Cogent Validity: A Book About Life, Religion and Spirituality in the Third Age

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9781412070881: Cogent Validity: A Book About Life, Religion and Spirituality in the Third Age
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INTRODUCTION

The reader may find some of the information in this book very new and different, perhaps controversial. It is intended to reach those who have open minds in the way they view matters of religion and spirituality. In this vein, the author's experience has been quite instructive and enlightening.

The author's search for cogent validity in spirituality and religion was stirred by a philosophy course he took shortly before he graduated from the University of Kansas in 1960. This newfound interest soon led him to participate in seminars at the Sequoia Seminar Institute in Northern California where he received his inspiration for this book. Shortly thereafter the Creative Initiative Foundation developed as an outgrowth of Sequoia Seminar. For over a decade the author played an active roll in both Sequoia Seminar and Creative Initiative. After many years of pursuing a career in other fields, his first book, The Book of Thomas was published in 2004.

There is not space enough to go into the phenomena of Sequoia Seminar and the Creative Initiative Foundation here, but for those who are interested in more information, a book published in 1990 describes the history and the people that made up these two remarkable groups.

The Creative Initiative Foundation was truly a new religious and philosophical endeavor. It could not have been compared with any extant religion because it was entirely new. We stood for individual responsibility acted out in accordance with the highest educational and religious principles. We believed that education and responsible action were the only avenues to a more responsible society. We sought to change no one but ourselves. We believed that the principle of individual change and creative initiative were required if there was to be any real change in the moral character of our society.

This was not a new concept, but we made an attempt to bring it into being by developing a "critical mass" of a thousand souls dedicated to those principles. The Creative Initiative community wasn't an end in itself. It was a community of highly motivated people seeking a way to communicate our message with others, while at the same time seeking a more perfect union with God. In that sense it was religious. Our work was based on an incredibly rich heritage of insight and teaching and was a call for more enlightened, more correct choices in continuing humankind's evolution toward Life.

The substance of this book is based on the author's studies in that environment along with his experience of close involvement with those who were his teachers in the venture. The material related to religion and the religious life came from the author's personal notes written over several years and from his memory of the events and experiences that formed the essence of his belief system. Some of his exceptional teachers were mystics and highly dedicated spiritual guides. As the information unfolded for him, the author had strong feelings that he had heard these words before and even though he was hearing them for the first time, he somehow felt that he already knew what he was hearing. At the same time, it was as if he had been waiting an eternity to hear what was being taught. What's more, he felt as if he had been with these particular teachers before. He was not alone in this feeling. Others in these groups had similar feelings as if they had all been together before. This is mentioned because it seems significant that the timing for the work we did was right; that we were in the right place at the right time.

That knowledge and those mystical feelings are now being shared with the readers of this book. The author's epistemological involvement with his teachers in the two closely-knit groups, Sequoia Seminar and Creative Initiative Foundation, helped form his metaphysical approach to the material. His need to know, together with his life experience, set him on the path that led to many of the remarkable conclusions found in this book.

In a meditation during the time (circa 1964), the author found himself standing before three mountains. The first and smallest mountain represented a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament of the Bible and the second, a somewhat larger mountain, represented the study and mastery of the teachings of Jesus. For many years, the author wondered about the meaning of the third and highest, mountain. The first two he had spiritually ascended by then, but the third loomed above him, majestic and unconquered. Several years later, on one December night in 1999, as he was being introduced to Islam while reading from the Qur'an, the realization swept over him like a wave that Islam was the third mountain in that meditation. Until this point, he had had no insight into the mystery of that third mountain and he had not yet been exposed to the Qur'an or Islam. Destiny brought him to the foot of that mountain at that propitious moment. Since that date, and as this book is being written, studying the Qur'an has been essential to the author's life.

COGENT VALIDITY

Truth is self-evident and should be obvious, but this isn't always so. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, the word cogent means convincing because of logical and clear thought. "Cogent" also implies plainness and simplicity.

"Cogent," as it applies to validity, implies such a powerful appeal to the mind that it would appear conclusive, as in "cogent reasoning." For something to be valid, it must be well grounded on principles or evidence and able to withstand criticism or objection. It's the highest and best use of the human intellect to seek this kind of truth.

Using cogent validity as his guiding principle, drawing on his life experience and using the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur'an as his guides, the author is creating his essential work on spirituality and religion.

The author's goal in writing this book has been to interpret religion in a modern context, using intelligent analysis, accepting what is plausible, and rejecting what is not. He has no interest in trying to justify classical interpretations based on faith in things that have no basis in fact or scientific knowledge. This is with the understanding, however, that there is much mystery in Creation that cannot be explained using the intellect alone. The author's goal has been to separate myth from historic events. Relevant to this issue are M. Scott Peck's words from his book, The Road Less Traveled: "The purpose of religion should not be to teach one to become obedient to a dogma which denies intelligence, but to become unresisting to the laws of creation. One must exercise reason and study all aspects of the questions."

THE AGE OF AQUARIUS

Humankind has entered a new era, the Age of Aquarius. In this book, the principles of cogent validity are applied to religion and spirituality in order to determine their relevance in this New Age. Fresh insight is used to unlock the startling significance of the myths of the Old Testament and the richness of the meaning hidden within them. The amazing, and often misconstrued, mysteries of the Book of Revelation are brought forth in the clarity of modern language as their relevance to the New Age is made apparent, especially for women. The records of the life of Jesus are carefully examined using the best contemporary insight available to uncover the beauty and power of Jesus' incredible mission for God. At the conclusion of this book, the essence of the Third Age is illuminated through a look at the new religious journey, while a Declaration for the New Millennium epitomizes the author's hope for the future of humankind. Let's begin with Abdullah Yusef Ali's footnote comment to Sura II, Iyyat 62, of the Qur'an. Footnote 77 reads as follows:

Islam does not teach an exclusive doctrine, and is not meant exclusively for one people. The Jews claimed this for themselves, and the Christians in their origin were a sect of the Jews. Even the modern organized Christian churches, though they have been, consciously or unconsciously, influenced by the time-spirit, including the historical fact of Islam, yet they cling to the idea of Vicarious Atonement, which means that all who do not believe in it or who lived previously to the death of Christ, are at a disadvantage spiritually before the Throne of God. The attitude of Islam is entirely different. Islam existed before the preaching of Muhammad on this earth and the Qur'an expressly calls Abraham a Muslim. This teaching (submission to God's will) has been, and will be, the teaching of Religion for all peoples. Those who believe (in the Qur'an) and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, and all who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work with righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

THE OLD TESTAMENT

Using current evidence, this book will add to the efforts of others in an attempt to clear the record and get to the truth about religion. One major cornerstone of modern Western religion has to do with the Old Testament, which is often quoted as a substitute for independent thinking. In the following pages, there will be a thorough critical examination of the myths found in the Old Testament. The interpretation of these myths arises from the author's experience studying the Old Testament under the late Mrs. Emilia Rathbun at Sequoia Seminar. She possessed sharp intelligence and an uncanny insight into religious mysteries . The author, and many others, believed her to be a true mystic. She never proclaimed to be one, but all knew she was. Clergymen who visited Sequoia Seminar confirmed this belief in her gift as well. These assumptions were also based on stories she related about her life experience, which included a visitation from Jesus regarding the religious work being done at Sequoia Seminar . Later, after that visitation, she made a commitment to be God's agent in establishing a head for the body of a group of educated, intelligent persons willing to ...

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About the Author:

For more than ten years, from about 1960 to 1970, the author was involved in religious study with the Sequoia Seminar Institute and the Creative Initiative Foundation in northern California. The substance of this book is based on the author's studies in this seminar environment along with his experience of close involvement with the people who made up the Creative Initiative Foundation. The material related to religion and the religious life came from the author's personal notes written over several years and from his memory of the events and experiences that formed the essence of his belief system. A few of his remarkable teachers were mystics and deeply religious. As the information unfolded, the author had the feeling that he had heard it before. It was as if he had been waiting an eternity to hear what was being taught. What's more, he felt as if he had been with these teachers before. He was not alone in this feeling. Others in these groups had a similar feeling they had all been together before. This is mentioned because it seems significant that the time is right for us to gather again. A new world of knowledge was opened up, and the author began to receive knowledge that, even though he was hearing it for the first time, he somehow felt that he already knew. That knowledge and those mystical feelings are now being shared with the readers of this book. His epistemological involvement with his teachers in the two closely-knit groups, Sequoia Seminar and Creative Initiative Foundation, helped form his metaphysical approach to the material. His need to know, together with his life experience, set him on the path that led to many of the remarkable conclusions found in this book.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Published by Trafford Publishing (2006)
ISBN 10: 1412070880 ISBN 13: 9781412070881
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