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The Paradox of Monotheism - David Nieuwejaers
The diversity of religious traditions seems to leave us with two options: either only one religion reveals the true and only God, or all religions must be considered false. Because, surely, if God exists He is one and cannot contradict himself. Admittedly, there is also the popular (hence questionable) alternative to simply ignore religious diversity, or to even call religion itself a source of evil. Even more: only when we get rid of a personal God and replace Him by an abstract deism or vague pantheism, will we become spiritually mature. “May the Force be with you (but please not God)” is a fashionable mantram in our theophobic culture. However, for mystics all over the world God is not just a philosophical abstraction, but deeply personal and relational. And for the ancient prophets, such as Zarathustra, Abraham, Moses and Mohammed, this personal God is not a psychological projection, but an imaginal revelation of an absolute Ground.

The key to this religious phenomenon is called by Henry Corbin the paradox of monotheism: the absolute, unknowable Deity can only appear by means of a multitude of theophanic forms or Gods. You can never have the God beyond God, only the form of God that is revealed to you, or towards a particular religion. One should therefore never confuse the one Deity with any unique God, but neither should we deny the reality of the latter. The hidden Godhead has many personal Faces, each of which is a God for those who recognize that Face in their heart, and without which they would not even exist.

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May 23, 2021 06:00 PM in London

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