"We" Multiculturalism through globalization has challenged our society to adapt with the times by thinking of world religions as more of a brotherhood of faith rather than a threat. In the last chapter of the book Encountering God, the author Diana Eek puts an emphasis on the interdependent world we live in and how we, as human beings will need to approach today's problems as a whole if we wish to overcome life's various hurdles.
Evidence of the interdependent world we live can be seen by observing the statistics of the relatedness of population growth and the growth of poverty and illiteracy to the growth of carbon dioxide emissions and the pollution of the seas, striping of forests, extinction of plant and animal species (Eek, Peg. 200, 2003). Eek states that in this interdependent world, there will always be a consequence for every action made and the world as a whole will inevitably have to deal with the repercussions one way or another.
Interdependency does not Just stop with nations and the environment or economy; it also describes people, religious traditions and cultures. (Eek, Peg. 202, 2003). Since everything is mutually dependent n each other weather it being religion, the economy or the environment, society needs to consciously act on each physical or mental dilemma with everyone's best interest in mind. The first step into transforming the world religions into a brotherhood of faith, is taking care of the major issue that all religions face today which is the perceived "we" language of each religion that seems to divide our society rather than unite them.
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Eek describes that the "we" language that's evident in every religion as a sociological matter as well as a theological issue that seems to reflect our "deepest" religious values. Eek, Peg. 203, 2003). She challenges the reader to ask themselves if there use of the word we links people or divides people. According to Eek, in every tradition there seems to be at least some attempts (some more than others) to steer toward a much wider understanding of "we".
For example, Hindus believe that the whole world is a single family-Visualize Katmandu, Buddhists speak of the sang and the four directions, Christians with the language of Kiosks (derived from the word autoimmune, translates to the household of the whole inhabited Earth), and the Muslims attempt to find different ways to interpret the Mama (Eek, Peg. 203, 2003). Even though this sort of open minded thinking we're talking about clearly exists in each religion, it's clear we're not where we'd like to be considering the frequent airing of violence involving religious disputes on places like the internet and T.
V. People are taking religious sides and are missing the big picture and which will only result in more bad press and casualties. In my eyes this can be attributed to ignorance formed by lack of interrelations dialogue. In order for religious dialogue to be effective, Eek leads me to believe that one must first recreate he "we". Eek often referenced one of the most open minded and enlightening religious figures in history to convey the importance of recreating the "we" and its impact on transforming society. According to Eek, Gandhi redefined the inclusive we in theory but more importantly in practice.
Gandhi started at the household level to extend the care, ethics and common sense of the household to the whole of humankind (Eek, Peg. 206, 2003). Eek states that he believed that the "personal" was the "political", meaning he saw no point in speaking of things like oppression of the or if one continued to support the status quo through ones daily decisions in life. Instead of speaking of the social injustices that were going on around him (political), he personally made an impact by volunteering to clean the latrines, help out at the hospital, and empty bedpans (Eek, Peg. 07, 2003). Sandhog's lifestyle was greatly impacted by all the social injustice going on in the world. Sandhog's "we" not only included the poor and the oppressed but his enemies as well. He felt that a transformed community would never be reached if conflict is cast in terms of winning ND losing (Eek, Peg. 206, 2003). This kind of humility and consciousness should be implemented in the approach to interrelations dialogue in order to bind all religions as a brotherhood of faith.
But until we recreate the "we" in society, interrelations dialogue will never reach its potential of mutual transformation. Diana Eek provides the reader with a refreshing option for encountering plurality of religions by remaining Christian, yet holding a deep respect for all religions. As Gandhi was inspired by some aspects of religion, Diana Eek was inspired by Sandhog's attempt to recreate the "we". She too felt that in order for society to solve today's toughest problems, we must approach these problems as a whole. Eek explains how our daily decisions can cause a ripple effect.
She conveys to the reader that "we", as human beings, can make a change for the better by recreating the "we" in our language to link rather than divide. After successfully recreating the "we", one can break the ignorance and fear and gain a mutual understanding of different religions through mutual understanding. As Eek states, with mutual understanding comes mutual transformation. Mutual transformation will only lead society to adapt with the times y thinking of world religions as more of a brotherhood of faith rather than a threat.
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