A Better World Essay

We are engaged in wars that we seem unable either to end or to win.

Disputes that were secular in origin, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, have been allowed to fester and become "holy," and once they have been sacralized, positions tend to harden and become resistant to pragmatic solutions.

When stocks plummet in one country, there is a domino effect in markets all around the world.

What happens today in Gaza or Afghanistan is now likely to have repercussions tomorrow in London or New York.

And yet at the same time we are bound together more closely than ever before through the electronic media.

Suffering and want are no longer confined to distant, disadvantaged parts of the globe. All faiths insist that compassion is the test of true spirituality and that it brings us into relation with the transcendence we call God, Brahman, Nirvana, or Dao. The recipient is given 0,000 but, more important, is granted a wish for a better world. One of the chief tasks of our time must surely be to build a global community in which all peoples can live together in mutual respect; yet religion, which should be making a major contribution, is seen as part of the problem.We don’t have to look far—just look at how our neighbors, Japan and South Korea, have surpassed us in the arts!In a better world, we wouldn’t just let mathematicians, physicists, and chemists focus on their research, like Ren Zhengfei says—we would also make room for historians, philosophers, and anthropologists to discover the past and reveal to us the reality of human existence, and would let our children know and remember the glory and the suffering of our people.I see the utility of this choice: it takes into account only what you can accomplish in the years of your life, and leaves out your children and your children’s children.More importantly, to make this choice is to give up the fight for your personal destiny, and thus to give up the essence of life.In a better world, our children, and our children’s children, would be able to live together in peace and equality, to be part of the global conversation, and to share in the blessings of human civilization, no matter their ethnicity, faith, skin color, gender, or sexual orientation.Elton John is already 72 years old, and has just started his two-year “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour.In their public pronouncements, they rarely speak of compassion but focus instead on such secondary matters as sexual practices, the ordination of women, or abstruse doctrinal formulations, implying that a correct stance on these issues — rather than the Golden Rule — is the criterion of true faith.Yet it is hard to think of a time when the compassionate voice of religion has been so sorely needed. There is a worrying imbalance of power and wealth and, as a result, a growing rage, malaise, alienation, and humiliation that has erupted in terrorist atrocities that endanger us all.


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