God - A Universal Creator
And what does God require of you. But to do justice, to love mercy and towalk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13. Those who make a display of piety but have not committed their whole lives to compassionate action are like those who perform daily prayers as habit or as convention, without true awe, humility, and longing. Since their religion remainsmere pretence, the vessel of their being has not been fi lled with active kindness by the Source of Love. Koran 107:1-7
The Alexandria Declaration January 2002
“In the name of God who is Almighty, Merciful and Compassionate, we, who have gathered as religious leaders from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, pray for true peace in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and declare our commitment to ending the violence and bloodshed that denies the right of life and dignity.
According to our faith traditions, killing innocent in the name of God is a desecration of His Holy Name, and defames religion in the world. The violence in the Holy Land is an evil which must be opposed by all people of good faith. We seek to live together as neighbours respecting the integrity of each other’s historical and religious inheritance. We call upon all to oppose incitement, hatred and misrepresentation of the other.
- His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey
- His Eminence Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, Cairo, Egypt
- Sephardi Chief Rabbi Bakshi-Doron
- Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, Rabbi Michael Melchior
- Rabbi of Tekoa, Rabbi Menachem Froman International Director of Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee,
- Rabbi David Rosen
- Rabbi of Savyon, Rabbi David Brodman
- Rabbi of Maalot Dafna, Rabbi Yitzak Ralbag
- Chief Justice of the Sharia Courts, Sheikh Taisir Tamimi
- Minister of State for the PA, Sheikh Tal El Sider
- Mufti of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Abdelsalam Abu Schkedem
- Mufti of Bethlehm, Sheikh Mohammed Taweel
- Representative of the Greek Patriarch, Archibishop Aristichos
- Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah
- Melkite Archbishop, Archbishop Boutrous Mu’alem
- Representative of the Armenian Patriarch, ArchbishopChinchinian
- Bishop of Jerusalem, The Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El Assal
The Dignity of Difference by Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks
Page 55 (2nd edition) “So too in the case of religion. The radical transcendence of God in the Hebrew Bible means that the Infinite lies beyond our finite understanding. God communicates in human language, but there are dimensions of the divine that must forever elude us.
As Jews we believe that God has made a covenant with a singular people, but that does not exclude the possibility of other peoples, cultures and faiths finding their own relationship with God within the shared frame of the Noahide laws. These laws constitute, as it were, the depth grammar of the human experience of the divine: of what it is to see the world as God’s work and humanity as God’s image.
God is God of all humanity, but between Babel and the end of days no single faith is the faith of all humanity. Such a narrative would lead us to respect the search for God in people of other faiths and reconcile the particularity of cultures with the universality of the human condition.”
The Great Partnership God, Science and the search for Meaning by Jonathan Sacks
Published by Hodder & Stoughton 2011
God loves diversity, not uniformity. That is a fact of theological as well as ecological significance. Every attempt to impose uniformity on diversity is, in some sense, a betrayal of God’s purposes. One definition of fundamentalism, and an explanation of why it is religiously wrong, is that it is the attempt to impose a single truth on a diverse world.
(The God of Love)
If we believe in the God of Abraham, we know we cannot fully know God. We can merely see the effects of his acts. And that surely is true of the children of Abraham. We can see how, given their beliefs, people behave.
If they love and forgive, if they are open to others, if they respect their opponents as well as honouring their fellow believers, if they work for a better world by becoming guardians of the heritages of nature and culture, if they care about the future our grandchildren will inherit but we will not live to see, then they will be beloved of their fellow humans, and they will become true ambassadors of the God who loves those who perform acts of love.
The Seven Laws of Noah
Often referred to as the Noahide Laws, these are a list of seven moral imperatives which were given by God to Noah as a binding set of laws for all mankind. They have been recognised in the United States Congress: “Whereas Congress recognizes the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded; whereas these ethical values and principles have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization.”
This, the youngest of the world religions, is barely fi ve hundred years old. Its founder, Guru Nanak, was born in 1469. Guru Nanak spread a simple message of “Ek Ong Kar”: we are all one, created by the One Creator of all Creation. This was at a time when India was being torn apart by castes, sectarianism, religious factions, and fanaticism. He aligned with no religion, and respected all religions. He expressed the reality that there is one God and many paths, and the Name of God is Truth, “Sat Nam”.
The foundation of Sikhism was laid down by Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak infused his own consciousness into a disciple, who then became Guru, subsequently passing the light on to the next, and so on. The word “Guru” is derived from the root words “Gu”, which means darkness or ignorance, and “Ru”, which means light or knowledge The Guru is the experience of Truth God.
Each one of the ten Gurus represents a divine attribute:
Guru Nanak - Humility
Guru Angad - Obedience
Guru Amar Das — Equality
Guru Ram Das - Service
Guru Arjan - Self-Sacrifice
Guru Hargobind - Justice
Guru Har Rai - Mercy
Guru Harkrishan - Purity
Guru Tegh Bahadur - Tranquillity
Guru Gobind Singh - Royal Courage
This is taken directly from www.sikhnet.com
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two the child, who was named Lhamo Dhondup at that time was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.
Three Main Commitments in Life
Firstly, on the level of a human being, His Holiness’ fi rst commitment is the promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. All human beings are the same. We all want happiness and do not want suffering. Even people who do not believe in religion recognize the importance of these human values in making their life happier. His Holiness refers to these human values as secular ethics. He remains committed to talk about the importance of these human values and share them with everyone he meets.
Secondly, on the level of a religious practitioner, His Holiness’ second commitment is the promotion of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religious traditions. Despite philosophical differences, all major world religions have the same potential to create good human beings. It is therefore important for all religious traditions to respect one another and recognize the value of each other’s respective traditions. As far as one truth, one religion is concerned, this is relevant on an individual level. However, for the community at large, several truths, several religions are necessary.
Thirdly, His Holiness is a Tibetan and carries the name of the ‘Dalai Lama’. Tibetans place their trust in him. Therefore, his third commitment is to the Tibetan issue. His Holiness has a responsibility to act as the free spokesperson of the Tibetans in their struggle for justice. As far as this third commitment is concerned, it will cease to exist once a mutually beneficial solution is reached between the Tibetans and Chinese. However, His Holiness will carry on with the first two commitments till his last breath. www.dalailama.com
The Three Faiths Forum
The Three Faiths Forum has worked to encourage harmony and confront prejudice for the last 14 years. Our objectives are to build lasting relationships between people of different faiths (and those of non-religious beliefs), to achieve a society where religious and cultural differences can co-exist through empathy, respect and engagement; and to encourage friendship, goodwill and understanding, especially between Muslims, Christians and Jews.
We are a non-religious organisation working with government, religious leaders, educators, students and other interfaith groups. The organisation was founded in 1997 by Sir Sigmund Sternberg, the late Shaikh Dr Zaki Badawi and Revd Dr Marcus Braybrooke, and was originally a forum where religious and community leaders could meet. Today we are an agent of change, actively promoting intercultural understanding and cooperation. We work in schools, universities and wider society, giving people the knowledge and skills to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions, communicate effectively and build new relationships with people from all cultural and religious backgrounds.
Promoting good inter faith relations
The Inter Faith Network for the UK was founded in 1987 to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country. Its member organisations include representative bodies from the Baha'i; Buddhist; Christian; Hindu; Jain; Jewish; Muslim; Sikh; and Zoroastrian communities; national and local inter faith bodies; and academic institutions and educational bodies concerned with inter faith issues.
Understanding with integrity
The Network works with its member bodies to help make the UK a place marked by mutual understanding and respect between religions where all can practise their faith with integrity.
The Network's way of working is firmly based on the principle that dialogue and cooperation can only prosper if they are rooted in respectful relationships which do not blur or undermine the distinctiveness of different religious traditions.
The uncertainties of science
“I have never known in quite a long life to be faced with so many unanswered questions. It is quite extraordinary that young people speak and teach about the evolution of the Universe and the Big Bang, and yet we have no idea what 95 per cent of the matter and energy in the Universe consists of.” Sir Bernard Lovell, The Times 2 June 2007.
Paul Robeson and Peekskill 4 September 1949
Why did a concert given by Paul Robeson in New York State provoke a riot? He was a singer with a fine bass voice, and the first to bring spirituals to the concert hall. He was a notable actor on stage and in film. But he was much else besides. His father had been a run-a-way slave later becoming a church minister. His mother came from an abolitionist Quaker family. He had won an academic scholarship to Rutgers University, the only black student on campus at the time, and one of three classmates accepted into Phi Beta Kappa. He was a noted sportsman and athlete.
It was, however, as a civil rights activist campaigning against lynching, and as a supporter of the Soviet Union after World War II, that provoked the savage backlash in Peekskill that Labor weekend in 1949. Over fifteen thousand people had attended the concert, and hundreds of them were injured, some seriously, as they tried to make their way home. He was an iconic figure in the fight against racial prejudice. In the Soviet Union he said that he found a country free of racial prejudice, and as he sang in concerts around the world he said that Afro-American spiritual music resonated to Russian folk traditions, and he preached their common humanity. Not everyone agreed with him at the time.