Mysticism – desire to experience the presence of God


The Torah contains many stories of mystical experiences, from visitations by angels to prophetic dreams and visions. The Talmud considers the existence of the soul and when it becomes attached to the body. Jewish tradition tells that the souls of all Jews were in existence at the time of the Giving of the Torah and were present at the time and agreed to the Covenant.

In the middle ages, many of these mystical teachings were committed to writing in books like the Zohar. Many of these writings were asserted to be secret ancient writings or compilations of secret ancient writings.

The mystical school of thought came to be known as Kabbalah, from the Hebrew root Qof-Beit-Lamed, meaning “to receive, to accept.” The word is usually translated as “tradition.”


The attainment of the quest to see God is realized in death

God said to Moses “No one shall see me and live.”

God is both transcendent and immanent

Christian doctrine generally maintains that God dwells in all Christians and that they can experience God directly through belief in Jesus, Christian mysticism aspires to apprehend spiritual truths inaccessible through intellectual means, typically by emulation of Christ

Two major themes of Christian mysticism are (1) a complete identification with, or imitation of Christ, to achieve a unity of the human spirit with the spirit of God; and (2) the perfect vision of God, in which the mystic seeks to experience God “as he is,” and no more “through a glass, darkly.”

Christ is the sole end of Christian mysticism. Whereas all Christians have Christ, call on Christ, and can (or should) know Christ, the goal for the Christian mystic is to become Christ—to become as fully permeated with God as Christ is, thus becoming like him, fully human, and by the grace of God, also fully divine. In Christian teaching this doctrine is known by various names—theosis, divinization, deification, and transforming union.


Muhammad said “worship God as if you see him” mandated by Sufis
Sufism, the religious philosophy of Islam, is described in the oldest extant definition as the apprehension of divine realities and Mohammedan mystics are fond of calling themselves Ahl al-Haqq, ‘the followers of the Real. Al-Haqq is the term generally used by Sufis when they refer to God.

Renaissance means “rebirth”. The Renaissance was a revival of ancient culture and classical learning. There was a sudden interest in math, science, religion, and the arts. The Reformation was a movement in the Holy Roman Empire that began with Martin Luther in 1517. The Renaissance convinced people to question everything about their lives, including their religion and faith. Martin Luther questioned the practices of the Catholic Church and did not agree with many of the practices. Martin Luther then compiled a list of 95 Theses criticizing the church and the pope, and posted them on the door of the Wittenberg Church. This led to a new denomination under Christianity, the Lutherans.

Zionism is the Jewish nationalist movement that was founded in 1897, and created the State of Israel in 1948. Political Zionism, formed by Herzel, said that Jews should all move to one area and make that their national home (a Jewish state). This stream stressed the political task of gaining recognition for the Jews as a political entity. Cultural Zionism stressed Zion as a spiritual center, to unite all parts of the Jewish people. This stream emphasized Jewish language, culture, and literature. Socialist Zionism wanted the Jewish state to be a Socialist society and economy. This stream stressed creating a Jewish state where the economy was based on public ownership of the means of production.

Inter-religious dialogue is dialogue between different religions. The goal is to have the other person understand what you are saying. Ecumenical dialogue is dialogue between the different branches of a particular religion. Fundamentalism refers to the literal interpretation of a doctrine or holy book. The problem with fundamentalism is that other religions may not understand the reasoning behind a certain belief or practice. Inter-religious dialogue tends to scramble the actual meaning of things.

The 3 Monotheistic Religions