• There are not only divisions between the Secular and the Sacred that diminish the synergy possible in our world. There are also chasms within each of these domains that cause significant separation. This makes communication bridges even more difficult because the bridge(s!) must not only go far beyond two domains but across multiple headland abutments (separated teachings). Consider how much more difficult this makes the simple goal of unification. For this website, we think it as important to address these intra-domain chasms as to address the inter-domain chasms. We collect one of the separators among the many different sects of the Sacred domain under the term “image” showing how different dogmas on image have separated different sects in the Sacred domain. We then even extend the concept of image to its use in the Secular, particularly science. But there usage and the resulting separation is less dramatic and definitive than in the Sacred. We use three case studies to explore this phenomenon. First, the division in the Buddhist world on use of images, second, the division in the Christian world on the use of images, and third separations in Hebrew teachings. [147Sm’14]
  • One of us, on visiting a museum in Japan, happened upon a thorough coverage of the origins of Buddhism beginning in China. It is interesting that in this quite independent origin of a Sacred philosophy (non-theistic) it was forbidden for the first two hundred years to present, in any way, an image of the Buddha (or Sidharta Gautama). The most often used “image” at this point was footsteps. Not the person (as that approach discounts personhood), but the passing of the person in a place. Later we all know many, many statues of some image of the Buddha became popular. In America, they even are popular for gardens and lawns. Contrast this with the oft-quoted later Buddhist statement, “if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” [148Sm’14]
  • On the Christian side, perhaps everyone is familiar with the differences between the interiors of Protestant churches and Roman Catholic Churches. The former are bare of paintings, murals, statues while the latter are full of same. It was one of the main objections of the early Protestant reformation that the RCC had become so fully reliant or flooded on images of God or those devoted to God that it was removing the dimension of Sacred and mystery from the teachings. Of course, it also produced some of the greatest artistic works of the Italian Renaissance and the greatest music in human history. The point was that instead of praying to an entity, most people began to pray to an image (sounding much like what was condemned in early Hebrew history) and that the images were making too common the Sacred. [149Sm’14]
  • It should be noted that the early Hebrew Sacred writings forbad even the use of any “word” for God. The name of God was so sacred that even Yahweh was not to be used or spoken. These peoples raised the image of God to be so very high and beyond human comprehension that it was not to be made common by their (or any) language. Compare that with our common practices in all Abrahaminic faiths. [Sm’14]
  • What is common to all of these Sacred domain approaches is that the earliest (and in our estimation) purest formulations, every one held the Divine entity at the apex of their teachings to be so far beyond our comprehension that it should not be sullied by our very limited human conceptions and manifestations. Another commonality is the loss of this practice early in all of the movements. It seems like the base humanity of followers overwhelms the earlier conceptions reducing much of the Sacred to the more easy to understand human level. Consider our terminology in many churches. We endlessly use terms like “right hand of God” “Lord” “King” and so many more when those terms are no longer relevant — they are medieval or before terms — and yet we seem stuck in them thereby reducing the Divine to more easily conceived human terms. Who is to say that we should not go back to the original practice? It is interesting that while Jesus (for Christianity) maintained his teaching of the incomprehensibility and distance of God from us, he also familiarized in ways unforeseen before him the image of God by urging (permitting us) to call God, the Father. [150Sm’14]

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