Tuesday, 16 May 2017

g) Lesson 4 EASTERN RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY

Read pages 87 - 110
Any comments from the reading.
Any comments from the talk.
1) Discuss the cultural myth that all religions are really climbing up the same mountain,
just from opposite sides.
Increasingly more and more people inside the church are buying into this myth.
Why?
2) The strategy:  First of all develop the similarities, build bridges,  between Christianity
and other religions, then move towards the differences.
How do you feel about such a strategy?  
How do we as a church typically engage other denominations, other religions?
Do we have the tendency to think that the Evil One inspires all non-Christian
religious searching?  (The Evil One can use this aspect of our humanity, just
as he uses scripture to mislead.)  Is it correct and helpful to view this universal
religious searching as simply humans struggling to find truth?  What difference
would such a more neutral stance take in our approaches to non – Christians?
3) Discuss the seven characteristics of eastern religions (Page 93 -95). 
Is there any wisdom here to help us understand spirituality from a Christian
perspective? 
4) What truths has the East discovered?  
Review the various views for God on page 81.  Can you agree with this obser-
vation that the trinitarian understanding of God is present in this collective
understanding?
Early Christianity veered towards Platonism.  What is there in these religions
that harmonizes with Christianity, at least to a degree?    Read the similarities
on page 95 - 96.
5)  Review the key differences on page 97 - 98.  
How should we as Christians respond when these differences create tension
within relationships?
6)  Read the observation on page 103.
List some of the idols in our churches, in our culture, in our own lives.
7)  Read the observations on page 110.  Can we learn something from the eastern
emphasis on silence, meditation as a quieting of the mind?
How do we in the West strive for deeper spirituality?    
Should Christians do Yoga?
Is suffering necessary to help us discover the deeper truths of life?
Wrapping up
Read Acts 17:22-31  How did Paul try to build bridges to these idolatrous cultures?
Bible passage to consider Romans 2:12 – 16.  Is God’s moral law imprinted on the
human heart?  Is this visible in the truths that other religions have discovered?

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