The Human Cohesion Project — 16 Apr 2021
A part of my workday today was spent with an interfaith dialogue space in India. We asked participants to reflect upon a few questions, in groups based on their religious identities. I urge you to reflect upon these too, based on your identity (being an atheist/ agnostic/ non-religious/ spiritual is also a faith-based identity):
- What do I want other people to know about my faith?
- As someone practicing or upholding a certain religion or faith-based identity, what are my asks from others?
- As someone practicing or upholding a religion or faith-based identity, what am I willing to give to others (in the context of their faith)?
It was rather heart-rending to listen to the responses. The group that represented the religious majority of the country used the opportunity to wax eloquent about the glory of their faith. Invariably, the tone of response in all the minority groups was that of defense. All of them felt the need to justify how they did not mean any harm and only wished for safety and accommodation. Of course, in the context of the dialogue that the participants are engaged in, this will inform our way forward.
However, what occurred with this group of participants is also symptomatic of the rest of the world. Even in countries aiming to be secular, the majority occupies space with a sense of entitlement, while the minorities request to be accommodated. The game of scale we play in economics and business also gets played out in religion and faith, when there is identity politics.
As a citizen of the world, how would you wish to engage with this reality?
Ramadan Kareem. May we learn to look at ourselves squarely in the mirror.
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