Within the heart of Eurasia, Kazakhstan, from Sept 13-15, the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a triennial event kept in Astana since 2003, called upon luxurious and religious leaders across the globe to come to their senses and see that will humanity’s shared values, universal and unchanging, must serve as the starting point for significant dialogue in a war-torn and conflict-ridden world.
At the moment of great peril when the drums of war are pounding around the world, the Astana Congress emphasized that diplomats need to double down on the language of reconciliation and compromise just before engaging in conflicts that are avoidable. Unfortunately, the majority of mainstream media disregarded the Astana Congress even though the religious world’s top hierarchs participated.
Pope Francis summarized the Astana Our elected representatives in an interview on his way back in order to Rome, urging constantly dialogue, “an outstretched hand, always! Due to the fact otherwise we close up the only reasonable doorway to peace. ” In other words, to argue that will international or inter-civilizational conflicts are solved only by push is not only shortsighted however the cause of immense struggling. Humanity can perform better.
No easy task
The particular Astana Congress symbolized a welcome dose of optimism in a world dominated simply by pessimism and the quest for self-interest. It was a lot more than incense, smells, and bells; it fomented concrete wedding between civilizations that will at times have been each and every other’s throats.
Prior to doomsayers outright dismiss the efforts of religious leaders for peace as hopelessly naïve – since present-day followers associated with Thucydides, Machiavelli plus Mackinder tend to think – they should browse the discourses of Pope Francis , Yitzhak Yosef , Sephardic Main Rabbi of His home country of israel, Ahmed El-Tayeb , the particular Grand Imam associated with al-Azhar, and Metropolitan Anthony from the Russian Orthodox Church, to understand that there is space for dialogue among civilizations.
Patient dialogue just before warmongering
The media and diplomats should take a cue from Kazakh Leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev , the host of the congress and head of state of the ninth-largest country in the world:
“Unfortunately, tension, shared distrust, and even hatred are returning to worldwide relations. What can we rely on in order to counter today’s difficulties? History provides only one answer – goodwill, dialogue, and cooperation. There are most guarantees of achievement. Threats, sanctions, and the use of drive do not solve issues. [W]e must turn to humanistic ideals, the main custodians of which are, of course , traditional religions. ”
Announcement of the Astana Our elected representatives
To paraphrase the Astana Congress Declaration ’s major messages:
- The value system that should guide diplomatic engagement and open public policy should not relax on a “will-to-power” beliefs but rather on ethical norms (permanent spiritual values) embedded in human nature from all eternity, that is, since human beings are rational and still have human dignity, conversation and compromise are possible. Therefore conflict is not unavoidable.
- Any public plans, economic development plans or diplomatic initiatives that are narrowly concentrated, that is, ignore (by design or omission) the dignity of the human person, are doomed to undermine the common good plus peace. The view that the maximization of self-interest (in a zero-sum environment) defines “good moral behavior, ” no matter the cost to others, is fundamentally incorrect and can lead to the suffering and shift of vast numbers of people. History is clear on this point. We must discover another way.
- It is of paramount importance that world commanders give special attention in order to the “institution from the family. ” Put simply, the world’s main religions oppose, not on theological but rather on philosophical plus scientific grounds, the introduction of misguided ideas that alter the meaning from the family as realized over the course of millennia.
- The dominant “culture of death” mindset in modern society, that is aggressively promoted by highest international circles, works against oneness and fraternity and fuels wars, financial dissolution, societal failure and mass, involuntary migration. The particular “culture of life” is always better than “the culture of demise. ”
- The meanings of “religion” and “political religion” are antonyms and must not be conflated. Whereas the former has built up civilizations over the centuries, plus usually, though not always, advocated for peacefulness, the latter’s whole modus operandi will be the instrumentalization of religious beliefs. Highly partisan, polarizing and sometimes violent, it aims to achieve political power and often pursues plans detrimental to the individual, family, and modern society.
- “Extremism, radicalism, terrorism and all other forms associated with violence and battles, whatever their motivations and goals, possess nothing to do with genuine religion and must be rejected in the most powerful possible terms. ” As such, “political and public figures, journalists and bloggers, [should refrain from identifying] extremism and terrorism with any nation or religion or using religions for political purposes. ”
Much more is certainly contained in the Declaration of the VII Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. (Also see the Document on Human Fraternity meant for World Peace plus Living Together agreed upon in 2019 simply by Pope Francis plus Ahmad Al-Tayeb along with the Makkah Declaration adopted in Mecca in May 2019. )
Introspection, fraternity, empathy
Pope Francis said , “I have come to echo the request of all those who cry out for peace, which is the essential path to growth for our globalized entire world. ” Is anyone listening, the Pope is asking, or is it just as well difficult to turn hate off or find and experience the struggling of others? The particular religious leaders within Astana were saying it is high time designed for deep personal introspection and compassion, which is, “ Frater qui adiuvatur the fratre quasi civitas firma ” (Brother helped simply by brother is a fortress).
Leader Tokayev, in his closing remarks , underscored that the Astana Congress’ Announcement must “serve like a guide for governments, political leaders and international organizations, ” whose responsibility is to “collectively condemn both ‘power politics’ plus ‘hate speech, ’ which contribute to the particular mutual alienation associated with nations, the chafing of states as well as the degradation of global relations. ”
Let us hope that political leaders, diplomats, and the major press pay attention to these words and those of the religious leaders who reached Astana.