Based on Universal Love, the effort of Cao Dai is to unite all of humanity through a common vision of the Supreme Being, whatever our minor differences may be, in order to promote peace and understanding throughout the world.
Caodai does not seek to create a gray world, where all religions are exactly the same, but only to create a more tolerant world, where all can see each other as sisters and brothers from a common divine source reaching out to a common divine destiny realizing peace within and without.
Cao Dai was established in southern Vietnam in 1926. It teaches that the religious founders and other great figures of the past represent two earlier eras of divine communication with the world, and that today we are living within the 3rd Era.
In this, the Third Era of Salvation; world religions are united in the worship of the Supreme Being, and there is communication with the spirit world once again.
Yoruba is an indigenous tradition to Africa which has expanded around the world and fused with other religions thanks to the white man and their damnable slave trade.
The basis of this faith is collectively striving for God Consciousness along with the rest of humanity, and with support from the higher beings and spirits of the cosmos.
Their understanding of God is a grand infinite Oneness, and through their many different forms of rituals and spiritual practices, they can come to know God as one of His Children.
A creative energy called “Ashe(ah-shay)” flows through everything, and Ashe literally translates to command and authority. It also often means “So Be It” or “So it is”
This is an African philosophical concept which the Yoruba conceive to make things happen and produce change. It is given by Oludumare to everything, gods, ancestors, spirits, humans, plants, rocks, rivers, and even songs and conversations. Existence, according to Yoruba, is dependent upon it, and a person who, through training, experience, and initiation, learns how to use this essential life force is called an Alaashe.
Have you ever heard of Wicca? If so, its quite probable that, unless you’ve practiced it, you don’t know very much about it. This is because there is such a wide array of belief systems associated with Wicca, and other “Modern Pagan Faiths”, that its nearly impossible to pin down exactly what followers of Wicca believe.
However, if you do observe all of the branches of Wicca, you do find many common strains! One of the biggest ones being the intimate connection with nature, and other human beings, on a deeply spiritual level.
To this group, the diverse practices are considered as denominations, and further, not all members of these faiths or beliefs even self-identify themselves as Pagans, Wiccans, or what have you, for the very word Pagan was a title given to them by Catholics in the 3rd century AD, when the Roman state declared them heretics and killed anyone who did not convert to christianity. The word Pagan literally translates to country dweller, and was named as such purposefully as an insult.
The best known and largest strand of Neopaganism today is called Wicca, which stresses the notion of a Goddess of fertility and rebirth, and her male consort, the Horned God of the forest, Yin and Yang of the same unifying spirit. Wicca is a Polytheistic Monotheism, and generally regards the supreme God as the All or the One, which little is known about, and which has many aspects making up the grand unifying whole.
The Faith of Rastafari is more than just a religion, but a way of life, a social movement, as well as a mindset, without the structure that most religions are used to. The movement began in Jamaica in the 1930’s amongst working-class black people following a prophecy made by Marcus Garvey, a black political leader, about the unification of black people with Africa, their land of origin. It began in part as a social stand against the oppression from white people and other middle-class people. At the heart of it, they believed that by being taken to the Caribbean by slave traders they had been robbed of their African heritage, which they sought to recapture, and celebrate.
The prophecy was rapidly followed by the crowning of Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia. The Rastafarians saw this as a fulfilment of Garvey’s prophecy, and Haile Selassie was regarded as the Messiah, Jah Rastafari, a figure of salvation who would redeem black people from white suppressors, and reunite them with their homeland. It was Leonard Howell, often called the “First Rasta”, who set up the first Rastafarian commune of 5000 people at Pinnacle, St Catherine, Jamaica.
Rastas express their identity through the livity, a concept of righteous, ever-living living. It’s essence is the realization that an energy or life force, conferred by the Almighty Jah, God, exists within, and flows through, all people and all things. This way of being emphasises a life of naturalness. From the very beginning, Rastafarianism was based around communal living. Hair is most commonly worn as dreadlocks, diet is vegetarian, and herbal medicine is favored; in particular, Cannabis, known as Ganja, was believed to be sanctioned by the Bible, clean the body and mind, and bring the soul closer to God. Rastas have an important concept which is “I and I”, which is said instead of “You and I”. It emphasizes the oneness between humanity and God, and the equality of all humans.
Rastafari is based on the Abrahamic faiths, and the Bible, complemented by other texts, were interpreted in the light of the racial struggle: so just as the ancient empire of Babylon had oppressing the Jews, so modern white people were “Babylon” oppressing the black chosen people, and Ethiopia was Zion. Rastas seek to resist, and even chant down babylon, which are represented by the white power structures of Europe and the Americas. A version of the bible called the Holy Piby was also created, which removed deliberate distortions from the Bible which were believed to be made by white leaders during its translation into English.
In 1974 Haile Selassie was deposed from office by a Marxist revolution, and died mysteriously the next year. To many Rastas, belief spread that he would come again, and to others, his figure has become less central to the Faith. The idea of the return to Africa is today, often understood symbolically in terms of self-expression within white-major societies. Personal liberation, rather than black supremacy is stressed, and now there are white rastafarians also.
Through Rastafari, Reggae music experienced its root development. The work of Bob Marley, one of the most important figures of Rastafari, took the magic of the culture to a worldwide audience, for his lyrics encapsulated the spirit of the movement thoroughly. Today, there are more than a million Rastafarians around the world, many live in communes, which often double as the external reflection of their holy temples, the temple itself being the body.
If you’ve been following Minute Faith so far, you might have noticed that it is an incredibly open hearted series about the nature of belief from religion to religion. This isn’t a series about the dogma and why each religion is bad, this is a series about what that particular group of followers believe.
Interestingly enough, I actually received quite a lot of requests from people for Mormonism! I was surprised, yet it was of interest to me and I put it in the cue to make. After a few weeks, here it is!
Now, what’s very interesting about this article in particular is that it received some of the most widest array of comments that I have ever seen! Some people praised the video for the simple and kind way of describing the religion, and others damned it to hell, expressing that they would then go and tell all of their friends to stop following Spirit Science immediately and we were all evil for even making a video about Mormonism!
Isn’t that simply remarkable?
Yes, I’ll admit… the music that was chosen makes it EXCEPTIONALLY light hearted. Perhaps the one flaw of the video from that regard. I could have put in some dark evil music and I’ll bet the reactions would have been quite different…
Anyways, if you want to see the comments, you can read them here on Youtube as well as here on Facebook. I particularly like the Muslim guy who is open to talking about the nature of it all! That’s awesome!!
Nevertheless, thanks again for watching!
ps. Thank you to Kirsten Renee for her help on editing the script for this episode of Minute Faith!