new age spirituality

Questions and Answers on Spirituality


I am an Englishman currently living and working in Tokyo, Japan. I was baptized as a Christian and received some instruction in Christianity during my early schooldays. Since then I haven't practiced any religion apart from lone prayer. I recently began to ask myself questions about the spiritual side of existence, hence the existence of this page.

During February and March 1999 I posted some questions on spirituality in religious newsgroups and also ran a spirituality questionnaire on my "Other Worlds" website. The following contains some selected responses to the questions together with some of my own comments. This paper is necessarily incomplete and will be added to as I gain further insight and experience, and as my all too limited time permits. For this reason I apologize for the "vagueness" of some of my personal comments. I would like to thank all those who took the time and trouble to respond to my questions and welcome any further correspondence on these and other questions of spirituality, although I would apologize in advance that there may be some delay in my response due to the constraints mentioned above.

The Questions

1. What is the nature of God? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

2. Do all forms of life (humans, animals, plants, single-celled organisms, life on other planets) possess a distinct, nonphysical spirit? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

3. Does spirit exist before birth?, and if so what is the nature of its existence? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

4. What are the main objectives of this lifetime? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

5. What happens to the spirit after bodily death? Does it undergo any kind of 'judgment'? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

6. How are 'good' and 'evil' defined? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

7. Is 'evil' a force coming from within or without? Christian | Buddhist | other

8. How should we deal with the problems of evil in practical day-to-day terms, e.g. what should I do if I find someone breaking into my house? What should happen to those guilty of `irreversible` crimes such as murder? No matter how repentant they may be, their damage can never be undone; can they be forgiven in this lifetime? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

9. What do you understand by karma? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

10. Do you believe in reincarnation i.e. a single spirit living many lives? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

11. Glenn Hoddle, the England football manager, was sacked for remarks implying that disabled people were responsible for their own suffering. Is there a reason why some people are born with disabilities? Does it imply they have special lessons to learn in this lifetime, or are such handicaps merely random? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

12. How should the victims and perpetrators of mass atrocities such as the holocaust and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki be considered from a spiritual point of view? Comment | Christian | Buddhist | other

Questions for Christians Comment

13. Can Christianity coexist with other religions / beliefs - e.g. Buddhism? What does Christianity say will happen to those equally sincere followers of other religions come judgment day? Comment | Reply

14. Is there a difference between Christianity and the "Church"? Does a true Christian need to be a member of a church? Comment | Reply

15. As an Englishman I have grown up in the shadow of the problems in Northern Ireland where two sects of Christianity appear to hold hatred for one another. Can these people really be Christians? Comment | Reply

16. What do true Christians believe about the fragmented nature of their religion? If I wanted to attend church I would be bewildered by the choice of which one to attend. Comment | Reply

Questions for Buddhists

17. Can Buddhism coexist with other religions / beliefs - e.g. Christianity? Comment | Reply

18. What does Buddhism say will happen to those equally sincere followers of other religions come "judgment"? Comment | Reply


1. What is the nature of God?

The nature, or even the existence, of God is unknowable since by definition the human being is a lesser entity than God. However, the concept of God certainly exists in the minds of men and it is reasonable to suppose that God exists on the basis of "Pascal's wager"; this suggests that it in the case we are wrong it is least damaging to believe in God. That is, if God exists and we didn't believe in Him at best this lifetime would have been wasted and at worst we are in for infinite punishment. However if we believed in God, but there is none, at worst we would have lived a good life, helping others and seeking to create a better world and the same grave will await us as if we'd lived a decadent life. Ultimately a good life yields more satisfaction than a decadent one.

So, if God exists, what is His (its?) nature? To me it seems reasonable to postulate that God is the totality of Spirit, that from which all else emanates. The Christian definition that God is Love leaves me pondering the question of why, since He is (by definition) omnipotent, did He create evil in the world in the form of suffering and crime? Therefore it seems reasonable to suppose that spirit, and this world (universe) as an emanation of spirit, were created that we (as spirit) might gain, and grow from, experience. I believe that as emanations of God possessing free will we contain a "divine spark" or part of God within us, therefore creation happened in order that God might grow.

Please refer to my paper the nature of God for more detail.


I gain great comfort by imagining God to be a being or force that created the universe, that is actively interested in my well-being, that loves me without condition, and that can hear my prayers.

God is the definition of love.


The question is what we define as "God". Buddhists define God any soul whose level is higher than human's or half-god (asura)'s. Basing on this definition, there are many gods. The highest one lives in Maha Nirvana and never had fallen from there. His nature is three conditions:
1) Absolute freedom - i.e. a freedom to appear in any world in any universe (Hells, Worlds of Animals, Worlds of Form and Worlds of Non-Form)
2) Absolute joy - as there are no leakages of merits, energy of joy circulates eternally
3)Absolute happiness - a happiness due to absence of any karmic limitations.
These three conditions.


from a Taoist Not that I am an atheist. I am very spiritual, but to give that spirit a name diminishes its essence. There is no name for it, least of all God.


2. Do all forms of life (humans, animals, plants, single-celled organisms, life on other planets) possess a distinct, nonphysical spirit?

Life is the effect/ of spirit seeking to impose its will upon the largely deterministic physical realm. Each living entity is the result of individuation from spirit, with circumstances, personality, character and experience unique to its particular incarnation. As such all life possesses, or is part of, spirit; with spirit being more "distinct" or individuated in the case of "higher" organisms. In the case of "lower" species the hand of spirit is less firm upon the entity and determinism plays a greater role in shaping its destiny.

The physical realm is a manifestation of spirit and as such even non-living physical entities exist only at the will of spirit. Additionally, physical life exists elsewhere in the universe. There are also other, nonphysical, forms that individuated spirit may take. Often we are drawn to the form of existence we previously experienced and so choose to be reincarnate in similar circumstances. But it is not inconceivable that we may be reborn as other species, or even in nonphysical form. It is, however, unlikely that we shall reincarnate as a less developed species as such a scenario provides reduced opportunity for experiential growth.

Spirit is master of all lower realms and subordinate only to God.


all life is created by God, and in that sense is a part of God.


Not an unchanging one, not a "spirit" separate from itself, The idea that they are separate from one another is a mental construct we use to relate to the world.

They say, all forms who can move - plants are not included. But they say also that there are fairies who keeps an eye on groups of plants


from a Taoist We don't possess it at all-it is within us. We share this spirit. If we possessed it, we could manipulate it and change its characteristics, but as history shows, we breathe the same now as when we first existed.

3. Does spirit exist before birth?, and if so what is the nature of its existence?

My current thinking tells me Spirit is a single entity; an emanation from, and manifestation of, God; from which all else (i.e. the physical universe) is born. In this model a human being is formed when a part of spirit individuates from the rest. Spirit is infinite and eternal. Individuated spiritual entities have a finite beginning at the point of individuation and may eventually be absorbed back into the whole, but experience is never lost, rather it may be shared.

The more significant moment is that of conception (rather than birth) where it is determined that a new life will be formed. Spirit drives the act of conception to provide the opportunity for a particular individuated spirit to become flesh. This is for the reason of furthering the growth both of the individual and of spirit as a whole. Please refer to on Being for more detail.


...the spirit exists in the womb, and God has a plan for every child which is there from the foundation of the world. People don't always do what God wants, which is why His plans are sometimes thwarted. However, God is always merciful and forgiving when we do go against His wishes. He gives us a choice. We then must live with the consequences of that choice.

According to the Bible, the spirit is given by God when the child is conceived in the womb. It does not exist before that time.

No. Also know that there are different types of spirit. Angels are spirits. Demons are fallen spirits. The spirit of man is different. Further God is Spirit, but of a completely different kind. The Spirit of God is uncreated and all else is created.

In Jeremiah 1, (somewhere around v. 5-10) God says [Before I formed thee in the womb I knew thee, and before you were born I sanctified you...] Jeremiah was clearly Jeremiah before he was born, perhaps even before he was conceived.

Spirit is the breath of God. If you mean soul, the soul of an individual is coexistent with the body, and both begin at conception

If you were a deck of cards, all 52 cards would not be 'reincarnated.' Maybe some attributes (the fours, all the diamonds, or the jokers) will be passed onto someone. Yet we are created as a new person at conception. sounds like a double answer; yet, we have one chance at life as we completely are. Even if that life is terminated in the womb, rich or poor, healthy or ill etc.


karma exists... a bunch of causes come together and there is an effect.

Spirit, or soul exists eternally.


from a Taoist Spirit has always existed in some form or another. Perhaps there was a time when it existed by not existing. Birth is not quite the right term for your question. But to answer your question in this context, a new living being has been created from the spiritual bond of its mother and father, and now lives because that spirit is within it.

4. What are the main objectives of this lifetime?

We have been "made flesh" for a reason, I believe that reason is essentially to grow as individual spirits and to contribute to the growth of spirit in its entirety. If we view this existence as a lesson, or a trial, then surely God would want us to attempt to create the impossibility of Utopia. In this case we should seek to make a positive contribution to the growth of the universe by being good citizens and by seeking to give and serve, rather than to take. The pursuit of spiritual growth is a noble one, but should not be the only one, since we have been born to live in this world we should make the most of that opportunity. See the Nature of Man.


Love each other. Love God.

As a Christian, I am called to serve God. What is His will. That all may come to know Him. We do this by loving one another, by helping others, and by forgiving. Being gentle and merciful toward others will cause them to see "there's something different about him/her."

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

The Bible says our main purpose on this earth is to glorify God. As I am a Christian, the Bible says that I am bought with a price, and I am to glorify God in my body and my spirit, which belong to God.

The Bible says that there will come a day in the next life when I will be rewarded for my efforts on this earth for the Lord.

To learn to know and love God in this life so as to be with him eternally in heaven.

life is a time to learn as much as one can spiritually to gain a closeness to God. once in the after world you continue to grow closer to God yet because of the lack of pain (suffering, life's lessons, what ever you wish to call it), learning is at a slower rate. If a plant grows in the wild, it will remain a small, scraggly plant. If you cultivate the plant and prune the plant, the plant will become full and flourish. That is what happens to us spiritually as we go through life's trials and tribulations. We should welcome trials to have the opportunity to grow spiritually.


live a positive life that helps "others" and harms as few things as possible.

To come closer to Maha Nirvana (= to elevate spiritual level) in ourselves and in people surrounding us. To strengthen karmic connection with Stream of Truth (for instance, with Buddhas and their teaching)


from a Taoist We have no purpose but to sustain ourselves. Not just our personal beings, but all living beings. To work in harmony with nature as it exists. All other objectives hinder this work.

5. What happens to the spirit after bodily death? Does it undergo any kind of judgment?

As the temporary spiritual-physical link is broken the physical, bodily shell is transformed according to physics. The (individuated) spirit returns to (the realm of) spirit, to reflect, and possibly to reincarnate. There is overwhelming evidence that spirits of the dead may communicate with the living. Such communication takes place via a medium, directly with sensitives, or occasionally to less sensitives. The purpose in the main is to offer guidance and reassurance. See After Life?.


While I am now learning more about Christian beliefs and the idea of "Heaven," I have always preferred the Zen thought that ... since the question of an afterlife can't be answered, it's best left alone, and instead we should concentrate on living the best in THIS life.

Of course, Christian belief says good works don't get you into Heaven, only accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of God and your savior will bring eternal life. I am still struggling with this as it seems a limiting definition.

The greatest choice we face is what to believe about Jesus. Some believe He was a great teacher. Some say He was God's son. But, He was more than that. He is God, the Son, and has always existed. Jesus was God in the flesh. Only in that way could He be the perfect sacrifice.

Why a sacrifice? Because there is a judgment based on what we did with Jesus. We are sinners by nature. Separated from God. By Jesus living as a person - He was God and man at the same time, He merely withheld His power - and never sinning (because God cannot sin), He showed His love by giving up Heaven for us. Then, He willingly suffered and died a horrible death, crucified after a sham trial. Though He had no sin, He was crucified as a criminal. At that time, God placed all the sins people would ever commit - all the sins you would commit - and He placed them on Jesus. Jesus was separated from God - this is why He cried out at one point "my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" God put Him through hell in order to save us. Then, on the third day, He rose from the grave, having won over the devil once and for all. Adam and Eve hadn't faced the prospect of death till by sinning they brought death into the world. Jesus, by defeating death, took it out, and allowed us to do the same, in a way.

See, after death, the soul is judged by whether or not they allowed Jesus Christ to cleanse them of their sins. Babies and children under an age of moral responsibility are automatically saved, not because they are sinless, but because Jesus' love saves them. Once a person reaches an age where they can tell right from wrong as such (for instance, they should know to do right because it's right, not just because someone said to), that soul must accept that he/she is a sinner and needs Jesus to cleanse them of their sin.

God doesn't look at one's outside. He sees one's heart. We can't change ourselves on the inside. That is the part that God needs to change for you, through Jesus. The soul that sinneth, it shall die, the Bible says. The soul is judged on whether or not it accepted Jesus' death on the cross as penalty for its sins. Because only then can it be changed to where it isn't a sinning soul anymore. (The outside is still flesh and will sin, but doesn't have to, if the person stays close enough to God through prayer, reading the Bible, etc.) Only by being made perfect can the person enter Heaven. If the soul has not been cleansed, it goes to Hell.

While the Bible doesn't speak about the spirit before we are born, it does speak volumes about the soul and spirit after death. According to the Bible, man is composed of body, soul, and spirit. The spirit is the breath of life; the soul is the person - your mental faculties-the real you; the body is simply the temporary shelter for the soul until you leave this earth.

The Bible is very clear that the soul continues to exist, and is eternal. It will exist somewhere for all eternity. The question is where? The Bible is very clear concerning this. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that all men are sinners in the sight of God. We may not view ourselves that way, but God does view us as such. Because of our sin, the Bible says in Romans 6:23 "The wages of sin is death." However, the Bible speaks of two kinds of death - Physical and spiritual. Physical is separation from the body, spiritual is separation from God. Revelation 20:14 speaks of what is called the "second death," which is the soul and body spending eternity in Hell, or the Lake of Fire. However, a person's destiny is determined before they leave this earth. While there is a penalty for sin, God provided a remedy for sin. Man can do nothing to pay for his own sin other than spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Because of that, and out of love for His creation, God sent His Son Jesus to be crucified on the cross and pay the penalty for our sin.

Why do I tell you all that? Because what a person does with Jesus Christ will determine where they will go after death. Jesus said, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the WRATH of God abideth on him." The same thing is said in 1 John 5, where John says, "He that hath the Son, hath life. He that hath not the Son hath not life."

So hopefully you can see why I told you all this. A person with Christ goes to be with the Lord. The Apostle Paul said, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." However, we read in Luke Chapter 16 that there was a rich man who dies without Christ, and the Bible says that when he died, He life up his eyes in hell."

There will be a judgment, both for Christians and unbelievers. For Christians, Paul says that "we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." However, Christians will not be judged for their sins, because they were already judged and punished in Christ when He was on the cross. The unbeliever will stand before what is called the "Great White Throne" in Revelation 20. They will be judged both for their works, and their sins. They have no hope of heaven. But all will be judged, and the Bible says that at the judgment "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord."

Depends upon the person. The spirit of the saved (those who have been born again by the Spirit of God or are regenerate, goes to God, and enjoys bliss. The spirit of all others goes to Hades, a place of waiting till the general resurrection, whereupon the spirit will be reunited with the resurrected body.

God is the definition of love. No Being that is absolute love is going to punish His Children. When we pass over the only judgment is how close we have grown spiritually towards God. This will determine our 'distance' that we will start our eternal life.


what was "you" disintegrates and some of it continues on in different ways.

The problem is that after death ordinary people due to great impurities in their Astral (= subconsciousness) experience a great shock and due to this shock they loose all knowledge they possessed. Than soul experience different worlds - from highest (Maha Nirvana) to the Worlds of Passion (material worlds). The light of higher worlds is too strong for ordinary souls and they fear it, consequently, do not enter it. Some times different gods comes to save it but such salvation is impossible if soul has no adherence (faith) to these gods. Ordinary souls know nothing about them. This process can be experienced during one's spiritual practice Such experience is EXTREMELY valuable when one will face the death. One my friend experienced it, and plenty of believers in our group either. This process is described in Tibetan "Book of Death" either. (Bardo Todol)and not more than in 49 days reborn in some world depending on their karma.


from a Taoist The spirit leaves the body and returns to its essence, to be shared by present and future living beings. It is not the body that makes us alive, but the spirit within it. We share that spirit with every living thing, so that when our body dies, the spirit is not gone.

6. How are 'good' and 'evil' defined?

I would suggest that good acts contribute to the overall well-being of the universe whilst evil ones take something away. More simply, selflessness is good and selfishness evil.
See Good, Evil and The Law .


Illusions, in the Zen sense but it would take me a lifetime to understand what that means and how to apply it. So, I prefer the more practical idea of the golden rule: that which I would have done to me, and do to others, tends to be "good," and that which I would avoid tends to be "evil." Ultimately, when faced with very serious psychopathic killers and the like, who seem to be evil without redeeming qualities, I can only fall back on the idea that God's plan is beyond our understanding.

There is no Biblical definition of good and evil, as you would find in a dictionary. The closest I think I can come is in 1 John 3:4-10. You can read it for yourself, but in capsule form the passage is saying that good is the things which come from God, and evil are the things that oppose God. John contrasts the children of God, and the children of the devil. I think that according to this and other passages that we find in the Bible, evil is defined as sin. John defines sin as transgression of the law. That is God's moral law that he is talking about. Evil is basically anything that displeases God. If you had a concordance, you could look up the word evil, and find that it is used in many different instances when men sinned against God.

God is love. He wants us to be with Him in Heaven. God is perfect, and cannot sin. No sin can approach God.

a good synopsis of right and wrong is found in the Ten Commandments.

OR perhaps another approach would be "in relation to God". Good is that which is of God, evil is that which is not of God. A better outline,in my estimation, than the 10 commandments, is the fruit of the spirit outlined in the NT, and the contrasting sins of the flesh.

good/evil heaven/hell God/Satan life/death all are symbols throughout the Bible as a nearness to God/a greater distance to God. Jesus said let the dead bury the dead. We know the last 'dead' He was referring to an actual body at a funeral. We know that the physical 'dead' can not bury some one so we must conclude He was referring to spiritual 'dead.' Also Jesus said to his disciple 'Get thee away from me Satan.' Satan did not possess any one so again He was referring spiritually. The disciples comment was not of God but of evil intent or Satan


Before anything, there were true self and three energies. True self had Absolute joy, freedom and happiness. And at one moment true self thought that there can be something higher than its present condition. It was involved into play of three energies and at that moment happened what scientists now call "Big Explosion". One of manifestations of three energies now is three basic poisons of souls - greed, hatred and ignorance. Than True Self went through the process of degradation. The process of degradation is described in Buddhist teaching about Twelve Stages of Origination of Conditions.

Things which lead us back to our nature (Absolute Freedom, Joy and Happiness) considers as good. Things which increase connection with Six Worlds of Passions, are evil. The king of this material world, Mara (i.e. Devil) rules beings, increasing their passions and desires. Due to this, souls can not break away from this World of passions and enter, for instance, Holy Heavens (Paradise in Christianity). Afflictive desires are not our nature and can be considered as Mara inside.

Greed, hatred (intention to harm sentient beings), ignorance (denying of truth), sexual desire, lies, pride, desire of authority, etc. are defined as afflictive desires in Buddhism. They are firmly stuck to our true self on very deep level as we repeated fixation on these desires for billions of lives.

Good things elevates one's soul and evil things draw it down. For instance, Divine Holy Love ("Agape" in Greek language) is good, worldly desires and passions are evil.

Only in context of actions.


from a Taoist Good would be anything that works in harmony with nature and spirit. Evil would be any attempt to overcome and have power over nature and spirit.

7. Is 'evil' a force coming from within or without?


All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. People sin because of the choices they make to displease God. In that way, it is from within.

However, the devil - who was an angel cast out of Heaven for trying to, as it were, "overthrow" God, or be equal with Him, does many things to tempt us. It was by obeying the devil and disobeying God that Adam and Eve brought sin into the world (and it has passed down to every person throughout all the generations).

To be realistic, it is both. There are evil forces in the world which sometimes influence things. But the Bible also talks about there being an intrinsic evil which man is born with. Man is not intrinsically good. You don't have to teach a young child to do wrong. Kids learn to lie on their own. You have to train them to behave and do right. That's simply because we are born with a sinful nature. In Romans Chapter 7, the Apostle Paul talks about a "law of sin" that is in man that makes it difficult for him to live right. The Bible also talks about the devil being a tempter and an accuser. However, I think he gets blamed when sometimes it is our own selves who are guilty. James 1:14 says "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of HIS OWN lust, and enticed." While there are outside evil influences, the main culprit is our own sinful natures.

there is no external evil force. all evil comes from man's ignorance of God. just think of all the people obtain the ability to live as Christ. (save the mentally ill) Would evil exist?




from a Taoist within

8. How should we deal with the problems of evil in practical day-to-day terms, e.g. what should I do if I find someone breaking into my house? What should happen to those guilty of `irreversible` crimes such as murder? No matter how repentant they may be, their damage can never be undone; can they be forgiven in this lifetime?

This is a difficult question for Christians, since the Bible teaches we should "turn the other cheek". It is my belief that since we have been made flesh God expects us to try to create as close to an ideal world as we can, in this existence. This means dealing with the evil and imperfection in our midst. It is only by the existence of laws that human society has made such remarkable progress. Laws, and the penal system exist to protect the innocent and to deter those who may consider doing wrong. Wherever possible offenders should be offered a way to reform as a part of their punishment. In the case of the most serious crimes the offenders can be forgiven where they truly repent their sins but there are cases where they should NEVER be allowed to rejoin society again.


The legal system exists because we must protect ourselves from those who would do us harm. If "evil" such as a burglary is done, then the legal system should be used. Protecting oneself is not opposed to forgiveness ... prosecute the criminal while forgiving the crime.

It may be the hardest thing we're asked to do.

As for someone breaking into your house, I think there is scriptural precedent for self-defense.

Can a murderer be forgiven in this lifetime? By God, yes. By others, it depends on how the individual reacts to the crime.

Part of the foundation of Christianity is that no one "deserves" to be (in heaven). That is why the emphasis is on mercy, not obeying 100%, because it can't be done. The repercussions cannot be reversed (the victim won't come back any time soon), but the ultimate repercussions are eliminated.

Defuse the situation. Call 911, activate an alarm, jump up and down and scream. Or just ask the burglar to stay where they are and perform a citizen's arrest, then call 911...It's not very loving to, say, shoot a trespasser -- I can't justify according to Christ that my property is of greater import than my neighbor's life. Jesus said that when we're abused, even illegally, we should turn the other cheek. Allowing the authorities to intervene is permissible, as they are God's current instrument for the punishment of evildoers. In no case am I to assume that I have the power of judgment over another. That resides with the authorities, and, ultimately, with God.

As to 'irreversible' crimes: They, like any other, can be forgiven. In fact, from the Christian standpoint, *any* crime is "irreversible" in that it has an effect that we as humans cannot remedy (and even "common" crimes have effects which cannot be undone -- even theft violates an individual's security and may drastically affect their thoughts and lifestyle. And following from that, all crimes may by right carry consequences to the perpetrator which occur regardless of penitence. However, were the loved one of a Christian murdered, and the murderer confessed and was penitent, I believe that Christian could most fully live up to the ideals of his professed faith by forgiving the murderer, and not seeking his harm or death. At the same time, that Christian would need to evaluate the nominal penitence in order to avoid unloosing evil on society once again. Nonetheless, from a Christian perspective I believe it is better to err toward forgiveness than judgment God will ensure that justice is ultimately meted out.

Jesus told us to forgive others in the same manner He forgave us. How important was it to Him to forgive us? He was willing to die if that's what it took (and it did). He went through more just to forgive us than much of the "suffering" we hold grudges over...

I think this goes to the level of common sense; we should not have a gun ready to blow the head off of just anyone. Neither should we just let people walk all over us. I think what police say in the US here, that one shouldn't try to resist simple robbery or theft, but that when a life is in danger resistance is necessary, is good. Don't do anything to recklessly endanger your life, but yet don't be passive. Learning something like karate, for instance, is a good precaution.

It's also important to invoke God's name. A friend who was held up once simply calmly asked the robber "do you know Jesus Christ?" He also prayed for God to work in the situation. He remained calm, and remarked truthfully that he didn't carry a wallet. He gave the thief a couple dollars (though my friend had about $50) and the thief left. He feels God worked in that one, so that if the robber didn't get saved then, God the Holy Spirit at least prevented something worse from happening.

Finally, remember to be forgiving. As I said before, the Bible promises when we love those who are mean to us, "it is as if we heap burning coals on their foreheads." This does NOT mean saying something was right. It means saying, in essence, "I love you anyway, I hope you get saved."

Obviously, some very harsh punishment is needed (in the case of murder), and at this point in my Christian walk, I am unsure whether I support (capital punishment) or not. It may be one of those matters of individual choice.

However, the person can be forgiven. It was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us. Moses murdered a man before God used him. Paul, before becoming an apostle, killed and persecuted Christians. The cross is sufficient for all sins, because the person must be desiring to turn away from those sins, and be truly repentant.

Thus, such people, once saved, are NOT murderers on the inside. They still must face the punishment for their acts on Earth, a la a murderer who might get saved while in prison. However, the Bible says "if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are made new." When Saul of Tarsus got saved and became Paul, the name change was symbolic of his new self. However, always implied in the heart of a saved person is the fact they deserve Hell, because they are not perfect the way God is perfect love. Paul, for instance, wrote of "sinners, of whom I am chief," and wrote in another letter "I am not fit to be called an apostle."


There are many traditions in Buddhism. They can be largely divided into three "vehicles", or, "yana"s. - Hinayana (small vehicle, vehicle of individual practice), Mahayana (great vehicle, vehicle of saving of all living beings by step by step practice, it takes millions or billions of lives to attain a condition of Buddha in this practice) and Tantrayana, or Vajrayana - Vehicle of secret method or Diamond, indissoluble vehicle, an effective, speedy but dangerous method which requires great guru, special initiations great faith to guru, and some other conditions are required. Padmasambhava, Naropa, Milarepa were practitioners of this vehicle.

Depending on vehicle, viewpoint will differ. So, what will do practitioners of Hinayana if Mafia breaks into their place intending to kill them? Practitioners will think in the way like this: "This is my karma. It will be purified if I die now". And do nothing. What will do Mahayana practitioners in the same situation? Each will stand up and tell gangsters something like "kill me but let others go!" In case of gangsters break into place practitioners of Tantrayana or Vajrayana, practitioners, having compassion in their soul, will beat gangsters, in order not to let them to accumulate bad karma.

In Buddhism. you deal with who you are and what you are capable of right now. If necessary to protect yourself, hit them with all the loving kindness you can muster to protect yourself or your loved ones.

Forgiveness from an external power is not a concept in Buddhism. Anyone can get to a point where they can make a change... things in their life (lives? Karma?) have led them to a place in their lives. They made decisions that have consequences. So they can make "new" decisions. Buddhism. is riddled with stories about really bad people who had revelations and turned themselves around. The more stuff they have to deal with the easier it is to make progress... like cleaning a car. If it is REALLY muddy, you work on it. If it is just a lil dusty, you tend to leave it be.

There is a societal price and a karmic price. The worse of the two is the karmic one.


from a Taoist When a lion goes after his kill, the mother stands near watching its offspring being robbed of life. There is nothing the mother can do but witness. It mourns the death, but the lion is not to blame. The lion is only doing what it naturally does to stay alive. Without the lion, the prey population becomes too vast, and they starve to death from lack of food. It is the natural food chain in action as the mother sees her young robbed of life. The lion is not evil. We, however, do not have many natural enemies. We thrive, even in expanding populations, because of our ability to adapt. But we do prey on our own kind, and it has a nature of its own. The evil comes from deriving ourselves harmony with nature, and all sorts of ill effects branch from that. If we are to deal with the problems of crimes as you mention, we have to deal with the underlying evil that contributes to it, which is that we stray from living in harmony with nature and spirit.

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new age spirituality is compiled by abracad