nonviolence or nonexistence...
Dr. King told thousands of people at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee: "For years now, we have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can we just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence." John Dear
Martin Luther King, Jr., understood our situation profoundly. He summed it up in his contingent prophecy for the rest of human history: "Nonviolence or nonexistence." King knew humanity had passed beyond the imaginable limits of violence at Hiroshima. Today, God and history challenge us to pass equally beyond the imaginable limits of nonviolence. King, like Gandhi and Jesus, felt there were in truth no limits to nonviolence. " Jim Douglass
I'm concerned about living with my conscience and searching for that which is right and that which is true, and I cannot live with the idea of being just a conformist following a path that everybody else follows. And this has happened to us. As I've said in one of my books, so often we live by the philosophy 'Everybody's doing it, it must be alright.' We tend to determine what is right and wrong by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion, and I don't think this is the way to get at what is right. Excerpted from a 1967 interview of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Arnold Michaelis, compliments of The King Centre.Where am I going with this? Towards a universal ecumenism (beyond merely Christian ecumenism). More from John Dear:
I’ve come to the conclusion that all the major religions of the world are rooted in nonviolence. Islam means peace. Judaism upholds the magnificent vision of shalom, where people beat swords into plowshares and study war no more. Gandhi exemplified Hinduism as active nonviolence. Buddhism is all about compassion toward all living things. Even Christianity is about nonviolence!But for the True Believers In The Nonexistence Of God there's a problem here... And a lesson as well...
Many "on the left" fancy themselves to be atheists (more about such gross ignorance in another blog post), and a fair few of them reflexively avoid studying the utterings of religious teachers. Yet they (erroneously) like to think that they form the core of the anti-war movement. Not only is that not true, but their dismissive attitude towards religions divides the anti-war movement unnecessarily and thereby diminishes its effectiveness.
And the lesson? The lesson for believers in atheism is that if they want a unified peace movement, they need to stop the ideoligical war they wage upon religions. (And likewise, the religious believers could learn much from the utterings of nonreligious teachers, and they too could realise that there are many atheists in the peace movement, and therefore stop their ideological war upon atheism.)
I think it's high time that ecumenism goes universal and that it recognises, not just the need to not wage war between religions, but also the need to not wage war between religions and atheism. And therefore it behoves atheists to actively join this ecumencial discourse and to do so in the true spirit of ecumenism.
Peace, pace, paix, pax, paz, frieden, shalom, vrede, etc., etc.
(P.S. Sorry I've not posted for so long, but the Big Black Dog has been savaging me again...)