Finding unity in diversity vital to our progress | Sheila Flood

Current attitudes toward religion increasingly seem to range between disinterest to disdain or disgust. It’s often associated with superstition, dogma, violence and polarization, with many good people jumping on the thumbs down bandwagon.

But bandwagons, meant to carry musical bands in parades and political rallies, don’t work well in complex territory. Finding the best route to a still unmapped future requires a longer view than just three houses down the road. So what’s the view from 30,000 feet on religion?

During the 6000 years of recorded history, the world’s religions – such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and most recently the Bahá’í Faith – have demonstrated their ability to bring enormous progress, particularly in the centuries of their first flourishing. The world over, these belief systems have consistently and successfully united people around common ideals, first in smaller groups, then regionally, then across the boundaries of many nations.

Our modern-day story is that religion has become a vehicle for behaviour that directly contradicts its original meaning and purpose. Vices that pre-date civilization, such as sexual abuse, tribalism and warmongering, have emerged cleverly disguised in virtuous garb, the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

A few questions need to be asked, though, before we decide to unceremoniously discard this long-standing feature of community life. For example, by what means will we promote the values and virtues needed to create a future in which we all thrive?

Full house for "Wellness Matters" dialogue with Mayor Nenshi & Khalil ShariffAt the recent Wellness Conference in Victoria, Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary, Khalil Shariff of the Aga Khan Foundation and moderator Mayor Lisa Helps, spoke on the subject of social well-being. An audience member asked about the role of religion.

Read more at the source: Finding unity in diversity vital to our progress



Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, its achievements and humanitarian works.

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