The moment of… truth?

More than half of the people these days go to a place called “hell”. In order to put an end to this revolting development, Ryuho Okawa traveled all the way to Brazil, halfway around the world.

Screenshot from the movie The Laws of Eternity, which was actually mentioned in the book. To Master Okawa’s dismay, the Japanese generally did not understand it, but evidently it made some impression in Brazil, where people are curious about the spirit world.

The book in question is Ryuho Okawa’s The Moment of Truth, which I have already read through. As usual, the book is fairly short and an easy read. You don’t need to be an intellectual to understand most of his books (those not actually containing the word “challenge” in the title).

Well, actually you need to be Japanese to understand most of his books, since only a couple dozen of them are translated into English, and several of these are only sold at the temples. In Japan, however, there are now over 700 Okawa books. I assume there are actually people who have them all. I wish I could see their bookshelf.

And let me be honest: If Happy Science published a new book in the bookstores each week, as they did in Japan last year, I would probably buy a new book each week too. Certainly if they hold the quality of this one.

The book left me with a stronger want to become a better person: To do my job better, to appreciate other people more, to broaden my knowledge, to deepen my thinking, to increase the brightness of my soul.

I have very mixed emotions about this. As a Christian, I really don’t want to recommend a competing religion, and especially not one that promotes a misunderstanding of the most important concept in theist religions as a whole, namely God.

I don’t have any strong opinion on whether El Cantare actually exists as a 9-dimensional being, of which the Shakyamuni Buddha was an incarnation. That would be nice, I guess. But that is not who we Christians refer to when we talk about God. We specifically mean the Primordial God, the original Creator, the Uncreated and Eternal, who is beyond any human imagination. It may be that at some earlier time, the Hebrew tribes considered God to be humanoid, although modern Jews certainly seem to agree that phrases such as “God’s eyes” or “God’s outreached arm” are purely symbolic and offer no clue as to whether God has a body, does not have a body, both or neither of the above. God is beyond speculation.

So the whole subtle associating this El Cantare (and, by implication, his incarnation Ryuho Okawa) with God… this is quite vexing. It is out of line, it is unseemly in an otherwise inspiring spiritual book that contains heaps of essential Truth, presented in a clear and understandable manner. When speaking to Christians, as Okawa mostly does in this book, you have to understand the difference between God and a god. As Paul says, there are many so-called gods and lords. This is not controversial. But for us, there is only one God, the Father. Hermes Trismegistus may have been referred to as Father by his followers, but that hardly means that he is identical with the Heavenly Father whom we talk about.

If you can eat a delicious soup after having fished out a dead fly, you can probably also enjoy this book. I certainly did. It has a lot of good points.

In the end, I agree with Okawa that his movement should be measured by the yardstick that Jesus gave: Let either the tree be good and its fruits good, or the tree bad and its fruits bad. It shall be very interesting to see how this new religion plays out. But I may not be around long enough to see this for myself.

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