This week is National Inter Faith week with a theme of “Living Well Together in Britain Today”. Along with this some questions have been posed and this was one that a colleague of mine from a local Multi Faith group posted: “How can people of religious beliefs and non-religious beliefs engage constructively on issues of common concern and work for greater mutual understanding? This was my response.
It seems to me if we put more emphasis on core human values (which are also the core values of most faiths) ie love, forgiveness, generosity, mutual support, caring, truth, transparency, kindness, compassion etc, then there would be far greater harmony.
I know a number of agnostics and atheists who are truly wonderful people working for the good of others because they believe in the fundamental goodness of humankind. I also know a number of faith followers who could do with taking a leaf out of their book. I believe that what matters the most is whether you are a decent human being committed to helping others, rather than whether you are a person of faith.
Religion can be a tremendous force for good when the core values are lived but it can also be a destructive force when they aren’t. If we continue to look within and connect with the Universal Source (by whatever name) then we are anchored in this love and more able to embody the human values outlined above.
I was then asked “….but what about justice?” Well justice is an interesting area because what one person might consider to be justice, another might not. It is therefore subject to a lot of interpretation and misinterpretation. A bit like the old sayings “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” or “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter”.
Clearly there are some huge and glaring injustices in the world, usually seeming to involve money, land, resources or power, but I still think we need to always be very careful before we take the moral high ground and adopt a right/wrong stance.