Sometimes I find it helpful when I’m trying to understand the rhythm of the world to just listen to my favorite songs. It seems that the rhythm of the world is trying to reconcile many disparate sounds into something more harmonious, but it isn’t happening easily. So we try to find that rhythm through our religious hymns, songs and chants.
Presently, in that tinderbox we call the Middle East, the tension between Muslims and Jews continues at a fever pitch. There is a pitch so inharmonious that being off key, like an out-of-tuned organ or unfocused musical director, would go unnoticed in the world congregation.
The people of Egypt struggle right now to draw a line between religion and government. Whether the will of the people or that of the government are in question is not up for debate. A new Pope from Argentina sets out to reconcile the role of the Catholic Church in a secular world, leading by example in simple acts of kindness, forgiveness, and compassionate love, while many watch to see if he will find a greater place of inclusion for women in his Church and how he will include people regardless of sexual orientation.
Here in America, even after the Supreme Court addressed issues of civil rights and marriage equality, so much is still said to divide us in the name of religion. In 37 states, marriage equality is still only a dream and not a matter of right. People continue to discriminate against others in the name of religion.
For too long, people have engaged in conflict, and even wars, in the name of religion. I find myself thinking back to a favorite rhythm. Years ago in his song “One Love”, Bob Marley sang “There is one question I’d really love to ask. Is there a place for the hopeless sinner, who has hurt all mankind just to save his own beliefs?” Despite our many and varied beliefs, he reminded us there is just “One Love.” This statement remains appropriate and very relevant to societal/world issues.
Marley urges us “Let’s get together and feel all right”. I think it is only by getting together that we will be able to feel all right; unify and change cultures; and create a better world for all.
Everybody Paddles seeks to mediate and ignite a dialogue as it pertains to religion. Religion embodies emotions which can sometimes take destructive forms and even lead to conflicts as extreme as war. When this happens, we must look to common elements of religion which include love and forgiveness. For lack of a better word, this can be started with tolerance. By seeking to understand and really listening and responding with openness and respect, all religious sects can work in ways that acknowledge genuine differences, but build on shared hopes and values such as family, education and the end of violence.
The time is now for leaders of different religions to come together and take an active role in starting an interfaith dialogue about global peace, civil rights, economic opportunity, the end of poverty, and making terrorism a thing of the past. These talks shouldn’t take place in the shadows. It is time to shine a light on the importance of unthreatening dialogue. We should publicize and utilize social media so the whole world knows that different religions are working together. After all, we are all in the same boat, and either we all work together towards common goals, or continue to float aimlessly in a sea of discord. If that common goal is to obey scriptures, live right and be ready then our collective efforts have to lean towards partnership, association, collaboration and togetherness. consider the approach of Bob Marley and “Let’s get together and feel alright.”