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The same tribe & the celebration of cultural difference

by The Wrinkle | September 17, 2010

The Wrinkle is off on leave this week for a quick break, so the event I want to start with here is a week or so old. However the discussion where this leads us spans centuries, so timing isn’t really an issue.

Florida pastor Terry Jones made headlines last week as he announced plans to burn a copy of the Koran to commemorate 9/11 and to protest the building of a mosque several blocks away from the World Trade Centre site.

If you look around the world both now and throughout history, the persecution of minorities whether by race, religion, or social strata is an underlying key to unrest and in many cases war. For all its perceived sins one of the greatest strengths the US holds is its constitution, and while it may have been battered a bit of late, the model as outlined by some forward thinking “fathers” of America has weathered the test of time.

We may think that we face extreme religious fundamentalism in many pockets of the world today, but if we contrast this with the “Dark Ages”, the Inquisition, and the multiple Holy Land Crusades, it certainly has been worse. While many of us may wish for a continuous improvement in mankind, it’s very rare to find straight lines in nature.

The Wrinkle would suggest that one thing nature does seem to have is “collective consciousness”. The Wrinkle is sure many of you have heard the Japanese 100 Monkey story of how the technique for washing sweet potatoes passed to the same species of monkey on a totally separate island. Now this story may or may not be as popularly portrayed, but deep down it has some form of resonance with most of us. This, in turn, I would suggest is why the story became so popular.

Most of us if we take a moment would attest to some form of “life” existing. If we take this a little further, rather than consider the common language expression of “life and death”, are we not really “birth and death” and life simply exists?

Further, isn’t religion in all its various guises and forms simply a way of trying to explain life within and around the structure of birth and death, expressed through the eyes and songs of different cultural histories? In this scenario, don’t “all roads lead to Rome”?

Interestingly there is even a religion who has tried to bring all this together, The Ba’hai’s believe in a succession of prophets who have revealed the "Word of God". Prophets include Adam, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, The Bab and Baha'u'llah.

So where does the perceived point of difference lie if not trapped in the ideas that exist between birth and death. Let's go one step further, shouldn’t we be grateful for, and yes, celebrating the variety and differences that give the world its colour?

(you can tell I’m going on holiday can’t you)

Have a great week.

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