Synopsis of philology, theology & religious studies 


ईश्वर  الله  ܐܠܗܐ  देव  ईश्वर  الله  اللّہ  خودا  גאט  Աստված  ღმერთი  พระเจ้า 

கடவுள்  Бог  Таҥара  Tanrı  Diu  Deus  Gott  God  Diyos

Abraham is the eponym of Judaism, Christianity and Islam,

and a descendant of Noah's son, Shem. Sara שָׂרַי was the mother of Isaac.

Jesus was a descendant of Abraham through Isaac.

Muhammad "the seal of the prophets" was also a descendant of Abraham through Ishma'el.

In Islam, Abraham is recognized as a prophet, patriarch and messenger,

archetype of the perfect Muslim, and reformer of the Kaaba.

All Muslims around the world face the Kaaba in Mecca during prayers, no matter where they are.

The Dome of the rock - The Islamic masterpiece of early Umayyad-style

is located on the Temple Mount at the Old City of Jerusalem.

On the Foundation Stone, Even ha-Shetiyya, the world was founded

according to Jewish tradition, the Ark of the Covenant was in

the Jerusalem Temple, and Abraham wanted to sacrifice Isaac here.

From this place Muhammad has taken up his ascension into heaven

and the encounter with Jesus and the previous prophets of Judaism.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque stands opposite the Al-Sakhrah Mosque.

Glory to Who did take His servant (Muhammad) for a Journey by night

from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,-

in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who

heareth and seeth (all things). (Qur'an Sure 17)

According to tradition, the Dome was built to honor the Lord.

The caliph also wanted to build a shrine to rival Mecca.

Located in what Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary which Jews call the Temple Mount.


Approximately 53% of the world's population identifies with

one of the three primary Abrahamic religions. 33% Christian, 20% Islam, 1% Judaism,

6% with Buddhism, 13% with Hinduism, 6% with traditional Chinese religion,

7% with various other religions, and less than 15% as non-religious.


"The difference between freedom and freedoms is as big

as between God and gods." - Ludwig Börne, theater critic

"Religions are the only metaphysics people can understand and accept."

- Joseph Joubert, moralist and essayist

Cultural history shows a social need of sacral places and rites,

of corresponding language and personnel, which can be satisfied

neither by politics nor by another social system. Prof. Paul Nolte answers the title question

"Do we need a religion-friendly state?" as positive.

Basically he starts from empirical results of the social change.

Though that's rarely valid for it's starting point, the "return of religion".

He thinks it is a secured result. There's a continuous hype generated by migration phenomena

and fundamentalistic terror. For example of the return of presumed dead religion

it's more about practicing than speaking about it.

This weakness is corresponding conspicuously with the other.

"Religion contributes to the constituent of the civil society" because it's useful.

It produces a value for its environment. By promoting it the state supports the civics

- the state becomes a "sponsor of the civil society".

Although it's not convincing when Nolte wants to grant privileges to religion

with an argument that is also valid for other systems of the society.

One could also make a case for sports where one can find a high degree of

civil engagement, where one can learn and practice helpfulness,

solidarity, responsibility, and consciousness of performance.

"The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious.

It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavor in art and science.

He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind.

To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind

cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly

and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness." - Albert Einstein




3,000 years ago in Ancient Israel there had been one of the first

social welfares that's supposed to protect the strangers,

the poor, the minor, the slaves, the widows and the orphans.

With the influence of Greek hellenism and the Roman law on the people of Israel

2,000 years ago the Rabbis began to focus more on who's with them and who's not.

In this time of money exchangers Joseph and

the 14 year-old virgin Mary traveled to Bethlehem where Christ was born in as "remedy".

Exchanging presents at Christmas is a ritual in memory of the

Christ child who had been showered with presents by the astronomers from Babylon.


Out of gratitude, that God has saved her daughter Mary from the soldiers of king Herod,

Anna and Yoachim send Mary to Jerusalem. Here she's brought up by the wise Simeon.

Years later she comes back to Nazareth as a young teen.

Here she gets engaged to the carpenter Yosef.

Just to that time the mother of Mary Magdalena a friend of Mary, is stoned to death due to adultery.

Because Magdalena has enough of Nazareths' town life she joins a caravan

in which one of her relatives, Herodias, is on the way to Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem Magdalena falls in love with Antipatros, a son of king Herod the Great.

Without Magdalena's knowledge Herodias lays a trap to Antipatros and sets him up

for a planned poisoned attempt on his father's life.

In consequence Herod commands to kill his son Antipatros.

In Nazareth the archangel Gabri'el appears to Mary and announces

the young woman that she gives life to the son of God.

At first Joseph wants to bar her because of adultery though

after a dream where God has encouraged him he marrys Mary.

A few months later the appeal of the Roman emperor issues a census.

Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem where Jesus is born in a stall.

Then the family flees to Egypt. After Herod's death when Jesus was already

7 years old they return to Nazareth. Mary and Joseph have no further children apparently.

The carpenter Joseph dies after an accident at work.

Thirty years later Jesus begins his work. He hikes through Israel,

preaches, works miracles, and collects followers around him.

Mary tracks with it his son's career. In the meantime Magdalena is

married with Joazar, one of the captains of the new king Herod Antipas.

She hears from Jesus and knows that he's an unusual man, perhaps even the Messiah himself.

Though also John the Baptist, who christens the people at

the Jordan river and lashes out against Herod and his second wife Herodias, is loved by the people.

Herodias falls back once more on Magdalena.

She gives money to her so that Mary bribes people in order to spread false testimonies about John.

Herodias promises her in return that John won't be killed.

But it comes differently: John will be arrested. At Herod's birthday party Salome, Herodias' daughter,

dances so gracefully that Herod promises her a fulfilment of a wish.

She asks for John's head. With regard to this Magdalena leaves the fortress in tears,

knowingly that she's had and partly responsible for his death.

In a close town she begins to work as a prostitute.

When Joazar, her husband, comes across in the brothel

after days of searching he gives the word that she shall be stoned,

just like her mother back then. But just in this moment Jesus appears.

He requests the ones to throw the first stone if he's without sin and saves Mary Magdalena's life.

After that Mary accompanys Jesus and his disciples. She also meets again her friend Mary,

Jesus' mother. With Jesus they set off to Jerusalem. One night they find out here about Jesus' desciple

John that Jesus was arrested in the garden Gethsemane. Then both women and John

escorts Jesus until his crucifixion. Three days later Jesus rises from the dead.




On Reflection

Creation is presented as a whole that includes the phenomenon of time.

The seven days are an image of completeness, unfolding in time.

They are ordered towards the seventh day,

the day of the freedom of all creatures for one another.

Creation is therefore directed towards the coming together;

it exists so as to open up a space for the response the great glory.

On the other hand, what they hear on Easter night is above all

the first element of the creation account: "God said, ‘let there be light!'" (Gen 1:3).

The creation account begins symbolically with the creation of light.

The sun and the moon are created only on the fourth day.

The creation account calls them lights, set by the creator in the firmament of heaven.

In this way he deliberately takes away the divine character

that the great religions had assigned to them. They're not gods. They are shining bodies.

But they are preceded by the light through which the glory is reflected

in the essence of the created being.

What is the creation account saying here? Light makes life possible.

It makes encounter possible. It makes communication possible.

It makes knowledge, access to reality and to truth, possible.

And insofar as it makes knowledge possible, it makes freedom and progress possible. Evil hides.

Light, then, is also an expression of the good that both is and creates brightness.

It is daylight, which makes it possible for us to act.

To say that light is created means that the creator created the world as

a space for knowledge and truth, as a space for encounter and freedom,

as a space for good and for love. Matter is fundamentally good, being itself is good.

And evil does not come from God-made being, rather, it comes into existence through denial.

The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all,

is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things,

but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes,

where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil.

The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat

to our existence and to the world in general.

If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil,

remain in darkness, then all other "lights", that put such incredible technical feats within our reach,

are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk.

Today we can illuminate our cities so brightly that the stars of the sky

are no longer visible. Is this not an image of the problems caused by

our version of enlightenment? With regard to material things,

our knowledge and our technical accomplishments are legion,

but what reaches beyond, the things of God and the question of good, we can no longer identify.

We are witnessing a growing indifference to religion in society,

which considers the issue of truth as something of an obstacle in its

decision-making, and instead gives priority to utilitarian considerations.

All the same, a binding basis for our coexistence is needed;

otherwise people live in a purely individualistic way.

Religion is one of these foundations for a successful social life.

"Just as religion has need of freedom, so also freedom has need of religion."

These words of the bishop and social reformer Wilhelm von Ketteler,

the second centenary of whose birth is being celebrated this year, remain timely.

Freedom requires a primordial link to a higher instance.

The fact that there are values which are not absolutely open to manipulation

is the true guarantee of our freedom.

The man who feels a duty to truth and goodness will immediately agree with this:

freedom develops only in responsibility to a greater good.

Such a good exists only for all of us together;

therefore I must always be concerned for my neighbours.

Freedom cannot be lived in the absence of relationships.

In human coexistence, freedom is impossible without solidarity.

What I do at the expense of others is not freedom but a culpable way of acting

which is harmful to others and also to myself. 

I can truly develop as a free person only by using my powers also for

the welfare of others. This holds true not only in private matters

but also for society as a whole. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity

(the sociological principle to shift accountability to the smallest possible level

or unit of administration), society must give sufficient space for

smaller structures to develop and, at the same time,

must support them so that one day they will stand on their own.

A clear look at the past, even at the dark pages of a nation,

enables us to learn from it and to receive an impetus for the present.

The republic has become what it is today thanks to

the power of freedom shaped by responsibility before God and before one another.

It needs this dynamism, which engages every human sector in order to continue developing now.

It needs this in a world which requires a profound cultural renewal

and the rediscovery of fundamental values. (Caritas in Veritate, 21)

With an inter-religious dialogue it's about the story of the good Samaritan in which Jesus

describes those of different faiths or religions as model in concrete action.

The helping act there is rated higher than the right confession.

This story of Jesus is until now the nearly proverbial example for mercy and

compassion and a lasting stimulus for self-criticism and penance of Christians.

At this point as well the Holy Scripture is valid for Christians.

They don't just rescpect everyone's decision on a matter of conscience,

they also treat him with respect if he believes differently.

This attitude doesn't contradict the biblical testimony, it's rather committed to it.

Respect for people with a different faith is indeed a biblical principle.

Everyone has the same dignity with his image of God.

Welfare services came into force instead of an instance which made sure

before that one thinks about oneself and makes an effort: the conscience.

Conscience is a demanding, thoroughly modern arrangement that is not revealed out of life.

Without a moral ressource our allegedly diverse and informed present is poor in great motives.

Conscience is required an external stability and the power of religious belief

here becomes a ressource in the sense of lineage (Böckenförde).

"If we believe that our life belongs to greater story and that it is judged by a higher court of justice,

it will improve our moral strength to make sacrifices for a goal.

Then we don't have to be motivated with any single matter."

Religion can appear more generous and sustainable than

the whole narrow-minded supportive and demanding superstructure of our time.

This meaning of religious belief was the basic idea in Max Weber's

"Protestant ethics". This argumentation that is not put down on

separate regulations can be valid for other confessions.

"Small amounts of philosophy removes from religion, large amounts of philosophy

leads back to it." - Francis Bacon, philosopher, English Lord Chancellor (1561-1626) 

The first narcissistic insult is the obvious vividness of contemptuous religion.

Exaggerated criticism of religion is often connected with an unstable self-esteem.

Neurobiology shows that religious feelings sort things out in our heads.

Wide areas of the cerebral cortex swing against eachother during meditation or

prayer, the head works more synchronically. Neurotheology demonstrates that atheists actually

show a less emotional stirring in the brain than religious people.

In defiance of Nietzsche religions are flourishing worldwide.

The spiritual emergence in China, Africa and Latin-America are

healing movements that aren't determined from upstairs but lived from down below.

About the struggle for individual life and its freedom Søren Kierkegaard wrote:

"Life is understood backwards and lived forward."

The renaissance of the religious was seen as a threat. The idealized self-image of the modern man

pretends that trancendency is not needed anymore because science

has get rid of any supernatural as part of a rationalization program.

A lot of strength has been invested in resistance of the painful reality

that natural religiousness is inherented in every man,

which is written in Viktor Frankl's book "The unconscious God".

These defences of the body can be perceived as anti-religious ineffectiveness.

In order to evade rational discussions they often lose themselves in

excessive ineffectiveness in the sense of emotional excitement and shock

because these body's defences are irrational and therefore unfounded.

Many pseudo-rational spurious arguments are actually heaped on the religious

which come from irrational sources of a painful hurt narcissism.

At all times in history it alternated between progressive and conservative theological trends.

Religiously minded people have basically a philosophical disposition

and are always posing the deliberately artificial formulation of a question:

Where we come from, Who we are, Where we go, and the Why?

The scripture is necessary in order to eventually strive for faith in

the 'Sacred Heart of Jesus' but to bite into letters has never been Catholic and will never be. 

Religion is something what happens in deep-down communication

with his lowest and highest self. Our dogmatic religious persuasions

constitute the high point of its seperated being.

Through the "gate of true freedom" one puts his affirmation also into sporadic words.

To make oneself dependent on people and their thinking, is worthless.

Jesus describes those of different faiths or religions as model in concrete action.

The helping act is rated higher than the right confession.

This story of the Samaritan is until now the nearly proverbial example for mercy and

compassion and a lasting stimulus for self-criticism and penance of Christians.

At this point as well the Holy Scripture is valid for Christians.

They don't just respect everyone's decision on a matter of conscience,

they also treat him with respect if he believes differently.

This attitude doesn't contradict the biblical testimony, it's rather committed to it.

Respect for people with a different faith is indeed a biblical principle.

Everyone has the same dignity with his image of God.

The religious character knows no envy. He accepts that what holds all people together deep inside.

Compassion is always the highest priority of a religion.

It's always about overcoming our ego, understanding us all as One.

The God of Islam is a God that calls on people to use the human mind

for gaining cognition about his existence.

The image of God in Islam is to make use of reason and reflection.

The proverb "In the eyes of God we all are equal!" belongs to Islam.

Judaism and Islam reminds Christianity, the religion of incarnation,

on his oblivion from flesh. God is not an object of pure teaching and justification.

Religion has its seat in real life in practises, rituals, in postures.

Judaism and Islam reminds Christianity on the "corporal" perspective.

The 'eternal old tried and tested path' to avoid "profane vain babblings

of flasely called art" and to open oneself for the "inner teachers" through breathing exercise,

light exercise, attentive consciousness, and power over the mind.

The shamans today are described as profilers, mentalists or hypnotists.

World religions are descended from different cultural areas but all have a similar ideal of love.

It is the connecting power that is beyond all other differences.

The last sense of their religious and spiritual practices is active compassion.

Despite of all philosophical differences it's the most important task of all

doctrines to achieve a contribution to a happier and a more peaceful environment.

The message of Buddha is that everyone should put oneself

in another person's sufferings and needs.

In Buddhist tradition this is the wish to gain inspiration from selfless motives

to free all creatures from sorrow. With sincere help for others it brings happiness by itself.

For oneself his personal integrity, the genuineness of his motives, is decisive.

All people should develop to the full and combine with the world.

For the leader it's essential to be connected with the ordinary people.

One can easily be influenced by advisers and officials in making decisions after their own interests.

"It's impressive how Christians worldwide are giving practical help

in many aid organizations. Mother Teresa is an example for

how much can be achieved with spiritual strength.

I'm impressed especially by her humility. In a buddhist perspective Mother Teresa is certainly a Bodhisattva.

She has dedicated her life to the poor,

that is genuine christianity. I don't know if I am able to do what she did." - The Dala'i Lama

Volf, one of the world's foremost Christian theologians - and co-teacher,

along with former British prime minister Tony Blair,

of a groundbreaking Yale University course on faith and globalization

- comes Allah, a timely and provocative argument for a new pluralism between Muslims and Christians.

In a penetrating exploration of every side of the issue,

from New York Times headlines on terrorism to passages in the Koran

and excerpts from the Gospels, Volf makes an unprecedented argument for effecting

a unified understanding between Islam and Christianity.

In the tradition of Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s Islam in the Modern World,

Volf’s Allah is essential reading for students of the evolving political science.

Three and a half billion people - the majority of the world’s population

- profess Christianity or Islam.

Renowned scholar Miroslav Volf’s controversial proposal

is that Muslims and Christians do worship the same God - the only God.

As Volf reveals, warriors in the “clash of civilizations” have used “religions”

- each with its own god and worn as a badge of identity

- to divide and oppose, failing to recognize the one God

whom Muslims and Christians understand in partly different ways.

Writing from a Christian perspective, and in dialogue with

leading Muslim scholars and leaders from around the world,

Volf reveals surprising points of intersection and overlap between these two faith traditions:

- What the Qur’an denies about God as the Holy Trinity

has been denied by every great teacher of the church in the past and ought to be denied by Christians today.

- A person can be both a practicing Muslim and 100 percent Christian

without denying core convictions of belief and practice.

- How two faiths, worshipping the same God,

can work toward the common good under a single government.

Volf explains the hidden agendas behind today’s news stories

as he thoughtfully considers the words of religious leaders and

parses the crucial passages from the Bible and the Qur’an that continue to ignite passion.

Allah offers a constructive way forward by

reversing the “our God vs. their God” premise that destroys bridges

between neighbors and nations, magnifies fears, and creates strife.


On October 2010 the UN-General Assembly has declared unanimously

at Jordans' request the first week of "interreligious week of harmony" on February 2011.

The World church council and the muslim organizations have emphasized

on a common conference on November 2010 in Geneve that they support the project.

With it religious representatives meet together to engage in dialog

on the initiative of the United Nations everywhere in the world.

The Churches should build bridges to other religious communities and promote mutual understanding.

With the Pope the representatives of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Daoism,

Confucianism and Hinduism are substantiating their effort for peace.

For the first time the Pope has invited nonbelievers to this year's meeting.

The standing of the religions for peace is unchanged urgently in view of

growing challenges through the financial crisis, the fall of political and social

institutions, hunger and migration as well as malicious forms of neocolonialism.

Violence betweeen religions is a scandal that distorts the true identity of religion and departs from faith.


Religious virtues

There are two radically different ways to be like God:

the way of "realization of God" ( in a sense that I disclose the veil of his secrets, obtain oneself

the certainty of knowledge, decide oneself, what is good and evil )

or the "way of existence" - being godlike by following the foolish paradox logic of love with my behavior.

The first offer went to Adam by Satan in paradise ( you will be like God and realize good and evil ),

the other offer goes to Jesus ( be unanimous with my heavenly father

who let the sun shine and the rain fall on the good and the bad ).

The second foolish way is very well comprehended and radicalized by Paul:

The foolish cause of God is stronger than the cause of man. - Tomas Halik, "Patience with God"

"If you know alot and belong to the social upper class you must not forget for a second:

The higher the one stands the more he has to serve the other.

The greatest purpose for man is the vocation to love. Love is the meaning of human life.

It's the reason of human dignity, the evidence of nobility of his soul." - John Paul II.  

"The greatest wealth is a poverty of desires."- Lucius Seneca, philosopher, natural scientist, politician

"One is rich. Not through one's possessions but through that

which one can with dignity do without." - Epicurus

"My poverty is my pride" - The Prophet Muhammad

"The philosophers condemn richness only because we use it poorly." - François de La Rochefoucauld

"Conservative" Pentecostal churches with their "reactionary gender roles"

have propagated values like diligence and discipline.

This leads to a provable social improvement of life situations of their members.

From the viewpoint of moral theologians religion offer some starting points for a lasting lifestyle.

Cosumer goods as the idolized golden calf and

religion as motivation to a lasting deal with ressources in a modern society:

Religious virtues could help achieve a more lasting deal with nature.

The convents and monastries were the medieval Google at that time.

Religion has great empirical values that has grown through many centuries and the upshot is that

the individual retrenches for the benefit of the necessity of the community,

the creation and all living things on earth. It has always been the question of religion,

how the human can be happy with dealing with limited ressources.

Christian spirituality has developed strategies for it. One reads: Less is more.

When I fast I can appreciate more things that I eat, perceive more consciously

and feel the taste more intense, and come in this way to a more intensive quality of life.

The strategy would be, to discover a new life perspective,

quality, and intensity in renunciation and to finally win something. 

In Christian religion it's about discovering positive life-dimensions

and then possibly change our lifestyle in a long term.

The virtues comprises reverence, respect, gratitude, empathy, moderation, humility and willingness.

They all can be combined with topics about lastingness and environment:

for example in respect for the creation, to have sympathy for animals,

self-restraint in order to enable a dignified life for others as well, or the point of view of a "Less is more".

In ethics they develop such values because it isn't lived by everyone.

Otherwise there's no need to formulate these values and to send out appeals.

The specific characteristic of theology is not to promote lastingness

but also to name certain favorable external conditions and strategies.

The United Nations factored the great world religions in different initiatives and discussions and consider

with them together which strategies would help us to move on.

In Islamic countries for example there's a huge scarcity of water.

The specific characteristic of religion lies in that it can motivate

if the people are religiously open. The religion is playing a role although in an enlightened society.

It's not about a monopoly of religion on strategies to lastingness.

In a postmodern society religion is an important social force,

de facto the greatest non-governmental organization that can be perceived positively.

The people are getting less religious in the sense of declared, of strongly institutionalized religiosity.

In religion there's a potential that questions the Golden Calf, like the car or the phone.

In the end a commodity enslaves us when we idolize it and we become inhibited with it.

The basic idea of religion was to make people free and responsible,

even though it's been disguised in history.