Monday, December 1, 2008

Tom Harpur's Cosmic Spirituality

Tom Harpur’s book entitled The Pagan Christ was published in 2004. I wouldn’t be commenting about it now if not for CBC’s November 30, 2008 airing of the documentary The Pagan Christ which was shown first on December 6, 2007 and this past April 19, 2008 won the Platinium Award at the 41st Annual WorldFest Remi Awards gala in Houston, Texas. Why readers have found Harpur’s opinions fascinating and appealing is because of his personal spiritual excursion. His curriculum vitae displays scholarships at U of T, a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University and theological studies at Wycliffe College. After several years as an Anglican priest he became a professor at the Toronto School of Theology (University of Toronto). He was an Anglican minister for 17 years. Over the past 30 years he's been a radio open-line host, a TV broadcaster, an author and an award-winning newspaper reporter and columnist. He has written many books, ten of which were Canadian best sellers. While he still calls himself a Christian, he could call himself a devotee of any other faith for his thesis postulates a commonality which demands unqualified inclusivity.
Harpur believes that there was no true historical Jesus but that the real Christ is a universal, archetypal, pre-existent myth, known essentially by all humanity. He believes that there was one original primal and central myth which emerged in Egypt. All other ancient sacred stories flow from there. Christianity launched a unfriendly conquest of the ancient salvation myths. Then many early church fathers, in an attempt to declare exclusive rights to this mythological Jesus, made him an historical biblical person. Then they embarked upon a grand coverup of the scavenged mythological roots of Christianity.

If you wonder where this faithless trip has brought Harpur himself spiritually, look at the seven principles of his comic, did I say that? Cosmic spirituality. Here are his Seven Principles of Cosmic Spirituality:
1. The entire cosmos is the manifestation of Divine Mind-every molecule, every cell, every creature, every rock, tree, mountain, planet, blazing star, whirling galaxy and universe of galaxies.
2. We are all an integral, interconnected part of the whole cosmos and our own inner world is a holograph of the cosmos within us.
3. One basic datum underlies every religion under the sun, the principle of Incarnation. The Word or Logos, God's self-expression made manifest, has given the light of its divine spark to every mind/soul coming into the world. Christians call this the Christ or "Christ in us." Other faiths have different names or modes of expression for this same inner reality.
4. Every religion whose ethical core is summed up by the word "compassion" or "loving-kindness" to all other creatures without exception has a vision of the truth and is a valid "way" to Transcendence.
5. No one faith or religion-whatever its claims may be, alone has The Truth.
6. True cosmic spirituality is steeped in, flows from, and derives its most powerful analogies and metaphors from the natural world -- from the tiniest bit of dust to the spiraling stars above.
7. The core aim of cosmic spirituality is radical transformation, both personal and societal.

As Ward Gasque’s critique finished, “Harpur's book tells us more about himself than it does about the origins of Christianity (or Judaism).”

Tom Harpur's website
A tiring one hour audio interview with Tom Harpur

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