Path Toward Peace – Step Six

religious strife

Eliminating religious strife


Mary and Martha were having a discussion in the coffee shop. They’d just met fifteen minutes before and had been chatting about the debate between Obama and McCain. Mary said, “Well, seems we agree about who to vote for. What are you doing Sunday morning? I’d love to talk again—maybe while we walk the lower trail in the Metro Park.” Martha said, “Oh, I’ll be going to church Sunday morning. How about Friday around noon?” Mary said, “Oh, I can’t, that’s our time for community prayer in the mosque.”

They chatted for a bit more but the conversation withered away into banalities and, by the time they parted, both knew there would be no lasting friendship.

From the Jerusalem Post: “The reality of today’s Middle East is the same centuries-old one of ethnic and religious strife that extends far beyond the borders of the State of Israel.”

From the Egyptian Daily News: “Rashwan rather blamed Israel for creating ‘civil and religious strife between the different Arab countries.'”

From the Times of India: “Barely eight months after it was ravaged by attacks on Christians, Kandhamal is back in the headlines as a symbol of religious strife. For more than a week now, Kandhamal’s Christians have been brutalized, their homes pillaged and burnt, chased into the forests, left to languish in relief camps.”

It’s a shame about Mary and Martha. They were headed toward a beautiful friendship but, because they adhered to different Faith traditions, they sacrificed fresh happiness and sharing.

Well, at least they didn’t start butchering each other’s families and friends…

How long has humanity been killing in the name of religion?

How many mothers have lost children because of religious dogmatism?

How many children have been orphaned because of political decisions empowered by absurdly false religious doctrines?

It’s no wonder so many people will say, “Oh, I’m definitely a spiritual person. I’m just not religious.”

Is there some way to practice a religion (including, of course, a spiritual life) and not exclude other people, not see those in different religions as evil, not try to keep the All-Loving God in an armored box locked tightly in a room of the ego?

Spiritual Quotes:

“That the divers communions of the earth, and the manifold systems of religious belief, should never be allowed to foster the feelings of animosity among men, is, in this Day, of the essence of the Faith of God and His Religion. These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source, and are rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 13

“Religious strife, throughout history, has been the cause of innumerable wars and conflicts, a major blight to progress, and is increasingly abhorrent to the people of all faiths and no faith. Followers of all religions must be willing to face the basic questions which this strife raises, and to arrive at clear answers. How are the differences between them to be resolved, both in theory and in practice? The challenge facing the religious leaders of mankind is to contemplate, with hearts filled with the spirit of compassion and a desire for truth, the plight of humanity, and to ask themselves whether they cannot, in humility before their Almighty Creator, submerge their theological differences in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable them to work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3

“There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God. The difference between the ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed. All of them, except a few which are the outcome of human perversity, were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Arise and, armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings, the sowers of dissension amongst you. Cleave unto that which draweth you together and uniteth you.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 217

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Path Toward Peace – Step Five

nationalism

Eliminating unbridled nationalism


The peoples of all nations are screaming for unity, their hearts bleeding, yet this strident call is made the slave of petty nationalistic agendas.

From Al Bawaba: Haifa refuses to answer those who doubted her nationalism

From Indian Muslim News and Information: Book: Communalism, Caste and Hindu Nationalism—The Violence in Gujarat

From the Times Online, UK: People’s Alliance for Democracy’s narrow nationalism in Thailand

I was born in the United States of America. Still live here, though I’ve traveled to Canada, Mexico, Viet Nam, Japan, and the Philippines.

I used to love my country as I love my parents, claiming them as place and people of my origin.

I still love my country but not, any longer, like I love my parents. I’ve learned that my place of origin is the Earth.

The Earth has always been whole and unified. Even though certain humans have declared various areas of Her surface as separate from other areas and stained Her soil with torrents of blood to maintain those national boundaries, She is whole.

Certainly, there are things I don’t like about my country of birth, just like there were things I didn’t like about my parents. But when I consider my true place of origin, this lovely blue-green-brown cosmic spaceship, I can find nothing about her I don’t like.

She is  troubled. I can hear Her voice, deep, throbbing tones, pleading with the children on Her surface, “Now, don’t make me scold you…”

Spiritual Quotes:

“It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 250

“…torrents of precious blood are spilled in defense of these imaginary divisions of our one human habitation, under the delusion of a fancied and limited patriotism.

“After all, a claim and title to territory or native land is but a claim and attachment to the dust of earth. We live upon this earth for a few days and then rest beneath it forever. So it is our graveyard eternally. Shall man fight for the tomb which devours him, for his eternal sepulcher? What ignorance could be greater than this? To fight over his grave, to kill another for his grave! What heedlessness! What a delusion!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 355

“Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate patriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of humanity as a whole. Bahá’u’lláh’s statement is: ‘The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens’. The concept of world citizenship is a direct result of the contraction of the world into a single neighbourhood through scientific advances and of the indisputable interdependence of nations.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3

“O contending peoples and kindreds of the earth! Set your faces towards unity, and let the radiance of its light shine upon you. Gather ye together, and for the sake of God resolve to root out whatever is the source of contention amongst you. Then will the effulgence of the world’s great Luminary envelop the whole earth, and its inhabitants become the citizens of one city, and the occupants of one and the same throne.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 217

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One-Man Peacekeeping Force

The Play

Adapted from A True Story

The Actor: Sait Sanli, a 64-year old former butcher and cattle-raiser in southeastern Turkey.

The Scene: 10 years of blood feuds (or, vendettas).

The Action: Sanli personally facilitates the end of 446 potentially bloody disputes. 67 families are on his waiting list…

And the Actor says: “The cost of the suffering that these feuds cause cannot be estimated. One person may be killed, but the lives of 100 people are affected. Based on the tradition here, when one person commits a crime, every one of their relatives is responsible,” says Sanli, who has a grey mustache and deep set brown eyes. “We are really suffering here from a gap between the official law and traditional law. What I’m trying to do is fill in that gap, to prevent things from escalating. I’m a messenger.”

Enter Mazhar Bagli (a sociologist at Diyarbakir’s Dicle University): “It’s not easy to do what [Sanli’s] trying to do. He’s going against something very ancient.”

An aside from the Narrator: “Ten years ago, he decided to let his eight children run the business and dedicate himself full-time to peacemaking.”

The Actor: “I am trying to show people the importance of forgiveness, how important it is in our holy book, and to show them how much they have been sacrificing by seeking revenge….
The main thing is making people think about how they are acting, about what kind of example they are setting. I try to appeal to that sense in people. I’m trying to show people that there’s a different way to do things, that there’s a different way to live….”

The Author: He gets little sleep (maybe 2 hours a night), never stops thinking about others, and says, when he does fall asleep, he feels at peace . . .

Written in response to Postcards from the Funny Farm

Verse Five

This post is one in a series. All poems are from my free-to-download book, Is Your Soul In Here ? I’ll keep the series going as long as interest is shown through your comments. If there are enough comments, I’ll publish them in their own post !

~~~~~~~~~

Imperious

“Back so
Soon with
Scars so
Fresh,
Willing to be
Pressed against the
Sharp
Edge of
Pain?”

“Howling yet from
Severance
Won and
Sacrifice obtained by
Standing in the
Prow of
Life and
Facing every
Tempest hot, I turn
Again and
Lay it down—my
Blood a warming
Storm of
Victory.”


Verse Three


This post is one in a series. All poems are from my free-to-download book, Is Your Soul In Here ? I’ll keep the series going as long as interest is shown through your comments. If there are enough comments, I’ll publish them in their own post !


~~~~~~~~~

Trauma

Pain sits
Heavy in the
Heart un-
Healed.
Rips at
Judgment,
Opens the
Sealed to
Rip at feelings
Floating in the
Past, to bring them
Up, to make them
Last till
Time, if gracious, can
Mend the
Wound, till space is made that’s
Not
Marooned.