Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Every true believer in God is shocked and views with abhorrence what happened on that day

Archbishops uses 9/11 to defend religion By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent Last
The Archbishop of Canterbury used the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on America yesterday to defend religion against claims that it promotes division and violence.
Dr Rowan Williams said that although Islam and Christianity had histories scarred with violence, they carried the “seeds of non-violence and non possessive witness.”
Jihad, or holy war, could nowadays be interpreted as a “struggle of the heart” rather than the defence of the Muslim community against its enemies, he said.
He added that both faiths could offer society an ideal of peaceful co-existence despite their violent histories because they were guided by beliefs that transcended human conflict.
The Archbishop’s lecture to a Christian Muslim Forum conference in Cambridge follows mounting criticism of religion as dangerous and destablising.
But Dr Williams argued that religion should not be judged by the failures of its adherents but on its vision of a social order that is “without fear, oppression, the violence of exclusion and the search for scapegoats”.
He compared the “act of nightmare violence” six years ago, when extremists flew aeroplanes into the twin towers in New York, with the birth of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent protest movement on September 11, 1906, in Johannesburg.
He said that Gandhi’s movement showed it was possible to reject a response to oppression that “simply mirrors what has been done by the oppressor.”
He said it was a Muslim in the audience at that key meeting - called to protest about the fingerprinting and registration for Indians in the country - who first proposed that the decision for non-violent resistance to the legislation should be taken “in the name of God”.
Dr Williams called for the place in society of “authentic” religion that did not compete for influence or power or resort to violence.
“The nature of the authentically religious community is made visible in its admission of dependence on God - which means both that it does not fight for position and power and that it will not see itself existing just by the licence of human society,” he said. “It proclaims both its right to exist on the basis of the call of God and its refusal to enforce that right by the routine methods of human conflict.”
Defending Islam and Christianity, he said neither could be committed to violent struggle to prevail at all costs because that would imply a lack of faith in God.
“Because both of our institutions have a history scarred by terrible betrayals of this, we have to approach civil society and its institutions with humility and repentance,” Dr Williams said.
“But I hope that this does not mean we shall surrender what is most important - that we have a gift to offer immeasurably greater than our own words or records, the gift of a divine calling and a renewal of all that is possible for human beings.”
The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, also speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the attacks, said memories of the day were still “very, very vivid”.
He said: “My first thoughts and I am sure those of many people will be for those who are still suffering the trauma of that day and for those who valiantly gave their lives on that day.
“I will always remember the image of the priest who was the chaplain to the New York firefighters who lost his life and he was carried out from the rubble by his firefighter colleagues who were in tears. He wanted to be there with them.
“My second strong imperative from the memory of that day is again to say that violence of that sort has no part in any true religion and every true believer in God is shocked and views with abhorrence what happened on that day.”

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