say what path is right or wrong for any other person. All we can do is walk the path that is best for us, content in knowing that each of us will arrive in our own time and in our own way.