Brazil And Arrogance
By Mike Ghouse
23 May, 2007
Pope Benedict just visited Brazil
and his comments have caused uproar when he said, “the Church
had not imposed itself on the indigenous peoples of the Americas. They
had welcomed the arrival of European priests at the time of the conquest
as they were "silently longing" for Christianity.” Satere
Mawe, chief coordinator of the Amazon Indian group Coiab responded,
“It’s arrogant and disrespectful to consider our cultural
heritage secondary to theirs."
No one, religious or otherwise
has room to guffaw. It is typical of every religious figure head to
act and say something similar. I have encountered a very similar dialogue
where a sense of superiority is conveyed by Hindu, Muslim and clergy
of other faiths. It is their business to defend their ‘exclusive’
faith. In reality, no one owns any faith. Faiths are alternative ways
of seeking the illusory peace of mind and relief from the misery. Zarthustra,
Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, Nanak, Baha’u’llah,
Joseph Smith or Confucius did not intend to create their own brand of
people. Their message was for the whole of mankind and their mission
was not to create one group versus the other.
The bottom line is whether
it is the Pope or religious figure head of any faith, he or she is human
first; temptations on one hand that give pleasure instantly but bring
misery later on, and striving to not be tempted and walk the moderate
path on the other hand.
My daughter shared her thoughts with me a few years ago, that it becomes
obligatory on the part of clergy to say that their faith is better,
philosophical, spiritual, comprehensive, and older or some such word
to communicate superiority over the other. That is baloney, no faith
is superior or inferior to the other, each stands on its own merit and
value for the believer ”Dad if the minister were to say, all faiths
are beautiful and salvation is available to all individuals through
their own system, then the congregation will dwindle and business will
go down." This is coming from my Baptist daughter in response to
my asking her to ignore the sermon of the minister, if it involves any
hate towards any other being or other religion, as the minister would
be contradicting the love and universal teachings of Jesus Christ.
This same scenario is applicable with the presumed care takers or guardians
of all religions with a few exceptions. The religious leaders assume
that their job is to defend their faith, thus creating a sense of confinement
rather than freedom.
The purpose of religion (if you momentarily take the divinity 0ut of
it) is to help an individual find comfort and safety from his fears,
unknowns, conflicts and myths. God, through different religions has
laid out the formula to walk that path.
There are a few out there
who sincerely believe, that all paths lead to making one a better human,
who is at peace, and causes peace and safety for his surroundings comprising
life and matter. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given
uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and
I believe arrogance and spirituality
are inversely proportional to each other; all religions begin with bowing
or prostrating rituals, the first step to bring humility. Humility brings
people together and arrogance brings conflicts, wars and disruption.
You are welcome to attend
the workshop on Pluralism at 4:00 Pm on 4th Sunday of the month followed
by workshop on religion – www.FoundationforPluralism.com
is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the
Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing
interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim
Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the
world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net
and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned
above and in his blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com
. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com.
Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since
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