Another Christless Christmas?


The holiday season has long been blessed with joy. For the worldly, it may simply be time to go shopping and unwind. For the faithful, it should bring very mixed feelings because the coming days and years will probably unfold many upheavals. Amid this uncertainty, who still cares about the promised one? Two thousand years is certainly too long to wait for a lone hero to save the world. It now sounds more like a Netflix title than real life.

Over these centuries, many speculations and claims have been made about who or where the anointed one is. No one wants to see another false claim. This post will attempt a different goal - to paint a fuller picture of our messiah(s), one that transcends the Bible. Those who study religions must realize that each speaks of its own savior. Is it just a coincidence or is there a mystery to unravel in Divine Providence?


Saviors in Different Religions

A survey of religious and scholarly texts surfaces five names below. Revered in both Christianity and Islam, Jesus can be considered the savior in both traditions. For Hindus, their hero Kalki will not come for hundreds of thousands of years. For this reason, an incarnation of Rama or Vishnu may appear in this age instead. In Buddhism, no savior can be found, except for the emergence of a future Buddha. Although this figure assumes the role of a spiritual guide rather than a worldly king, like Gautama his influence outweighs that of any head of state.

Optional video: Below is a short documentary for those who would like more detailed explanations. Please note that this video is based on the views of a few religious members, rather than on scholarly composition.


Three Scenarios

How can these different saviors save our divisive world? Won't they render us even more divisive? Several scenarios can be constructed of how they will realize the prophecies.

  • Scenario 1: Each will be a different person with a different mission. In this case, they will change the world in different ways and further strengthen their current religions. Each tradition will go through its own ecumenical endeavors, while the larger world and its nations will retain their composition. At best, the world will morph into four or five groups located in four or five kingdoms.

  • Scenario 2: They will form a unified group with several common missions. This scenario seems unlikely unless the Hindu Savior fights a non-violent war by adhering to the Hindu ideal of Ahimsa. They will have to persuade their followers to cooperate and coexist peacefully with each other. Such is an impossible task because no Jew will worship the Buddha. Nor will Buddhists worship the Jewish or Christian God. Their myriad differences will deepen as they come into awareness of and contact with each other. In the best case, they will come together in a secular state like the great powers and try to sustain harmony instead of unity. In the worst case, conflicts will erupt, causing them to disintegrate or fall apart.

  • Scenario 3: They will build a new religion. What will it look like? Who will lead this new religion? Will they end up with another Scientology church? Four different leaders with very different beliefs will certainly not cede to each other. The last two thousand years have proven it. Will Jews accept a second Jesus as their messiah? Will Buddhists follow those who do not abide by the Vinaya?


The Last Scenario

Almost no one foresaw this vision during the last two millennia. God has His own plan that has been made since the creation of Heaven and Earth. Who gave birth to Israel and Jesus? Who gives each Hindu a soul? Who led the Gautama Buddha to enlightenment? The One and Only Creator/ Savior has always been with humanity all along. That Savior has come to pronounce a new Way and new era to come.


"Formerly, people lacked transportation and therefore did not know each other. I then founded, at different epochs and in different areas, five branches of the Great Faith: the Way of Humans, the Way of Angels, the Way of Saints, the Way of Immortals, and the Way of Buddhas, each based on the customs of the race.

In present days, transportation has been improved, and people have come to know each other. But they do not live in harmony because of the very multiplicity of those religions. That is why I have decided to unite all those religions into one to bring them to primordial unity.

Moreover, the Holy Doctrine has been, through centuries, more and more denatured by the people responsible for spreading it. It breaks My heart to see that human beings, for the last ten thousand years, have sinned and subsequently suffered life after life in Hell.

I have now firmly resolved to come Myself to save you and not to trust anymore the Holy Doctrine in human hands. You have to be well organized to guide and support each other on your way to Heaven." (God's Divine Messages, 1926)


The Great Way, or Cao Đài, has thus been established to unite our world and save us from fratricide and annihilation. How does it accomplish such an impossible mission? As stated above, the Great Way encompasses all the major religions - it is the religion of religions. In other words, each religion is an inseparable segment in the Great Way mosaic. Therefore, members of any faith tradition can find their beliefs and practices in its seamless and harmonious whole. What differences does it make to the current world? First of all, people of different races, colors, nations, religions, etc. come to realize that they are brothers and sisters of each other as they have one common Father or Master. Second, our faith and spirituality are directed towards the same source - the Creator. Third, the Great Way will bring us together and transform us by holy truths, dharma, and paths to enlightenment and salvation.

Cao Đài is no longer a scenario but has once become reality. The sad fact is that mankind keeps turning its back and walking away. The enemies have succeeded time after time in persecuting and reducing it to their petty tool. Secular regimes from East to West with the aids of their accomplices, i.e. world leaders, have demolished, devoured, and cloned it into an ugly deformed sect. No more bell is left to toll for the lost soul of humanity.


Will the prophecies come true?

The world has denied their Savior Father. Instead, the faithful few are still waiting for a larger-than-life messiah. They refuse to see his image on the top of every Cao Đài temple. He has presided over the temples since the completion of the Holy See in 1947, waiting for them to come not to worship him but to find their own salvation. Whether he is waiting in vain or not depends on their faithfulness and piety. The Cao Ðài path is the only safe one that leads to salvation. Although it has been blocked by secular forces, no barrier exists in the soul of the pious. The Cao Đài Kingdom will come when their piety outlasts the grip and existence of those dark forces. It will come neither as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam nor the United States or the United Nations or any other rebellious country but as the promised holy family. It will be under no earthly power. It will eventually.

One critical issue remains about how our lone savior can change the entire world. Cao Đài teachings have laid out clearly the holy way forward. He cannot accomplish it alone and must rally a Holy Body of Saints and disciples. They shall come together as one lamb or sangha to realize God's Will. Until then, they will remain scattered and tormented by the enemies, especially the secular regime of Vietnam and its allies.

Back to the initial question: How many saviors will emerge? The answer is already clear.


Questions for Contemplation

  • What is the answer in your opinion?

  • What are the dark forces that are blocking the Cao Đài path? How can they be neutralized or sidelined? (Hint: some of them can be found in the previous posts)

  • How can the Holy Body be re-established? Who will be chosen?

  • Why are they scattered and tormented?

  • Why will the Kingdom be very different from any current country?


References

Carpenter, Estlin J., ed. The Dãgha Nikàya, Vol. 3 (London: The Pali Text Society, 1976).

Das, Bhumipati and Das, Purnaprajna. Sri Kalki Purana. Tai Nitai Press, 2006.

Klausner, Joseph. The Messianic Idea of Israel from its Beginning to the Completion of the Mishnah. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1955.

Sarbatoare, Octavian. Messianic Ideas: Historical Sources, and some Contemporary Expectations of Fulfilment. University of Sydney - Department of Studies in Religion, 2004.

The Holy Bible. New International Version. Biblical, 2011.

The Saviour In World Religions | Documentary. Ahlulbayt TV, 2017.