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Spiritual Meditations (21 May 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Religion per se Is More Than A Dispenser of Wisdom and Knowledge; It Brings People Together and Inspires Them to Work Together For Peace and Harmony

By Tajender Singh Luthra

May 21, 2019

The debate about the relevance of religion is an ongoing one in the modern secular world. One view that is current today is that religion is not required. However, if used with a sense of balance and proportion, religion could be beneficial in many ways for everyone, including agnostics and atheists.

Let’s first examine the wisdom and knowledge generated by the modern secular world. We get knowledge from our teachers, various books, movies, journals and newspapers. But however much we like a book or an article, after some time, we often forget its lesson. Sometimes, we even forget the title of the book. We surf the internet, talk to our friends, or search our bookshelves to reconnect with the book or the article to refresh our memory of its lesson. The same happens even with our favourite movies. With the passage of time, we forget the story, the protagonist, characters and the fine nuances of the plot. The modern secular world struggles with ways and means of retaining its knowledge and wisdom perhaps because we are so distracted by multitasking and our focus gets dissipated.

Religion has ingenious ways and means to help seekers retain its knowledge and wisdom. It offers and emphasises regular repetition that engenders retention, comprehension and propagation of knowledge and wisdom acquired from religious teachings. Most ancient religious teachings are universal and timeless; hence it is important to appreciate this priceless heritage and conserve it for present and future generations.

Religion per se is more than a dispenser of wisdom and knowledge; it brings people together and inspires them to work together for peace and harmony – and for the common good. In many cases, it provides solace to the suffering, hope to the hopeless and stimulates the intellect of those who seek answers to profound existential questions.

The sense of togetherness is evident when we visit a place of worship and when we feel at ease with complete strangers. It’s the ambience created by prayerful individuals who come with faith in their hearts and a prayer on their lips. There is no negativity to upset the feeling of oneness.

On the other hand, technology of the modern secular world can connect us, give us information, news, lots of material goodies but it cannot by itself create a sense of belonging and affiliation among its followers. We neither feel assured nor have a sense of belonging when we meet a stranger who is on the same social media network. Thus, though, technology connects us at one level, it does not create a sense of belonging and affiliation.

We get connected through technology yet we don’t feel confident of forging lasting, meaningful friendships. Those who are members of a religious satsang, for example, would perhaps experience a deeper sense of understanding and empathy with their group members, as they try to practice the hallowed teachings of their guru or faith.

In the modern secular world, it is one’s absolute choice to be an atheist or a believer, but an open-minded approach towards religion and its best practices may help us enhance our emotional well-being. This would contribute to a more stable and positive approach to life.

Tajender Singh Luthrar, an officer of the Indian Police Service, is a practitioner of positive psychology

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/place-of-religion-in-a-modern-secular-society/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/tajender-singh-luthra/religion-per-se-is-more-than-a-dispenser-of-wisdom-and-knowledge;-it-brings-people-together-and-inspires-them-to-work-together-for-peace-and-harmony/d/118658


  • Former New Age Astrologer Finds New Purpose, Warns Against the OccultA

    AsHalloween approaches and the public’s attention turns toward the world of the paranormal and “spirits,” one SES (Southern Evangelical Seminary)  graduate (class of 2011), a former astrologer, uses what she learned at SES to help Christians defend against New Age beliefs and to educate those flirting with the paranormal.

    "I had no interest in being a Christian at all, and no one witnessed to me," Marcia said, thinking back a few decades to the height of her spiritual quest.

    Marcia studied Eastern religion in college where she began researching the life of Gandhi. Hinduism intrigued her, and with no firm faith foundation—her dad was agnostic, her mother a nominal Christian—she found herself wanting to practice something. She was also developing an interest in the paranormal.

    After college, Marcia got involved in a couple of Buddhist groups that taught her meditation, marking her entrance into the New Age. It wasn't long before she enrolled in classes on psychic development and astrology.

    "Those courses really pulled me into it, big time," she said.

    Marcia became a certified astrologer and served as president of the Metropolitan Atlanta Astrological Society.  Marcia would collect birth data and plug it into a chart calculating the position of the sun, moon and planets relative to a person's birth place and time. Marcia then interpreted the chart, advising the client on job goals, relationship issues, strengths and past influences.

    After a while, Marcia started feeling compelled to go to church again, but ignored it—for months.

    "I wanted to get rid of it," she said, and even wondered if the feeling had to do with unfinished business from a past life. Eventually, she visited a church, but with plans to leave early. When the service began, everyone stood as a boy carried a cross down the aisle.  

    "As he passed me, I felt this love falling down on me," Marcia said. "It was like there was a personal God who was telling me He loved me."

    Moved to tears, she stayed through the whole service, then went back the next Sunday, and the next. She joined a Sunday school class, but didn't see any conflict with retaining her Buddhist beliefs. Just a few weeks after stepping foot in church, "I started getting this impression that God did not like astrology." A few weeks after that, Marcia felt God was telling her to give it up. But two more events reinforced her discomfort.

    Marcia visited her chiropractor, who was into witchcraft. As Marcia lay on the table, the woman said she was starting a coven and wanted Marcia to be the astrologer. Marcia suddenly felt a weight on her and graciously declined.

    Shortly after, at an Astrological Society open house, Marsha was lecturing on zodiac signs. "While I was talking, I felt this very strong urge to say, 'We shouldn't be here.' ... I had to stifle it."

    Finally, the night before Thanksgiving, Marcia told her rector what was happening. He took out a Bible and shared God's warnings against practicing divination. But without astrology, Marcia thought, "What was my life about?"

    Marcia started reading the Bible every night, beginning in Matthew 1. "As I read, I started sensing that there was something very pure about the words." By Dec. 21, she was in Matthew 8, reading how Jesus calmed the storm. "Where is your faith?" Jesus asks the disciples.

    The story grabbed her. "God just opened my eyes. I suddenly realized who Jesus was. ... I had to have Him as a Savior." She asked Him to be part of her life right then, and "as soon as I did that, I knew I was a different person." Marcia remembers telling a co-worker about it and found out later that he and his young adult group at church had been praying for her for a year. 

    When she heard there was a seminary that focused on answering objections like those she encountered in the New Age and in the occult, she enrolled.

    "My ministry is mainly how do you respond to the New Age?" That's what drew her to SES—its emphasis on how to defend biblical Christianity.

    From the very first course, she began using what she was learning at SES as she talked to Christians curious about New Age ideas or to people who were already enmeshed in it. She's able to share why those ideas don't align with the Bible.

    “With so many people mixing religions and leaving the church, you're bound to come across someone who's not a Christian, and you need to be ready,” Marcia said.  She recalls reading the paper on the subway once when a woman nearby asked to borrow the horoscope section. Marcia took the opportunity to tell her why it wasn't a good idea to read them, and then shared the Gospel with her.

    "The fact that it doesn't appear to be evil is the very danger of it," she said.

    "The evil of the occult shouldn't be sensationalized, but not underplayed or dismissed either," she said. In the Bible, talk of the occult is linked to worship of false gods. "God has very strong words on it; therefore, it's not something to play around with (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Galatians 5:20)."

    “What about Halloween?” is a question she is often asked. She tells people that Halloween tends to “glorify darkness” and to nurture fascination with evil. She also points out, however, that “Christians should follow their consciences.”


    Southern Evangelical Seminary ranked the Best General Apologetics Graduate Program by TheBestSchools.org, since 1992 Southern Evangelical Seminary has provided a synthesis of sound philosophy, classical apologetics, and a cohesive theology based on the inerrant Word of God in order to equip Christians to persuasively share their faith in a secular world.

    By fabio teci - 6/1/2019 10:38:09 AM

  • Hats Off is stuck in some medieval version of Islam that he projects  on me and others. Lying and slandering seem to be his only contribution to this forum!
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 5/22/2019 12:11:22 AM

  • if positive psychology is basically lying, obfuscating and misleading people then no wonder you love it. you are a past master at all these sterling islamic qualities.
    if a man chooses any other religion than islam, his will be hell fire for life.
    this is for example how islam encourages a dialogue between the kuffar and the momeen.
    your hollow moderatism, inherent jew hatred and mild kuffar hatred, contempt for the west (which you anyway happily exploit without conscience), pretended tolerance and a flair for lying perhaps makes you most suitable for interfaith.
    non stop lying seems to be your fitra.

    By hats off! - 5/21/2019 5:54:19 PM

  • An excellent testimony on what religions should be and can be! The author is a practitioner of "positive psychology" which is the exact opposite of what Hats Off practices.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 5/21/2019 11:58:43 AM

  • is this why every religion describes all other religions as misguided, wrong, corrupted, false and inferior?

    By hats off! - 5/21/2019 5:58:10 AM

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