BFS wrote:This quote by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in When The Iron Bird Flies, puts it into perspective, for me.Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama: "For a truly religious person there is never any basis for quarrel or dispute. Yet it is a fact that there have been so-called religious wars. However, the people involved in these were not practising religion but were merely using religion as an instrument of power. The actual motivation was selfish, not spiritual.
Yes, that's true. I guess what I should have said earlier is that the misuse of religion has been one of the most negative forces in history.
BFS wrote:"Four people from the Abbey attended the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan at the Spokane Islamic Center. There were prayers and a huge, delicious meal that followed it. A woman from the mosque who had lunch with the Abbey residents afterwards wrote to us, “It was a pleasure meeting you all. I met several people who attended the EID activity and they were impressed with your presence. It meant so much for everyone the support and solidarity you offered. A simple physics theory says that constant movement of butterfly wings over time create a hurricane and I am a believer. The collective effect of drops of kindness inside each person can lead to peace and tolerance. Meeting wonderful people gives one hope and a positive outlook.”
That is a great example of the friendships which can be built between members of different religions. Even if people of different faiths disagree about every theological issue, it is very significant if they simply meet each other and see that they are both reasonable, decent human beings who are worthy of kindness and respect.
Fear and distrust of people of other religions has also led to a lot of historical tragedies (the massacre of the Sikhs in Punjab, etc.). When more people of different faiths talk to each other respectfully, they make it less likely that such events will be repeated.
However, I would feel more positively about Christians and Muslims if I saw more of them speaking out against war. I frequently read surveys which indicate that Conservative Christians are far more likely to support wars in the Middle East than other people in the US. This always makes me feel uneasy. Who cares about smiles on Sunday morning if the same people wouldn't hesitate a second to heavily bomb any country they feel threatened by?