The worldwide controversy, violent demonstrations and the killing of the United States Ambassador in Libya over the release of a ridiculously scandalous You-tube film on the life of the Holy Prophet Mohammed underlines the need for effective steps to marginalise extremists and bring about religious unity in diversity.
The sacrilegious low-budget film believed to have been produced by an individual who has a criminal record gives a virtually devilish twist to the Holy Prophet’s life. The film provoked a violent reaction in Cairo where thousands of demonstrators are besieging the US embassy, while in Bengazzi -- the home-base of last year’s Libyan revolution which the US openly supported - US. Ambassador Christopher Stephen was killed during an attack on the Embassy. Demonstrations are also being held in more than ten other Muslim countries.
What is essential for the resolution of such religious or other conflicts is a paradigm shift, a change of our mental perception. We need to come to an awareness that the mental picture we have -- be it on religion or any other issue – is always relative and never absolute. We see only part of the picture. If we believe or delude ourselves into thinking that our perception is the absolute picture, then we are suffering from some mental imbalance which could be dangerous. For instance the dictator Adolph Hitter thought that his perception of an Aryan super-race was absolute. So anyone who did not fit into that picture of Aryan supremacy was first marginalized and then eliminated. That was why at least six million Jews were massacred.
If we believe that our mental perception is relative and not absolute, then we could have a meaningful dialogue and come to some accommodation on the middle path with those whose faith and beliefs are different. While believing and more importantly practising the truths and commandments of our own religions, we also need to respect the faith and beliefs of other religions. When all the truths are put together, we will see a bigger picture if not the whole one. One plus one will make not two but three and behold there will be something new through this virtue of synergy. In Sri Lanka also the people of all four major religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam – need to have such a paradigm shift so that we could have a sincere dialogue and come to an accommodation on the middle path.
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith the Archbishop of Colombo is taking exemplary and inspiring steps to bring about religious unity in diversity. He is to advise parish priests and other Catholics to have regular meetings and a sincere dialogue with leaders of other religions. We hope that other religious leaders and even our political leaders will take similar initiatives to bring about an all–religions solidarity alliance to build a new Sri Lanka.
We need the political machinery of this country (ruling as well as opposition) should take the lead without antagonising any particular belief, through their short sited statements. This could encourage the religious leaders with the example of the Archbishop.
M.L.Jamaldeen Saturday, 15 September 2012 02:55 AM
What a welcome editorial. Whilst I thank you for this, I suggest that we do nol let it to remain just a dream. Mr. Editor please further promote this with practical steps by inviting not just religious icons but senior citizens and prominent Sri Lankans, like the Friday Forum group, to participate. We must have these groups in various towns and even villages. Let us break the shackles of sectarianism, misguided fanaticism and learn to respect our Religious Leaders. There is so much of common good in the various religions. Whilst accepting fundamental differences let us explore together the vast areas which are common and build a brotherhood of Sri Lankans. A brotherhood who will be strong enough one day to destroy any attempts to create disharmony amongst different creeds.
Malin Saturday, 15 September 2012 11:08 AM
How about the wetern world and the Evangelists propogating their cult in Sri Lanka humiliating Buddha with Buddha's statues in Bars, Brothels, Buddha's images in womem clothing and shoes, in Maggi products, giving melting candles to Buddhists in villages with Buddhas image etc,? These are only few instances but yet the Buddhists all over the world tolerate the humliation of Buddhism and Buddha becuase tolerance is preached in Buddhism and Karma will take its turn when the time comes.
ethirveerasingam Saturday, 15 September 2012 06:02 PM
How about including Judaism?
Hussain Sunday, 16 September 2012 06:38 AM
The concept of 'God' is a human construct that has emerged from our evolved ability to look out at the natural world and wonder about its construction and the mechanisms that drive natural events. Language has enabled us to share feelings of wonder about the world and speculate on the significance of human life and its origins. Some of these ideas have been formalized as religions which have spread as viral memes because they have conveyed survival value.
Science is the only way we can derive real knowledge about the natural world and our place in it. Religious faith simply confuses and divides.
imran SALAHUDDIN Tuesday, 18 September 2012 10:56 AM
indeed We all Sri Lankans MUST come together and come to a common terms of understanding and tolerance of each other religion and individual...
If a person can smile honestly while looking at another person from any religion, culture or sect... then we could soon feel the peace and calm in our beloved country Sri Lanka....
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