* Peace Festival 2009 – Religions and Peace Forum

Last night Wednesday, I attended a Peace Festival Forum at St Paul’s University in Ottawa, on “How World Religions can Promote Peace”.  A fascinating panel discussion in which people from seven of the major world religions stood up and talked about their religion and how their religions were essentially peaceful.  This was fine up to a point, but I wonder if anything was achieved.  The positions taken were essentially an expression of what seemed as very fixed and inviolate doctrines.

 This reminded me of another conference I attended during the summer at Carleton University, which made an important point related to this.  It involved a group of Western philosophers and a group of Eastern philosophers from the University of Delhi having a discussion on  how east and west, or differing ethnic groups, can have a moral discussion in a transcultural sense.  It struck me how the western tendency was to deal with differences from a perspective of “fixed views” or philosophies and the eastern group form the perspective of “sympathetic inquiry’.  In other words, the west has a tendency towards “critical analysis”, and the east to put “fixed views aside” and ask the question; What are they really trying to say here?  They try to deeply understand what is being said rather than to reflexively criticize.  They look for moral possibilities as a basis of the relationship or discussion.  The dialogue asked; what values do we have in common to hold a moral discourse? West and east both agreed on “the moral worth and dignity of all persons because they are persons”.  But to test any conclusions reached using this common position, the west proposed: to minimize comparative harm and neglect, and the east chose: promote the public good and harmony.   What I concluded was that to think of the “other” rather than the “self” in terms of moral possibilities might be one answer to the problem of peace.

 So my question to the peace panel of religions and to everyone is: what fixed views can you set aside and what moral possibilities can you think of, that you can promote to advance world peace.  I challenge you to find one thing you can do today to promote harmony and public good and relieve the suffering of people of other faiths?  To the Jewish religion, I challenge you to do or say one thing today that can relieve some of the suffering of the Palestinian people.  To Islam, I challenge you to find one thing you can do today to relieve some of the suffering of the Israeli people.  This must be from the heart.   If you can solve the suffering of others, you will solve the suffering of yourself.  If you can care for others, then you care for yourself.

 With sincere wishes for the advancement of peace;

 Paul Maillet

Nominated Candidate Ottawa Orleans Green Party of Canada,

Paul Maillet CENTER FOR ETHICS

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7 thoughts on “* Peace Festival 2009 – Religions and Peace Forum

  1. I have received some email traffic on this post. Please, I do not want to sidetrack this issue. The point I take is that Christianity has its share of fixed views as any other religion and as such is in relationships, which involve suffering on both sides. Christians in concert with others did suffer 911. Christians are in wars now and have a hand in the suffering of others, whether intended or not. I would take that point and will amend the blog to offer. “I would challenge Christians to endeavor to do something to alleviate some of the suffering of those of other faiths, of such as of the Israeli and Palestinian people.” I do not want, nor do I advocate, that we inflame the issue with language which may even be perceived as being of hate or violence, but to encourage action to address human suffering. We need to use the language of non-violence and that includes in the tone of remarks and dialogue we should have with each other on this subject.

  2. September 25, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Comment from Colin Hine

    Paul, I have a different view on the outcome of this event. The challenge you lay down is a good one; one that needs to be extended to government leaders, politicians and political parties, not just to the peace panel of religions. Within the time limits available and with so many different religious views presented it was not possible to do much more than scratch the surface of this topic and perhaps agree to further dialogue. The speakers all did a pretty good job providing personal perspectives of their faiths. Time remaining to come to the heart of the issue was very limited.

    One thing that came across to me is that people (individuals) and not their religious beliefs are at the core of the problem. One can make similar observations in the fields of politics and government. In Canada, the current lust to force an election in order to attain power rather than attempting to make government work through negotiation and compromise is an example that comes to mind.

  3. I don’t know If I said it already but …This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  4. I dont know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    …..Frank Scurley

  5. Thanks for taking time to discuss this. This is my first time I visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your forum. I am looking forward some more information from your end, it’s really helpful for me. I will bookmark your post to check if you write more about in the future. Please keep up the good work.

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