The numinous experience, a sense of the sacred, and an awareness of a cosmic struggle between good and evil are the first three indications that human beings have an sense of transcendence – but is this all in our heads?
If it is, then all of us have a remarkably similar experience of the mysterious, fascinating, sacred and good power, as well as a remarkably similar experience of the dark, empty, and evil powers who are against it.
We also have remarkably similar experiences of how the sacred works in the world, how we are being inspired and guided, the basic characteristics of good and evil, and even the transcendental symbols within our dreams.
If this is just a product of our individual imaginations, then we need to ask ourselves, “How did all of us get to this same common awareness of the transcendent, spiritual, and supernatural?”
The odds of each of us conjuring up this array of transcendental beliefs in such a similar way among all the world’s cultures is exceedingly improbable – if there is no common source.
But what could this common source be? What do you think?
Is it one and the same spiritual reality who is present to us all?
Before we proceed to the next five indications of transcendence, consider the fact that the vast majority of religions have seven common characteristics that were set out by the German historian of religion, Friedrich Heiler (1892 – 1967):
- The transcendent, the holy, the divine, the Other is real.
- The transcendent reality is immanent in human awareness.
- This transcendent reality is the highest truth, highest good, and highest beauty.
- This transcendent reality is loving and compassionate – and seeks to reveal its love to human beings.
- The way to God requires prayer, ethical self-discipline, purgation of self-centeredness, asceticism, and redressing of offenses.
- The way to God also includes service and responsibility to people.
- The highest way to eternal bliss in the transcendent reality is through love.
Notice how these seven common characteristics of the world’s religions are reflected in our next five indications of God’s interior presence to us – the awareness of and desire for perfect truth, perfect love, perfect goodness, perfect beauty, and perfect home.
Our next post will explain in greater detail the six basic arguments of most transcendental philosophers.