While we're doing this 'season of goodwill' stuff

The threat of terrorism, and the continuing tension between the so-called Christian and Moslem worlds, dominates the news media. The focus is always on the differences between one side and the other, and it seems that conflict is the only way to resolve these differences. A common word is an initiative to highlight what the different faiths have in common, in particular the commandment not to make war but to “love thy neighbour”.

This campaign aims to encourage peace and understanding, tolerance and mutual respect among peoples who are currently divided by their faiths. I’m not especially religious, not enough to take sides, but I support absolutely the aims of this document. It seems to me that anyone with a spiritual sense must see the wisdom expressed in both the Holy Qur’an and Holy Bible.

You may like to add your name to the list of those endorsing it. I have.

Abridged version and links available here.

Yes, let’s focus on what the major faiths have in common–like authoritarianism, sexism, and homophobia.

Are you kidding? None of the major religions have homophobia. No running away! Instead we chase after them with burning torches, attack with stones, and shove them into closets.

But the authoritarianism and sexism is spot on. :smiley:

So what we really need to unite Islam and Christianity is a common enemy-- the infidels! Let’s get them!

Good fences make good neighbors.

So do any of the above comments discourage people from having strong beliefs? I don’t see a lot of sophisticated arguments there that are going to change anyone’s mind.

Until you come up with something better, why not just remind folks that their god requires them to be nice to people they disagree with? Sounds far more constructive than jumping up and down shouting “you’re a cunt”.

[quote=“Loretta”]So do any of the above comments discourage people from having strong beliefs? I don’t see a lot of sophisticated arguments there that are going to change anyone’s mind.

Until you come up with something better, why not just remind folks that their god requires them to be nice to people they disagree with? Sounds far more constructive than jumping up and down shouting “you’re a cunt”.[/quote]
No disagreement there, Loretta. The idea of emphasizing the main similarities of core doctrines (one God, love others, be good, etc.) instead of getting all upset over the details to reduce strife in the world is great.

The only thing I think is wrong with this initiative is that it lacks a focus on one’s own faith. Muslims should be exhorting Muslims not to go murdering people in “jihads” and Christians should be preaching tolerance in the same vein.

You don’t think that moslems can say to Christians “Hey, look, we’re not all murdering bastards, you know. Our religion actually instructs us to respect your beliefs, and we’re writing to you to disassociate ourselves from the minority who don’t.”?

It gives the recipients the opportunity to reply “Yeah, you’re right. I guess we could sit down and discuss the common ground between us instead of emphasizing the differences and labelling you all as evil because of the actions of a few individuals.”

In this case, ‘moslems’ is apparently 200 of the leading Islamic clerics. And the recipients include the Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury, and other Christian and Jewish leaders. They’ve all responded positively, but it seems that this community can’t.

Dialogue. The hand of friendship. Expressions of goodwill. Mutual respect. Not “we should respect them” or “they should respect us” but “we should all respect each other”. I’m all in favour of that, and disgusted at the stupid bigoted intolerant remarks from people who can’t understand such a simple message.

You don’t have to be religious to encourage religious people to be nice to each other.

To me, this is a starting point for increased understanding between faiths that is much needed. If all the religious leaders can present a united front on this issue it undermines anyone on either side of the fence who is using their religion as an excuse to wage war. Whatever your religion, or lack of, I can’t see any reason not to endorse this message, but there are compelling reasons for adding your name to the list.

You misunderstand. I’m not saying that there is anything objectionable about this. It’s commendable. After reading the entirety of the message I found it worthy of endorsement and added my name to the list.

However, I believe the focus would be better looking primarily inward rather than primarily outward as both groups need to do some introspection and “house cleaning”.

I’m saying it’s good, but saying there can be more is a positive response, I believe.

I prefer “we should respect them” to “they should respect us”. Or “we’ll respect you if you respect us”. You should note that the unabridged document leaves room for radical terrorists to continue their attack on others.

Nothing objectionable in that either, but I see already where some will use this to excuse continued terrorism on account of US occupation of Iraq, support for Israel, or whatever they feel offended about. I would like it more if all such actions, no matter which side committed them, were condemned as not being in the spirit of either religion.

I signed the petition. I support the document, and would love to see common ground explored. But, like most things in life, I think the answer always comes first by looking inward. My earlier comments (aside from my reply to S.J.) were an expression of that support and that comment.

So, what’s the problem about my point of view on this?

I sure hope you don’t mean mine. If you do, try reading them again without the cynicism.

The starting point of this dialog actually was the Catholic Pope writing a letter to the Muslims first. This is their second response. Doesn’t lessen this as a good thing. But there has been dialog between Christians/Jews/Muslims for a long time. Just not at a high level, or much official correspondence.

Yes, that’s a positive thing. But it would be better if all religious leaders could present a united front telling their own adherents not to go killing people of other religions. Muslims aren’t the only ones, Christians have been doing this too.

Is there anything objectionable in what I’m saying here?

Goodwill,peace on Earth,respect thy neighbor and all that other bullshit is just a short lived dream which is/was the small picture as to what is really going on in this very small ,corrupt,polluted and doomed world we sysematically live in.

Your heart felt intentetions are duely noted , but if you only could see the big picture,if you only really knew the matrix in which we really live.

If you really only knew,you would take every breath as if it were your last.

If you only really knew how small this planet really is.

[quote=“wildcard”]Goodwill,peace on Earth,respect thy neighbor and all that other bullshit is just a short lived dream which is/was the small picture as to what is really going on in this very small ,corrupt,polluted and doomed world we sysematically live in.

Your heart felt intentetions are duely noted , but if you only could see the big picture,if you only really knew the matrix in which we really live.

If you really only knew,you would take every breath as if it were your last.

If you only really knew how small this planet really is.[/quote]
Oh pray tell, what IS really going on in this corrupt, polluted and doomed world? Aside from the plague of misspellings all too common on the Internet?

Personally I think things will be just fine when David Icke takes over and leads the war against our reptilian invaders.


I for one, welcome our alien overlords…
:laughing:

Nope. :slight_smile:

It’s all good. I agree. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. With encouragement maybe it’ll become more. Who knows? We can but hope, and offer what little support we can. It’s better than surrendering to negativity.

You mean, Taiwan?

You know, in the movie, the matrix itself was the illusion. And yet, despite “reality”, people attempted to make things better. The solution to the problem of the matrix wasn’t living in the moment, but rather looking to the future with hope, reaching out in diplomacy, and ultimately working towards victory as if the success of all others was a surety.

The alternate path, which you describe as “taking every breath as if it were your last” is really nothing but selfishness. Really taking every breath as if it were your last is not about acting for your own interests (which is what you apparently mean, considering the rest of your message), it’s appreciating the beauty all around us and being open to experience life rather being closed to it.

It does not mean, take what you want cause everyone’s gonna die and everyone’s out to get you, so nothing matters. In fact, it means that everything matters.

[quote]If you really only knew,you would take every breath as if it were your last.

If you only really knew how small this planet really is.[/quote]
Go ahead, Cypher. See if the Agents will re-insert you back into the Matrix so you can enjoy your steak.

Me, I’m gonna go shake hands with Commander Locke. He doesn’t believe what I believe, but then, my beliefs don’t require him to for us to work together.

[color=green]Mod note: edited for thread splitting. Deleted portion is in this thread.
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I personally have some issues with Islam. I mean that in a moral sense, not doctrinal. I have doctrinal issues with pretty much every religion other than my own-- go figure. But morally, of all the major religions, only Islam do I find to be objectionable.

But this initiative I find to be completely admirable. Could be better, but, the contents and it’s intent are entirely good. Tolerance. Discussion. Finding common ground. Applying this to real life conflicts could actually make the world a better place. Much better than trying to make them “re-think” their beliefs.

My point? Even if you find belief in religion objectionable, you can still support cooperation and understanding. Try that instead of trying to derail the discussion.

[color=green]Mod note: This thread isn’t really the place for airing one’s extended criticism of any one particular religion. It’s about a particular initiative promoting mutual understanding and harmony. [/color]

I doubt it’s possible to create a lasting peace between Muslims and Christians based on a few quotes from the Bible and the Qur’an. One could just as easily justify violence against unbelievers with quotes from either. And as Screaming Jesus sarcastically but accurately noted, those books are also filled with outmoded ideas of morality. Should followers of the monotheistic faiths stand shoulder to shoulder and stone adulterers as well? How can well-meaning Christians and Muslims determine which commandments to follow and which to ignore? Isn’t “kill heretics” as inspired as “love thy neighbor?”

Of course most Christians and Muslims aren’t familiar with or do not care about the violent parts of their holy books. But they don’t really need the “good parts” to tell them to be good people anymore than they need the “bad parts” to war against each other. Consider what RDO wrote here:

I agree with the first sentence but not the second. Nobody needs to be part of a religion to be a good person. We are biologically driven to a certain level of altruism. But we are also driven to form colonies to ensure our own survival and that of our descendants. Resources are inevitably scarce and colonies compete against each other. The more numerous and powerful the competition, the larger our own alliances become. An important function of religion, historically at least, has been a means of maintaining internal cohesion within alliances long enough to defeat a common external enemy. In peacetime, a common religious identity is rarely sufficiently unifying to maintain peace across otherwise diverse groups of people. Arabs, Turks, Kurds, and Berbers united to conquer the Iberian peninsula, but that didn’t stop them from fighting each other once the conquest was complete. If religion is not enough to maintain peace between Muslims, a few commonalities between Islam and Christianity are not going to be enough to maintain peace between Muslims and Christians.

Interfaith initiatives are superfluous. Muslims and Christians are going to get along regardless of what their books say unless they start to perceive each other as threats. If it’s really necessary to have some kind of document by which to establish peace and mutual respect, then let’s make it the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The ideas expressed in that document can and should be embraced by all humans, and if followed sincerely, may well lead to lasting international peace (however unlikely that may be). And it doesn’t need to be cherry picked. Nothing in there about stoning gays and unbelievers. Here’s the preamble for anyone who is interested:

[quote]Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,[/quote]