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Maria Hussain: Is there Peace without God?

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    Is there Peace without God? Maria Hussain November 4, 2007 http://mariahussain.wordpress.com/2007/11/04/is-there-peace-without-god/ And [on account of] their
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4 1:20 PM
      Is there Peace without God?
      Maria Hussain
      November 4, 2007

      And [on account of] their saying: "We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of
      Mary, Messenger of God." They did not kill him and they did not
      crucify him, but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about
      him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just
      conjecture. But they certainly did not kill him. God raised him to
      Himself. God is Almighty, All-Wise. (Quran, Surat An-Nisa', 4:157-158)

      Jesus is a symbol that pre-dates Christianity. He is the man who stood
      up for the truth and no one could kill him because even in his alleged
      death, his message prevailed. And that message was clearly reasonable.
      Those who are killed for speaking the truth are never dead. They are
      the very soul of mankind.

      There is a problem within the anti-war movement, which is that the
      most radical peace activists are so aggressively hostile to the thing
      in life which gives the majority of humans on the planet a sense of
      peace. Obviously, if my personal focus in life is to strive upon a
      path of purification of my worship, and the other person views me for
      this reason on some level as a stupid idiot or mentally ill, we do not
      have an equal relationship. If I am politely avoiding saying "Praise
      the Lord!" in your presence and never mentioning my personal
      relationship with Jesus so as not to upset you, but you feel like it's
      ok to disrespect God, or to devalue someone's Faith, we don't have an
      equal relationship. Our "peace movement" is stuck in a rut.

      I personally cannot claim to be part of a Muslim, Christian or Jewish
      tradition-based community. My faith has never been group-oriented but
      rather came as a result of personal meditations on various readings of
      the sages as well as the direct experience of life and its karmic
      lessons. What I am more interested in is to study what the books say.
      I like to approach the Bible and the Quran as meditational literature.
      Whether you believe in religion or not, theological texts are the
      collective property of mankind and as such are worthy of being
      studied, in order to understand the foundation of reason (or sometimes
      lack thereof) upon which our human society is based. I am inspired by
      the anti-Zionist church movements, where folks are switching to
      home-based worship and dropping out of the Zionist churches. I am
      inspired by Moses, who told his followers to transform their homes
      into temples, to repudiate the tyranny of the Pharaoh.

      I want to promote non-denominational, intellectual analysis and
      light-hearted brainstorming about the similarities and differences
      between the way the Bible and the Quran approach various concepts and
      legendary stories. For example, we could look at the story of Noah's
      Ark in both books and see how they compare, and search for the
      theological and historical reasons for the differences. We could also
      look at different English translations of the same verse. It would not
      be necessary for a person to be religious at all to enjoy such a
      discussion. I am envisioning a very non-demanding "liberal arts"
      approach. This Quran-Bible discussion idea has nothing to do with
      trying to get anyone to become religious or more religious. Many
      Americans do not actually know what the scriptures say. Or some are
      very familiar with the book of their tradition but not at all aware of
      the intellectual connection with the other books. Yet, the spiritual
      Path has many basic features for all religions.

      I envision some kind of local and neighborhood oriented revolution.
      There are many people from diverse ethnic backgrounds who live on my
      street that go to church. The problem with the dominance of the
      Ashkenazi ethnic group on the "progressive politics" scene is that
      there is a very dogmatic forced conformity which demands that people
      put their religion aside or else they will be reviled by the group. It
      is very much similar to the level of forced conformity in the orthodox
      religious Jewish community. It is simply an ethnic trait that has been
      adopted by the entire peace movement, which I believe is destructive
      because at least 80% of Americans believe in God. So that is a big
      part of why I think the peace movement up to now has been a
      self-defeating political movement. We need to acquire a language that
      we can use to connect with people who are very different from ourselves.

      Most of all, we need to train our minds to get beyond ourselves in
      order to let go of what we know and let our deeper unconscious give us
      the solutions to our problems both personal and global. Clearly, what
      we consciously know right now is not adequate to run this planet
      smoothly. But I believe that humans have the answers within our DNA.

      We have to create wisdom. We have to create it out of ignorance. That
      leap is a miracle.

      Most of the peace organizations are co-opted. Dorchester People for
      Peace for example accepted grants for the sake of enmeshing Black
      youth in Save Darfur through "Project Hip Hop" -funded if you look
      into it essentially by US tax dollars recycled through the Jewish

      So that was why I was wondering if it might be a good idea to start a
      regular kind of neighborhood Quran-Bible study as an alternative to
      "progressive politics" and maybe change/unite hearts and minds of the
      community that way. We need to have some reason to meet regularly that
      is not stressful, where we can meditate on ideas. Individual opinions
      about the meaning of religion to oneself and family is really totally
      irrelevant to attending a Bible and Quran as Literature class or study
      group. My idea has to do with engaging with people on a civilizational
      level, including expanding outreach to build anti-war sentiment.

      Maybe only a certain "class" of people want to discuss "the Classics,"
      or to meditate on the core questions of existence while drinking tea.
      This is traditionally what Palestinians do for fun too, you know, when
      they are not being besieged.

      In High School I took a very interesting Bible as Literature class
      from a Jewish atheist lesbian teacher. She made it really amusing and
      interesting. I also benefited from Presbyterian Sunday School, which
      used the philosophical, self-exploratory, psychological validation
      approach to the texts. People who have never read the Bible lose out
      on benefiting from the entire history of western civilization.

      My main reason for wanting to have an academic sort of theological
      discussion about religious texts is precisely so that those people who
      engage in the anti-religion/anti-Gentile polemic won't come, so that
      new potential leaders and organizers, letter-writers and shleppers for
      the movement, fresh blood, can come in. There are so many people who
      have been marginalized by the peace movement because they can't open
      their mouths without having to deal with all this intense, blind,
      secular fundamentalist dogma. So what I'm looking for is an
      emotionally safe environment free of anti-God hostility, where the
      Meek can speak quietly.

      There are ways to align your mind with the forces of the universe to
      maximize your effectiveness and joy in life. My Zen teacher referred
      to these methods as "spiritual practice." The disciplining of the mind
      to polish the mirror of the heart through meditation on eternal
      questions is just like raking leaves. It can be done with or without
      religious belief.



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