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LINKS TO ESSAYS 

The Golden Rule in World Religions

THE GOLDEN RULE POSTER Multi-faith Sacred Writings and Symbols from 13 Traditions  

Mayor David Miller Meets With The Toronto Area Interfaith Council

TRANSFORMING DEVELOPMENT Exploring Approaches to Development from Religious Perspectives

IMPRESSIONS ON THE URI ASIA REGIONAL ASSEMBLY in New Delhi, India

AN ODYSSEY IN FAITH By Farzana Hassan

A SALUTE TO CANADA My Adopted Land Of Unparalleled Multicultural And Religious Diversity

NAIN GATHERS IN VANCOUVER Stealing away to Paradise 

THE GOLDEN RULE: Unity in Diversity  

 

 

 

 

 

  A WORLD WITHOUT HATRED

As part of its Interfaith Education Series, Scarboro Missions hosts a session in which participants envisioned ways to creating a more peaceful world

  By Leslie Mezei

  Scarboro Missions Magazine, July-August 2008

On April 29, 2008, the Scarboro Missions Spring Interfaith Education series came to a rousing close with an interactive session at which over 60 of us discussed, “My Vision for a World Without Hatred.” One participant said, “Great success, I haven't seen this buzz here for some time. And people from so many faiths.” There was representation primarily from Roman Catholic, Anglican, Jewish, Sikh, Unitarian, Quaker, Buddhist, and Muslim faith traditions. A group of Baha'i youth dropped in for part of the evening, although preparing for another event.

  Shahid Akhtar, who has been a lawyer, journalist, TV host, and is now an adult educator and a specialist in nonviolent conflict resolution, led the session. As Coordinator of Workplace Discrimination Prevention with the Ontario government, Shahid has trained thousands of civil servants and others. A Muslim, he is co-founder of the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims. It is his passion to organize events in which people can explore an issue in an interactive way, to make it relevant and applicable to each person so that they can take away something that has now become a part of their life.

  At our session, we broke into six smaller groups of about ten participants and discussed our theme, “My vision for a world without hatred”, from three different points of view:

1) our ideal world in which there would be no hate;

2) the barriers in the way of achieving it; and

3) ways to bring about this change and specific commitments we each are willing to make in that direction.

  In the group discussions, some people found it hard to focus only on a positive view, or to separate the barriers from the solutions. However, despite the difficulties, the easels accumulated a large number of kiss points—renamed after someone suggested that a peace loving group should not use bullet points.

  The discussions resulted in a great deal of excitement and determination to work on these issues, and the reporting after each session by representatives of the six groups was animated by lots of good-humoured competition. The spirit of the room at the Scarboro Mission Centre where so many wonderful interfaith gatherings have occurred, including many high school World Religions retreat days, contributed to a sacred and hopeful mood. Being surrounded by portraits and quotes of the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Anne Frank, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Chief Dan George, and Archbishop Oscar Romero added further inspiration.

  During the intermission, there were tears in many eyes as we sang Happy Birthday to Charan Batra who attends many of Scarboro’s interfaith sessions and brings words of wisdom from the Sikh tradition. We also shared in a cake baked by his mother who is visiting from India. Her presence at the study session enhanced the flavour of our interfaith gathering.

  Imagine a world without hate

  Shahid encouraged us to imagine a world without hate and how we could bring this about. One group said it all in the synopsis of their discussions:

“A world without hate would require spiritually awakened human beings who reflect humility, love, tolerance, and large heartedness; people with personal value systems that are true to founding principles and that exist without the need to impose them on others. A world without hate would require individual and collective actions that are always a response of love; dialogue and meaningful communication; green and naturally healthy lifestyles, equitable distribution of resources; great diversity, and respect.”

  As the general fixes and the personal commitments intermingled, perhaps having each person write down at least one specific commitment would secure it more firmly in our consciousness. Paul McKenna, who organized the session for Scarboro Missions, is giving consideration to a follow up session next year, perhaps one in which we report on how we lived up to our commitments and examine how we can take the process another step forward.

  Our facilitator Shahid Akhtar summed up our enthusiasm with his words: “I honestly think that this process of peacebuilding will spread out and have its own dynamics. People will call and inquire about it. My experience from other groups is that the participants will own the process as if it was theirs, applying what they learned to their daily lives and sharing their new understanding with others. There will be a ripple effect.”

And perhaps in a future session we will learn from Shahid how he applies this method to situations of specific conflict.

View photos at:

http://picasaweb.google.com/LeslieMezei/WorldWithoutHateWorkshop

 

  Rev. Leslie Gabriel Mezei (leslie@barberry.ca) of the Universal Worship is an interfaith minister and Publisher of the Interfaith Unity newsletter and Resource Centre (www.interfaithunity.ca). He is a writer and speaker in the cause of unity, with special interest in the Golden Rule and Interspirituality.

Barriers to a world without hate:

     Lack of God-consciousness

     Fear of the unknown

     Greed, jealousy, arrogance, myopia, tribalism

     Religious competitiveness

     Not practicing what one preaches

     Appetite for disaster, tragedy, and sensationalism

     Holding on to past prejudices

 

In a world without hate, every person would:

     Reach out to others so that they do not remain strangers

     Remove selfishness and prejudices, living interdependently, with no distinction between self and other

     Trust common denominators and celebrate differences among cultures and religions

     Listen to the other and dialogue with openness, acceptance, and respect

     Practice reciprocity—The Golden Rule

     Implement core religious tenets

     Control negative feelings and approach all relationships with love, goodness, kindness, joy, happiness

     Create a balance between ourselves, others, and God

     Approach life with celebration and exuberance

     Live in the present, and in the presence of what is deepest and most sacred to us

     Participate in actions for a just and peaceful world

     Adopt the motto: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”

     Strive to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi)

 

The above points were identified by participants of the session, “My vision for a world without hatred”, April 2008, part of the Scarboro Missions Spring Interfaith Education Series. Scarboro Mission Centre.