Building “peace-loving man” (says Fethullah Gulen, read his article below) that is, humans, man/woman, totally committed to non-violence, tolerance and dialogue, is the only sure route to lasting peace on earth.
It is tedious task — laborious and time-consuming like building a huge concrete structure like the twin New York towers, brick by brick. Therefore, instantly comes also the conflicting thought – NY trade centre was felled and met the fate of the biblical “Tower of Babel”, a monument built to proclaim the greatness of the builders, to make a name for themselves, not for common good. So the staggering question, the dilemma staring in our face is: “Is it worth striving to build the ‘towering peace-loving Man, as if we have never learnt any lesson from history? I leave that question to you to answer.
Implanting a ‘Wish-bone’ in humanity through public opinion is a day dream, a quick-fix like writing on ocean surface, a starting point at best! But in New York, didn’t they rebuild the New York tower? So the message could be: ‘Never give up’, but try until you succeed.
You all know the story of the teenager who fixed the world map torn to bits and jumbled, in no time thanks to the picture of a man behind the map. He just fixed the man behind and the tattered bits of the whole world fell in due places! That means, fixing up the “peace-loving man”(world) is the unfinished challenge facing humanity today. The question is: How? Easy like fixing up the world map?
There have been and there still are ‘peace-loving’ men around. Two towering historical figures are the Man from Galilee, known also as the carpenter of Nazareth, Son of Man, Jesus the Jew. Some say he was the only good Jew, others, he was the only good Christian who was a Jew who died on the cross! The other is Buddha, a perfect picture of peace. One was born in utter destitution, in a cattle shed, the other in lap of luxury! Which means, what matters is not how one begins his life on earth, but how he crowns it.
Peace to Goodwilled
Now think of the followers of these two spiritual giants of history! “Glory to God in the heavens and peace on earth to men of goodwill” the angels sang reportedly at the birth of Jesus. Yet from the time of the Prince of Peace to this day Jerusalem remains a zone of war and bloodshed, not peace. As for Buddha, just think of the heart-rending stories of war and violence targeted by or against the Rohingas in Miyanmar!
Think also of India, called the light of the East, supposedly yearning for “Vasudaiva Kudumbakam” and praying for “Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu!” and the ongoing fight for dominance between the forces of division and unity on the basis of religion, caste, class and cultural habits like what one eats, drinks, wears and whom one marries, even when all speak of ‘development’ or ‘Acche Din’.
What about clash of ideas – use of “Neech or “Congress-Pak collusion" to defeat BJP in Gujarat? What about total inaction against culprits of daylight murderers, by Cow vigilantes, of love-jihad man lynched, burned and video graphed to proclaim his valor, of the son of a top leader who amassed crores in one year and the nation’s media silenced as during emergency?
One feeble silverlining amidst the encircling gloom was the warning followed by quick suspension of Mani Sankar Ayar and Rahul’s inaugural speech portraying himself as a ‘very very humble person, not even a shadow, but at best a dummy or dwarf beside towering giants who led the destinies of the nation’ knowing well that it is going to be a race between the hare and the tortoise?
Shadow of Global scenario
What is happening in India is only a faint reflection of the global scenario led by an incompetent world police, Trump trying to take the world to the dark ages of ‘Might is right’ and India’s Modi trying to win him over by ‘hug-diplomacy’. Globalization, already a fact, should not mean getting uprooted from one’s own moorings and culture. It should instead mean unity in diversity, complementing and enriching the universal with what is precious and particular to each country. It should turn out to be a synthesis, a happy marriage of local and global = Glocal, an enriching of the inseparable duo. Possible if building ‘peace loving man’ can be done. How to go about it?
The work is ours, we the people, you and me. The starting point is where humans are born, our own homes where bricks of society are fashioned first, then the nursery schools to universities where humans with “good will” to collaborate and complement, not to collide, conflict, terrorize and eliminate each other in a nuclear holocaust, are polished to perfect finish.
This is the timely message of “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of good will” already heard sung around the world. This is not a call to make the whole world Christian. The one at whose birth this was sung in heavens, was a Jew. He never became a Christian, but lived as a Jew. died as a Jew, (INRI Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews) was the inscription on the cross he died. He never established any Church or organized religion. His followers were called Christians first in Antioch years after his death. In Kerala they were called “Margam Kooiyavar” (those followed his path).
He presented himself as the SON OF MAN, as the ideal Man for all peoples, places, creeds and cultures and befriended the poor, untouchable, lonely and those in utmost need. If ever he started a class of people it was the CATTLE CLASS on the road, homeless and addressless. The class culture was created by man, the most comfortable class headed by Constantine, not the ‘Everlasting Man’ (Chesterton), the “Man from Galelee” (Fulton J.Sheen). His God was his Father, (Our Father who art in Heaven} who is the Father of all humanity.
All humans were his brothers and sisters. Nay he explicitly told them to treat him as their close best friend, not master at the last supper. None of the churches follow those instructions of his. They worship him, adore him and pray to him, all forbidden by him. Who is to blame for all these, except the Churches themselves, who want a King and Emperor figure, so that they can sit at the right and left as Prime Ministers, which James and John tried and failed miserably?
So goodbye to all organized fighting religions and more strength to Sri Narayana Guru pleading for ‘One God, one Religion and One Caste, the human caste male or female’. And more power to that God (if thre is a God) the Father of all, and His heavenly peace to all people of Good will, his true followers around the world! Wish you a Happy Christmas without Christ personified as a religious head, but as a leader of a pilgrim humane humanity of Good will! james kottoor, editor, ccv.
Please read below article
by Fethullah Gulen
on Jeruslam’s status as city of peace
Jerusalem deserves unique International Status
By Fethullah Gulen, in Times of India, Dec. 14, 2017
Building peace means building the peace-loving man. Unless man is placed at the centre of the solution to problems that emerged in and from man, investing in political and legal systems will remain a waste of time and resources. The Almighty has created in every man, the natural disposition to good and beauty. However, man, in his excesses, sometimes misuses his potentials inherent in his nature.
Indeed, this shift in nature is the worst natural disaster that befalls man. The gloomy pages of history carry stories of so many people killed for the sake of more power and land; the sum of all earthquakes and tsunamis would fail to match the numbers of men killed by other men. Unless these shifts in human nature remain uncured, such human forms which are a disgrace to human species will not cease to exist.
Government institutions and administrators sometimes sacrifice education policies to their own selfish interests and set out to raise generations that will support their own parties, ideologies and rule. Such selfish attitudes cannot lead to building the peace-loving man. Therefore, building the new man should be the role of the civil society.
Mobilising civil society is particularly vital in societies where democracy is limited to placing ballot boxes before citizens when election results have already been established. Civil society organisations are altruistic in nature. Civil society activity in areas including education and the media both safeguards democracy and guarantees raising of new generations in a climate of tolerance and dialogue.
The purpose of all religions and moral doctrines is to build the peace-loving man. This could refer to international peace, interpersonal peace, peace with other elements of nature or inner peace of man. Almost all major religions have been abused by fundamentalists as an outfit to camouflage their political pursuits and made to serve as a catalyst of conflict at one time or another throughout history. Yet, the sacred origins of all religions and moral doctrines have sufficient material to build peace.
Peace is essential and exploitation of religious texts for the sake of war and conflict is an atrocity against not only people but also these religious texts. Therefore, followers of all religions — particularly Judaism, Christianity and Islam of the Abrahamic tradition — must organise joint activities for world peace, exchange ideas at events and seek ways to translate these ideas into practice. This is not only to safeguard world peace but also to preserve religions in their true and authentic form.
The issue of Jerusalem and Palestine which seems to be the source of almost all conflicts in the Middle East needs serious consideration. Jerusalem should be granted a supranational and supra-religious status including visa-free access for followers of all religions and to develop a unique administration for the city whereby it would be governed by a committee under the United Nations comprising representatives of the three Abrahamic religions. The need of such a step is vital more than ever today as the debate around the status of the city has heated up again after US’ recognition of it as the capital of Israel. I believe that if this proposal is put into practice, this city which has been the subject of ongoing conflicts and disputes might become a city of peace, as signified by its name, Jerusalem, which originates from Darussalam, ‘The Land of Peace’.