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Happy Shavuot – article at http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com
Reflections on Memorial day at www.TheGhousediary.com
Don’t let your bias make you unjust, after all it is your issue.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Physical or the metaphysical world is structured to have positive, negative and neutral charges in it ,and every structure is constantly seeking its own equilibrium through a variety of combinations and permutations.
Living with corrupt people is part of existence, not that we have to agree with the ills of corruption, but we can be a part of it and effect changes in our own way. Non-Violent way is sustainable, where as the violent way is destructive for the time, but it is a part of the system.
Lord Krishna was clear when he said, whenever and wherever there is adharma, I will appear and restore the righteousness back to the society. It is not necessarily him in reality, but the spirituality is built on balance and justice and it works on an auto-pilot. Qur’aan says, to every nation, every tribe, God sends a peacemaker, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Rama, Nanak, Buddha, Mahavir, Confucius, Zarthustra.... and numerous others in native traditions have precisely done that; restore the society back to normalcy.
From a political point of view, the colonial masters in most every colony were un-just, when the adharma and injustice reached a point of no-return; there was Gandhi, to restore it. When the American society was forced upon by a few masters to mistreat the African Americans, there was Lincoln and MLK to restore justness and morality.
Medha Parker stood up in defense of the villagers that were going to be affected by urbanization, there was Shabana Azmi fighting for the slum dwellers...Seshan fought the corrupt election system.
Justice and fairness is the ultimate of a balanced society, and every one including you and I are part of the solutions while some others may be doing the opposite of it.
Prophet Muhammad said, when you see injustice, the least you can do is to speak up. Martin Neimoller in his poem wrote, first they came for Jews and I did nothing about it, as I was not a Jew, then they came after Communists..... and finally when they came for me, there was no one to speak for me.
Pratibha, the least we can do is to speak up and if we have the energy and passion, apply it and build a momentum in the society. Yes, you can make the difference and you will, as you have the concern that is the first step. Co-existence must be at the bottom of every thing.
God bless you.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Diversity is nature, it is how we are created, and it is a reflection of freedom. On the other hand conformity kills freedom, non-diversity is non-freedom.
Each human and each life is made differently through the permutations and combinations of DNA, there is nothing alike. In plant world, each plant is different than the other, and there is nothing alike.
On the matter side, each piece of matter is unique, there are zillions of stars and planets in the universe and each one is different, there is nothing alike.
Diversity gaurantees continuum of life, if all the species is same, our immunity to diseace would wipe us all out of existence. Diversity of thought gaurantees use of mind and wisdom, when there is no diversity, life would be a bore, and our mental faculties could be lost for lack of using them.
It is the co-existence with differences that religion teaches, religion is a formula to bind us together and not slap us together to abandon our uniqueness.
I am in tune with the statement, “we are all destined to have salvation, whether
we will have it or not. You have to attain it in the long run and
become free, because it is your nature to be free.” Each one of us is built to seek our own balance, even the pain level is a balance that one can endure.
Unity is Knowledge, diversity is ignorance. This knowledge is your
birthright. I have not to teach it to you. There never were different
religions in the world. We are all destined to have salvation, whether
we will have it or not. You have to attain it in the long run and
become free, because it is your nature to be free
- Swami Vivekananda
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Held myself from Crying seeing the devastation in Haiti, watching USS Navy's Comfort sail, brought tears to me. Thank God, we are doing all we can to give them the help needed. thank God. http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=9579182
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Spoke at Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, Jan 17, 2010, Carrollton, Texas. Pastor Dennis Hamilton invited me to speak about Pluralism along with his Sunday Sermon at the New Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton.
It's like home coming to me. I have been taking quizzes on Belief-net for about four years, and the results are consistently pointing that I am 100% Unitarian Universalist in my overall scheme of belief. Here is the survey result
1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (93%)
3. Mahayana Buddhism (79%)
4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (78%)
5. Neo-Pagan (78%)
6. Reform Judaism (76%)
7. New Age (73%)
8. Bahá'í Faith (72%)
9. Sikhism (68%)
10. Hinduism (68%)
Today, I found a confirmation to it after listening to Dennis about UU. I am in tune with their philosophy, rather 100% in tune with them for four years in a row. It is their focus on peace, love, forgiveness, compassion and service to humanity.
My talk mirrored Dennis Hamilton’s talk and I could not resist commenting on it. I will post his talk and my outlines in a few days with the same heading. The congregation and sermon felt like home.
On the question of faith, I shared my thought that it would be sheer arrogance to claim my faith is superior to others. It is a new paradigm in religious thinking, and will take time for people to see the value. Religion is about humility and not arrogance. Indeed, all religions are beautiful formulae to live a life of balance and harmony.
I am a Muslim and my faith serves me well, as other faiths serve others. No one need to change their religion buds, they are home to whatever they have grown to. Spend the time on your own faith to find the beauty and wisdom in it and I assure you, every faith is beautiful.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Contact: Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916,
event email: HolocaustandGenocides@gmail.com
III ANNUAL REFELCTIONS ON THE HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDES
DALLAS – (January 15, 2010) –The Foundation for Pluralism announces the 7/7 speakers Panel to reflect upon the Holocaust and Genocides event at 5:00 PM on Sunday, January 24, 2010 at the Center for Spiritual Center, 4801 Spring Valley Road, Dallas, TX. 75244.
Each individual in the seven member panel would acknowledge the inhumanity in each one of us and reflect upon the solutions for co-existence. It is a purposeful event to learn, acknowledge and reflect upon the terrible things, that we humans have inflicted upon each other.
What can you do as individual?
Friday, January 15, 2010
Haiti and Earthquake Theology
Dr. Jeffress, this is one of the most timely pieces, that we the people of faith need to read. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is time to get out and help, God is testing us and our intentions. Indeed, when we don't understand the calamities and its purpose, and we never will, it is good to trust in God. He is the creator and he knows his creation.
Haiti, Voodoo's view on the quake
If you feel the temptation that your faith makes sense and others don't, ask yourselves, where does this arrogance come from? My comments follow the article
Haiti needs one hundred helicopters
I urge each one of us living in the United States to make the call to the white house at the number given below. May God bless success to these initiatives and hope together we can save lives. Amen - http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/01/haiti-needs-one-hundred-helicopters.html
Faith in action: Haiti TragedyShare
It is the spirit of service, every religion is participating in the efforts to find relief to the victims in Haiti. This is what religion is all about; it is not me, me, and me, it is we, we and us.
Seeking Harmony in Malaysia
I am pleased to see the following article by Imam Feisal. He has laid out how things are and then offered solutions. My comments follow the article
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
First Community Church of Christ
9120 Ferguson Road, Dallas
Palestine: Myths and Truths
L-R: Rev. Dianne Baker, Roger Kallenberg, Rev. Peter Ruggere and Josh Smith.
Rev. Ruggere's turned out to be a great myth buster. He pointed out how the media has projected, and the people have accepted in propagating the myth that the conflicts between Arabs and Jews is thousands of years old, it was not. It started around the beginning of the 20th century, prior to that they have lived together for centuries. They accuse that the Arabs want to drive Israel into ocean while suppressing their own rhetoric to drive Palestinians into the desert. Neither of them mean it.
One can criticize America and its policies to their hearts content but if a Senator or a Congressman utters one word against Israel - he or she will be hounded with Anti-Semitic rhetoric. Joshua was sharing the story, where the Palestinian families were kicked out of their own homes and while they were camping outside longing to be back in their homes, the drunken soldiers in the middle of the night come and harass the families. Josh camped out with them and hopes he will put the videos together.
I was saddened listening to this, and I hope the silent majority of Jewish people speak up, they truly want peace like all other people, but the men in charge of the policies have ulterior motives, and causing anguish and pain to the Jews of Israel and the Palestinians.
It is Jewish to be just and those who speak up are discounted by the powerful as self-hating Jews. We all need to know that power can carry you only for a short distance, but Justice can carry you the farthest. It is time for the majority to wake up and do the right thing; justice. Ten years ago, no one dared criticizing Israel, today it is becoming a common place; even the Media is getting some freedom to criticize the Israeli policies. Check the Blog - http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/
"Rev. Peter Ruggere, a Maryknoll priest, will join members of the North Texas delegation to the Gaza Freedom March to discuss their “feet on the ground” experiences with the politics and people of Palestine. Ruggere was assigned to the Catholic Charities program in Cairo, Palestine and North Africa from 1993-96, and afterward to the Maryknoll Justice & Peace Office in Washington D.C. from 1996-2002. He will make a PowerPoint presentation on “The Background to the Palestinian Question.” Members of the Gaza Freedom March delegation, Diane Baker, Roger Kallenberg and Josh Smith, will be just returning from their trip to Egypt where they and more than 1,300 internationals attempted to go into Gaza to support the people living under the Israeli blockade there. At First Community United Church of Christ, 9120 Ferguson Rd."
Monday, January 11, 2010
We are still fighting a battle with the Neocons, and they are constantly mis-representing Islam. As Muslims, we need to rise above and make an effort to understand ideas and concepts without being judgmental.
Let me give you the example of the railway lines, two parallel rail lines run for the length they have designed to run and each line stands on its own. They do not converge, but they exist side by side.
Like wise, there are several faiths that exist side by side. Acknowledging their existence and accepting that it is God’s will to have made us different, and then his guidance for us to know each other is simply Pluralism. Pluralism is not a religion, it is an attitude to be respectful of others sentiments and faiths.
Pluralism is not Deen-e-Elahi and pluralism is not a religion. Pluralism is simply an attitude of who we deal with others. Pluralism is co-existence. The idea of integration is oppressive and expects the minority to merge with the majority.
Pluralism is NOT integration, it is purely co-existence. You are who you are and, I am who I am, and let’s figure out a way to live with least conflicts.
Pluralism is an attitude of respecting the otherness of other and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of his creation.
Of the several beautiful values, one of the most important values of Islam is to leave the judgment call to Allah and practice non-judgementality in our daily lives. We recite the verse Malik-i-yomiddin so many times a day and hope that becomes a part of it.
Here on this group, except personal attacks all views on a given topic have been posted. We need to resist the thought of gaining support from a few to be against some one. What is the need for it? We all can read between the lines.
As a moderator of this group, I express my views and welcome all other views. My Pluralistic attitude encourages me to present all views, even if they are contrary to my own. This is a critical value, as Muslims, we need to consider adopting. This leads to a development of healthy societies.
Conformity kills creativity; it is the push for conformity that we have gotten behind. The world would not have moved an inch forward if we were all conformist. From a religious point of view – we would not have had the two divisions or six schools of thought.
We are not a monolithic lot, and most certainly each one of us is responsible on the day of reckoning – I am responsible for me and no else will come to rescue me except the good things I have done. Your take and my take on Islam would differ on a few issues and that is healthy. There is no compulsion in Islam.
Monday, January 4, 2010
To the People of
The Malaysian Government may consider setting up a commission to figure out who owns Allah. From what I know, no one owns the word "Allah" nor does any one own "Allah". I can have one of the seven billionth (# of people) piece of God without asking permission from any one. And each part would be fulsome seven billion. You are welcome to steal my piece, I still would have it; owning one piece is like owning whole of the God.
Same formula applies to the other names of God be it Yahweh, Krishna, Allah, Ahura Mazda, Wahe Guru, God or any other name one can imagine to call on the creator. God probably would be embarrassed if he figures out that we believe him to have limited linguistic comprehension, and that he only understands Hebrew, Sanskrit, Pali, Avesta, Aramaic, Latin or Arabic. Quite! Let him know not.
Perhaps, one single event led to the other and the whole cosmos came into being. Whether it is evolution, creation or big bang, the fact of the matter is we exist. Thus the concept of oneness of creation, oneness of the humanity and oneness of the people translates into Oneness of God, One all loving God. Our Atheist friends don't have to call that thing God, just call it the causer of evolution, creation or the big bang; or don't call any thing, he has no problems with it and I know I don't.
I hope you find the answer in various ways of praising your version of the lord; your lord, my version and every one's lord; the same causer and sustainer of the creation. Whatever way works for you is good, why should it matter how you worship? Your devotion to the creator is your own, it won't interfere with my life and it should not worry us a bit.
God has not signed a secret deal with you to tell me that your way is the right way, you quote the Qur'aan, I will quote the Vedas, Bible, Torah, Avesta and other books or my native friend may quote his/her traditions. None of us is wrong, each one has his or her own version and all versions produce the same result; acknowledging something higher, immortal than us and that we have be humble, and humility eats up arrogance and brings conflictlessness among the people. That is what the kingdom of heaven is all about or may be more per you, and that is fine with me.
The phrases like No God, One God, Many Gods, One family or Vasudeva Kutumbukum is all about peaceful co-existence of diverse people as one family. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Since I am a human like you and happen to believe in one of the 250 versions of God, let me share my version of that creator with you and I invite you to share your version right here in the comments section. Remember we create God in our own image, so there are at least 7 billion versions of the same God, and he (she or it) loves every which way we bow to him, acknowledge it and respect her.
My version is Islamic, still the same God.
The symbols in this article are the name of God, "Allah" in Arabic, as a Muslim I won't lock the unlockable God in words or in picture; it is not a being and is certainly not containable. No one's version is complete to the other, but given our limitations we create him in our own image, a deeper image en-carved in our imagination that is inexplicable and invisible like the pain in the neck.
The Qur'aan starts with this verse:
Translation by Mohammad Asad
1:2 All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds,
Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena
الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (1:2)
In this instance, the term "worlds" denotes all categories of existence both in the physical and the spiritual sense. The Arabic expression rabb - rendered by me as ',`Sustainer" - embraces a wide complex of meanings not easily expressed by a single term in another language. It comprises the ideas of having a just claim to the possession of anything and, consequently, authority over it, as well as of rearing, sustaining and fostering anything from its inception to its final completion. Thus, the head of a family is called rabb ad-dar ("master of the house") because he has authority over it and is responsible for its maintenance; similarly, his wife is called rabbat ad-dar ("mistress of the house"). Preceded by the definite article al, the designation rabb is applied, in the Qur'an, exclusively to God as the sole fosterer and sustainer of all creation - objective as well as conceptual - and therefore the ultimate source of all authority.(By Mohammad Asad, Quran Ref: 1:2 )
Here is how the last chapter begins :
114:1 SAY: "I seek refuge with the Sustainer of men,
:[Allah:seek refuge with Him] [Allah's attributes:Cherisher and Sustainer] [Mankind]
Qul aAAoothu birabbi alnnasi
قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ (114:1)
The most important aspect of quoting both the first and last chapters of Qur'aan has a purpose in it. Both verses do not address Muslims exclusively, in turn they address the whole cosmos and the human beings.
Allah is addressing all of us in the book; he made sure that he did not address one people to exclude the other. He may have been motivated by the fear that some other God may take away the unclaimed people, so he was smart enough to include every one from the beginning to the end. I am sure he used the same strategy in all his books, be it the Vedas, Bible, Torah or any book or just through the oral traditions that our brothers and sisters in native and earth based traditions follow.
God belongs to all, we don't need to own him (her or it), let him remain the creator and owner of our lives and let us call him whichever way we can.
The Neocons Muslims (Equal and opposite counterparts of Neocons in all faiths) need to be happy that the Christians and Sikhs want to keep "Allah" as one of the names of God. Indeed, the Arab Christians also call the creator Allah. Perhaps it is the same word Ilahi Jesus used to use in Aramaic.
Allah is God's name in Arabic. Allah, the creator and sustainer has no problems if we call him Yahweh, Ahura Mazda, Buddha, God, Ishwar, Mahavir, Wahe Guru or Allah. Let's not limit the capabilities of God to a language and a religion. He is the creator and sustainer of all worlds.
As a Muslim I welcome every one to call God with his name in Arabic – "Allah" with equal devotion and honor. Quietly and peacefully this would be the response of over 99% of Muslims in the world. It is time for us to appeal the majority of Muslims in
Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and
Friday, January 1, 2010
Rev. Dianne Baker is a minister who believes in justice as the heart of the religion, she is a fellow board member at the
You should see the goodness flowing from the Bakers, Burnams, Ellis, Evans, Majors and so many others at the Dallas Peace Center, they are Jewish, Muslim, Christian and every one is welcome. They would all stand up for the rights of Muslims or any human. How many of us would do that for others? If you can, please join us at the Dallas Peace center. Roger Kellenberg, a Jew has gone to join the
It is Jewish to stand for social justice and it is Muslim, Hindu or Christian to stand for justice. Each one of us has a small percentage of violators, but the overwhelming majority of all of us are good people and we have an interest in keeping the world safe and just for every one. Pointing fingers will not bring solutions but looking for solutions does.
Justice is justice for every human being, it will expand your horizons from being a self-centered Muslim who wants others to do things for him, but un- willing to serve others because they are not Muslims. This has to be purged from our minds for the good of every human in this society. If you realize the good things Christians and Jews have done for this nation, whose beneficiaries are you and I, you would appreciate them. Don't judge people from the acts of a few, there will always be bad people scheming and planning out of imagined fears, we need to allay those fears and bring them all aboard.
The reason we have it easy to build Mosques is because Jews worked hard for it to have it for them, it made it easy for us. The reason we can bury our departed in our own way is because Jews have worked for it, the reason we can have Halal meat is because they have worked for it. The reason you can send you kids to school is because Jews have worked hard to prevent indoctrination of one kind or the other in schools. We need to stand up with them for doing good things.
The African Americans led by Martin Luther King brought the civil rights, and that is the only reason most of us whether Muslims or others, have made it to this nation. We have to work with them for the goodness they have brought to this country.
I stood up firmly with the Hindus when they opposed the Ten Commandment monument in the public square along with Atheists. Muslims should have joined, thank God; at least I represented Islam. Our goodness is expressed when we do things that are good for everyone. I do not want a benefit that will benefit me and not others, such benefits are deleterious to long term peace ans sustainable goodness.
I wrote strongly against the bill introduced by the Muslim countries at the United Nations to make it a law against blasphemy. This is a short term solution and is not good for any religion. It benefits us for now, but in the long haul, it will breed resentment and will affect the balance. Freedom should triumph and freedom of speech and religions should triumph.
The Christians of all denominations have worked hard to preserve the freedom of speech and religion and we need to stand for the freedom and not make any compromises. Freedom is the only thing that will succeed in the long haul as American stands testimony to it.
Speak up for the good of all humanity, not just Muslims. Being a good human is good for nothing unless you are willing to stand up for Justice – not just for us but for every one, then we have done our duty to human kind and that is what being a good Muslim is.
When Diane and Roger come back, organize a dinner to honor them – not because they supported a cause that is dear to you, but because they stood up for human rights. Start making your parties worthwhile. I like to see the next social event to honor these folks. Bring your Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and other friends. Let us fall the barriers that a few are working hard to erect for their personal gains. Goodness has no money it, but brings goodness to every one including you.
8:00 AM, Carrollton, TX
I was looking at the number of people listed as born on January 1 on the Facebook, they are too many, the longest list I have seen. For many, it is really not their birthday; they were born on another day.
They are usually from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and in their fifties. A whole lot of them are from suburban areas of their country. I did run into a few from other nations who were born twice like me.
Most of us were born at homes and in small towns where no effective birth registration process was in place during the first decade of independence of the countries of the subcontinent. When they took us to schools for registration, they did not even have a birth certificate, so the parents said “put it January 1" and that's how we got it.
With the need to have accurate census, and the five year plans that India embarked upon, things changed. Even that was not accurate until the babies were birthing in hospitals. My Dad was also the hereditary chief of a town, they called him the Patel of Sitarampur, a tiny village about 70 miles from Bangalore and until I left the country in 1977, he was still visiting Sitarampur and getting his assistant to report births and deaths to the then burgeoning census bureau till his death in 1977. No one in the family wanted to continue in that role, so it went to his cousin my uncle.
I am a year older than I am. This is funny language isn't it? It's been funny from the title itself.
I was born on January 26, 1953 and my Dad took me to school to register, he was the Mayor of the town of Yelahanka, the town which gave birth to Bangalore (although my friend Dr. Shariff argues that it was the town of Magadi) then, and I was four years old. He had already taught me how to read and write in four languages; Urdu, Hindi, Kannada and English.
The schools then followed one rule - the kids have to be 5 years old. Heck, in one minute, I became a five year old boy and my birthday registered was January 1, 1952. That is what has stuck with me and many more that are in my age group. It is listed on all my records, including my passport. But I celebrate it on 26th. In fact, except my Drivers license and passport and official records, I have listed my birthday on 26th, including here on the face book. My friend Abusaleh Shariff tagged here on facebook had only one birthday - May 5, 1953, he was also from a small town but his Dad was the Head Master of the school in Magadi.
There are many of us here in the US and back home in India who get birthday wishes on one day, but celebrate on the other. If you can relate with it, let us know.
My profile: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp
Pictures: when I was six L-R: My sister, Mom, Grandma, me and my brother infront Victoria Hospital, where I was born 10 lb, 2 ounces - my mother kept saying that they gave her some kind of silver medal for delivering a big one.
He was considered Father of Pluralism in Indonesia
"Whether we realise it or not, really, he was the father of pluralism and multiculturalism in Indonesia," he said. The former leader was buried in his East Java hometown, Jombang, where about 5000 supporters gathered to welcome his motorcade. His supporters have held vigils at mosques, churches, .... Bruce Grant is a former diplomat and was foundation chairman of the Australia-Indonesia Institute. His former wife, Ratih Hardjono, has remarried and lives in Indonesia. ...
* Pluralist is one who believes in co-existence and respects the otherness of other for common good. In religious terms, the one who does not depreciate other faiths to have his faith look good. He sees the beauty in each faith and heartily praises one.
More articles at - http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=abdurrahman+wahid&aq=1&oq=abdurrahman&aqi=g5g-s1g4&rlz=1R2RNTN_enUS359