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VII. Our Earthuman Ascent: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Twndividuality

5. Bicameral World Religions

The great Asian and Abrahamic world faiths arose in a first “axial period” circa 500 B.C. to 700 A.D. Within the website theme, it is offered that a worldwide complementarity might also occur between Western and Eastern belief and doctrine. As scholars note, these spiritual hemispheres align with basic responses or dichotomies of God and the human, heaven or earth, linear or cyclical time, and so on. For Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, in broad survey, the numinous cosmos is animate in kind, a viable organism. A quintessence is original and ascendant mind, harmony and balance exist on their phenomenal own. As noted above, Eastern cultures are more communal or wave-like with an emphasis on group vaues.

In our broad gloss, Western values and creeds mostly take to an opposite, particulate, material mode. A person is separate, apart from God, the earth somehow flawed, fallen. To equate oneself with God is heretical. For Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Divine is transcendent but remote; one is a sinful mendicant, the world has little value in itself. At the Western pole, an extroverted individual supersedes social concerns. A unique instance may be the Muslim milieu, which although an Abrahamic faith sees itself as ‘neither east nor west’ (William Chittick, Tu Weiming). If we might extend the brain hemisphere analogy, Islam’s geographical location from Morocco to Indonesia is somewhat where an interbridging ‘corpus callosum’ would be. And such speculations are respectfully offered as an example of what might be gained from a humankind vista.

In addition, this outline section for global belief systems also records a 21st century theological resolution known as Pan-en-theism. Rather than older Pantheism for an encompassing divine essence, it is being realized that numinosity must abide both in paternal transcendence and maternal procreative immanence. Prime works in regard are Panentheism by John Cooper, and Panentheism Across the World's Traditions, edited by Loriliai Biernacki and Philip Clayton.

2020: In accord with the civilization section above, further dual individual and integral persuasions can be found to distinguish their diverse religious heritages.

Biernacki, Loriliai and Philip Clayton, eds. Panentheism Across the World's Traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Choi, Kwang Sun. Ecozoic Spirituality. New York: Peter Lang, 2015.

Cohen, Adam, et al. Religion and Culture: Individualism and Collectivism in the East and West. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. Online August, 2016.

Jaeshik, Shin. Mapping One World: Religion and Science from an East Asian Perspective. Zygon. 51/1, 2016.

Knysh, Alexander. Sufism: A New History of Islamic Mysticism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017.

McGilchrist, Iain. God, Metaphor, and the Language of the Hemispheres. Chilton, Paul and Monika Kopytowska, eds. Religion, Language, and the Human Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Saroglou, Vassilis, et al. Believing, Bonding, Behaving, and Belonging: The Cognitive, Emotional, Moral, and Social Dimensions of Religiousness across Cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 51/7-8, 2020.

Shanta, Bhakti Niskama. Life and Consciousness: The Vedantic View. Communicative & Integrative Biology. 8/5, 2015.

, . Giangravé, Claire. Pope Francis asks theologians to ‘demasculinize’ the church. America Magazine. November 30, 2023.. America Magazine. November 30, 2023. A Religion News Service reporter describes the especial moment when Pope Francis interjected off-script his concern that the female gender was much underrepresented at the major Synod meeting. Here next are samples of the text in this New York based Jesuit journal.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Speaking to members of the International Theological Commission at the Vatican on Thursday (Nov. 30), Pope Francis asked theologians to “demasculinize” the church in an unscripted remark. Pope Francis pointed out that there were only five women among the 30-plus theologians in attendance.. “We need to move forward on this! Women have a way of reflecting on theology that is different from us men,” he added. The pope said he studied the Italian theologian Romano Guardini through the work of a woman, Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, who impacted his understanding of women in theology.

The general secretary of the commission, Monsignor Piero Coda, said Francis’ words were “an additional encouragement for something that is very dear to him. The pope’s words underlined “the need to increase the space given to women in positions of authority and decision-making in the Christian community, in order to treasure the sensibility and intelligence that is typical of the feminine genius and experience.” Coda also said “it’s time for these qualities to become part of the culture” to address modern challenges and the “male-dominated view that still exists in the church and in society.”

Allinson, Robert, ed. Understanding the Chinese Mind. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1989. A study of a bilateral complementarity that seems to distinguish holistic Eastern and analytical Western cultures. Its introduction notes how Asian peoples traditionally view the human person at home in the cosmos.

Berger, Peter, ed. The Other Side of God. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981. As this collection carefully considers each major world faith, a dichotomy of “interiority or confrontation” is seen to represent the two great geographic options of the Asian or Abrahamic essential beliefs. Some pertinent essays are included below.

Biernacki, Loriliai and Philip Clayton, eds. Panentheism Across the World's Traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. This broad collection of authoritative essays could serve as a coming of age for this 21st century theological movement to (re)unite heaven and earth, father transcendence and mother immanence, God and Human, sacred and secular, past and future. Its significance is just being appreciated as a simple, obvious resolve of religious dichotomies. Scholars across the faiths and globe give praise such as “Holy, Holy, Holy! Jewish Affirmations Of Panentheism” by Rabbi Bradley Artson, “The Heart-Mind of the Way and the Human Heart-Mind are Nondual: On Neo-Confucian Panetheism,” HYo-Dong Lee, and “The Body of Pantheism” by Catherine Keller (search each author). In addition, “The Emergence of Evolutionary Panentheism” by Michael Murphy, the sage founder of the Easlen Institute, achieves a unique survey across mystic, philosophical and scientific ages, noting Jakob Boehme, Sri Aurobindo, Pierre Teilhard, and others. Might we at last allow and evoke, just in time, a true family cosmos as our home and hope?

Not to be confused with pantheism - the ancient Greek notion that God is everywhere, an animistic force in rocks and trees - the concept of panentheism suggests that God is both in the world, immanent, and also beyond the confines of mere matter, transcendent.

One of the fundamental premises of this groundbreaking collection of essays is that panentheism, despite being unlabeled until the nineteenth century, is not merely a modern Western invention. The contributors examine a number of the world's established and ancient religious traditions - Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and others-to draw out the panentheistic dimensions of these traditions and the possibilities they suggest. Panentheism is not only an esoteric, potentially heretical, and deeply mystical vision of the world's great religious pasts; it is also a key feature of contemporary global spirituality. As this volume demonstrates, the metaphors and practices associated with modern panentheism speak powerfully to the realities of our evolving species and our evolving technological world. As Panentheism across the World's Traditions shows, the dynamism between matter and spirit that panentheism offers has had a profound influence in the modern world. (Publisher)

Brown, C. Mackenzie. Hindu Perspectives on Evolution: Darwin, Dharma, and Design. London: Routledge, 2012. Akin to Clinton Godart’s volume herein about Japanese encounters, a Trinity University professor of religion illustrates receptions in India across colonial and modern periods by sages such as Sankara, Swami Vivekananda, and expecially Sri Aurobindo. As also the case in Japan, the Eastern milieu tends more to Henri Bergson’s and Peirre Teilhard’s numinous advance from fertile matter to spiritual consciousness.

Chilton, Paul and Monika Kopytowska, eds. Religion, Language, and the Human Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. A Lancaster University linguist and a University of Lodz philosopher achieve a unique collection that joins these prime realms by way of a numinous synthesis of literacy and spirituality. Among the 17 chapters are Speaking about God in Universal Words, Metaphor, Imagery and Vernacular in Vaisnava Hindu Traditions, The Muslim Prophetic Tradition, and Cognitive Pragmatics and Allegory in Christian Discourse. Their intent is to show how much our religious heritage, broadly conceived, has a deeply literal and rhythmic basis. Of especial note is God, Metaphor, and the Language of the Hemispheres by Iain McGilchrist, reviewed herein.

This volume brings together linguistics, cognitive science, neuroscience, and religious studies in three sections. Part I surveys the development of modern studies of religious language and the diverse disciplinary strands that have emerged. Beginning with descriptive approaches to religious language and the problem of describing religious, chapters introduce the turn to cognition in linguistics, theology, and especially metaphor. Part II continues on metaphor - the natural ability by which humans draw on basic knowledge of the world to explore abstractions and intangibles. Part III seeks to open up new horizons for cognitive-linguistic research on religion, looking beyond written texts to ritual, religious art, and religious electronic media.

Chittick, William. The Anthropocosmic Vision in Islamic Thought. Peters, Ted, et al, eds. God, Life and the Cosmos. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002. Written in collaboration with the Harvard University Confucian scholar Tu Weiming, this definitive essay of the book finds a deep accord between the Chinese concept of an organic, encompassing cosmos and the essence of Islamic philosophy, which is most expressed in a mirror correspondence between numinous macrocosmos and microcosmic human person. By these insights and qualities, Islam may gain an Eastern dimension to complement its Western origins.

Chittick, William. The Heart of Islamic Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. An introduction to the source and depths of Islamic and Sufi wisdom. What is significant is that their cosmology of quality and quantity, original One and manifest many, scale of microcosm and macrocosm, gender complementaries, sentient intellect and ascendant soul is finding affirmation in humankind’s genesis vision, as is each traditional cosmology and sacred path.

The existential angst of so many modern intellectuals, who find themselves beleaguered by a hostile universe, is utterly inconceivable in the Islamic intellectual tradition, for which the universe is nothing if not a nurturing womb.

Choi, Kwang Sun. Ecozoic Spirituality: The Symphony of God, Humanity, and the Universe.. New York: Peter Lang, 2015. As the quote cites, by virtue of a comparison across a millennium span of eastern and western sages, namely Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073) and Thomas Berry (1914-2009), a Honam Theological University, Korea scholar proposes a 21st century synthesis of this once and future familial trinity. I was a friend of Thomas Berry since the 1980s, and publications person for the American (Pierre) Teilhard Association, of which he was long president. I have helped edit his writings such as The Universe Story (1992) and a number of Teilhard Studies. In this work, his Ecozoic age would replace the Anthropocene if we peoples might avail the natural revelation of a numinous ecological cosmos and reinhabit Earth communities in a sustainable way. Zhou Dunyi, as an epitome of Chinese Confucian wisdom, similarly evoked an organic milieu graced by a harmony and balance of masculine yang and feminine yin complements. Kwang Sun Choi goes on to broaches a “theo-anthropo-cosmic” essence to join the triume transcendent, immanent and manifest phases.

This book guides the reader to the emerging Ecozoic Era when humans will be present upon the Earth in a mutually enhancing manner. Indeed, this book calls for an Ecozoic spirituality that is timely and much needed. It also illustrates an important direction for theology and spirituality and for deep ecumenism that is yet to be fully realized and opens more doors for such dialogue. By giving special attention to the integral relationship among God, the cosmos, and humanity, the works of Thomas Berry and Zhou Dunyi provide insights that speak to the current ecological crisis, a cosmological context for developing an Ecozoic spirituality, while helping to advance clear values and ethical parameters that lead to a more authentic human presence on Earth.

Zhou Dunyi was a Song dynasty Chinese Neo-Confucian philosopher and cosmologist. He conceptualized the Neo-Confucian cosmology of the day, explaining the relationship between human conduct and universal forces. In this way, he emphasizes that humans can master their qi ("vital life energy") in order to accord with nature. He was a major influence to Zhu Xi, who was the architect of Neo-Confucianism. Zhou Dunyi was mainly concerned with Taiji (supreme polarity) and Wuji (limitless potential), the yin and yang, and the wu xing (the five phases). He is also venerated and credited in Taoism as the first philosopher to popularize the concept of the taijitu or "yin-yang symbol". (Wikipedia)

Clarke, John James. Oriental Enlightenment. London: Routledge, 1997. A study of a bicameral yet reciprocal world that expands its insights by way of the new holistic physics.

For some it signifies the possibility of a more harmonious and complete mental life that encourages the integration of opposite yet complementary psychic factors such as introverted and extraverted tendencies, or which brings into balance the ‘feminine’ qualities of the East and the ‘masculine’ qualities of the West. And for yet others it has powerful political implications, addressing the modern dilemma of a world which is converging socially and economically, yet which at the same time is riven with mutual enmity and strife, and which needs the complementary qualities of both East and West. (5)

Clarke, John James. The Tao of the West. London: Routledge, 2000. Further thoughts on the intersect of an Eastern sense of a holistic, ecological cosmos spontaneously engaged in self-creation and the Western deterministic mechanical paradigm which defers to transcendence.

Clayton, Philip. Pantheisms East and West. Sophia. 49/2, 2010. The Claremont School of Theology scholar and author revisits this venerable and lately revived vista whence “the transcendent is in the immanent, and the immanent is in the transcendent,” rather than their separation and opposition. The paper was presented in a Pantheism panel at the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, December 2006, some other talks there are in this issue. See also Philip’s 2013 chapter Panentheism in the Tapestry of Traditions in the work he edited with Loriliai Biernacki.

In the West panentheism is known as the view that the world is contained within the divine, though God is also more than the world. I trace the history of this school of philosophy in both Eastern and Western traditions. Although the term is not widely known, the position in fact draws together a broad range of important positions in 20th and 21st century metaphysics, theology, and philosophy of religion. I conclude with some reflections on the practical importance of this position. (Abstract)

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