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lights Essay

  • Submitted by: ruatfwoc14
  • on February 3, 2009
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 537 words

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Below is an essay on "lights" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Light is probably the greatest metaphor and symbol that we have. Our religions in particular, are saturated with the poetry of light symbolism. We need only think of the images of the divine light in Zoroastrianism (which significantly influenced all three Abrahamic religions): the sacred fires, the so-called `fire-temples', the aureoles, the Mountain of the Dawns, the Peak of Judgement, the Auroral fires, the Chinvat Bridge - the symbolism can easily become heady, the imagery intoxicating. Reason begins to lose its foothold here. But to remove such poetic elements at the heart of any philosophy or religion is to rip out its heart and corrupt its truth. For religions, as well as philosophies, live and breathe by the quality of their poetry: by their ability to set hearts alight and not just heads. Sometimes it can be more instructive to follow the images of thought to where they lead us, rather than rush immediately to dissect with the intellect.

So many traditions bear witness to the experience of the divine light that it is impossible to indicate even a tiny representative sample here. It is the fire of the Burning Bush seen by Moses; the pillar of fire before the Israelites in the desert. It is the Kibriya. It is the tongues of fire revealed to the apostles of Christ at Pentecost; and the light of the Transfiguration glimpsed by them on Mount Tabor. The Manicheans, blinded by its beauty, looked in disgust at the material world that had become dark and dead for them in contrast.

Images of the afterworld, of Heaven, are primarily places of intense light. Christianity and Islam derived their ideas of heaven from Zoroastrianism which itself looked forward to a gradual "enlightenment", and not to a sudden entry into the domain of uncreated light. That progress towards enlightenment (Frashkart) was bound up with an `incandescence of the inward layers of beings' - a process by which the world would slowly begin to lose its opacity, without ever losing its...

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