STEPHEN ACOSTA / GUEST COLUMNIST
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Oct. 22, 2014
Several renowned religious leaders of different faiths in Orange County gathered at the Dialogue on Scriptural Interpretations of Peace on Oct. 11 at UC Irvine. The event’s purpose was to share how each religion’s scripture teaches and promotes peace.
“Islam and violence are a contradiction of each other. Islam is a religion of peace, not violence,” said Waqas Syed, president of the Islamic Circle of North America Chapter.
The event was hosted by the international nonprofit Heavenly Culture World Peace and Restoration of Light as a follow-up to the successful World Peace Summit that took place last month. At the summit, more than 1,000 religious leaders gathered and signed an alliance of religions peace agreement for a commitment to world peace and cessation of war.
“Each religion claims to be based on the creator, yet there are hundreds of different religions with different scriptures and practices,” said Man H. Lee, the chairman of HWPL. “These religions then have disputes with each other, bringing disgrace upon God. It is through this that corruption has manifested itself throughout religious denominations.”
The discussion was the start of creating a formal and long-term setting for the Alliance of Religions so different religious leaders can study each sacred text to compare, contrast and deepen the understanding of how peace is embedded in all beliefs.
“This discussion really made me think. … I never really asked the question of why wars keep happening within religion when religion is supposed to be all about peace,” said Sherrene Tan, a student at UCI.
Students who attended the discussion also had an opportunity to ask the speakers about their own scripture and how most conflicts are related to religious agendas.
As a resolution to ensure the long-lasting peace and relationship between religions, Dr. Hum Dac Bui, spokesperson for the Cao Dai legislative body, agreed on the need of creating a space for the study of different religious scriptures.
“No religion is bad, but misunderstanding is a problem. So in Cao Dai, we believe that all religions are good, but religious followers of Cao Dai need to study all other religions because we follow the principle that all religions are one, and we have to prove it; and in order to prove, it we have to study all other religions,” he said.
In addition to studying every religious text, Sikh leader Sarbjit Singh remarked: “It’s important especially for the youth who will become leaders of tomorrow. The youth need to educate themselves and help educate others, which will help promote peace to the whole world.”
The public discourse took place at a time when the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Malala Yousafzai, who is a Muslim from Pakistan, and Kailash Satyarthi, a Hindu from India. Tensions are rising between those two countries. Both have agreed to work together to bring peace as advocates for children’s rights and education, highlighting the importance of interfaith unity.
HWPL’s efforts to reach the youth and the general public to promote the education of world religions’ sacred texts in sacred temples, mosques or churches proves to be the most challenging work the organization has faced. But through the support and commitment of many local religious leaders, HWPL will continue to host its open dialogue regarding peace for the upcoming months to promote and establish a peace platform for the Alliance of World Religions.
The next discussion will take place on Dec. 6. The location has not been determined.
– Stephen Acosta is press and media liaison at Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light.
Article Courtesy: OC Register