During Open House Chicago, one has the opportunity to see many architecturally and historically interesting places, but some of the places I choose to attend during that weekend are churches and temples. Chicagoans represent all faiths and worship in a variety of ways (if they worship at all, which many of them don’t and that also is OK with me). I intend to feature two faiths in each post on this subject.
Although I posted about the Krishna tradition last year, I am including it as part of this post’s topic of diverse faiths. The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is the official name of the religion and place of worship.
Krishna is a major deity in the Hindu religion, one of its principal gods. Krishna can be portrayed as male or female and is not especially identified with either gender, I was told when we visited ISKCON last year.
According to Religious Tolerance: Hare Krishna and ISKCON web site, “ISKCON and Hinduism both trace their beginnings to the Vedas and to the Bhagavad-Gita text. Whereas mainstream Hinduism regards Krishna to be the 8th incarnation of Vishnu (the Preserver and one of the Hindu trinity of deities), ISKCON regards Krishna to be the supreme Lord over all deities, including Vishnu. They are therefore a monotheistic faith group, one that stresses bhakti, the way of devotion.”
The spiritual leader of ISKCON is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who introduced Westerners to the faith by publishing 60 books in only 12 years and over 60 million published in 30 different languages. He initiated over 4,000 disciples of Lord Krishna, established ISKCON which has more than 100 temples, and he travelled around the world 14 times preaching the message of Krishna consciousness.
Musical instruments such as drums, keyboards, and sitars are used in Krishna worship.
The roots of the faith can be traced to the advent of Krishna, 5000 years ago in an Indian village, and was revived in the 16th century by Guru Caitanya Mahaprabu who is considered to be the reincarnation of Lord Krishna himself. He taught that Krishna was the one true deity and that anyone can gain a personal relationship with the god through sankirtana, congregational chanting of God’s names, specifically the Hare Krishna Mantra, also known as the Maha Mantra.
As Krishna worship is an offshoot of Hinduism, I now turn to one offshoot of the Protestant Christian tradition. This year we visited the Moody Church. This non-denominational evangelical faith was named after Dwight L. Moody, an evangelist of the mid to late 19th century. The present church building, completed in 1925, combines Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, meant to bridge the gap between the Roman Catholic cathedral and the typical Protestant church buildings of the 19th-20th centuries.
In this vast sanctuary which seats 3,700, people of all faiths are welcome. The Moody Church is fundamentalist and evangelical in its beliefs, including the belief in the Second Coming of Jesus, published on their web site.
Here are some excerpts of their Doctrinal Statement:
God is triune, one Being eternally existing in three co-equal Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; these divine Persons…work inseparably and harmoniously in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world. …
The Bible, including both the Old and the New Testaments, is a divine revelation, the original autographs of which were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit. …
Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God…He is Himself very God; He took upon Him our nature, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary; He died upon the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the world; … He will come again personally and visibly to set up His kingdom and to judge the quick and the dead. …
Man was created in the image of God but fell into sin, and, in that sense, is lost;…[unless a person is] born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; …the retribution of the wicked and unbelieving and the reward of the righteous are everlasting, and as the reward is conscious, so is the retribution. …
The Church is an elect company of believers baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body; its mission is to witness concerning its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the gospel among all nations; it will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air ere He appears to set up His kingdom. …