As I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with Christianity I’ve researched other faiths. And what I’ve found is that universalism (belief that everyone will experience eternal happiness) is virtually nonexistent among adherents of other faiths. Even though we Christian universalists are a small minority among Christians, we as universalists make up a much larger percentage of our faith than universalists do in other faiths. Christianity has brought out the worst in people (as have other religions), but it also has been the faith of the most empathetic people, those who could not be happy unless everyone else was in the end too.
Most people look at the bad in their surroundings, thus look for the worst. Successful folks look at opportunities, and see possibilities. Through out the ages many who we would consider down trodden have lifted them selves to great heights.
Attitude is everything.
Chuck S says: Attitude , to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…
Seems like we’ve been here before?
What about Judaism, Hinduism und Buddhism, there aren’t much other religions anyway. Maybe Judaism doesn’t count since you’re born into it - which might explain their lack of a believe in eternal damnation.
@sven Orthodox Judaism most certainly teaches hopeless punishment. Whether it’s ET or anni, different Ortho Jews have different beliefs. But virtually none believe in universalism. Reform and Conservative Jews tend not to have strong beliefs about the afterlife. Some believe in it, some don’t; but like the Orthos virtually none believe in universalism.
Granted I know less about the eastern religions than western, based on my observations, eternal happiness for all humanity isn’t the least concern for Hindus or Buddhists.
These are key words: “those who could not be happy unless everyone else was in the end too.” And they capture the essence of what Jesus says, as he admonishes us to love and forgive others, even our enemies.
What does it mean to love others? Does it not mean that our happiness is intertwined inextricably with theirs, such that if they are happy, so are we? But if they are unhappy, so are we.
That central tenet of Christianity–loving others–sets the basis for one of Talbott’s elegant arguments for Universalism.
Premise 1: If not all people get to Heaven, Heaven would be a place of sadness.
Premise 2: Heaven is not a place of sadness.
Conclusion: All people get to Heaven.
This argument can also be used to establish that nobody has been forced to get there. The conclusion of the argument establishes that all people are in Heaven. And because Heaven is not a place of sadness, i.e., Premise 2, all people there have freely chosen to be there, for if any of them had freely chosen not to be there, Heaven would be a place of sadness for them. Consequently, nobody in Heaven has been forced to be there against his or her free will. All people have freely chosen, in this life or the next, to be there.
I don’t think Christianity is unique in this sense. Zoastrianism also has a universalist component, which predates Christianity.
There is also strong evidence that even the Jews didn’t think much of an afterlife until around the time of Maccabees. This is about the time the concepts of judgment after death began to really take root. You can demonstrate a progression through Jewish thought.
Take, for example, Solomon/Ecclesiastes. Clearly there was no dogmatic belief about the Afterlife and the author wasn’t certain we are different from beasts. Definitely an evolutional or revolutional change in theology as time progressed.
Not everyone believes in life after death, but your condition eliminates these people from your list, when they would want the best for everyone in the next life, if they believed it existed.
Again, this is not unique to a specific people group. Many people want the best for all, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.
Christianity has many robust treatises defending universalism. I’m not aware of anything like a TILOG or GFV written by a non-Christian.
I think in Eastern religions it’s not about the individual but about being a part of the whole, whether that whole is the universe,the earth, the divine, life energy , cosmos, etc.
That was likewise inherently true of the ANE reality as well.
I think Christianity can produce some empathetic people; for instance, Saul of Tarsus had the bloody hands of a zealot before his Damascus road experience, but eventually wrote the inspiring hymn to Agape in 1 Cor 13, which was not a zealot’s manifesto but rather a heartfelt expression of learned wisdom and empathy.
This is interesting as there are rumours that Zoastrianism was influenced by the biblical Daniel, I don’t know though how plausible that is.
Well, here’s a discussion about it on Quora:
Also this discussion at Do you think Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism?
I’ll end with this well-known figure, talking about faith! :