The world is moving in a direction back toward multiple faiths living harmoniously side-by-side. Granted, the world is still very divided on other matters and some very loud voices in some parts of the world preach against the goals of positive interfaith relations. Still, there is a slow but sure pattern emerging that suggests peace in terms of religious differences is a future possibility.
When monotheism hit the stage long ago, it suggested to a world in which multiple Gods of multiple cultures was the norm that all those Gods were not real. At best, they were deceptions as only one God existed. Not long after monotheism became the norm, the various faiths realized that the God they looked to was very different and fought over whose God was the one true God. Then a new concept emerged: All Gods are one God. But is it really as simple as just that?
All Gods Are One
The concept that all Gods are one God baffles some individuals. The idea is that there are many Gods and all are valid as they are ultimately a single God. Some paths call this single God the "All" or the "Universe." In some cases, the individual Gods are perceived as actual entities that are closely connected to the All. Other ideas suggest that the individual Gods are not entities so much as concepts or facets of the All. Some liken this to objects such as disco balls and soccer balls that have multiple faces. The All is the ball while the faces are the different Gods humans recognize. Still others suggest that the many Gods are nothing more than the individuals' perceptions and understandings of the All and nothing more.
Every case suggests that God is something far beyond human comprehension. We are too limited to understand who or what it is. The many Gods are merely ways for our human minds to make sense of the All. All Gods, then, are the key to the All. Some will even argue that God appears to every individual differently to help fulfill the needs of the individual. This explains the human population need for multiple faiths and why a faith that was right for an individual during one phase of his or her life may not be right for him or her during another.
There Is Only One God
If any group should be a bigger proponent of the all Gods are one God debate, it should be the monotheists. Monotheists who have witnessed services of faiths in which multiple Gods are honored note that the sensations and experience mirrors their own religious services. If all Gods are one God, then monotheism is correct.
Regardless of which God or Gods are worshiped or honored, the individuals doing the worshiping and honoring are ultimately linking in with the one God. Differences in traditions, lifestyle, and theology certainly occur, but the entity worshiped and honored is one and the same. Some monotheists most definitely agree with the all Gods are one debate.
However, other monotheists are opponents in the debate. Rather than seeing various Gods as merely aspects of their God, they see the other Gods as demons, delusions, or false idols. Some may argue that it is simply wrong to not go straight to the worship and honor of the All as that is the one true God. Why bother with a middle man when you can go straight to the head honcho? More often, however, they take the stance of so much as comparing Gods of other faiths to their God as sacrilege at best. Generally, the monotheistic stance against the concept of all Gods being one is more against differences in lifestyle and religious traditions than the idea God may appear differently to others as need dictates.
Multiple Gods Are Separate
Some polytheists abhor the statement that all Gods are one God and take personal offense to it. They have worked closely with multiple Gods and know from experience that each God is a separate entity from the next. No two are the same and to suggest that they are is no different than saying that all humans are just one human.
To these polytheists, the concept is bogus. There is no logic in viewing the many different Gods as the same God in disguise. More often than not, the different Gods would contradict each other if that were the case. The only way it could be possible is the idea that the Gods are separate entities that help lead us back to the All, but many do not even believe in this All. If it existed at all, it does not anymore.
This stance, of course, requires us to believe that no one and nothing is interconnected. We are all completely separate from everyone and everything else. This is true to an extent. We are most certainly on separate journeys and our destinations do not always appear to be the same. We are all unique with free will.
Then again, if we look into the science behind matter we come to the realization that we are all composed of the same energy. We are all operating on the same frequency. Down to the very basic of elements, we are all the same. We are all interconnected no matter how disconnected we feel at times.
In this case, we, like the Gods, are all a part of the All. We are God, but we are not God. We are merely extensions in the same way that different Gods as we know them may simply be extensions of one ultimate God. The all Gods are one God concept is not meant to be taken in a sense that every God ever known to man is the same God in disguise. It is a statement that the ultimate source of these Gods is the same; a God of the Gods, if you will.
There Are No Gods
The final major perspective in the debate comes from atheists. Surprisingly, this stance most supports the all Gods are one God concept. According to this position, no Gods exist. As such, all Gods are the same as one God because the ultimate answer is They are nonexistent. All paths lead to the same destination in the sense that all paths are worshiping and honoring entities that do not exist. All individuals who believe in a God or multiple Gods are delusional or mistaken at best. This is definitely not a popular argument for believers on all sides of the debate, but it certainly does offer another perspective on how the various Gods and pantheons may well be related.
Real peace between different faiths is still a long way off. In some parts of the world the horrors committed because of differences in views of God are daily occurrences. However, the all Gods are one God concept has provided a potential bridge to help narrow the gap caused by centuries of warring over whose perspectives were right. Many views exist for and against the concept, but now there is dialogue where once there was none.
The debate causes tensions in some lives as the human mind clings to concepts it is more familiar with rather than opening to different possibilities. As we all consider the possibilities and look beneath the surface, we find the dialogue leads to the understanding and peace we seek. We just need to be willing to open our minds.
All Gods, One God - © Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama  Excerpt from booklet entitled: A Human Approach to World Peace
© 2012 by Evylyn Rose
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