Monday, January 21, 2008

The Similarities Between Religions

Last Friday was my father's 83rd birthday. He received the best present that he could. He got to come home after approximately six weeks in hospital and nursing home care. I went to visit him yesterday and he was sleeping peacefully in his chair. There's no place like home.

It was the coldest weekend of this winter. It got down to 7 degrees on Saturday night with wind chills near zero. It was the kind of weather that makes you want to stay indoors as much as possible. The only time I ventured out on Saturday was to join my wife and mother in law for dinner. We were all glad to get back into our warm homes. When I went to bed I said a prayer of thanksgiving for having a home and a warm bed and for all the homeless and others affected by the frigid weather.

Later on Saturday night I watched a television show I had taped several weeks ago but never got a chance to watch. It was called "In God's Name". It was a documentary by the two brothers who made the award winning film about 9/11. Their experience of 9/11 caused them to reflect on the meaning of faith and its place in our lives. For this film, they followed some of the world's major religious leaders through a day in their lives. All major religions were represented. There were Christians, Buddhists, Hindu's, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, and Shinto's. There were interviews with the Pope, the Dalai Lama, the leader of the Southern Baptists, a Rabbi, several Muslims, and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. All of them gave their views on faith and doubt and the place of religion in the lives of people. I have seen shows like this before and I always walk away feeling the same. Yes, there are differences in theology and doctrine, but basically we are all the same. There are many common themes, not the least of which are the belief in the power of love and the desire for peace. There is no justification in any religion for hatred and war. No one believes that God approves of these things.

On a lighter note, Chloe went to the movies for the first time. She and her parents saw "Alvin and the Chipmunks". This opens up a whole new world for my wife and me. Now we have a new answer to the question, "What can we do to entertain Chloe"?

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