The world seems a very troubled place in 2017. People are shouting loudly, and not always listening to each other. Can religion help, or is it just making matters worse?
I consider myself a spiritual person, but I am certainly not aligned to any particular religion. In fact, although aspects of some of the world’s belief systems interest and resonate with me, I do my best to avoid any manifestations of organized religion. For example, I am not comfortable with being told to “bow my head in prayer” before a business meeting.
But that’s me. Diversity is key. I used to find the interfaith ceremonies in commemoration of 9/11, which the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica held for several years afterwards, extraordinarily moving. To me, it was a coming together of cultures. Is religion culture? Or does culture include religion? Well, that’s another question.
So, on the afternoon of Sunday February 15, the Baha’i community of Kingston invited representatives from the Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim communities to join in a special program to mark World Religion Day.
Maintaining the annual tradition started in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, which is now observed on the third Sunday of January each year, this year’s interfaith observance was held at the Multi-functional room of the Main Library at the University of the West Indies. The Baha’is of Kingston used this occasion to dialogue with representatives of the major religions on the topic: Religion…a Bridge or Barrier to Peace.
The Baha’i community reports: “Quotations from the six religions support the fact that all religions come from One Heavenly Father, teach that mankind needs to live in a state of unity as we strive to foster our spiritual and physical development and demonstrate that the pure form left by the Holy Teachers Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad and Baha’u’llah, constitutes a bridge for peace.”
Well – any thoughts, my dear readers?