Comparative Religions

                         Latin: "re" "ligare"
              "to re-ligature," "to reconnect"

(Recommended Links Below)

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.   Einstein

The following story is told of Coleridge who had listened a vehement argument by a visitor against religious instruction of the young.  His caller concluded by stating his determination not to prejudice his children in any form of religion, but to allow them at maturity to choose for themselves.  Coleridge made no immediate comment, but shortly afterwards asked his visitor if he would like to see his garden.  Saying that he would, Coleridge led his guest to a strip of lawn overgrown with weeds.  "Why this is no garden.  It is nothing but a weed-patch."  "Oh," replied Coleridge, "that is because it has not come to its age of discretion.  The weeds you see have taken the opportunity to grow and I thought it unfair of me to prejudice the soil toward roses and strawberries." 

Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight:  he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also. Thus he believed that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand... The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious and everything else becomes lucid... A symbol from physical nature will express sufficiently well the real place of mysticism before mankind. The one created thing which we cannot look at is the one thing in the light of which we look at everything.          
                                                                                                                                            G. K. Chesterton
The work of heaven alone is material; the making of a material world. The work of hell is entirely spiritual.
                                                                                                                                            G. K. Chesterton

The task of the novelist is to deepen mystery, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind.                                                                                                                                            
Flannery O'Connor

All the books were beginning to turn against me. Indeed, I must have been blind as a bat not to have seen, long before, the ludicrous contradiction between my theory of life and my actual experiences as a reader. George MacDonald (the Scottish fantasist) had done more to me than any other writer; of course it was a pity he had that bee in his bonnet about Christianity. He was good in spite of it. Chesterton had more sense than all the other moderns put together; bating, of course, his Christianity. Johnson was one of the few authors whom I felt I could trust utterly; curiously enough, he had the same kink. Spenser and Milton by a strange coincidence had it too. Even among ancient authors the same paradox was to be found. The most religious (Plato, Aeschylus, Virgil) were clearly those on whom I could really feed. On the other hand, those writers who did not suffer from religion and with whom in theory my sympathy ought to have been complete -- Shaw and Wells and Mill and Gibbon and Voltaire -- all seemed a little thin, what as boys we called "tinny." It wasn't that I didn't like them. They were all (especially Gibbon) entertaining; but hardly more. There seemed to be no depth in them. They were too simple. The roughness and density of life did not appear in their books..... The only non-Christians who seemed to me really to know anything were the Romantics; and a good many of them were dangerously tinged with something like religion, even at times with Christianity. The upshot of it all could nearly be expressed in a perversion of Roland's great line in the Chanson --- "Christians are wrong, but all the rest are bores."  C. S. Lewis               

At a time when a large part of humankind is beginning to discard Christianity, it is worth while to understand clearly why it was originally accepted. It was accepted in order to escape, at last, from the brutality of antiquity. As soon as we discard it licentiousness returns, as is impressively exemplified by life in modern cities.    Carl Gustav Jung

There are two ways of lying as there are two ways of deceiving customers. If the scale registers 15 ounces, you can say "It's a pound." Your lie will remain relative to an invariable measure of the true. If customers check it, they can see they're being robbed, and you know by how much you're robbing them: a truth remains as a judge between you. But if the demon induces you to tamper with the scale itself, it is the criterion of the true which is denatured, and there is no longer any possible control. And little by little, you will forget that you are cheating.  Denis de Rougement

         The impasse contained in the scientific viewpoint itself can only be broken through by the attainment of a view of nothingness which goes further than, which transcends the nihil of nihilism.  The basic Buddhist insight of Sunyata, usually translated as "emptiness," "the void," or "no-Thingness," that transcends this nihil, offers a viewpoint that has no equivalent in Western thought.
         The consciousness of the scientist, in his mechanized, dead and dumb universe, logically reaches the point where --- if he practices his science existentially and not merely intellectually -- the meaning of his own existence becomes an absurdity and he stands on the rim of the abyss of nihil face to face with his own nothingness.  People are not aware of this dilemma.  That it does not cause great concern is in itself a symptom of the sub-marine earthquake of which our most desperate world-problems are merely symptomatic.
         ... It is becoming ever clearer that the terrors of war, hunger and despoliation are neither economic, nor technolgical problems for which there are economic or technological solutions. They are primarily spiritual problems..."     Frederick Franck
          Frederick Franck was born into a non-observant Jewish family in Holland. He was subsequently baptized a Protestant. After graduating as a dentist, Franck began the first dental clinic at Albert Schweitzer's hospital in West Africa.  Later, having embarked a career as writer and artist, Mr. Franck heeded Pope John XXIII's call to build a society of peace on earth (Pacem in Terris.)  Franck became the official artist of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and, as a tribute to Pope John, has created a temple of all faiths called Pacem in Terris on his property in Warwick, New York.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that we shall not have the benefits of this world for much longer. The imminent and expected destruction of the life cycle of world ecology can only be prevented by a radical shift in outlook from our present naive conception of this world as a testing ground to a more mature view of the universe as a comprehensive matrix of life forms. Making this shift is essentially religious, not political or economic.  Vine DeLoria Jr.             

Myth is "truer" than history.   Rev. J. Edgar Bruns, paraphrase.
I'll help you fix and squeeze yourself up a new kind of God, one that tells you fertilize and multiply, outsow, and outblow, outplant and outgrow, outdo and outrun.   Woody Guthrie

Some of us hate evangelism for its attitude, not its message.  How do I explain to Billy Graham, a good man, why pitching his gospel to me is like trying to sell binoculars to Stevie Wonder? 
                                                                                          Hal Crowther, author "Unarmed and Dangerous"                                                                 
Most frequently (mysticism) appears historically, in relation to some definite system of belief, as a reaction of the spirit against the letter...  For opposite reasons, neither the Greek nor the Jewish mind lent itself readily to mysticism: the Greek, because of its clear and sunny naturalism; the Jewish, because of its rigid monotheism and its turn toward worldly realism and statutory observance.  It is only with the exhaustion of Greek and Jewish civilization that mysticism becomes a prominent factor in Western thought.  It appears therefore, contemporaneously with Christianity, and is a sign of the world-weariness and deep religious need that mark the decay of the old world...  The revived interest in mysticism has had popular results in several directions. It has seemed to endorse the shallow eclecticism in which many escape the difficulty of belief...  It has produced numerous bastard cults, mostly hailing from America, though often wearing Oriental disguise; cults mainly compounded of pantheism, quietism, and crude auto-suggestion, and, offering a "mystical religion" to those seeking a spiritual home full of modern convenience and  devoid of discipline.  "Mysticism"--- the 1958 Britannica article

The problem with insight, sensitivity and intuition is that they tend to confirm our biases.  Naomi Wesstein

Aquinas does lift Faith above Reason; but does not lower reason. He does put the supernatural higher than the natural; but does not lower the natural. He says that the lower thing is in every sense worthy' except that compared with the higher it is worthless. This led to a habit of thinking on two levels, or even on three. It was like a medieval theatre...   G. K. Chesterton

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.
                                                                                                                                                                G. K. Chesterton

.... Information has become a form of garbage, and ourselves garbage collectors....  Like the sorcerer's apprentice, we are awash with information without even a broom to help us get rid of it. Information comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular....  And there is no loom to weave it all into fabric. No transcendent narratives to provide us with moral guidance, social purpose, intellectual economy. No stories to tell us what we need to know and what we do not need to know.   Neil Postman

(including archived "links of the week")

Portals and Gateways

Rutgers University Religion Department

Comparative Religion (Intellectually rigorous site)  (General information concerning 4000 religions, sects, tribes. Large statistical database)
Beliefnet (Information concerning world religions)

Academic Info Religion Gateway

A Guide to the Best Religious Studies Resources on the Net:

Sacred Writings from the World's Great Religions

G.K. Chesterton

The Chesterton Society

G.K. Chesterton "The Colossal Genius"

Ivan Illich

Illich texts (unabridged) on the web:

Deschooling Society (Entire text):

Tools for Conviality (Entire text):

Part Moon, Part Travelling Salesman (CBC):

Jerry Brown interviews Illich:

Memory Palace: Vernacular Culture in a Digital Age (Audio interviews with Illich, others)

Ivan Illich Studies Website, U. of Pennsylvania:


A remarkable site probing Catholic Christianity (from Australian Catholic University, Brisbane) Religion & Spirituality

Touchstone Magazine (Inspired by C. S. Lewis' notion of "mere Christianity")

Cultivating Christian Anger: A Warning from the Fifth Century

The Irish Theological Association  ""

Ekklesia Project On-line (Notre Dame)

Why argue about Father Mike Baxter and Notre Dame?

Critique of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's "Dominus Iesus" by Alan Archibald

Sojourners Magazine  (A recent title: "Saul Alinsky Goes to Church" )

First Things (Conservative intellectual rigor)

The Inklings: C.S. Lewis and other related authors  

The Owen Barfield Website

New Zealand Marist Site with superb Media analysis.  

National Catholic Reporter (Soulful reporting)

Christ in the Desert (Benedictine monastery in NM. Monks make their living designing webpages.)

Catholic Education (great compendium of articles)

Origen and the Final Restoration (Oxford U.):

St. Pachomius Library of Orthodox Christian Texts:

Theology Library (Springhill College  The Jesuit College of the South):

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (See homilies by Rev. David McBriar):

Church Calendar Readings:

The Catholic Goldmine

Catholic USA  Compendium of Catholic addresses  schools, religious orders, churches etc:

Global Catholic Network (EWTN):

From Jesus to Christ. A PBS study of 1st century Christianity

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

Biblical Research Tool. University of Birmingham, England (Great tool!)

Christian Library (Broad Collection)

New Advent (An embarrassment of riches)

Fathers of the Church

Aquinas' "Summa Theologica"

Theology Today (A fine magazine from Princeton University's Divinity School)

The Christian Catacombs of Rome:

World Wide Catholic Community Search Engine

Credo - News for Catholics and Other Christians (Interesting "Best Books/Movies Lists"):

How Poverty Lost its Meaning

Theodicy: The Scandal of Evil

Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum (excerpt)  

Gurdjieff (20th Century Mystic or Armenian Carpet Salesman):

Time and Time Again: Life as a Kafka Novel:

Why is there Something instead of Nothing?

Shroud of Turin  (What is it?)

The Vatican

The Catholic Encyclopedia

The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute

"Sacred Space" daily prayers

Myth and Legend. A riot of top-notch links.

O. Brown on The Democratic Principle:

The Agrarian Foundation:

John Fisher Forum (Bookstore):

Christopher Dawson (another view of history):

Second Spring: a journal of faith and culture:

Catholic Social Justice Website (strong Dorothy Day connection):

Saints Clement of Alexandria and Maximus the Confessor Home Page:

Comparative Religions

Islam - The Muslim Directory on-line

Sufi Related Resources on the Internet

Sufi slant on Islam (with interesting article about Jesus):

Rumi, Sufi poet. Currently, Rumi is the poet most often declaimed on Afghan radio.

Mahatma Gandhi (Content-rich site)

Buddhist Studies Virtual Library (Voluminous material)

Buddhist Ethics

Thich Nhat Hanh  (Vietnamese Buddhist monk. Nominated by Martin Luther King Jr. for Nobel Peace Prize)

Shambhala Sun Magazine

Tricycle (Buddhist Review)

Taoism (with Tao Te Ching and I Ching)

Quiet Mountain (Buddhist compendium)

Rigpa (Sogyal Rinpoche's website, devoted to Tibetan views of death and dying)

Basho's Pond (Interfaith dialogue)

Christian Buddhist Dialogue

Empty Bell Contemplative Sanctuary (Christian site with good Buddhist links)

The Mirror (Buddhist Newspaper)

Penn State Philosophy Links (Great Compendium):

Guide to Philosophy on the Internet (Earlham College, Regularly updated):

Philosophy Resources (from Blackwell Publishers, UK  well edited):

Philosophy in Cyberspace. A comprehensive, well-maintained, regularly updated site. 

Martin Buber

Tikkun (A journal of contemporary Jewish thought)

Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Thoughtful theology)

Jewish World Review (Right-wing orientation)

Isaac Bashevis Singer's Last Interview.  Love, Evil, God and the Universal Humanity of the Holocaust  
Parabola: Myth, Tradition and the Search for Meaning

Resurgence (Provocative discussions of religion, politics, culture and ecology. Edited in London by a former Jain monk.)

The Mysticism Resource Page:

Mysticism in World Religions:

Link of the Week Archive

Early Christian Writings (An impressive compendium 250 A.D.):

U.S. Catholic Magazine:

St. Thomas Aquinas (A Spanish language version of this Argentine site is also available):

Faith Maps (Good source of Stanley Hauerwas essays. Hauerwas - a former Notre Dame theology professor - was Father Mike Baxter's doctoral thesis director at Duke Divinity School)

"No Peace without Justice; No Justice without Forgiveness" a post 9-11 address by Pope John Paul II

The Forty Most-Visited Catholic Internet Sites -

Catholic Resources on the Internet -

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty -

Vatican II Documents in English and Spanish

Ecclessiology: A Study in Church History -

El Arca de Noé -

Zenit - The World Seen from Rome:

United States Confernece of Catholic Bishops:

Favorite Resources for Catholic Homeschoolers (A rich site occasionally leaning toward the self-righteous.) -

Sites Linking to Multiple Catholic/catholic Resources:

Sites Devoted to Christian Spirituality

Catholic On-line

Catholic Sites:

Catholic Resources on the Net:

Catholic Resources on the Net (an Ockerboom update):

Catholic Resources on the Net:

Catholic Resources on the Internet:

Catholic Internet Directories:

Catholic Internet Resources

Catholic Information Center on the Internet (also available in Spanish)



Spanish Language Sites Linking to Multiple Catholic Resources

Iglesia - Comprehensive Information About Catholicism

El Arca de Noé -

Encuentra - Portal Católico

Enlaces eclesiásticos

                                                                                                                                                                                   á é í ó ú ñ