Caodaism and Unitarianism
Updated 2012-05-14 13:40:20
ÐỀ TÀI LUẬN ÁN TIẾN SĨ CỦA
MOHAMMAD SHAIKH FARID
VIỆN ÐẠI HỌC DHAKA, BANGLADESH
The Concept of Unity in Caodaism and Unitarianism:
A Comparative Study.
A pertinent question is affecting the life of man is: Has the Universe come into existence by itself or someone has created it and if there is a creator; is He one or with Him there are other co-creators? Associationism, atheism and monotheism may be the three answers to this question. According to Caodaism and Unitarianism, God, the only one Supreme Being, who created the Universe and who alone is to be worshipped. Both these two religions also believe in the unity of religion and mankind.
Concept of Unity in Caodaim:
Caodaism is a newly-established religion. It originated in Vietnam in the 1920s. Caodaism is monotheistic in nature. It believes that there is only one God, first Cause, principle of all that exists. There is one God worshipped, venerated, prayed to under diverse names at every point of the globe. There is only one God.
The term “Cao Dai” literally means “High Tower or Palace”, that is, the place where God reigns over the Universe. “Cao Dai” refers to God the Father (the Supreme Being, the Creator, the Ultimate Reality of the Universe). The followers of Duc Cao Dai are thus called Caodaists (Duc means venerable).
The official name of Cao Dai religion is “Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do” that means “The Third Great Universal Religious Amnesty”. It will be a period of intense religious activity that will see God and Humanity united in ways not yet imagined. The Third Amnesty establishes a new Great Way for salvation. The fundamental objective of the Third Amnesty is the unity of all religions: “Throughout human history God the Father has revealed His Truth many times. His Divine Message has been translated through the mouths of many great prophets, but always these messages have relied on human frailty. The Age has now come where He speaks humanity directly”.
Caodaism believes that the previous two Religious Amnesties saw the rise of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism etc. Caodaism comes to unite the traditions of these two periods. It was guided directly by Duc Cao Dai (God the Father).
Caodaists worship the Supreme Being, the Creator of the Universe and of all religions, the Father of Mankind. Caodaism teaches human beings, who all have come from the same source, to live in harmony, love, justice and peace, to enjoy universal sisterhood and brotherhood; and to cultivate themselves to seek and be reunited with God in their hearts.
The Concept of Unity in Unitarianism:
Unitarianism is a religious movement that was organized in institutional form in Poland, Transylvania, England, and the United States. Its emergence is primarily the result of indigenous factors in each country. The separate movements had common characteristics: affirmations of the unity of God, the humanity of Jesus, and human religious responsibility, and rejections of the doctrines of the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus and human corruption or total depravity.
Theological foundations for the view of God as a unity and for the humanity of Jesus are found in 2nd and 3rd century monarchianism and in the teachings of Arius (C. 250-C336) and his followers (Arians) both early groups of Christians whose doctrines were later declared heretical by the church. The modern roots of Unitarianism are traced to the 16th century Protestant Reformation, when certain liberal, radical, and rationalist reformers revived the Platonic emphasis on reason and the unity of God. Many such thinkers fled Italy during the Inquisition. Michael Servetus, a leading Neoplatonic Unitarian, fled to Geneva, where he was burned at the stake in 1553 by Calvinists for his denial of the Trinity. Servetus claimed that he returned to the faith of the apostles and the earliest Fathers of the church, who had never heard of this extraordinary doctrine. Servetus argued that there was nothing in the New Testament to contradict the strict monotheism of the Jewish scriptures. The doctrine of the Trinity was a human fabrication which had alienated the minds of men from the knowledge of the true Christ and presented us with a tripartite God. His beliefs were shared by two Italian reformers- Giorgio Blandrata (1515-1588) and Faustus Socinus (1539-1604). They did not believe that men and women were justified by Christ’s death but simply by their faith or trust in God. They did not even adhere to the traditional Western view of the atonement. In his book Christ the Savior, Socinus repudiated the so-called orthodoxy of Nicaea: the term “Son of God” was not a statement about Jesus’ divine nature but simply meant that he was specially loved by God. He had not died to atone for our sins but was simply a teacher who “showed and taught the way of salvation”. After the execution of Servetus, Blandrata and Socionus both fled to Poland and Transylvania where they established Unitarianism. Later on the movement started in England and U.S.A.
The Unitarians believe in the Oneness of God. They honor the ethical leadership of Jesus without considering him to be their final religious authority. They also seek the guidance and inspiration of the great pioneers of religious insight of many cultures and various traditions.
They believe that no religion- including their own- has exclusive possession of the truth. All ought to be honored and respected for the truths in them. The following of almost any religion can help a dedicated individual find a better and more meaningful life. They have always favored the study of world religious and have been influential in attempts to bring religious leaders together for dialogue and cooperation.
Both Caodaism and Unitarianism are rapidly growing religions in the world. These two religions are monotheistic in character. They emphasize the Unity of God and believe in the unity of mankind and religions. The same approach of these two religions has made me curious to study Caodaism and Unitarianism.
The concept of Unity is an all-pervading principle which governs all the fundamental domains of human faith and action. If someone believes in Unity of God he must obey and observe God’s Law. Therefore he cannot be able to do what is wrong. He has to do what is right in accordance to his religion. We know that all religions allow man the tasks which are beneficial for him, his society and mankind. That’s why the unity of God is very important.
To understand the actual meaning and significance of Unity in Caodaism.
To realize the meaning and significance of Unity in Unitarianism.
To find out the similarities and differences of Unity in Caodaism and Unitarianism.
Research Methodology will be objective in nature.
Structure of Research:
Structure of research may be divided in the following chapters:
First Chapter: Introduction
Second Chapter: The concept of Unity in Caodaism.
Third Chapter: The concept of Unity in Unitarianism.
Fourth Chapter: Comparison and Appraisal.
Fifth Chapter: Conclusion.
Two years or fixed time given by the University authority.
A History of God, Karen Armstrong.
Religions of America, Leo Rosten.
Modern American Religion, Martin E. Marty.
Christ the Savior, F. Socinus.
Caodai faith of Unity, Hum Dac Bui, M.D. and Ngasha Beck.
Caodai Spiritism, Victor, L. Oliver.
The Rational Peasant, Samuel L, Popkins.
Encyclopedia of Britanica Vol. 6, 26.
Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol. 14.
History and Philosophy of Caodaism, Tay Ninh.
(Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam)
Designation-Professor and Chairman
Department of World Religions
University of Dhaka.
Md. Shaikh Farid
Dept. of World Religions
University of Dhaka.
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