Understanding the reality of Absolute Peace

I have spoken before of the need for peace through the achievement of equality in all things, including religion. Although I personally label myself a pagan, I respect the Christian faith for its concept of the God of peace. I do find, however, that by idolizing the human being behind Joshua of Nazareth’s teachings Christians often seem to forget the actual concept of God. God the Father, from a monotheistic perspective. If you wish to See God through the eyes of Joshua, then do so. As a panentheist, let me direct you toward actively looking beyond the story of Joshua’s ministry and look at God directly. What I think the transcendent thinking of the modern era fails to accurately convey is the actual vision of God, an Infinite Being, what God truly Is. Nirvana is the achievement of Perfect Peace, in my mind. Whatever else you may believe God to  be, whatever your particular flavor of religion consists of, look past all that and see what every spiritual text is trying to tell you – your God is a God of Peace.

We seem to get far too wrapped up in conversations of what God Is. What, truly, does the concept of God mean? Let’s specifically define one aspect of the higher being for a moment. Whatever else S/he is capable of, we are quite clear as theists that God is Infinite. This means that God actually consists in one way or another of the concept of True Absolute Peace. This should be the focus of religion, to Glorify God, not man.  This should be the focus of all spiritual thinking. Even the staunch Atheist , from a position of Strong Absolute Atheism who does not believe in the existence of God from any viewpoint must admit that Peace, no matter how cynical the person may be, is the ultimate ideal. Do most atheists I know believe Peace is achievable by man? Not really. But they do acknowledge the concept of Peace, even if they believe it to be out of reach. I have not asked my atheist friend Em about this but I am curious what her response would be.

Consider this, humanity: We have evolved as beings to the point where we are capable of understanding the meaning of the actual concept of peace. We can talk about it and attempt to visualize it, yes, but consider what the capability of man to even conceive of the concept of peace truly means. When I refer to the evolved consciousness I refer to the mind that has truly contemplated the meaning of Peace and understood it. I cannot emphasize this enough – forget everything else. Forget semantics. Forget scripture. Forget Religion. It doesn’t matter if you are a theist or an atheist. It doesn’t matter what your gender or your race is. Your species is all that matters. Forget everything that millennia of philosophers have written on rambling subjects and fully focus your mind on this: You are a human being who can conceive of the concept of True Absolute Peace. The Peace of God, to those of us who believe in God, yes, but the operative word here is PEACE.

Let’s scale back ultimate peace for a moment and consider the concept of World Peace, which is the mortal, earthly application of this type of infinite thinking. World peace is usually discussed in an off the cuff manner; each individual person, from those with a scientific mind to beauty contestants to obscure philosophers and yes every religious prophet has at one point or another looked at the Concept of what PEACE IS but as yet they have not truly conveyed it properly, to my mind. What is the meaning behind the discussion that I believe every human being should contribute to? Let me capitalize that for you – The Discussion. What is it all about?. What is the meaning of life? Here is God’s answer as it has been relayed to me – the meaning of life is to evolve toward a true understanding of Perfect Peace. Absolute Peace. I contend that it doesn’t matter if we disagree on everything from soup to nuts, we can all agree on the concept of Absolute Peace and therefore nothing else matters once this agreement has been recognized.

You can change the discussion, go in any direction you want, in the end the ultimate ideal of humanity is the achievement of Peace.  Period. So look at the concept. Understand Peace. For one brief moment, close your eyes and imagine yourself existing within the concept of Peace.  I can’t stress this enough – exist inside Peace. Whether you are a logical realist or a spiritual thinker does not matter. I implore you to stop every other thought, for just that one singular moment, and contemplate the concept of Peace. Truly consider it. What does Peace mean? True Absolute Peace.  If you put all of your focus on this subject, even for one tiny second, you cannot come away from the experience unchanged. I leave you today with this wish – May Peace be with you, my brothers and sisters of humanity.

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About William Knox

Rev. William Knox is the founder and current Chancellor of the Contemporary Pagan Alliance. Ordained in 1995 as an interfaith minister, he serves as senior priest at the Sanctuary of Light in Ravenswood,WV. and is an invested brother in the Shanddite Order of Pagan Secular Monks.
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15 Responses to Understanding the reality of Absolute Peace

  1. (e)m says:

    “Whatever else you may believe God to be, whatever your particular flavor of religion consists of, look past all that and see what every spiritual text is trying to tell you – your God is a God of Peace.”

    Unless, of course, you worship a god of war such as Mars or Ares. Or you’re Christian. Jesus in Mathew 10:34-36 “10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. ” Actually, come to think of it, only a minority of religions actually advocate peace.

    “God is Infinite” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity
    countably infinite or uncountably infinite.
    Also, not all theists believe in infinite gods. Some believe that their gods are very much limited and only control certain aspects of life. Then there are certain forms of theistic Buddhism that believe that the gods exist, but cannot help us with suffering.

    “This means that God actually consists in one way or another of the concept of True Absolute Peace.”

    And by the same logic consists in one way or another of the concept of True Absolute Discord.

    “Even the staunch Atheist , from a position of Strong Absolute Atheism who does not believe in the existence of God from any viewpoint must admit that Peace, no matter how cynical the person may be, is the ultimate ideal.”

    Actually, no. I personally think that peace is a good ideal to strive towards, but this is not a universal belief. Many atheists who are influenced by Ayn Rand and follow more of libertarian mindset are more of the, “I got mine, so screw you, jack,” type. Of course, many theists are the same way. And when some theists talk about peace, they are actually talking about taking over.

    You are being overly optimistic about how most people function in day to day life. Most people say they would like peace, but don’t follow through.

    “Do most atheists I know believe Peace is achievable by man? Not really.”

    Honestly, I don’t think we as a species are capable of what you would call true peace. I think that we can achieve a state of lack of open war, but as long as tribalism exists, one group will try to make sure that they don’t get screwed over, and they won’t care who they harm in order to achieve their goals. Hell, a good percentage of the available goods at the marketplace have benefited from exploitation of the poor at some point. Everything from food to clothes to gasoline. We are all complicit. But hell, I’m only one atheist and can’t speak for anyone else.

    “But they do acknowledge the concept of Peace, even if they believe it to be out of reach.”

    To acknowledge the concept of something is to say that the idea is held by somebody. I acknowledge the concept of a flat earth, but find it to be utterly ridiculous. So your statement is meaningless.

    “Consider this, humanity: We have evolved as beings to the point where we are capable of understanding the meaning of the actual concept of peace.”

    This isn’t exactly a new thing.

    “Your species is all that matters.”

    I fully disagree, and think you are being very short sited here. Would you say that it is all right to torture animals? I wouldn’t, but I’m capable of having sympathy for other creatures as well as humans.

    “What is the meaning of life?”

    “42.” But in all seriousness, life has no inherent meaning. We can create a purpose of life or meaning for ourselves, but it is completely unnecessary if you do not need meaning or purpose in order to be happy.

    “we can all agree on the concept of Absolute Peace and therefore nothing else matters once this agreement has been recognized.”

    But the problem is that some people do not believe in absolute peace. Also some people think that absolute peace is achievable only with absolute domination and millions of casualties are perfectly fine in order to achieve this goal. Certain sects of religion think that peace will only be achieved if everyone is converted to their religion. So even if we agree on absolute peace, which I contend that we do not, (I’ve seen a few people who worship chaos), it matters quite a bit how we intend to arrive there.

    “You can change the discussion, go in any direction you want, in the end the ultimate ideal of humanity is the achievement of Peace.”

    I’m sorry, but you have not given evidence for this assertion, no matter how many times you repeat it.

    “For one brief moment, close your eyes and imagine yourself existing within the concept of Peace. I can’t stress this enough – exist inside Peace.”

    This is a nonsensical statement. You cannot exist inside a concept.

    “I have not asked my atheist friend Em about this but I am curious what her response would be.”

    Now you know.
    -Emily

    • April K says:

      I just want to provide some perspective for that verse you quoted from Matthew. When Jesus said that, he meant that he did not intend to bring peace between believers and unbelievers–that whoever chose to follow his teachings would naturally be set at odds against those who rejected him. Christ’s teachings demand that his followers not conform to worldly systems, which makes the people who support and rule over those systems angry and uncomfortable. The sword Jesus brings is the “sword of the spirit,” a.k.a. the Bible. It doesn’t mean that Christians are to take up arms against others. The meaning is pretty clear from the context.

      • (e)m says:

        Yes, from the context it is very clear. The christian god is not a god of peace, even if you ignore the old testament where he commands genocide. He is a god of radical division. The very statement you made defines the world in two factions, Christian, and other. And it is very easy to demonize and dehumanize an “other.” Especially when your faction holds all the power and claims to be persecuted. Oh, and where I live in the U.S, The people that support and rule over those so called worldly systems are Christians who are trying to impose their belief system on the rest of us through the force of law. They don’t seem to understand that secularism protects them too.

  2. April K says:

    So you’re saying that there shouldn’t be any discernible difference between Christians and unbelievers? That we should all think and act the same in the name of peace? True, it’s easy to dehumanize an other. But the answer is not to eliminate the other by becoming the other (there will always be others in some form, anyway). It’s to adhere to the law of love, which Christ also taught. Christ said that anyone who did not love his neighbor did not know God or have God’s indwelling. So dehumanizing is not part of the gospel. Division, yes. Demonizing, no.

    I’m personally against the so-called Christian attempt to control everything through politics. That’s not condoned in the gospel, either. The people of whom you speak don’t have the approval of everyone in the faith. There are many Christians who are just as sick of the politicking as you are.

    • William says:

      Emily is more than capable of defending her own position and I would not presume to try in the first place as she generally tends to disagree with me in this area. That said, one part of your comment appears to target my original post and so to that I will gladly respond, if for no other reason than for the sake of clarity.

      I do not possess the necessary knowledge or indeed the authority to speak for adherents to religious traditions other than my own but I can say this with certainty – you are correct that there will always be a clear distinction between the Pagan and Christian perspectives vis-à-vis the nature of God. Contemporary Pagans have never sought to eliminate Christianity nor is it my intention to merge our two faiths into a universal religious system that would essentially exist as a syncretic Frankensteinian monstrosity of nonsensical dogmas. Pagans do not proselytize for the simple reason that we acknowledge the validity of all spiritual paths, including those that do not agree with our theology.

      Should we all think the same? Unequivocally I say no, we should not. Our philosophical diversity is perhaps our greatest strength as a species. I personally could not in good conscience accuse somebody of lacking faith in God’s existence because they do not subscribe to my particular spiritual tradition or dogma. To do so is sheer hubris, in my opinion. While the atheist by definition does not acknowledge the existence of God, you cannot legitimately separate the numerous world religions into two basic groups labeled Christian and “unbeliever”, respectively. At least, not without seriously offending four billion people, give or take a few.

      Should we all act in the name of peace? Unequivocally I say yes, we should, and I would question why you as a Christian wouldn’t support such a concept in the first place, as your comment implies disagreement. If I misunderstand your statement I sincerely apologize but I must insist that the process of addressing the concerns and difficulties we individually face, and indeed those of the wider world as well, from a position which calls for peaceful action and recognizes the necessity of cooperation does not equate to losing one’s spiritual identity.

      I would conclude with this argument – If the evangelical arm of Christianity wishes to remain relevant in the modern era its proponents must acknowledge that thumping people over the head with a bible is a failed strategy. To my mind such behavior is also completely contrary to the philosophy espoused by Jesus himself, according to the New Testament. Christ rather specifically instructed his followers to love their enemies, forgive any transgressions against them, whether real or perceived, and avoid rendering judgment at all costs for only God may fully discern the truth that lies within. Wise words for anyone to follow, whatever their religion may be.

      • April K says:

        I think you misunderstood. I do promote peace, as does the Bible. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people” (Romans 12:18). As such, I try very hard to abstain from any kind of judging or bible-thumping. (You’re right, it is a failed strategy.) I have friends of all kinds, including gay, agnostic, atheist and Bahai. I’m content to respect their beliefs as long as they respect mine. The point Jesus was trying to make in that scripture in Matthew is that those who live according to the gospel will eventually find themselves at odds with the world, and they will have to choose whom they prefer to please: God or man. If they choose God, it means they might lose the support of friends and family. Jesus told his disciples that they would be hated and persecuted because of the gospel. Christians are to try to live in peace with everyone, but with the realization that some people are going to violently oppose them. We’re to try to get along as much as possible, but not to the point of compromising our beliefs. Make sense?

        As far as lumping people into two categories (Christian and unbeliever), let me clarify that a bit. A Christian is one who accepts the divinity of Jesus Christ. There are billions who believe in a God, but not so many who believe Jesus is God’s son. So when I say “unbeliever,” I’m speaking of people who reject the divinity of Christ, not the existence of God.

    • (e)m says:

      “So you’re saying that there shouldn’t be any discernible difference between Christians and unbelievers? That we should all think and act the same in the name of peace?”
      I am not making that claim here. The claim that I have made is that Christianity cannot legitimately claim to be a religion of peace while creating two distinct social classes, A privileged class called the saved, elect, Christians, or whatever else they want to go by, and an other, the damned, unbelievers, “pagans,” “heathens,” or whatever other pejorative you want to thrust on a very diverse group of world religions, and atheists too.

      Let’s take a look at that language that is commonly used, shall we. The saved and the damned. Talk about demonization. The problem is not that you believe different things it is that you are othering a whole class of people. That has very real world consequences

      “There will always be others in some form anyway.”

      Instead of assuming your position here, let me ask you to clarify: Are you saying that people will always be treated unequally, and be seen as less human, so we should just let this go on and not try to do anything about it? If not, please rephrase. If so, I think I’m done here.

      As for people who do not love their neighbor not knowing God or having “God’s indwelling.” See what you did there? You just said that atheists are incapable of doing good. That is creating and demonizing an other, the process known as othering, which leads to inequality and violence against the other. We are human, too. We feel. We empathize. “If you cut me, do I not bleed?” Shylock from Shakespeare.

      “I’m personally against the so-called Christian attempt to control everything through politics. That’s not condoned in the gospel, either. The people of whom you speak don’t have the approval of everyone in the faith. There are many Christians who are just as sick of the politicking as you are.”

      I’m glad that you don’t approve of them, and I never claimed that all Christians support them. I was showing the real world consequences of the philosophy applied. Google Judge Roy Moore to see how privliging of the christian narative is happening in the U.S.. Google Uganda’s kill the gays bill. These are the consequences of othering.

      Christianity is not a religion of peace.

      • April K says:

        When I say there will always be others in some form, I’m speaking of people who think, believe or live differently, not lower classes of people.

        The Bible teaches that we are all equal: All humans were made in the image of God, and we are all sinners. According to the same book, however, the only way to salvation is through Christ–accepting his divinity, asking for his forgiveness, and following his commands. Yes, that puts people into two separate categories: saved and unsaved. A lot of religions do this. Hindus think I’m damned because I eat beef, Mormons think I’m damned because I drink alcohol and coffee, Muslims think I’m damned because I reject Muhammad, and atheists…don’t think I’m damned, just deluded and ignorant. I hate to break it to you, but I see many atheists engaged in othering as much as any religious person. I mean, have you read Richard Dawkins’ books?

        Here’s the fine line that must be walked: The Bible says that Christians are not to lord their salvation over others. We’re not to brag about how much better we are, because we aren’t. We’re saved by grace, not works, so we should walk in humility. We’re also supposed to love others, and there is no pride, boasting, selfishness, anger or keeping “records of wrong” in love (per 1 Corinthians 13). So if you see anyone acting in such a manner, God is not in him or her. Period.

        Also, please don’t fall into the trap of calling requirements or standards “othering.” In my mind, othering occurs when a person claims that others are inherently lesser and cannot be made equal to them. That’s not the case with Christianity. Anyone who accepts Christ can be saved. Anyone. Complaining that religion sorts people into two categories based on their beliefs is like complaining that some children get F’s in school while others get A’s. We make choices that have different outcomes. Some people graduate; others don’t. It doesn’t mean the A students are inherently better than the F students, or that they should be viewed that way. We’re all the same people. We just choose differently.

      • April K says:

        Also, where did I imply that atheists can’t do good? All I said was that he who does not love his neighbor (according to the Bible) does not have God’s indwelling. And since you don’t believe there is a God, I’m not sure how you find that offensive.

      • (e)m says:

        @ April K

        When I say there will always be others in some form, I’m speaking of people who think, believe or live differently, not lower classes of people.

        Thank you for the clarification. I see that we were talking about two different things.

        According to the same book, however, the only way to salvation is through Christ–accepting his divinity, asking for his forgiveness, and following his commands. Yes, that puts people into two separate categories: saved and unsaved. A lot of religions do this. Hindus think I’m damned because I eat beef, Mormons think I’m damned because I drink alcohol and coffee, Muslims think I’m damned because I reject Muhammad, and atheists…don’t think I’m damned, just deluded and ignorant.

        First of all, I would say that Islam, Mormonism, and the Hindi faiths are not religions of peace either based on their ideas of being saved and unsaved, but I am not as familiar with their scriptures. I’ve read the bible, and the tao te ching, cover to cover though. Taoism is a religion/philosophy of peace.

        Secondly, if you cannot see the difference between saying that a group of people is mistaken/mentally ill/ unlearned, and saying that a group of people deserves eternal torture, then I can’t help you.

        Third, I take strenuous issue with anyone who characterizes belief in gods with delusion. Using the stigma attached to mental illness, and trying to attach that to believers is both incorrect, and morally wrong. It reinforces the stigma attached to mental illness. People with mental illnesses are no more to blame for it then people who develop cancer. Faith is another story. You’ll note that I said faith and not religion. Faith can be applied in both religious and non-religious contexts, and is always a failing. I can get into this with you through another means of communication, but I don’t want to derail William’s post too far.

        and finally, I don’t think that you are ignorant. I think that you are incorrect, and that you haven’t made the case for any gods’ existence, much less the specific one that you claim exists. That still leaves you on equal footing with me as a human being.

        I hate to break it to you, but I see many atheists engaged in othering as much as any religious person. I mean, have you read Richard Dawkins’ books?

        1. I never claimed that they weren’t. In fact, I specifically said that many atheists do not believe in pursuing peace, just like many believers do not.

        “Actually, no. I personally think that peace is a good ideal to strive towards, but this is not a universal belief. Many atheists who are influenced by Ayn Rand and follow more of libertarian mindset are more of the, “I got mine, so screw you, jack,” type. Of course, many theists are the same way. And when some theists talk about peace, they are actually talking about taking over.”

        2. I also never claimed that atheism makes you a better person. If you want to argue that claim, do it with someone who hasn’t specifically disavowed the atheist movement along with all other movements because of the assholes within them. See my post about movements: http://callmeem.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/movements/

        3. I have not read Richard Dawkins’ books. Richard Dawkins does not speak for me. I have no dogma. I have no pope. I have no leaders. I even disavow heros: http://callmeem.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/no-gods-no-masters-why-i-dont-believe-in-heros/ There are famous atheists. The speak for themselves and whoever else wants to quote them. There are atheists who are in charge of specific organizations. They speak only for those organizations. I do not speak for any other atheists, and they do not speak for me. If you want to argue with something I said, fine, but don’t expect me to defend a position that I have not put forward.

        4. Dawkins is anti-feminist. Please do not associate my views with his. He is one of the reasons that I disavowed the atheist movement. He is a great teacher of science, and I respect his position on several issues, but again, his views as an upper class straight cis man have very little reflection on my own as a working class bisexual trans woman in regards to social justice.

        Also, please don’t fall into the trap of calling requirements or standards “othering.” In my mind, othering occurs when a person claims that others are inherently lesser and cannot be made equal to them. That’s not the case with Christianity. Anyone who accepts Christ can be saved. Anyone. Complaining that religion sorts people into two categories based on their beliefs is like complaining that some children get F’s in school while others get A’s. We make choices that have different outcomes. Some people graduate; others don’t. It doesn’t mean the A students are inherently better than the F students, or that they should be viewed that way. We’re all the same people. We just choose differently.

        The difference here is that no one claims that F students deserve eternal torment. If they did I would oppose them just as much as I oppose your religion. And yes, saying that one group of people deserve torment while another does not is treating them as lesser than you. Period. And people do other and dehumanize F students. I used to be one of the people doing that before I got my head out of my ass and made friends with some, some of whom are extremely intelligent. What school did you go to where F students weren’t treated as lesser people?

        Also, where did I imply that atheists can’t do good? All I said was that he who does not love his neighbor (according to the Bible) does not have God’s indwelling. And since you don’t believe there is a God, I’m not sure how you find that offensive

        Well, “Christ said that anyone who did not love his neighbor did not know God” did not know (believe in) god= atheist. Rephrased. If you don’t love your neighbor, you are an atheist. You are reinforcing prejudice against people who do not “know” or believe in your god. That is why I care.

    • William says:

      I understand your perspective quite well and I certainly agree that you should not have to compromise your spiritual principles, for any reason. The only part of your reply I find I must strenuously disagree with is your contention that the term “unbeliever” simply denotes one who does not acknowledge the divinity of Jesus. It is an ecclesiastical term synonymous with the label of infidel, which literally translates as ‘one without faith’ and both terms are widely held to be offensive in the academic community.

      It is not my wish to seem overly critical and I have the utmost respect for your religious beliefs. In this case, my opposition to the use of a word is not simply a matter of semantics however, and I wished to set the record straight. That said, I do not believe you have used the term with disrespect. Thank you for your sincere and well-reasoned comments.

  3. William says:

    One point of clarification here – The faith of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) is very closely related to my own and in fact could easily be placed under the broad umbrella that is Paganism. Hinduism does not condone the concept of damnation. Allow me to quote Hinduism Today:

    “All Hindus worship one Supreme Reality, though they call it by many names. There is no eternal hell, no damnation, in Hinduism, and no intrinsic evil–no satanic force that opposes the will of God. Hindus believe that the cosmos was created out of God and is permeated by Him–a Supreme Being who both is form and pervades form, who creates, sustains and destroys the universe only to recreate it again in unending cycles. Each soul is free to find his own way, whether by devotion, austerity, meditation, yoga or selfless service.”

    • (e)m says:

      Would that be specific to Shiavite hinduism, or does it also apply to Vaishnavite hinduism as well? Like I said above, I am passingly familiar with hinduism, But I have not read their scriptures in whole.

      • William says:

        I first became exposed to Sanatana Dharma when I temporarily lived with a Śaivite friend of mine in the early nineties. I do not claim to hold a perfect understanding of every permutation of Hindu belief as the various sects are even more diverse than the contemporary Pagan traditions and I do not read Sanskrit, which is a prerequisite if one wishes to devote serious study to the sacred texts. Indeed, the Hindu scholars themselves do not generally agree on precise interpretation of their scripture. Despite this lack of agreement, there is very little conflict as a rule, which is certainly a refreshing change from the frequent squabbling between western theologians and philosophers.

        The fact is, most Hindus do not label themselves as a member of any one specific sect or denomination. In any case, the Christian concept of damnation truly has no place in Hinduism. The ultimate spiritual goal is to achieve complete unity with God through the process of self-realization, which can take many paths and no single path is considered more valid than another. As I said, Paganism and Hinduism share many similarities including our basic attitude toward religious freedom. Many Pagans consider the Hindu traditions to be an integral part of the broad academic classification that encompasses our own faith.

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