Recently, the Parliament of the World’s Religions met in Salt Lake City. According to their website, “The Parliament is the oldest, the largest, and the most inclusive gathering of people of all faith and traditions. Too often, religion is misused as an instrument for division and injustice, betraying the very ideals and teachings that lie at the heart of each of the world's great traditions. At the same time, religious and spiritual traditions shape the lives of billions in wise and wonderful ways. They gather people in communities of shared beliefs and practices. When these diverse communities work in harmony for the common good, there is hope that the world can be transformed.”
Religions for Peace’s motto is, “Different Faiths, Common Action.” According to their website, their Vision of Peace states, “Peace is more than the absence of war. Religions for Peace advances a positive vision of peace as shared security. It is a vision based on moral principles that are deeply held, and widely shared, by the world’s faith traditions: the fundamental unity of the human family and the equality and dignity of all human beings. Religions for Peace engages religious minorities and majorities in the effort to promote religious freedom, pluralism, and shared understanding. Our multi-religious coalitions cultivate respect for diverse religious beliefs and practices, and stand together in solidarity against violence and hatred.”
The Peace Council on their website stated that the Dalai Lama said, “The Peace Council is a diverse group of religious and spiritual individuals who are internationally known and respected and who have decided to come together, to understand one another and work together so that those of us who profess belief in our respective faiths can work for the common cause of humanity.” Their mission “is to demonstrate that peace is possible, and that effective interreligious collaboration to make peace also is possible. In a world where religion too often is used to justify division, hatred, and violence, and very seldom used to relieve these problems, the Peace Councilors offer an alternative: the example of religious leaders working effectively together to relieve suffering and make the world whole.”
The Universal Peace Federation states on their website, “This age of globalization needs enlightened leaders in each faith who can examine their sacred writings and traditions and identify the aspects that can benefit all humanity as well as those that preserve each religion's identity. UPF calls on people of faith to honor the Divine indwelling in a way that encourages understanding, respect, and cooperation among people of all faiths for the well-being of our communities and peace in the world.”
These are only a few of the wonderful organizations around the world consisting of representatives and others from all religions coming together in peace and harmony. They hold meetings and conferences where ordinary people like you and me can attend in order to meet, get to know each other, and learn about each others’ religions and faiths. They share, laugh, learn, and are united for the greater good.
Oprah Winfrey’s TV network OWN is presenting a wonderful and informative series titled “Belief.” The show explores humankind’s desire to connect with something greater than themselves. It’s a fascinating series that teaches us about the diversity of our religions and how we all have a lot more in common than we know. Per her website, ““Belief” searches the origins of diverse faiths and the heart of what really matters.” I would highly recommend watching. (They’re being repeated on OWN).
It’s happening, my friends! People are coming together in love and peace from all the world religions (including those who are not religious)! Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and so many others, are uniting in brother/sisterhood. The problem is that we’re not hearing about it in the media or from many pulpits. Hate, fear, and violence sell, which also keeps people in chains under the guise of religion, and that keeps us separate.
We can come together without giving up our beliefs or our religions! We need only open our hearts and minds to embrace diversity and know that unconditional love is really all that matters. We can be kind and compassionate to each other regardless of any perceived differences!
Hans Küng said, "There will be peace on earth when there is peace among the world religions.” Our religions should be setting an example! We should be living the teachings of our spiritual masters! We can unite for the good off all! It’s happening and it begins with each of us reaching out to each other in the spirit of peace and harmony!
“What we all have in common is an appreciation of kindness and compassion, all the religions have this. We all lean towards love.” Richard Gere
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 30, 2015.