Friday, January 27, 2012

Transformation of Believers

"Religious conflict occurs more from the belief-attitudes than from the religion's beliefs."

The attitudes of religious minded people can determine the perception of a given religion. Generally spiritual minded persons fall into two ends: dogmatic believers or spiritual believers. Regardless of differences in religions, dogmatic believers are often at the core of religious conflict; while spiritual believers more often form the nucleus of inter-religious peace, writes theologian  Choi-in-sik, Seoul Theological University, Korea.

Choi-in-sik, a contemporary theologian, examines the ways believers and religions communicate their messages. Given that dogmatic believers are prone to inter-religious conflict, to realize meaningful dialog Choi-in-sik writes that the primary task is to turn those persons into spiritual believers. A dogmatic person, unwilling, and a spiritual person, unwilling to enter into dogma will have no meeting of the mind nor heart, is Choi-in-sik's premise. And yet we are all dogmatic at least some of the time. How many 'shoulds' and 'should nots' go through our minds when regarding our self or others? Perhaps the spiritual position is something more like 'will' or 'will not', ' is' or 'is not' when turning the hearts and minds of believers.

Twentieth century theologian, Hans Kung proposed an idea of the "true humanity" in which all believers would come to a spiritual point of view. Alternatively Choi-in-sik proposes the image of the "spiritual self" to represent true humanity. A review of the term, true humanity, via an on-line search quickly shows that it is a term of wide interpretation. In this article Choi-in-sik defines the term: "True humanity is the realization and maturation of the spiritual self."
 He further postulates the the conversion of every dogmatic believer into a spiritual believer is possible, thereby making dialog between persons possible.

"When one resolves to live, realizing that the spiritual self is the true self, there denies one self and bears the true cross," writes Choi-in-sik. In other words, that person turns from the merely physical to the spiritual; therefore, to follow the physical self in exclusion of the spiritual self is to lead away from the spirit and to follow the things of men alone. To live by the spirit, one is body-spirit and flesh all at once.

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