for www.religionnews.com on Oct. 28, 2010
CHICAGO— A pioneering new book connects the backgrounds, missions, teachings and legacies of seven world-religion founders and details 25 striking parallels between them and their resulting faiths.
In Founders of Faith: The Parallel Lives of God's Messengers, author Harold Rosen explores the lives of Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha and Baha'u'llah
and finds remarkable connections. According to Rosen, these patterns suggest our world's religions share universal teachings and have a common divine source. He explains how the founders of world religions functioned as teachers of humanity; how their stations differed from seers, visionaries and minor prophets; and how their teachings transformed civilization and humanity.
Rosen details 25 bold parallels. He begins with "Continuity with Previous Dispensations" where each founder arose from a lineage of other revered founders who purified, supplemented and passed on an ancient body of revealed guidance. For example, Moses—founder of Judaism—claimed to fulfill the promises of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Christ—founder of Christianity—claimed to fulfill the promises of Moses, David and Isaiah. Muhammad—founder of Islam—claimed to fulfill the promises of Jesus regarding a Counselor to come. Buddha—founder of Buddhism—claimed to be in line of the ancient Indian Buddha's and to be the return of Kasspa. Krishna—founder of Hinduism—claimed to be in line of the ancient Indian Avatars and to be the return of Rama. Zoroaster—founder of Zoroastrianism—claimed to fulfill the promises of ancient Persian prophets. And Baha'u'llah—founder of the Baha'i Faith—claimed to fulfill the promises of Abraham, Moses, David, Zoroaster, Isaiah, Jesus and Muhammad.
The 25 parallels connecting world religion founders include:
• Continuity with previous dispensations
• Arising to guide humanity in the worst of times
• Divine commission
• Struggling in solitude
• Overcoming powerful opposition from religious and civil leaders
• Rejection by the people
• Sacrificial suffering
• Dying and ascending victoriously
• Transformative teaching and healing
• Abrogating the old and establishing the new—ritual and legal guidance
• Human and divine qualities—claiming and exemplifying a dual station
• Promising a future savior and the age of spiritual maturation
• Essential unity of the revealers through the ages
• Laying enduring foundations.
Each parallel is supported by extensive analysis of the founder's background, mission, teaching and legacy, and carefully footnoted to each religion's scriptures and revered teachings.
Author Harold Rosen is a community interfaith educator, world religion and world history teacher, and college instructor of philosophy and religion. He was a Unitarian minister for 25 years and Baha'i interfaith educator for the last decade. Rosen has written extensively on religion and interfaith issues and lives in Vancouver, Canada.