Understanding principle for success-
Regarding building a Multi-Faith Association, in my opinion, there is no parallel way to what God admonishes for the respectful coexistence of humans that, “there is no assurance of success in the hereafter based on one’s identity alone”. Which means belonging to a specific faith group does not qualify us to receive the best in the life to come. The striving (Jihad) for self-elation from the vices and known-lows of human nature perhaps will only guarantee security before the Lord of the worlds.
Quran iterates this law from God to mankind, that if any believes in God alone as the provider of life and death: thus, frees himself from inventing newer gods, and then graduates to practice righteousness in his life he can then hope for a good bargain with God. Wherein God loves all those regardless of any named identity or non-subscription to any faith.
Quran 2.62 -Those who believe [in the Quran], and those who follow the Jewish [scriptures], the Christians and the Sabians [truth seekers]; any [among Mankind] who believe in God, the Last Day and work righteousness [in this Life] shall have their reward with their Lord: On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve [in Judgement day].
Precepts found such as in the above statement underpin the criteria for recognition, respect, and acknowledgment beyond a separatist identity. All religious communities naturally seek communion and therefore construct a bias. Which by itself poses no worry whatsoever to others. But, if adhering to principles is assumed on the grounds of status-quo for merely belonging to a community then subscribers free themselves from striving to emulate those principles and much-needed goodness.
The result then remains perhaps shifted to the practice of select rituals and outwardly presentation of faith only. As such tolerance narrows down against any dissent found within communities and apparently against all other faith-subscribers; even though other folks may, in reality, emulate the former’s principles of faith more truly. Bottom line, principles get reduced to mere identity while the recommended righteous practice begins to collapse. At this point, deep within it has elements of observable evil.
Big Question before Multi-Faith organisations-
How do you, in this case, organize a true association of members from various such communities? Aren’t there obvious limitations as to how much and what can be achieved? Importantly, what is set for such a group to achieve objectively is a good question to ask. Is it regarding civic, environment, socio-economic, liberty or in general more rights?
Pause for a moment!
Non-of these mandates faith or faithful to lead or partake. In-fact faithless subscribers equally partake to strive for all such causes. Where they draw motivation for this activity, faith in God, may not be at its premise. Secular pursuits to live better and launch inquiry drives human beings from all backgrounds towards it also. And in the developed countries alongside able governance, there are many organisations wherein regardless of faith participation aimed at Nobel goals is observable.
Strategies and Challenges-
Or, can it be to promote harmony between faiths by means of dialogue to enhance greater understanding? Which clearly to me is a good objective. What could then be the means to achieve it? Which subjects to the exclusion of discussing differences would constitute a useful dialogue?
If the practice of meditation as an exercise is identified for the group to help deepen their remembrance of one God of the cosmos. Who affirmatively stands agreed upon, to be invoked by various names by different groups. That which can lend others an opportunity to discover various modes of meditations as something that can be collectively undertaken as a group activity to promote greater understanding of each other. Then acting upon this directive exposes a deep crack within for which some faith members may be driven by the necessity of their faith not to partake. For example, some faiths view other faiths to divulge divinity; despite composing to divine nature of God as just one; they tend to differ over its attribution, the formers’ claim. This is not readily easy-going with say faiths such as Sikhs, Unitarians, Jews and Muslims. Although, within Muslims dissent over this subject exists in minor forms of the divine attributions which contributes to the fierce animosity of each other. Other prominent differences such as interpretation of the text as we can see in Middle-East contributes to divisional infighting to the point of death. I am not sure how much task-ready will some Muslim people be to condone divine attributes of godly forms that are meditated to intercede with the supreme God if they partake in such an exercise. Even deplorable Muslims who are the target community within Islam may not consider alluding to godly anthropomorphic forms when invoked by other faiths. I am telling this with some authority, as I subscribe to Islam and have studied it to this level of bearing correct knowledge via evidences found in Quran and in practice by its subscribers.
However, I chose to refrain from commenting on the possible types of responses to such an activity by other faith groups. There is no doubt that: all major faith groups such as Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism (exempted) accord to the belief of one creator God. At least in scriptures, the doctrine is very clearly enshrined. But in Hinduism meditation ‘Japa’ can invoke allegiance to anthropomorphic-godly forms. Where as in Christianity the name of Jesus may be invoked, to which some Muslims equal a similar as they supplicate but at a fundamentally different level. No denomination among Muslims thus far is ready to concede Prophet Muhammad’s association with the divine. Prophet Muhammad blessings on him was a human- Plain and simply put it. As we realise now: this is a complex journey. It is therefore an activity with enough theoretical analyses of a low success profile.
Investigating more strategies-
Can the dialogue be in taking turns of opportunity to present reasonings for one’s belongingness to a faith? Reiterating a preaching tone. This is not wrong in any sense as long as it is civil and conscionable as good dialogue. But still the preaching mode won’t rocket the meaningful existence of this group to transcend bias towards emulating recognition, respect and acknowledgement beyond a separatist identity. However, meditation then in this case, can buy a place for its presentation where members of other faiths can learn the beneficial bits from others with no reservations to engage actively.
Dialogue via presentations are promising. But, how successful can it can get; to completely avoid difference of opinions from gripping it. It is inevitable that a Sikh, Muslim or a Unitarian would say at some point that Jesus is a guru (teacher) the Sikh equivalent of a spiritual leader; whom God created just like other teachers. On the other end, if faith groups are obligated for acceptance to learn and question the ends of each other’s principles which define respective faiths without pointing fingers; intelligent dialogue will help surpass mere-emotions. It is daunting. But it is a critical element needed for completing the dialogue.
Understanding aims of Multi-Faith organisations-
What more can be explored? Finding a solution by squaring on the root for the evidential display of spiritual superiority among faith communities is tedious. Well, this is the problem precisely which any Multi-Faith Association must be prepared to tackle. Akbar-The Great, of the Mughal dynasty in greater India, pre-colonial era attempted to invent an amalgam. To combine the Hindu-Islamic philosophy he wrought Deen-e-Ilahi (Religion of God). And wedded a Hindu-Rajput lady Jodha Bai as his princess. In the colonial era, the British readily exploited the differences in religion and created the right-wing Hindu Nationalists. Today India is getting even messier with sufferings of minority communities such as Christian, Muslim, Dalit and Sikh. At one end, you find severity by some faiths such as Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Brahmanism (a status or caste in Hinduism) wherein subscribers are born-in-faith not so much from avenues of conversions. On the other hand, you have moderate faiths such as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam. Yet, on the hither side there is an overpowering generalisation. Such as common Hinduism. Sikhs deal with such a wave that they must constantly renew their identity as a different religion and assert their non-partisanship with the encompassing Hindu religion. Hinduism in this sense has the power of inclusivity, yoga is a unique arm of this inclusivity. It sees itself as belonging to the first and ancient heritage from God that it has time and again rejuvenated by avatars (divine forms). All avatars (an actual variant is the Semitic equivalent of a Prophet) as such are gods. In many cases, they need not be considered for evidence but a mere claim by followers creates an avatar. It is on its course, in the future of India that Mary and Jesus blessings on them, hold a likely chance of being integrated as avatars. How do problems stem from such cases of inclusivity often are less-observed. Such an insatiable force of inclusivity less tolerates exclusivity. The force to identify God as the only God often clashes with avatar gods and goddesses along with numerous shades of which God-Identity is the truth. In absence of an argument to restore true God inclusivity cashes on and expands gods-industry for trade. Here, at this juncture is where intolerance stems. And side-lining and persecution begins. Shades of discord for such attributions are evident within faiths where divinity of God is argued among Christian members (such as triune nature) or Muslims arguing other members in their faith for interceding with saintly people thus failing to adhere sincerely to God alone in their supplicating to Him. Such rigorous cognition concerning God is for only one reason. Salvation. Cognition of Salvation bolsters spiritual superiority. Can you hope to resolve this contrast?
The answer is not Atheism! Because science and rational inquiry has shattered Atheism. Consonance concerning the existence of God is felt deep within neurons. The neuron connections for accord never yield negative when stalked with the questions of origins. The obvious answer is something Higher or Greater than us. If it is said as God in a language, so be it. There after how can any association form to gather men from various faith backgrounds to work for mutual recognition, respect and acknowledgement. What course can such an undertaking admire to instil humility in the realm of superior felt status-belongingness for Salvation. A no-God faith such as Buddhism has succumbed to wickedness and atrocities. Seemingly so no merits for any Atheistic organisation are due. Precedents of Stalin’s Atheism in the past have succumbed to invoking God for war-mongering. The best and the last-straw that Stalin saw was God. It is due to be investigated: what drives Buddhists in Burma to take on unprecedented atrocities in the history of Buddhism to the extent of ethnic cleansing. What is the answer?
Justification. If individuals from all faith backgrounds attain education to justify their beliefs and actions they can see how others stand similar before the universally conscionable principles. Individuals perhaps may value how to see God as one and the importance of working righteousness. Then the shift in dialogue will be towards why we see certain things uniquely than merely these are my reasoning’s for my Moksha the Hindu equivalent of Salvation. Justification provides individuals to free themselves from the shackles of prerogatives. Justification also help put emotions at rest. Albeit, how honourable they may perhaps be. Misuse of religion for power and trade mongering will cease. Which can come truly close to explaining Semitic (Abrahamic) divisions and infighting, Buddhists and Hindu enormities and Hindu Temple trades. Newer and more gods amounts to diversifying temple industry for revenue. In Indian context, unscrupulous wealth in gold and silver lays beneath temple altars miles away from common benefit. While the Priests are not unaware of the peoples wants for basic amenities draining-low. When emotions held, high: damage exacerbates. People go rouge and defend elite interests chocking commons. This is a rough state of affairs. Education towards Justification brings the potential to out-battle redundant rogues, undesirable hate, discord and superiority complex.
Also, common teachings from all religions such as printed below will help people overcome lows found in human nature due to inclination towards weaknesses. Such as siding race, skin, status over fairness, equality and justice.
Quran 22:40 (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).
Allah, God known in Islam announces in Quran that He stands commemorated in monasteries, churches and in synagogues other than just in mosques as asserted by most ignorant Muslims. Teachings such as these are so powerful that it can rehash the screwed makeup of a human mind. As early Muslims had their souls smeared in piety they not only protected discrete religious people and extended defence to them from their enemies but allowed their independent functioning far from imposing Shariah (Islamic way for Justice) and importantly taxed them at lower rates. Which unfortunately became the infamous jizya (non-Muslim tax) in oriental Islamophobic literature. No-church or synagogue or monastery stood demolished. Non. Except for idols within Kaba in Makkah, Arabia. But as later innovations stemmed-in many extremists surged. Extremists have one thing in common superior sense of exclusivity to Salvation! That condemns all others to Hell counter to scriptural evidence.
Multi-Faith Association must bolster efforts through intelligent and in-depth dialogue to reconcile principles of identifying God of mankind that is precisely aimed at smashing the sectarian identity of God. It must shape individuals towards preaching for greater good-practice in society. As it is the most important factor in the charter laid down for success in religions of all times by God. That which helps individuals to realise the gallows of non-transparency, judgement and narrowness to conjure dissent and discord. It must encourage its members to drive voices of righteous practice that can constantly hem people to rise above the human-lowly attributes. These are expected plausible outcomes from the making of such an organisation. That which hosts the powers to summon faith leaders to enlighten humanity. The power of faith is markedly superior to any other know force or idea in the realm of human-thought. Therefore, it cannot be mildly invested in material or human-centric superficial satisfaction. Nature is ultimately resilient. It will eventually thwart and clean itself up. But men can die as ignoble and hypocritical fellows scoring their cards for perpetual condemnation.
By Safeguarding in faith communities| NSPCC