Archive for August, 2013

God and social justice

August 22, 2013

Theology is the study about God and I think whoever looks at this doctrine should look at this with humility and not rush into it. There are many theologies out there in the world. All the main religious faiths except Buddhism takes the questions of God seriously.

However in one book I read on Buddhism it said that the question of the existence of God should not be asked. This is then not a denial of God and there is a transcendental teaching in Buddhism. I would be interested if there are any Buddhists out there who could share some light on the theology aspect of Buddhism. There is also a misconception in the West that Hinduism in essence is polytheistic and they put it in a certain prejudicial box.

The Trimurti is not like that. The teaching states that Brahman (The Unknowable) reveals himself as the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. From this all the shards of light and divine actions (gods) flowed out into the universe.
Over the long expanse of time people have had to deal with the idea of God. All of the major religions have some form of transcendental belief. Rightly so that if God is who he says he is then he is infinite… One of the attributes or perfections of God is that he is infinite and beyond our understanding. So from a religious point of view I would say that a universal belief for the Abrahamic, Hindu, Sikh religions is that God is infinite.

At this point a discussion can take place between the great religions. We have something in common. We believe in a Creator who is Spirit and has an eternal existence.

Yet we must also part company. We separate because we all have a different story of how salvation comes into the world… We all seek the true reality that God can give us eternal life…

From the stand point of politics… Because we have this agreement that God is Creator. This is our starting point… Because of this reason we need to be good stewards of the resources God has given to us. On this we all agree.

In the United Kingdom I’m raising this as a serious issue because lots of things in the world are going wrong. Social injustice to the poor and sick is growing and pure religion says that this is wrong. Even though our stories are different our shared values must stand up for what is right.

Part 2 Freedom to believe

August 18, 2013

Britain is some ways however is a special case. Britain had the common sense to allow the church to continue speaking. I would say that the Church of England even though it is far from perfect has a good relationship with other religious bodies. The Queen has also worked hard for many years through the commonwealth of people of various different backgrounds and faiths. What I am saying is that Britain is not and never has been a purely secular state although day to day running of the country is made through Parliament and the House of Lords with the local councils.

Turkey and Egypt are different cases. Secularism was placed on these countries ‘from above’. It was literally the separation of the Um-ma from the state apparatus. In Turkey’s case the people rightly backed Ataturk to kick the Europeans out of the country. He was probably the greatest statesman of his day. He studied political ideas in France and got the idea of a National Assembly from there. The populace is at least about 98% Muslim. Egypt is going through transition at the moment.

What am I saying?
Pure secularism cannot work in the long run or any system for that matter. Some would crave for anarchy but I think that is a no no!

Any system that is in place needs to take culture and belief of its people seriously and not force external forces on to its existence. For example secularism in France means that a student cannot wear Islamic cover at school. I think in some ways Britain is a better place to live because we take culture and belief seriously and we attempt to respect. The Church and the state, the Um mah and the state need to listen to each other more carefully and in a spirit of mutual respect need to respect each others views and make decisions based on wisdom and not brute force.

Why secularism isn’t the answer

August 17, 2013

Before I start on my discussion on secularism I want to say that whoever we are. We all share the same world, breathe the same air and share our lives in the theatre of this humble earth. We cannot escape this fact. We all have to make sense of our existence and our being and we all have to get on and if we don’t get on it doesn’t make a very pretty site.

We live in a multi ethnic world and this world is shrinking all the time. Technology is moving at a rapid pace and things are changing. On one level it scares me. It used to be the case that scientific discovery made breakthroughs in a time of war but in these days breakthroughs happen every day.

Religion is marginalised by certain groups and is made out to be some type of pariah. A dinosaur from the past, a dead rat. The reason for this is that science is seen as the thing that will free us from our bondages. Science is seen as the great saviour of the human race. Progress marches on whatever the cost.

I don’t accept this thing about scientific progress. The technology that gave us the hospitals also gave us the atomic bomb. Secularism is no saviour of our modern state. It has a hidden agenda and it is a beast that turns to and throe to see who it can devour. It doesn’t respect the person. It only respects its own agenda which is run by humans who have all their own suppositions. It is no friend of mine!

The many down to earth religious people in this world remind us that we are moral beings. We can discuss issues as grown ups and make decisions about our future. In the late 1990s I remember reading through the Tower Hamlets Religious Studies syllabus and I was fascinated by how much the six major religions including Buddhism agreed on.

I’m not ashamed to call my self a Christian a follower of Christ (with all of my faults). The Christian community and the other religious communities including Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism have a lot of wisdom to give to our society. I am talking political here.