Symposium: Are Religious Scriptures a source of conflict or harmony?

Dr. Mike Ghouse   July 16, 2018   Comments Off on Symposium: Are Religious Scriptures a source of conflict or harmony?

State Department and the initiative of your favorite Organization

The Center for Pluralism is pleased to present a symposium as a side event in conjunction with the Department of States’ 2018 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.  If you get a chance to ‘study’ the article listed below, you will see how consequential it can be in reducing religious conflicts and paving the way for finding political solutions.

Live Broadcast at  – https://www.facebook.com/Dr.MikeGhouse/videos/10160745332295249/?fref=mentions

RABBI, PASTOR, PUNDIT AND IMAM discuss if scriptures cause conflicts or harmony- by MIKE GHOUSE

Posted by Mike Ghouse on Wednesday, July 25, 2018

SYMPOSIUM: Do Religious Scriptures bring harmony or evoke conflict? July 25, 2018 – 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM on Capitol Hill

We appreciate Congressman Gus Bilirakis and Miranda Robinson for facilitating this Room in the Congressional building. We also thank our sponsors Dr. Frank Islam, Dr. Farooq Khan and Dr. Rehana Kausar for their support, as well as appreciate Jack Pagano for video and photography.

Good News: Due to an overwhelming response from friends and the embassies, we are pleased to announce that we will repeat this program in September in a larger hall to accommodate every registrant.

The Center for Pluralism is pleased to present a symposium as a side event in conjunction with the Department of States’ 2018 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. If you had a chance to ‘study’ the article on the website, you will see how consequential it can be in reducing religious conflicts and paving the way for finding political solutions. The article is at www.CenterforPluralism.com search for Symposium: Are religious scriptures a source of conflict or harmony?

11:30 OPENING

Moderator – I will be the moderator of the event, acting as Mr. Spock, someone who is not conditioned with God or religion. It does not matter to him that we are a product of creation, evolution or big bang theory, but acknowledges the fact that we exist and we have to find a way for all of us to respect the otherness of other and live without fear.

⦁ Real V. Imaginary conflicts
⦁ Conflict Mitigation – Animal V. Humans
⦁ Story of Tatiana buying a religion after the Soviet breakup
⦁ Searching for Religion

11:50 PANEL DISCUSSION

Each Panelist will share 10 minutes about how their faith contributes to a better world, all humanity.

⦁ Rabbi Gerry Serotta – Judaism
⦁ Pastor – Bishop Dr. Paul Murray
⦁ Imam Dr. Ahmed Elzaree- Islam
⦁ Scholar Dileep Thatte – Hinduism

A few Questions from the moderator

The absence of freedom to see God as a creator of all humanity has become a significant source of conflict. Each religious group acts as if they own God exclusively and is not available to others. They also believe that their “God” burns all others in hell. Each one believes that God has made a deal with them behind other’s back, they also think that God has given exclusive brokerage to their messenger and denied others. Who wants a God that privileges one over the other, discriminates his own creation, gives exclusive rights to humans to access him, her or it?
God is bigger than that, his wisdom is ultimate, we need to start thinking and restore God to who he was – a just, fair, kind and loving God.

Do these verses contribute to the arrogance in groups? What is the context, how can they be inclusive?

⦁ Jews are Chosen People
⦁ Jesus is the only way
⦁ Islam is the only acceptable religion to God
⦁ Hinduism is the righteous dharma
⦁ Buddhists are peace loving people

Q & A from the audience (plenty of time)

PANELISTS BIO’S

RABBI GERALD SEROTTA – JUDAISM

Gerald Serotta is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC) Prior to his position at the IFC he was the Founding Executive Director of Clergy Beyond Borders. Rabbi Serotta formerly served as a University Chaplain and Hillel Rabbi for 28 years, the last twenty at The George Washington University where he was Chair of the Board of Chaplains. He served as Congregational Rabbi at Temple Shalom and later at Shirat HaNefesh congregation in Chevy Chase, MD. Rabbi Serotta has been involved in interfaith, human rights, and conflict resolution work for decades. He was the Founder and First Board Chair of Rabbis for Human Rights, North American. Among his honors, Rabbi Serotta recently received the Agus-Shehan Interfaith Leadership Award from the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council and the Raphael Lemken Human Rights Award from Rabbis for Human Rights-North America.

BISHOP DR. PAUL MURRAY – CHRISTIANITY

Bishop Dr. Paul Murray is an award-winning author and internationally sought-after speaker and minister. Dr. Murray serves as the Vice President of the Global Peace Foundation USA where he leads the Campaign for American Renewal and the First Amendment Voice along with a national network of faith leaders who are focused upon moral and innovative leadership. As an ordained minister and senior pastor of the Lighthouse Church, Murray has served in ministry for more than twenty-five years and holds his ministerial credentials with One Way Churches International (OWCI) where he was consecrated to the office of Bishop in 2017. Dr. Murray has ministered and spoken on TBN, Daystar, CTN in the U.S.A, Rede Globo in Brazil and was selected for the May 2017 cover and article of BOSS Magazine, the number one educational and entrepreneurial resource magazine for minority young adults. A former Peace Corps Volunteer to the country of Tunisia, Dr. Murray holds a Doctoral Degree in Pastoral Leadership from Howard University, School of Divinity, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Art from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Phoenix.

IMAM DR. AHMED ELZAREE – ISLAM

Doctor Ahmed Elzaree; an Islamic speaker and thinker, Muslim Scholar, professional Quran Reciter and a husband and father of ten children, has been a dutiful Imam and spiritual/religious leader at the DC metropolitan area for the past 7 years. He graduated from the globally renowned Islamic university: Al-Azhar, in Cairo, Egypt, in addition, to be a medical doctor as well. He graduated from Ain Shams University medical school in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. He specialized in the infectious diseases before he moved with his family to the US in 2002 to become devoted to the religious work. Dr. Elzaree memorized the entire Holy Quran from cover to cover by heart at age 13. He also holds an Ijazah in the Quran recitation from a great Quran scholar in Egypt. Almighty God has blessed Dr. Elzaree with a beautifully unique voice and an outstanding performance in the Quran recitation that always gets his audience’s hearts attached and engaged. Among tens of Duties and responsibilities, Dr. Elzaree has represented the entire Muslim community in the state of Maryland as a consumer member of the Maryland state’s Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors since 2012 till 2021. Two consecutive Maryland Governors; has appointed him to this position because of his impressive medical background, Islamic religious knowledge and his role as a leader of the Muslim community in D.C. Metropolitan area since 2010. Dr. Elzaree has been active in the arena of Trifaith panel discussions for more than fifteen years.

SCHOLAR DILEEP THATTE – HINDUISM

Dileep is a student of science, spirituality, and Vedanta. He is a trained Hindu Chaplain. He has received, “Vishwa Hindu Ratna” award for his contribution to the education of Hinduism. He routinely talks at high schools, universities, colleges, churches, temples, synagogues and multi-faith congregations. He has presented papers at the Parliaments of World Religions, in Australia and Utah. He is associated with the non-profit organization Seven Stars Foundation which is engaged in promoting peace through interfaith education leading to understanding. He has been a senior executive for major global corporations and has traveled extensively worldwide. With a graduate degree in chemical engineering and MBA, he currently works at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and is focused on innovation and growth in the manufacturing sector in the USA.

DR. MIKE GHOUSE – PLURALISM MODERATOR

Mike Ghouse is the founder and executive director of the Center for Pluralism. He has written over 3600 articles and most of the articles weave through at least five religions. He has appeared in over 300 National TV Shows including 110 on Sean Hannity Show on Fox News. He has been interviewed over 200 nationally syndicated radio talk shows and has produced 780 hours of Radio talk shows discussing the essence of Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every faith in between. Mike has established three annual events for about 15 years. Three books are in the works to be published this year. Standing up for others, American Muslim Agenda and a Guide to Pluralism.

Mike@CenterforPluralism.com | (214) 325-1916

SYMPOSIUM: Do Religious Scriptures bring harmony or evoke conflict? 

A colloquium on scriptures from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Can a Rabbi, Pastor, Imam, Pundit and a Bhikkhu have the religious freedom to interpret God as he is, or they have to keep him small and a private God owned by their group? What are their limits?

The absence of freedom to see God as a creator of all humanity has become a significant source of conflict. Each religious group acts as if they own God exclusively and is not available to others. Each one believes that God has made a deal with them behind other’s back, they also think that God has given exclusive brokerage to their messenger and denied others. Is that our God? God is more significant than we have made him out to be.

A symposium on scriptures from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Can a Rabbi, Pastor, Imam, Pundit and a Bhikkhu have the religious freedom to universalize their respective scriptures?

Four religions: Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam – the image will be replaced with the correct image

The Department of State’s Program
2018 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will host the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, the first-ever Ministerial (From July 24 to 26, 2018),  to advance religious freedom around the world. This event will focus on concrete outcomes that reaffirm international commitments to promote religious freedom and produce real, positive change. The Ministerial will convene a broad range of stakeholders, including foreign ministers, international organization representatives, religious leaders, and civil society representatives, to discuss challenges, identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination, and ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all. https://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm

All Events including State Department and NGO Events:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bnCD3_LFxegHeyJctWvD_Lq-Elds8o4IYhd-uCA6pFQ/edit?ts=5b22a00a#gid=0

The Center for Pluralism is hosting one of the 15 events hosted by NGO’s along with “Are Religious Scriptures a source of conflict or harmony?”

Details of the event: 

Write up on the event: http://centerforpluralism.com/symposium-are-religious-scriptures-a-source-of-conflict-or-harmony/

The event is sponsored by Dr. Frank Islam and Dr. Farooq Khan & Dr. Rehana Kausar.
Event title: Are Religious scriptures a source of conflict or harmony?
Place: Longworth House Office Building, 9 Independence Av, SE
Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Time: 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Refreshments provided
RSVP – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/are-religious-scriptures-a-source-of-conflict-or-harmony-tickets-48138380191

As a society, we have a responsibility to separate the chaff from the wheat, and take the religion out of the conflict and stick with real disputes like space, sustenance, and nurturance. Then we can hope for a better world.

Note: Sikhism, Bahai, Jainism, and several other faiths are not included in the symposium, as their scriptures are universal in nature and do not add to the conflicts.

Please consider supporting this event by donating at http://centerforpluralism.com/donate/

Article

Are Religious Scriptures a source of conflict or harmony?

The absence of freedom to think to see God as a creator of all humanity has become a significant source of conflict. Each religious group acts as if they own God exclusively and is not available to others. Each one believes that God has made a deal with them behind other’s back, they also think that God has given exclusive brokerage to their messenger and denied others. Is that our God? God is more significant than we have made him out to be.

As a society, we have a responsibility to separate the chaff from the wheat, and take the religion out of the conflict and stick with real disputes like space, sustenance, and nurturance. Then we can hope for a better world.

Whether the conflict is between Israel and Palestine, India and Pakistan, Myanmar, Falun Dafa, Iraq, Bosnia-Serbia, Ireland or elsewhere, religion is usually a visible source of conflict.

God loves us all; no one is deprived of his guidance to live in peace and harmony. Every religion represents his advice to build cohesive societies where no one has live in apprehension or fear of the other. Lord Krishna says, whenever a society rots, and do not trust each other and become chaotic and hostile, “I will emerge among you as one of you” to restore righteousness. That is what Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Bahaullah, Nanak and others did. Indeed, the Quran says, God sends a peacemaker in every community that is going through such troubled times.

Our lust for security has reduced God’s wisdom to be partial, discriminative and bigoted, is this God? As we aspire to become one, we have to question the dished out versions and understand the boundaries of God, if he, she, it is universal or restrictive.

A decade from now, we will not see a workplace, college, hospital, playground, airport, park, museum, theater or a restaurant where people of different races, faiths, and ethnicities do not interact, study, play, work and even marry together. This trend is bound to create tensions and affect the cohesive functioning of the societies.

The Computer programming has taught us to visualize the result first, and then design the programs to achieve it. As an example of our declaration of independence, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” We can institute the universality of God by our mutual consent to monitor our conduct.

If we believe that God is just, kind and wise, somewhere along the way we have derailed him, and he is not what we say he is. What we have is a God who burns all others in hell except us; a God who does not accept others’ devotion, as if each group belongs to a competing God.

Right now, the biggest issue facing our nation is a separation of family members, particularly babies from mothers. Both the supporters and opposers quote Bible to justify their stand. Have we misunderstood God, or choosing to believe what suits us –are we more privileged than others. Who is wrong, God or us?

The misinterpreted scriptures have a significant role in the Israel Palestine conflict, while the other parts of the equation are security and justice. Could a just God have said something like the following?

Many a Jews believe that they are the chosen people. Many a Christians believe Jesus’ arrival will wipe out everyone but Christianity. Many a Muslims think that Islam is the only religion acceptable to God. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and others are not free from this trap either.

God is not a little guy; God is the creator. Should we reduce his words of wisdom to the narrow, exclusive claims? Can we abstain from making our God a villain of the other people? God is not in the business of terrorizing his creation or giving us permission to bomb or gas people in his name. What kind of bully is God?

As we start applying common sense to understand the higher meaning of these verses, maybe we can knock off the religious aspect from the conflict and focus on the land aspect, which is more comfortable to work.

Thanks to America, more and more religions are moving towards their central values, which are a common denominator of beneficence, and thanks to each group for chiseling out the sizzle and making their religion universal. America has always led the world in every aspect of life, and we need to pull the religious pluralism model.

Whether we were created, evolved or came out of a big bang, we are here, and we have to figure out how to survive. Indeed, the survival instinct is what drives us; unlike all animals, human species have the built-in ability to survive and not wither away like other species in the furies of nature.

The creation process endowed animals with horns, fangs, and paws to settle the dispute between them, but denied the same tools to humans. Adam probably begged to have all the three, but instead, God gave him the ability to resolve conflicts through dialogue. So shall we!
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Dr. Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is the founder and President of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. If we can learn to respect the otherness of the other and accept the God-given uniqueness of each other, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. Twitter #MikeGhouse

Thank you,

Mike Ghouse

Center for Pluralism, Washington, DC
Pluralism Studies in Religion, Politics, Society, Culture, and business.
(214) 325-1916 – Cell
(202) 290-3560 – Office
Mike@CenterforPluralism.com
www.CenterforPluralism.com
www.PluralismNews.com

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