Monday, November 17, 2008

Is the World Ready for Religious Unity?

The world continues to express its hunger for a solution to its widening disunity. An example of such movements--intended to break through the divisive nature of religious intolerance and widespread dislike of what others believe in--is a newly formed alliance between the technology industry and Hollywood elite. A project, named Charter for Compassion, was launched 3 days ago during a Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in California.

Along with the religious scholar Karen Armstrong, the group, named "Tedizens," includes several celebrities such as Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as well as other Internet icons and widely-recognized entertainment industry names, such as Forest Whitaker and Cameron Diaz.

What is even very telling and worth noting is that Charter for Compassion--as stated below in the introduction to its movement--is inviting people of all nations, all faiths and all backgrounds to contribute to the writing of its charter:
Over the next four weeks, everyone is invited to help write the Charter for Compassion. Please choose the active phase below, read the description, be inspired by the sample text, and share your own words or suggestions for that section of the Charter. [link]

In order to find out more about the background of this project and to know what is meant by the "Golden Rule," please view the video below, which is introduced by Karen Armstrong.


  1. Dear Bilo, thank you for bringing forward the video-stream from Karen Armstrong and the related material on unity of religions. I am not completely certain, but as I recall in the anticipated scheme of things from the Baha'i Writings, this element of the transition into the Lesser Peace and ultimately the Most Great Peace, will be the last in a series of unifying processes. But clearly people are seeing its importance now, so I think the answer to your question is "Yes, but ... ." Going beyond ecumenicism and mere tolerance to live side by side ("Coexist" as the bumper sticker says) seems to be the issue right now.

    I continue to enjoy your blog and learn from it with each visit.

  2. i can't believe this is not baha'i!!
    this is the influence of the Words of Bahá'u'lláh spreading aroud the world! it's amazing!

  3. There are many people out there that think the same as Baha'is do. It is not in the name, but rather in our actions. After all, don't we all come from the same dough?

  4. my question is....

    Can the Earth continue to afford to waste valuable time and resources on stupid religious wars and or Political wars for temporary monetary gains???...

    I look at the present world order with it's chaotic competing interests and see impending destruction on a planetary scale that would be the equivalent of 100 category 5 hurricanes happening at once and contrast it with the promise of an advancing civilization that is promised within the contexts of the Baha'i writings and allow the individual to choose for themselves....

    That is assuming the individual is sober enough to understand what is at stake....

    I pray you have a lovely evening :-)

  5. The important thing is for us to know which direction to take. I tend to be optimistic and hopeful for a better future as we have been already experiencing much chaos over many generations. Change is slow, but certain. Regardless of all the setbacks, humankind continues to advance and mature.

  6. Thank you Bilo for pointing out that many people in the world “think as Baha’is”. It is because all religions are based exactly on the same principles. The “devil” is in the proverbial details of how people interpret what is being taught and in the tremendous difficulty in obeying the rules (hence the need for us to be told again and again…)
    "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
    This explains why no religion is superior to any other no matter when, where or by whom it was revealed. To think otherwise opens the door to judging oneself “better off” “more knowledgeable” and “superior” to one’s fellow man, concepts entirely against religious teachings.
    Nobody on this earth has a monopoly on God’s truth and many people who do not believe in God at all behave remarkably virtuously. That is what makes our earth so diversely wonderful.

  7. Thank you for pointing this out.

    Regarding the fact that humanity has been endowed with more than just one religion, the following quote will provide a clear analysis of this phenomenon:

    “All the Prophets of God,” asserts Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, “abide in the same tabernacle, soar in the same heaven, are seated upon the same throne, utter the same speech, and proclaim the same Faith.” From the “beginning that hath no beginning,” these Exponents of the Unity of God and Channels of His incessant utterance have shed the light of the invisible Beauty upon mankind, and will continue, to the “end that hath no end,” to vouchsafe fresh revelations of His might and additional experiences of His inconceivable glory. To contend that any particular religion is final, that “all Revelation is ended, that the portals of Divine mercy are closed, that from the daysprings of eternal holiness no sun shall rise again, that the ocean of everlasting bounty is forever stilled, and that out of the Tabernacle of ancient glory the Messengers of God have ceased to be made manifest” would indeed be nothing less than sheer blasphemy.

    “They differ,” explains Bahá’u’lláh in that same epistle, “only in the intensity of their revelation and the comparative potency of their light.” And this, not by reason of any inherent incapacity of any one of them to reveal in a fuller measure the glory of the Message with which He has been entrusted, but rather because of the immaturity and unpreparedness of the age He lived in to apprehend and absorb the full potentialities latent in that Faith.
    (Shoghi Effendi: The World Order of Baha'u'llah)

  8. Dear Bilo,
    Alas Ms. Armstrong, like many through the ages is hoping to bring about a positive change in mankind without a connection to God. All the religions (religion from religare - to re-tie; esp. the bonds that bind man to God) are consistent in telling us that any positive transformation of a man must begin as a spiritual transformation in order to be lasting and true.

    As Baha'is, of course, we have such writings as:
    "The spiritual brotherhood which is enkindled and established through the breaths of the Holy Spirit unites nations and removes the cause of warfare and strife. It transforms mankind into one great family and establishes the foundations of the oneness of humanity. It promulgates the spirit of international agreement and insures Universal Peace. Therefore we must investigate the foundation reality of this heavenly fraternity. We must forsake all imitations and promote the reality of the divine teachings. In accordance with these principles and actions and by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, both material and spiritual happiness shall become realized. Until all nations and peoples become united by the bonds of the Holy Spirit in this real fraternity, until national and international prejudices are effaced in the reality of this spiritual brotherhood, true progress, prosperity and lasting happiness will not be attained by man." (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 227)

    How many thousands of times have people come forward - well-intentioned, generous, and kind - and tried to build sand-castles like Ms. Armstrong? Should we encourage such an endeavor, doomed to fail and in its wake to leave many who consider themselves "compassionate" while decrying the state of others? Didn't the 1960's cries of "Peace" teach us that without a spiritual basis, Peace has no chance?

    Just some thoughts.

  9. Reed,
    You make good points. I did not get the impression that Karen Armstrong's efforts are without spiritual basis. She wants "people to hear the compassionate voice of religion" and is promoting teachings from the various religions in her discourse.


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