Published at Dallas Morning News and www.TheGhouseDiary.com
Pope Francis is my inspiration and my religious leader. Even though he is a Christian and I am a Muslim and observe different rituals, the essence of both the religions is same; to help develop an individual’s behavior to attain peace for oneself, and to live cohesively with what surrounds him; life and environment. – Mike Ghouse
Texas Faith column at Dallas Morning News, published by Rudolph Bush on February 10, 2015 6:09 pm
There are none of us who can walk alone very long. We need the hand and help of others to pick us up at times. And we need their thoughts to buttress us or to test our own. We need their company and their companionship to comfort us.
Last week, I had to scratch my head and admit to my friends who contribute to this blog that the well was dry. I had no questions that I thought were worth asking them. So I asked them to submit questions. And good friends that they are on our journey, several quickly chimed in.
I chose the first one over the transom, from Fr Joshua Whitfield at St. Rita Parish. It was an excellent question that I think gets to the heart of what we are trying to do here -to commune with one another over our beliefs and our common humanity.
Thanks Fr. Joshua. Here is your question.
“Who is someone from another faith tradition either another denomination or another faith altogether that has inspired you, shaped you, or formed you in your own faith? And why is it a good thing to read and study others outside your own faith tradition?”
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas
Pope Francis is my inspiration and my religious leader. Even though he is a Christian and I am a Muslim and observe different rituals, the essence of both the religions is same; to help develop an individual’s behavior to attain peace for oneself, and to live cohesively with what surrounds him; life and environment.
Studying other religions is critical, as it removes the arrogance and claims of superiority of one’s faith over the others. Arrogance is the mother of all conflicts and destroys the relationships between individuals, communities and nations. Humility on the other hand builds bridges and is a core value in every religion. Most people get that right and few don’t.
On March 13, 2013 within minutes of his appointment, I wrote, “I hope he heralds a new beginning for building a better world. In behalf of the people of faith or no faith, and my faith Islam, I welcome the Pope and make myself available to jump at his call for creating peace and harmony in the world, where no human has to live in fear of the others, let the world be the new kingdom of heaven where we all feel safe and secure with each other. Amen”
There are a few deeply rooted conflicts among the Muslim-Christian, and Jewish-Christian communities that are the root cause of much of the conflict in the world, they have been simmering within the hearts and minds of the Christians, Muslims and Jews, and flare up now and then in difficult expressions.
The world needs a powerful personality to urge Muslims, Jews and Christians to learn to respect the otherness of the other without the temptation to correct the other. It needs a strong personality that can absolve Jews from the myths ascribed to them. It needs a pope who is a blessed peacemaker and extends his embrace to the Pagans, Hindus and all others who do not worship or worship God in their own way. He has got to initiate a dialogue on same sex marriage, women priesthood, birth control, intrafaith, and interfaith relations. We are all children of God and honoring each other is honoring the creator.
Indeed Pope Frances is working on all that, and has earned my adoration and admiration. He is an ideal human being that Prophet Muhammad taught one to be. He is my Pope, the ideal Muslim Pope. I have written over 15 articles about him including an interview by a Catholic News Paper. It is all at http://mikeghouse.net/PopeFrancis.asp
Pope Francis is a mercy to mankind, and it simply means his thoughts; talks and acts bring hope, security and relief to women, minorities, children, oppressed, powerless, the poor and the weak.
Pope Francis is my hero and my inspiration. He represents the values of pluralism espoused by Jesus Christ. That is respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of his creation. No one falls out of his ambit of love, none at all. It is my dream to go see the Pope and be his ambassador and a blessed peace maker.
We pray that Pope Francis ushers us into a new era of dialogue and respect for each other, Amen.
Studying other religions is critical to world peace and harmony; it removes the baseness in us, and elevates us from animalistic beings (dominance and annihilation of the other) to humanistic beings (dialogue and co-existence).
God in Qur’an says he has intentionally created us into many tribes, communities and nations, and by extrapolation religions, culture, races and languages from a single couple. Had he wanted, he would have created every one of us to be exactly the same, but he chose to give us unique thumb prints, DNA, taste buds and other uniqueness. Then he adds, the best ones among you are those who will take the time to know each other, he knows that knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of different points of view for a well functioning cohesive world.
Nine other Panelists have responded with their own favorites, to read them all please visit Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News – http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/02/texas-faith-who-inspires-you.html/#more-51113
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I have been writing for over 5 years now, and have written over 200 pieces.
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer
and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society,
gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch
defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon,
and a movie “Americans together” is in the making. He is a frequent guest
commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major
news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is
listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are
at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10
other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers
pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.