A Paradigm Shift

Understanding Unity Series

Part 1 of 8

Click for audio: A Paradigm Shift

“We all should learn the need of teaching the fundamental principle of life as the omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience of God, and the oneness of each individual with God. Theories and dogmas and systems do not fulfill this purpose. Only that which is true to the fundamental fact in creation – that “God is all,” and the individual is one in and with God – is worthy of the name, Truth” (Charles Fillmore, Cofounder of Unity).

When Jesus spoke of the problem of placing new wine into old wineskins, he was talking about a clash between two ways of thinking, two paradigms. In the context of his ministry, we think of these two paradigms as the differences between Old Testament and New Testament theology. We can also use this wine and wineskin metaphor to represent two completely different spiritual paradigms: a paradigm of separation and a paradigm of oneness.

The contrasting ideas of separation and oneness have to do with the individual’s relationship to God. Most of us grew up with a paradigm of separation, believing that God lived in the sky, or in some remote and physically inaccessible place. Our connection with God would be made through the Church, through the Bible, or through some form of prayer.

The paradigm of oneness, on the other hand, places God within the individual. Spiritual systems based on this paradigm, which include all mystical and New Thought teachings, stress that the connection with God involves an inner awakening to our already established oneness.

The paradigm we hold will make a great deal of difference as to how we think of God, ourselves, and our life. It is good to become clear on this so we do not make the mistake, as Jesus pointed out, of attempting to put new wine into old wineskins.


3 thoughts on “A Paradigm Shift

  1. Doug, here are some reflections that can stimulate those who hold to the historical paradigm of separation to reconsider the issue. They were ‘asked’ by a British universalist by the name of Clyde Pilkington. You might be able to work them into something…

    1. Religion’s “God” tells us to love our enemies, while he tortures his for eternity.
    2.Religion’s “God” tells us not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good, while he himself does not overcome evil with good.
    3.Religion’s “God” tells us to forgive others 70 x 7, while he leaves most of his creation unforgiven.
    4.Religion’s “God” tells us that love never fails, while his fails to win back the majority of his creation.
    5.Religion’s “God” tells us that Christ is the propitiation “for the sins of the whole world,” while holding the world’s sins against them.
    6.Religion’s “God” tells us that he is the “Savior of all men” and then does not actually save all men.
    7.Religion’s “God” tells us that the wages of sin is death, while changing it to be eternal conscious torment.
    8.Religion’s “God” tells us that the payment for sin is eternal conscious torment, and that Christ made the payment for sin, but it was not eternal conscious torment.
    9.Religion’s “God” tells us that he will be “All in all,” while he will actually only be “All in some.”
    10.Religion’s “God” will somehow “reconcile all things unto Himself,” while leaving most of his creation un-reconciled.

    1. John, thank you for sharing this. It is interesting that many simply accept this “God” as the benchmark rather than explore for themselves whether or not there might be another way to see God. Those who reject God are rejecting this benchmark, which is truly born out of spiritual ignorance. I have often thought that an atheist is simply a person who has rejected the benchmark and has not bothered to explore the alternatives. I too reject that benchmark. The ease with which I reject it indicates that I never bought it in the first place. Those who have accepted it seem to add to their rejection a kind of oath to themselves that they’ll never be taken again. They’re determined to never answer a knock at their front door because they once bought an inferior vacuum cleaner from a traveling salesman.

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