Cymboyton

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Cymboyton was a wealthy businessman who founded a school dedicated to the philosophy of religion in the city of Urmia in what is now Iran. The school was a first century experiment in interfaith dialogue and understanding that was administered with his three sons. The lectures and discussions in this school of religion began at 10:00 o'clock every morning in the week. The afternoon sessions started at 3:00 o'clock, and the evening debates opened at 8:00 o'clock. Cymboyton or one of his three sons always presided at these sessions of teaching, discussion, and debate. Cymboyton lived and died without ever revealing his personal religious beliefs.

More than thirty religions and religious cults were represented on the faculty of this temple of religious philosophy. These teachers were chosen, supported, and fully accredited by their respective religious groups. At one time there were about seventy-five teachers on the faculty, and they lived in cottages each accommodating about a dozen persons. Every new moon these groups were changed by the casting of lots. Intolerance, a contentious spirit, or any other disposition to interfere with the smooth running of the community would bring about the prompt and summary dismissal of the offending teacher. He would be unceremoniously dismissed, and his alternate in waiting would be immediately installed in his place.

These teachers of the various religions made a great effort to show how similar their religions were in regard to the fundamental things of this life and the next. There was but one doctrine which had to be accepted in order to gain a seat on this faculty—every teacher must represent a religion which recognized God—some sort of supreme Deity. There were five independent teachers on the faculty who did not represent any organized religion, and it was as such an independent teacher that Jesus appeared before them. [1]