A tribute to Jesus on this Christmas; What does it mean to be religious?
This column is dedicated to Rev. Petra Weldes of the Center for Spiritual Living in Dallas. Some of my conversation with her inspired me to write this tribute to Jesus and what it means to be religious. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2009/12/tribute-to-jesus.html
When Jesus calls on us to follow him, Krishna suggests us to surrender to him, Allah asks us to submit to his will, and every spiritual master shares similar wisdom in one form or the other, what could they mean?
By the way Jesus did not call on Christians exclusively to follow him, he called on the whole humanity to follow him, neither Allah in Qur’aan addresses Muslims, he addresses the whole universe from the very first verse.
The bottom line: Every effort was made to pull one up from one’s selfish interests that are a source of conflicts with other’s selfish interests, to the larger interests of the society which paves the way for peace and long term security of every one. The idea applies to the nations as well, what is good for one has got to be good for others and vice-versa for a sustainable balance in the society. No nation or we as individuals can have advantages at the cost of others; such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace.
Whether you are a painter, artist, poet, tailor, sculptor, mechanic, teacher, chef, engineer, janitor, doctor or a builder, you want your output to be good, pleasant, durable, sustainable and co-exist in harmony with its surroundings. God is no different, like a mother, he, she or it wants his creation to co-exist in harmony with what surrounds; life and environment.
Through the great teachers, the creator has communicated that wisdom to everyone of the seven billion of us; for example in one version, Krishna says whenever the balance in a society is lost (adharma), some wise man or woman will emerge from among them and restore that elusive balance to the society (bring righteousness - dharma). In the Qur’aan, God says, he sent a messenger to every tribe, nation and people to create harmony and peace among themselves.
You can see that act played out by Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Bahaullah, Nanak, Buddha, Mahavir, Confucius, Zarathushtra, Gandhi and the shamans in every native, and earth based traditions. Even among Atheists there will be one who will work on creating peace within and with others. They all have done what a representative of Goodness (or God) ought to do; cultivate a culture of harmony and co-existence, isn’t that religious? No one of God's creation is left out of his grace and mercy, if we can learn to respect the (God) given wisdom of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Indeed, you do have a peace maker amongst you; on your board, at your school, city council, business, church or a social club. That one person brings the relief, just as one can bring the grief. Let's do our individual share of good, that's all it take to bring peace on earth.
It is from this perspective; I share the thought that, to be religious is to be a mitigater of conflicts and a nurturer of goodwill. Each one of us has to ask ourselves every moment of the day, is my act, my thought and my words mitigate or aggravate a conflict? Do I see the wisdom in the teachings of the great masters? Am I religious? (One does not have to believe in God to be religious, an Atheist can be religious in the sense, he or she wants to create harmony by mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill).
In the name of the creator, whatever name we choose to call or in the interests of co-existence, and in the name of our great teacher Jesus, let’s commit to be the mitigaters of conflict and nurturers of goodwill, on his on his birthday to honor him.
Let’s believe in his message of loving even our enemies is good for us as individuals and the society. Together, let us all see the beauty and wisdom of his teachings without any reserve. Let’s us all receive his message of goodness today and become religious.
Merry Christmas, May God tempt you to be religious and to be like Jesus.
Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His three websites and 22 Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/
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