From The World’s Religions, by Huston Smith:

“Muslims point out that Muhammad incorporated into his charter for Medina the principle of religious toleration that these verses announce. They regard that document as the first charter of freedom of conscience in human history and the authoritative model for those of every subsequent Muslim state. It decreed that ‘the Jews who attach themselves to our commonwealth (similar rights were later mentioned for Christians, these two being the only non-Muslim religions on the scene) shall be protected from all insults and vexations; they shall have an equal right with our own people to our assistance and good offices: the Jews…and all others domiciled in Yathrib, shall…practice their religion as freely as the Muslims.” Even conquered nations were permitted freedom of worship contingent only on the payment of a special tax in lieu of the Poor Due, from which they were exempt; thereafter every interference with their liberty of conscience was regarded as a direct contravention of Islamic law. If clearer indication than this of Islam’s stand of religious tolerance be asked, we have the direct words of Muhammad: “Will you then force men to believe when belief can come only from God?” Once, when a deputy of Christians visited him, Muhammad invited them to conduct their services in his mosque, adding, ‘It is a place consecrated to God.” / This much for theory and Muhammad’s personal example. How well Muslims have lived up to his principles of toleration is a question of history…On the positive side, Muslims point to the long centuries during which, in India, Spain, and the Near East, Christians, Jews, and Hindus lived quietly and in freedom under Muslim rule. Even under the worst rulers, Christians and Jews help positions of influence and in general retained their religious freedom. It was Christians, not Muslims, we are reminded, who in the fifteenth century expelled the Jews from Spain where, under Islamic rule, they had enjoyed one of their golden ages. …Every Muslim was driven from Spain, put to the sword, or forced to convert, whereas the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church remains in Istanbul to this day…Remember their standard greeting is “Peace be upon you.”

From Elain Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels:

“Origen, one of the most brilliant theologians of the third century, expressed, although he was himself brought under suspicion of heresy, the orthodox viewpoint when he declared that…as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same thought-out the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere and enlightens all people who are willing…Nor will any of the of the rulers in the churches, however highly gifted he may be in matters of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these.” Irenaeus encouraged his community to enjoy the security of believing that their faith rested upon absolute authority: the canonically approved Scriptures, the creed, church ritual, and the clerical hierarchy.” …the process of establishing orthodoxy ruled out every other option. To the impoverishment of Christian tradition, Gnosticism, which offered alternatives to what became the main thrust of Christian orthodoxy, was forced outside.”

“The concerns of Gnostic Christians survived only as a suppressed current, like a river driven underground. Such currents resurfaced throughout the Middle Ages in various forms of heresy: then with the Reformation, Christian tradition again took on new and diverse forms. Mystics like Jacob Boehme, himself accused of heresy, and radical visionaries like George Fox, themselves unfamiliar, in all probability, with Gnostic tradition, nevertheless articulated analogous interpretations of religious experience. But the great majority of the movements that emerged from the Reformation—Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Episcopal, Congregational, Presbyterian, Quaker, –remained within the basic framework of orthodoxy established in the second century. All regarded the New Testament writings alone as authoritative…

“Now that the Nag Hammadi discoveries give us a new perspective on the process, we can understand why certain creative persons throughout the ages, from Valentinus and Heracleon to Blake, Rembrandt, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Nietzsche, found themselves at the edges of orthodoxy…all returned constantly to Christian symbols to express their own experience. And yet they found themselves in revolt against orthodox institutions. An increasing number of people today share their experience…” Elian Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels.


Nietzsche detested what he knew as Christianity, nevertheless wrote: “There was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.”


From the Tao Te Ching:

“Knowing ignorance is strength…” NO. 71
“Those who know are not learned; those who are learned do not know.” No. 81

“The Tao is forever undefined.
Small though it is in the unformed state, it cannot be grasped…

Once the whole is divided, the parts need names.
There are already enough names.
One must know when to stop.
Knowing when to stop averts trouble.
Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.” No. 32

…:A description of the Tao
Seems without substance or flavor.
It cannot be seen, it cannot be heard,
And yet it cannot be exhausted.” No. 35

“Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.
Keep your mouth closed.
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the earth.
This is primal union.

He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies.
With good and harm, with honor and disgrace.
This therefore is the highest state of man.” No. 56


From the Koran:

Let there be no compulsion in religion. (2:257)

“To every one have We given a law and a way…And if God had pleased, he would have made all humankind one people (people of one religion), But he hath done otherwise, that he might try you in that which he hath severally given unto you: wherefore press forward in good works. Unto God shall ye return, and He will tell you that concerning which ye disagree. (5:48)

“Allah gives guidance to whom He will”… pg 363

“…People of the Book, why do you argue about Abraham…? Have you no sense? Indeed, you have argued about things of which you have some knowledge. Must you now argue about that of which you know nothing at all? Allah knows but you do not!” pg. 413


From the Manual of Zen Buddhism, from the Chinese Masters:

…”Abide not with dualism,
Carefully avoid pursuing it;
As soon as you have right and wrong,
Confusion ensues, and Mind is Lost.

The two exist because of the One,
But hold not even to this One;
When a mind is not disturbed,
The ten thousand thins offer no offence.

No offence offered, and no ten thousand things;
No disturbance going, and no mind set up to work;
The subject is quieted with the object ceased,
The object ceases when the subject is quieted.

The object is an object for the subject,
The subject is a subject for the object,
Know that the relativity of the two
Rest ultimately on one Emptiness.

In one Emptiness the two are not distinguished,
And each contains in itself all the ten thousand thing;
When no discrimination is made between this and that
How can a one-sided and prejudiced view arise?

…In being “not two” all is the same,
All that is is comprehended in it…

One in All
All in One—
If only this is realized,
No more worry about your not being perfect!

Where Mind and each believing mind are not divided,
And undivided are each believing mind and Mind,
This is where words fail;
For it is not of the past, present and future.” Shinjin-No-Mei


From Carl Jung:

“The judgment of others is not in itself a standard of value; it may be no more than a useful piece of information. The individual has a right, indeed it is his duty, to set up and apply his own standard of value. In the last resort, ethics are the concern of the individual.” 99:912 (pg 230, Psychological Reflections, edited by Jolande Jacobi and RFC Hull

“Every individual needs revolution, inner division, over-throw of the existing order, and renewal, but not by forcing these things upon his neighbors under the hypocritical cloak of Christian love or the sense of social responsibility or any of the other beautiful euphemisms for unconscious urges to personal power. Individual self-reflection, return of the individual to the ground of human nature, to his own deepest being with its individual and social destiny—here is the beginning of a cure for that blindness which reigns at the present hour.” 104A:5 (pg 230, Psychological Reflections, edited by Jolande Jacobi and RFC Hull


From The world Religions by Huston Smith

The Jewish people see themselves as a chosen people, not necessarily because God loved them more, but because God chose them to serve, uniquely upon laying the heavy burden of service for the world. “Within Judaism itself the arguments differ. Some Jews adhere to the religious thesis that as God has chosen Israel to be a unique instrument for good, the shape and edge of that instrument should be retained. Other Jews argue for distinctiveness on grounds of cultural pluralism. A healthy individual identity depends on a sense of one’s origins, one’s roots. The inclusion of multiple heritages in a society is an advantage, for uniformity breeds sameness and diminishes creativity…In what then does Jewish identify consist? Not in doctrine, for there is nothing one has to believe to be a Jew. Jews run the gamut, from those who believe that every letter and punctuation mark of the Torah was dictated by God, to those who do not believe in God at all. Indeed, it is impossible to name any one thing that of itself suffices to make one a Jew. …Judaism is like a circle that is whole but divisible into sections that converge in a common center. There is no authority that says that a Jew must affirm all or any one of these sections or face excommunication…” Huston Smith


Annie Gottlieb Comments on Revisioning Religion, from Do You Believe in Magic

“But this supple equanimity is only one aspect of what I think of as our generation’s religion. In a sense, we have “come up with a new religion,” as Malon Wilkus said, though he and others might not like to call it that. For me, the root meaning of the word, “reconnection,” is stronger than its negative connotations. Rather than replace it, I’ll put it in quotes.

“Our emerging “religion” is not borrowed, but homegrown-and potentially planetary. Buddhism, Native American religion, various forms of psychotherapy (especially Gestalt and Jungian), Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticism, have all poured into it and fused into a new brew, alive, nameless, and endlessly mutating.

“This new “religion” is so adaptable that it can thrive among atheists and in the Catholic Church. In fact, there are as many versions of it as there are individuals-and more, for yours keeps changing with your life. But all its forms share certain constant characteristics, which reveal it to be the antithesis of fundamentalism-its antagonist in the evolutionary struggle of the millennium. Insofar as Christianity and Judaism dare to merge with this new “religion, 9′ it is revitalizing them (and making them more appealing to us). But fundamentalists of all kinds fear and hate it, because they perceive-rightly-that it involves a blurring of tribal boundaries, a softening of special identities and of the old feuds that kept them firm.

“Our “religion” is life-positive, eclectic, *feminist, decentralized, anti-authoritarian, compassionate, individualistic, communitarian, and passionately attached to this earth.

“In other words, it’s the same as our politics. Or rather, it’s the deeper dimension of our politics.”