March , 2018
“The power of religion can bind us as well as blind us”
13:42 pm

Father Francis Gonsalves, S.J.

Principal, Vidyajyoti College of Theology,
New Delhi


Heart is H. There are three things that we all share that begin with the letter ‘H’. The first is something that we all understand and that is ‘humanity’ or ‘insaniyat’. The second ‘H’ that we all share is ‘home’. By home I mean the world. Each one of us here belongs to the earth. We come from the earth and we go back to the earth. The third ‘H’ I would like to propose is ‘harmony’. Everybody here wants harmony and happiness.  Religion is a tremendous power which comes from the Latin word ‘religare’ that means binding. It binds very powerfully and forcefully. But on the other hand, religion also blinds. You have fanatics who say that they can kill in the name of God.  So you have the power of religion to bind on one hand and to blind on the other hand. Therefore, one must be very careful to see what unites us. What is the so-called confluence that all of us can share.

Every religion has four components. The first component is the creed or the text. Every religion has a scripture which you can say is the creed.  Every religion has cults, rights and rituals. The third is the code or conduct, a set of dos and don’ts. These three are aimed at the fourth component which is community. All of us belong to a religious community and have different conceptions of community - Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, Ram Rajya, Uma of the Islam, Sangha of the Buddhist, Kingdom of God of Christianity and we also have atheists. You are all in some way spiritual. The moment we think well about someone, I think that is the work of a spirit. Spirit impels us to respond to another human being.

The Christian story begins in the book of Genesis and ends in the book of Apocalypse.  Basically, God is a creator. God creates out of nothing and out of love and there are two dimensions to this creation. The first is the power of God’s word.

God created streams, animals, human beings with his potentiality. He created everything as an ecosystem where everything is interconnected and interdependent. Unfortunately we have turned the ecosystem into an ego-system and we are all suffering from so-called ‘I disease’. This disease can be held responsible for climate change.

God created three spheres - the Divine, the Human and the Cosmic. These three spheres should be interdependent to live life fully. So God creates with word and spirit and puts the potentiality into his creation allowing it increase, multiply and generate. Christianity doesn’t go against evolution. It brings creation to life. That remains the first part of the story where God is the creator. Next is the man woman sin. With time, God had sent Jesus Christ. Jesus is the man who harmonised the spiritual, the human and the cosmic dimensions. Jesus born in Bethlehem would say, “I am the bread of life and my life will nourish you.” Jesus taught that God is above everybody and he has come to form a community of love. So first comes creation, then comes Jesus Christ as recreation and that is followed by transcreation where the spirit blows where it wills.

We human beings are responsible for climate change. We all have a cult, use materials, water, fire, agarbati-  that is the cosmic dimension. Human beings performing puja are the human dimension and talking to God is the divine dimension and that is the cult. The point where we can meet cult and creed is conduct. I want all of you to implant in your minds the acronym SIM. By ‘S’ I mean ‘society’ which is governed by the Constitution. ‘I’ is for ‘insaniyat’ and that is our identity. By ‘M’ I mean a ‘mission’ or a movement. Each one of you has a mission and need to work for a movement of love. To combat climate change, all of us need to follow the principles of conversion of thoughts, harmony, believe in God, network with people, ensure good governance and embrace the eco-friendly and an economical environment.

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