Mahatma Gandhi’s famous statement on the nature of God

from Tikkun.org, January 20, 2010 

This week’s spiritual wisdom comes from Mahatma Gandhi’s famous statement on the nature of God, which was broadcast to America from London in October 1931:

I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever changing, ever dying, there is underlying all that change a living Power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. That informing Power or Spirit is God. And since nothing else I see merely through the senses can or will persist, He alone is.

And is this Power benevolent or malevolent? I see It as purely benevolent. For I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth, truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth, Light. He is Love. He is the supreme Good.
But he is no God who merely satisfies the intellect if He ever does. God to be God must rule the heart and transform it. He must express Himself in every smallest act of His votary. This can only be done through a definite realization more real than the five senses can ever produce. Sense perceptions can be, often are, false and deceptive, however real they may appear to us. Where there is realization outside the senses it is infallible. It is proved not by extraneous evidence but in the transformed conduct and character of those who have felt the real presence of God within.
Such testimony is to be found in the experiences of an unbroken line of prophets and sages in all countries and climes. To reject this evidence is to deny oneself.
This realization is preceded by an immovable faith. He who would in his own person test the fact of God’s presence can do so by a living faith. And since faith itself cannot be proved by extraneous evidence, the safest course is to believe in the moral government of the world and therefore in the supremacy of the moral law, the law of truth and love. Exercise of faith will be the safest where there is a clear determination summarily to reject all that is contrary to Truth and Love.
This text was drawn from volume 43 of The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (electronic book), New Delhi, Publications Division Government of India, 1999.
http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2010/01/20/spiritual-wisdom-of-the-week-25/

 

Universal values

The False Equation: Religion Equals Moralityby Gwynne Dyer, CommonDreams.org, December 19, 2011 …In the United States, where it is almost impossible to get elected unless you profess a strong religious faith… Not one of the hundred US senators ticks the “No Religion/Atheist/Agnostic” box, for example, although 16 percent of the American population do…This is a common belief among those who rule, because they confuse morality with religion…politicians, religious leaders and generals in every country, are effectively saying that my children, and those of all the other millions who have no religion, are morally inferior to those who do. It is insulting and untrue.

Another Word on “God and the Twenty-First Century” by Michael Benedikt – It is no longer necessary to invoke the name of God to explain or promote compassionate action. Today we understand we have evolved that capacity… the capacity for empathy, fairness, and altruism is wired into human beings and even other higher mammals from birth, thanks to millions of generations of reproduction-with-variation under the constraints of natural selection. Similarly, the laws of civility — from the Eightfold Way and the Ten Commandments to the Magna Carta, the Geneva Convention, and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights — are the culturally transmitted legacy of thousands of years of human social evolution overlaid upon older, natural reproductive-selective processes. Whereas laws of civility may once have needed the rhetorical force of God-talk to establish themselves, today they can be embraced rationally in the service of peace and prosperity.

Toward a “Common Spirituality”: Scaffolding for Evolving Consciousness by Richard Harmer, PhD, Noetic, December 2010 – Spirituality is a universal phenomenon. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live or what “tribe” you are a part of; you can be assured that spirituality will be a part of the psychological and social fabric of your immediate world. Why? Humans have a strong will toward meaning…spirituality provides us with a sense of morality and ethics and allows us to find a sense of peace in the face of life’s trials and tribulations. In fact, spirituality is central to being and becoming a healthy and well-adjusted human being. Spirituality also plays a role in enabling the evolution of individual and collective consciousness…
A person’s way of thinking and being is influenced by their worldview – the unique combination of attitudes, perceptions, and assumptions that inform how they personally understand and make sense of their place in the world…
3) The belief in fostering wholeness and interconnectedness, which means a universal spiritual belief that all life is interconnected and that it is your bond to all humanity that provides a sense of wholeness…

Science and the Search for Meaning By Peter Morales, President, Unitarian Universalist Assn, www.theNewAtlantis.com, Summer 2013 – excerpt – We affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” This simple proposition, which could serve as the motto of any scientific society, secular organization, or humanist group, is in fact one of the seven principles that guide the Unitarian Universalist religion…for many religions, truth, or at least what is true about the most important matters, is given by a set of sacred texts or traditions that members accept as a matter of faith. At least in this somewhat stereotypical view of religious thought, the truth about the highest or most important things cannot be sought — it is only given by authority. Scientific truth, on the other hand, is constantly changing. That is to say, what people know to be true changes as new information comes to light and ideas are challenged by new findings.

It is understandable, then, that religion and science have had a conflict or two over the years…many people believe they have to make a choice between a religious and a scientific worldview…for faith to be whole, for it to encompass the whole of our lived experience with the world, we must come to terms with science and what science teaches us. As Unitarian Universalists, we recognize that science and religion share a common wellspring. They both arise from the human need to cope with life, to make life comprehensible, controllable, and meaningful…

Science is based on a radically democratic way of knowing, in the sense that scientific truth is comprised of the things we can all experience — not on private experiences, accessible only to putatively gifted individualsscientific truth needs to be equally true for everyone everywhere… ultimately, science is an attempt to understand those parts of human experience that are unarguably true for all of us…While science and religion both arise from our need to cope with experience, science and religion are responses to fundamentally different questions. Science can help us discover the truth about our world, but religion can help us give that truth meaning…There is a human hunger for meaning that science does not address….Meaning in life does not exist unless we create it; it is our individual and collective response to what we have learned about the world…

I believe that hunger for meaning is the source for the renewed interest we have witnessed in recent decades in ritual, in spiritual practices such as meditation, and in traditional religious imagery. This coincides with recent findings that the number of people in the United States who consider themselves religiously unaffiliated is growing, while a majority of them still “describe themselves either as a religious person (18 percent) or as spiritual but not religious (37 percent).” People are seeking something that science does not give them. This is not a criticism of science. To criticize science for not satisfying our emotional and spiritual need for meaning is like criticizing a circle for not having corners.

Religion, at its best and most profound and most enduring, has been humanity’s way of collecting and transmitting wisdom about the meaning of life from one generation to the next.….Before science, religion filled the vacuum created by ignorance and created stories to explain the truth about the world — myths about creation and humanity’s origin…only we can decide how to react to them, how to apply those wondrous insights to our own lives…That is our religious task — individually and communally to create lives filled with meaning and lives consistent with what we love most deeply… http://progressivevalues.org.s150046.gridserver.com

This election is about core values by Phyllis Stenerson, Commentary in Uptown Neighborhood News, Minneapolis, MN October 2012

Toward a “Common Spirituality”: Scaffolding for Evolving Consciousness by Richard Harmer, PhD, Noetic, December 2010 – Spirituality is a universal phenomenon. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live or what “tribe” you are a part of; you can be assured that spirituality will be a part of the psychological and social fabric of your immediate world. Why? Humans have a strong will toward meaning…spirituality provides us with a sense of morality and ethics and allows us to find a sense of peace in the face of life’s trials and tribulations. In fact, spirituality is central to being and becoming a healthy and well-adjusted human being. Spirituality also plays a role in enabling the evolution of individual and collective consciousness…
A person’s way of thinking and being is influenced by their worldview – the unique combination of attitudes, perceptions, and assumptions that inform how they personally understand and make sense of their place in the world…
3) The belief in fostering wholeness and interconnectedness, which means a universal spiritual belief that all life is interconnected and that it is your bond to all humanity that provides a sense of wholeness…

The Real Values Voters Summit by Rev. Peter Morales, UUA

Mahatma Gandhi’s famous statement on the nature of God from Tikkun.org, January 20, 2010

Many Faiths, One Truth by Tenzin Gyaatso, the Dalai Lama, New York Times, May 24, 2010

Real moral values – Articulating a liberal religious moral vision by Rev. William G. Sinkford, Unitarian Universalist World, March/April 2005