Religions, while they have their superficial differences, all point to the same reality: the unity of life and its realization. As the wisdom tradition maintains, “the paths are many but the truth is one.” Unfortunately, faith is often pitted against faith, and such tension is then deliberately used as a tool of divide and rule, of violent politics. There is a lot to be said for the power of interfaith organizing efforts, when religions, instead of fighting one another, look at the systems of power that are threatened by a more spiritual orientation to the world, and work together to build a better world that works for everyone.
Consider, for example, the women in Liberia, who organized in the early 1990s to bring a nonviolent end to Liberia’s bloody civil war. It began as a movement of Christian women, and immediately, the Muslim women decided that they would join in: their interfaith organizing motto was “a bullet cannot not distinguish between Christian and Muslim.” In the past, the women said, Muslims and Christians did not work together. Side by side, they waged a courageous nonviolent struggle, and succeeded in not only bringing an end to the civil war, and getting dictator Charles Taylor out of power; they realized their work did not end there. They went on to get the first woman president in all of Africa, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, elected in their country — part of a systemic change toward real democracy.
Consider the good that could happen in the world when faiths team up to challenge oppression.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org