Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Question of Faith

Faith is present or omnipresent in a vast number of subjects in today's marketplace of ideas and ideals. Faith or the lack of it is a subject of intense questioning for US politicians as they court faithful and non-believers alike for votes. An ever present debate about the separation of Church and State goes to biblical times if one is a Christian. Some health care practitioners believe Faith helps during recoveries from illness or accidents. Islam places the poor above collecting fees for financial services. A sense of personal Peace comes to believers in times of trouble out of a healthy respect for the unexplained good and generosity that resides in the human spirit and shines through on many occasions.

Self-determination for country and individual alike flies in the face of fundamentalists who believe their religious construct is what everyone else should adopt. Those who resist will be assimilated, much like Star Trek's Borg. For the past few days, CNN's Christiane Amanpour is highlighting the dominance of Faith as practiced by the hardest liners of three major religions; Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Much joy and much evil has sprung from the shared roots of dogma in each religion exhorting their practitioners to violence, ostracism and a divine belief that there Way is the Only Way.

Abraham is the father of the three religions locked in combat and obstructing Peace on Earth. There are circumstances in history when the three faiths existed side by side in harmony. To our eternal shame, history records evil perpetrated in the name of religion by all three. No one is a complete saint and none are a complete sinner. The fundamentalist arguments have been about the degree.

God's Warriors is the result of visiting eight countries in eight months seeking understanding. Christiane's struggle to cover herself appropriately for Islam with the Imam never once looking her directly in the eye makes the point that respect is a driving tradition for each of the faiths. Each wants respect for their Faith. Watch the clips and note the care and attention paid to understanding the hard core beliefs embedded in practice and the origins of the thoughts.

Faith for those who have a little, for those who have an abundance and for those who just accept the day's gifts as they are may have Grace to accept and tolerate others and allow it to be a guiding Principle. Happy Birthday CJ, you are Loved and the struggle for Faith endures.

In the spirit of the CNN program is a great book looking at the issues of Faith shared by Abraham, yet resolves nothing while illuminating the land of the beginning. It is by Bruce Feiler, entitled Where God Was Born: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion.

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