Radical Author Issues Invitation to Religious Leaders

Albuquerque, NM (PRWEB) November 21, 2005

At his recent 70th birthday celebration, the Dalai Lama said all religions were “more or less the same,” with their fundamental compassion holding the key to world peace. In the same week, conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson warned citizens of a Pennsylvania town who voted against “intelligent design” that they had rejected God and could expect disaster to strike.

At first glance, the two attitudes seem very different. But radical thinker Sankara Saranam, author of the award-winning book God Without Religion, claims both leaders are misguided. “Robertson is obviously a deeply disturbed individual, and it’s unfortunate, though not entirely surprising, that a major religious sect has such a person at its helm. But the Dalai Lama, who is positioned to be a spiritual role model, ought to know better than to mouth platitudes about religious compassion as the solution to world conflict.”

“If compassion is so fundamental to organized religions, then why have religious beliefs caused so much war and violence?” Saranam asks. “Leaders who represent religious authority—which by definition fosters exclusivity, a false sense of superiority, and a narrow sense of identity in both ecclesiasts and followers—are incapable of promoting peace.”

In God Without Religion, Saranam uncovers the hypocrisy underlying all religions and calls for an end to organized worship. Religions, Saranam says, represent centralized authority that removes power from its rightful place in individuals in ways even more insidious than governments and corporations do. “Organized religions have never represented loving others as ourselves,” he says. “Rather, they embody the perversion of universal virtues that would otherwise be naturally expressed by an expansive human heart.”

Saranam suggests that the way to find peace is not through more reliance on organized religion, but through freeing ourselves from religious identification altogether and expanding our sense of self to unconditionally include the rest of humanity. “Simplistically touting any single virtue as the solution to conflict from within one of the very institutions that causes division is like trying to save a burning house with a water hose in one hand and a flamethrower in the other. Only when we give up identifying with institutions that foster a narrow sense of self and instead devote ourselves to the entire human family will we cease to interpret virtues in self-serving ways.”

Saranam challenges today’s spiritual leaders to symbolically cast off the outer accoutrements of organized religion and exemplify genuine inclusiveness. “If the world’s religious leaders took my criticism to heart and truly embraced a universal spirituality, they could greatly advance the cause of peace—an initiative that, as history abundantly proves, cannot be achieved from within the confines of a prescribed faith,” he counsels. “To end the wars caused by narrow identification with a religion, spiritual leaders need to march side by side as human beings—brothers and sisters free of the artificial boundaries and insignias of authority that foster divisiveness and violence.”



Related World Religion Press Releases

Pave the Way Foundation Issues Call to Action for All World Religions

(PRWEB) June 6, 2005

New York, NY (PRWEB) June 6, 2005 Â? Pave the Way Foundation commends the 58 Pakistani clerics who recently condemned violence in the name of Islam. Their statement is an important step in bringing an end to the chain of violent events that now endanger every human being on the planet. The organization now call upon all world religions to forward their own message condemning those who falsely invoke GodÂ?s name to convince others to commit murder and suicide.

This month, in Lahore, Pakistan, fifty-eight clerics issued a fatwa (decree) declaring that those who believe that suicide attacks are meant to earn blessings would be considered out of Islam. Mufti Mohammad Khan Qadri, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal MNA, Maulana Abdul Malik and other prominent clerics were present on the occasion. The edict says that Islam forbids suicide attacks on Muslims and that those committing such acts at places of worship and public congregations cease to be Muslims. The decree said that killing innocent people was haram (forbidden) in Islam.

Â?The worldÂ?s major conflicts are based in religious extremism,Â? said Gary Krupp, Founder and President of Pave the Way Foundation. Â?ItÂ?s time that the worldÂ?s religions take responsibility for these extremists. Governments cannot respond to religious zealots, only the religions can denounce their misguided interpretations. Only the worldÂ?s religions, in a united voice, can stop the evil people who victimize others by promoting violence by using the name of God.Â?

Pave the Way Foundation calls upon the leaders and all members of the worldÂ?s religions to stand with these brave clerics of Pakistan. The organization calls upon them to make the following statements, true to all the worldÂ?s religions:

Our religion does not condone murder.

Our religion does not condone suicide.

We must take responsibility to help our fellow man.

History is replete with stories of Â?religiousÂ? people harming and killing others in the name of god. These stories have sullied the good name of religion. Yet, history has neglected to report on the true perpetrators, evil individuals who have usurped the name of religion in order to wage war against other individuals and groups.

Pave the Way Foundation is the one organization worldwide dedicated to inter-religious action, by eliminating the obstacles between the faiths through gestures of good will. The group organized and conducted an audience with Pope John Paul II containing the largest number of Jewish persons to ever meet with a pope. Pave the Way arranged to have the works of Maimonides (a 13th-Century Jewish philosopher) loaned from the Vatican to the Israel Museum, the first time in history these writings will be on Israeli soil. It is arranging a mission of peace loving Muslim leaders to travel to Israel to show the world that Muslims do not hate Jews and Israelis and Israelis and Jews do not hate Muslims.

The Pakistani clerics have planted a seed. This growing trend of Muslims, who wish to defend their religion against those who defile its name by acts clearly forbidden in the Holy QurÂ?an, must be encouraged. www.Freemuslims.org is another group, which should be encouraged. The religions must be bonded in their common message and should stand shoulder to shoulder in supporting these benevolent statements.

Â?Destructive extremists exist in all of our religions,Â? said Krupp, Â?When their deeds cause harm to others, the religions must bond together loudly and in unison, with their common message, to condemn these acts. The religions have created these monsters of extremism and must be collectively assume the responsibility of dealing with them.Â?

About Pave the Way Foundation

Pave the Way has a simple yet monumental goal — to enable all world religions to achieve their goals by embracing their similarities and savoring their differences. In today’s world, some try to achieve their goals through violence, in the name of religion. To silently allow this to happen defames every faith. Our vision is that the unified voice of the world’s great religious leaders condemning violence and promoting trust will pave the way to peace.


Gary Krupp

350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3805

New York, NY 10118

(212) 629-0046



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