Reuters photo: (L-R) Mohammad Khatami, former Iranian President and President of the Foundation for Dialogue Among Civilisations, Spaniard Federico Mayor Zaragoza, president of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace and former director-general of UNESCO, and the Abbot of Montserrat Josep Maria Soler ... at the signing ... of the Declaration of Montserrat.
Not long ago, a friend and I were discussing - ok, arguing about - God; and whether the divine might exist in any of the perceived - or official - forms; given that every society and culture since the beginning of human records has identified and worshipped 'the divine'; and, nowadays you can find both illiterates and college professors who believe that there is a God, or there isn't a God, or they don't know, and (or) they don't much care.
Whatever the case may be, I was struck by this statement, which I came across on the Abadia (abbey?)de Montserrat website, in this Final draft for a Declaration of Montserrat on religions and the building of peace.
As stated in the Alliance of Civilizations Report and others (2) we must enhance efforts to bridge the divides between religions and cultures through dialogue and concrete action, because religions and cultures are intertwined. We must overcome the misperceptions, stereotypes, biased language and concepts reproduced by the media and frequently echoed by irresponsible leadership. Religions must stay together to build a future where religions co-exist harmonically and work together for a common future. We must challenge attitudes that spread the appearance of links between religion and violence, extremism and even terrorism. (my italics)Towards the end of the document, there is this paragraph:
We are convinced that a culture of dialogue, alliance, non-violence and peace must bebuilt with full respect to the human rights, the UN Charter and the rule of law. Such ashared culture of peace needs to give creative expressions to the teaching of the world’s religious traditions: we are all responsible for one another with a sense of otherness and brotherhood. In political terms, the only security that is practically possible and morally sound is “shared security”.
That works for me.
"Love your neighbour. Do good to those who hate you." takes some doing, sometimes,
but we could start with "Do no harm." or "Live and let live."
Maybe not buy any newspaper that routinely prints emotive, self-righteous headlines in five centimetre capitals, and devotes more space to photos than to words (overcome the misperceptions, stereotypes, biased language and concepts reproduced by the media and frequently echoed by irresponsible leadership).
..........................Then again, not all the broadsheets are on the side of the winged spiritual beings of your choice.......... Phooey - better step out of my nice cosy Guardian comfort zone....... I have got to stop thinking about the big stuff on Sunday afternoons........
..ahem.. Where was I? Oh yeah..
Maybe try the food, or the music, or the movies, or the books.
Buy the jewellery.
Adapt the fashions.
Copy the decor.
Maybe let the kids play together.
Wave and smile.
Talk to each other in the queue at the check-out
(enhance efforts to bridge the divides between religions and cultures through dialogue and concrete action).
All the big stuff!
The FCP put it this way.
¡Ojalá! - as they say here in Spain - a word derived, like many Spanish words, from Arabic, and meaning - I wish!