WHITHER HUMANITY, WHITHER AsIA, WHITHER SRI LANkA

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WHITHER HUMANITY, WHITHER AsIA, WHITHER SRI LANkA
Asociación Ecuménica de Teólogos/as del Tercer Mundo
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Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians
DOSSIER:
Whither Humanity, Whither Asia, Whither Sri Lanka
Teilhard de Chardin International Conference
Teilhard de Chrdin -third from rigth- working in Asia
Also:
Notebook for Inter-religious Dialogue
Caderno para o Diálogo Inter-religioso
Auf dem Weg zu eineM post-religionalen Paradigma
6th World Forum on Theology & Liberation Tentative Program
AND:
Dossier Edited by Sri Lankan EATWOT
Volume XXXVIII Nº 2015/1
New Series
January-March 2015
A printed version, restricted to Teilhard de Chardin International
Conference, is available. For copies, pease, contact:
Lal Wijesinghe
Sri Lankan EATWOT
[email protected]
Whither Humanity,
Whither Asia,
Whither Sri Lanka
Conferencia Internacional sobre Teilhard de Chardin
en Sri Lanka
VOICES
Release 1.0
http://InternationalTheologicalCommission.org/VOICES
You can access the full New Series of VOICES also at
GlobeTheolLib,
the Global Digital Library on Theology & Ecumenism:
www.globethics.net/web/gtl/globetheolib
(once there, enter «Journals», and choose letter «V» for VOICES).
Advertisements' pages
- The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, Ilia Delio, page 68, English
- Getting the Poor Down from the Cross, EATWOT, page 86, English
- The Genesis of an Asian Theology of Liberation, A. PIERIS, page 102, English
- Toward a Planetary Theology, EATWOT, page 110, English
- On Being a Postcolonial Christian, O'MURCHU, page 114, Englsih
- Along the Many Paths of God, EATWOT, full project, page 132, English
- Aunque no haya un Dios ahí arriba, Roger LENAERS, page 140, español
- Along the Many Paths, EATWOT, pag 150, English
- Escritos sobre Pluralismo, J.M. VIGIL, pag. 178, español
- Vida Eterna. Más alla de cielo e infierno, J.S. SPONG, pág. 188, español
- Teología Cuántica, O'MURCHU, pág. 194, español
- Viver em Deus sem Deus, Roger LENAERS, pág. 200, português
- Revista «Horizonte», pág. 224, português.
- Our next VOICES issue -> 432.
Whither Humanity,
Whither Asia.
Whither Sri Lanka
Teilhard de Chardin International Conference
in Sri Lanka
Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians
Asociacion Ecuménica de Teólogos/as del Tercer Mundo
Association Oecumenique des Theologiens du Tiers Monde
VOICES
Theological Journal of EATWOT,
Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians
New Series, Volume XXXVIII,
Number 2015/1, January-March 2015
Free Digital Printable Multilingual Edition
Release 1.0 of February 28, 2015
ISSN: 2222-0763
EATWOT's Editorial Team: Gerald Boodoo (USA), Ezequiel Silva (Argentina), Arche
Ligo (Philippines), Adam K. arap Checkwony (Kenya), Kemdirim Protus (Nigeria),
Intan Darmawati (Indonesia), Michel Andraos (USA) and José María Vigil (Panama).
VOICES' General Editor: José María Vigil
Dossier on Teilhard de Chardin Conference edited by
Shirley Lal Wijesinghe and Mervyn Fernando
Cover and lay out: Lorenzo Barría and Jose M. Vigil
All the articles of this issue can be reproduced freely,
since given the credit to the source.
Conception and edition of this VOICES' issue received support of CAPES.
A conceição e elaboração deste numero da VOICES teve o apoio da CAPES.
You can download VOICES freely, at:: http://eatwot.net/VOICES
If you want to print this whole Journal on paper for a local edition,
please, contact VOICES,
at its webpage, http://eatwot.org/VOICES
asking for full resolution printable originals.
E A T W O T
Ecumenical Association Of Third World Theologians
Asociación ecuménica de Teólogos/as del Tercer Mundo
A S E T T
EATWOT's web addresses:
All EATWOT's addresses:
Institutional address:
Journal:
Commissions:
eatwot.net
eatwot-TW.org
eatwot.net/VOICES
InternationalTheologicalCommission.org
www.Comision.Teologica.Latinoamericana.org
www.Comissao.Teologica.Latinoamericana.org
www.tiempoaxial.org/AlongTheManyPaths
www.tiempoaxial.org/PorLosMuchosCaminos
www.tiempoaxial.org/PelosMuitosCaminhos
www.tiempoaxial.org/PerIMoltiCammini
CONTENTS - CONTENIDO
Presentation / Presentación...........................................................................9
DOSSIER:
Teilhard International Conference..........................................................15
Teilhard's Mysticism: The Circle of Presence...........................................17
Kathleen DUFFY
The emerging power of Teilhrd's Vision
In the March of Humanity Towards a Common Destiny.........................31
Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
From Noosfere to Omega Point
the Actuality of Teilhard de Chardin's Vision.........................................45
Jacques ARNOULD
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision to the contemporary world
Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity............................................53
Ursula KING
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Thought
with Special Reference to Aurobindo Ghoshe and Rabindranath Tagore.69
M.D. Joseph
8 ·
Religous Life in a Teilhardian Perspective...............................................87
Leopold RATNASEKERA.
Proceedings............................................................................................103
Profiles...................................................................................................111
CADERNO.................................................................................................117
Luiz Carlos SUSIN..................................................................................119
Patrícia Simone do PRADO...................................................................125
Marcelo BARROS....................................................................................141
Magali do Nascimento CUNHA..............................................................159
Rabino Michel SCHLESINGER................................................................167
José María VIGIL....................................................................................173
Karina Arroyo Cruz Gomes de MENESES..............................................189
Adnan Abdallah El SAYED......................................................................201
Luiz Carlos SUSIN..................................................................................217
MORE
Auf dem Weg zu einem post-religionalen Paradigma:
Theologischer Vorschlag.........................................................................227
EATWOT's International Theological Commission
6th WFTL Tunnis 2015 Tentative Programm............................................243
· 9
Presentation
This issue of VOICES includes three distinct blocks of material.
First, our magazine is happy to host in its pages the publication of
papers from the "International Conference on Teilhard de Chardin" held
recently in Sri Lanka, unpublished until now. We thank the organizers
and members of EATWOT-ASIA who participated and made this possible,
principally and very meaningfully Shirley Lal Wijesinghe. We are excited
to open VOICES this year 2015 remembering the 60th anniversary of the
death of Teilhard de Chardin, in New York on April 10, 1955. Many entities of diverse types, and many theological and scientific journals, are
organizing on this occasion initiatives deepening on the evaluation of the
meaning of Teilhard de Chardin. VOICES adds itself from the first issue
of this anniversary year.
But our tribute to Teilhard de Chardin does not end here: our next
issue of VOICES, now monographical, will be offering readers a good set
of studies and reflections of theologians, mainly Latin American ones, on
this subject: Teilhard de Chardin today, and seen from the South. We look
forward to offering this material, which we are already processing.
The second section of this issue of VOICES is a "notebook" for
inter-religious dialogue, produced and coordinated by the Latin American
Theological Commission of EATWOT, for its participation in the WSF,
Social Forum, to be held soon in Tunis. Posted here by VOICES, these
materials are publicly available for use, even to be reproduced freely as
pedagogic and reflection materials for our religious and inter-religious
communities, or for civil or academic activities of inter-religious dialogue
or inter-cultural reflection. We welcome any comments or criticism about
its content, or any report on its practical use.
10 · Presentation
The third section presents the German translation of the famous
"Post-Religional Paradigm", the theological proposal launched by the
Latin American Theological Commission under the IV International
Symposium of Theology and Religious Studies held at the Pontifical
Catholic University of Minas, in Belo Horizonte, in September 2011. All
that material was published by VOICES, in its first issue of 2012 (available since then online, at eatwot.net/VOICES). But the proposal as such,
the iconic central text by which it is known, had not yet been translated
into German, although it was already in five languages (English, Spanish,
Portuguese, Italian and French). Now it is also accessible in the beautiful
language of Göethe.
We look forward to sharing with you that upcoming special issue
on Teilhard de Chardin, seen today and from the South, worked by an
excellent group of theologians called by us, who have written their original texts specifically for EATWOT. We thank you in advance and hope
you enjoy the reading and pastoral use of the present issue of VOICES.
Brotherly/sisterly,
José M. VIGIL
VOICES' General Editor
eatwot.net/VOICES
· 11
Presentación
El presente número de la revista VOICES agrupa tres bloques de
material bien diferenciados.
En primer lugar, nuestra revista se goza en acoger en sus páginas
la publicación de las ponencias de la «Conferencia Internacional sobre
Teilhard de Chardin», celebrada recientemente en Sri Lanka, inédita hasta
ahora. Agradecemos a los organizadores y miembros de EATWOT-ASIA
que han participado y que lo han hecho posible, especialmente, de una
manera muy significativa, a Shirley Lal Wijesinghe. Estamos contentos de
inaugurar así en VOICES este año 2015, que registra el 60º aniversario de
la muerte de Teilhard de Chardin, en Nueva York, el 10 de abril de 1955.
Son muchas las entidades, de los más diversos tipos, y las revistas teológicas y científicas que están organizando iniciativas de profundización
y evaluación del pensamiento de Teilhard de Chardin con esta ocasión.
VOICES se suma ya desde este su primer número del año del aniversario
a este trabajo investigativo y a este homenaje.
Pero no quedará aquí nuestro homenaje a Teilhard de Chardin:
nuestro próximo número de VOICES, monográfico, ofrecerá a los lectores
un buen conjunto de estudios y reflexiones de teólogos/as, principalmente latinoamericanos/as, sobre este tema: Teilhard de Chardin hoy, visto
desde el Sur. Esperamos con ilusión poder ofrecerles este material, que ya
estamos procesando.
El segundo bloque de este número de VOICES es un «Cuaderno»
para el diálogo inter-religioso, producido y coordinado por la Comisión
Teolçogica Latino-americana de la ASETT/EATWOT de cara a su partici-
12 · Presentación
pación en el WFS, Foro Social Mundial, a ser celebrado próximamente en
Túnez. Publicado aquí en VOICES, queda a disposición pública para ser
utilizado, incluso reproducido, libremente, como material de animación
en nuestras comunidades religiosas e inter-religiosas, o en actividades
civiles o académicas de diálogo inter-religioso o de reflexión inter-cultural. Agradeceremos cualquier comentario o crítica sobre su contenido, o
cualquier informe sobre su utilización práctica.
El tercer bloque presenta la traducción al alemán del conocido
«Paradigma Pos-religional», propuesta teológica lanzada por la Comisión
Teológica Latinoamericana en el marco del IV Simposio Internacional
de Teología y Ciencias de la Religión que tuvo lugar en la Pontificia
Universidad Católica de Minas, de Belo Horizonte, en septiembre de 2011.
Todo aquel material, fue publicado por VOICES, en su primer número de
2012 (disponible en la red, eatwot.net/VOICES). Pero la propuesta como
tal, el texto emblemático por el que es conocida, no había sido todavía
traducida al alemán, aunque ya estuviese en cinco idiomas (inglés, español, portugués, italiano y francés). Ahora se hace accesible también en la
bella lengua de Göthe.
Esperamos con ilusión la fecha para compartir con ustedes ese
próximo número monográfico, sobre Teilhard de Chardin, visto hoy y
desde el Sur, trabajado por un excelente grupo de teólogos y teologas
convocados por nosotros, que han escrito sus textos originales expresamente para la EATWOT. Se lo agradecemos desde ya.
Disfruten la lectura y el uso pastoral de este número de VOICES
que tienen en sus manos, o en sus pantallas.
Fraternal/sororalmente,
José Maria VIGIL
VOICES' General Editor
eatwot.net/VOICES
· 13
Teilhard in Java, Trinil site,
with Prof. Von Königswald, 1935
Zhoukoudian Archeological Site, Chine,
regularly visited by Teilhard since 1926
Teilhard in Inde
Teilhard, excavating, in Chine
Teilhard, center, in Chine
Teilhard, in Choukoutien, Chine, 1935
14 ·
Shara Ouso desert, China, where
Teilhard composed his «Mass on the World»
Teilhard in Altamira, Spain, 1913
Teilhard -first rigth- working in Spain, 1913
· 15
Whither Humanity,
Whither Asia,
Whither Sri Lanka.
Teilhard de Chardin International Conference
The vision of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin has been kept alive in
Sri Lanka for the last twenty-five years through the initiatives of Rev.
Fr. Mervyn Fernando of the Subodhi Institute of Integral education. He
founded the Teilhard Centre of the Institute in 1989. The relevance of the
vision of Teilhard to the theologian, astrophysicist, microbiologist, chemist, psychologist and those engaged in conflict-reconciliation to name
a few fields has been studied and researched at the Teilhard Centre over
the last 25 years.
To celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Teilhard Centre (1989-2014)
and to inaugurate the commemoration of the 60th death anniversary
(1955-2015) of Teilhard de Chardin, the Teilhard Centre organized an
international conference on the relevance of the vision of Teilhard to the
modern world. The conference dealt with the relevance of Teilhard de
Chardin’s vision to global, Asian and Sri Lankan crises, challenging human
tendency to commit evil, yet asserting the capacity of Human Beings to
forge a bright future.
The conference dwelt on the theme “Whither Humanity, Whither
Asia, Whither Sri Lanka” attracting specialists in Teilhardian, Asian and
Sri Lankan studies. Included in this issue of Voices are the papers which
were made available for publication by Jacques Arnould of the French
Space Agency (CNES), France, Rev. Dr. Kathleen Duffy SSJ of Chestnut
16 ·
Hill College, USA, Rev. M.D. Joseph of the Archdiocese of Guwahati,
India, Prof. Ursula King, Professor Emerita of Theology and Religious
Studies, University of Bristol, UK, Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Menamparampil,
the Archbishop of Guwahati, India, and Rev. Dr. Leopold Ratnasekera
OMI, of the Oblate Scholasticate, Ampitiya, Sri Lanka.
I wish to thank Rev. Dr. Mervyn Fernando, the Founder-Director
of Subodhi Institute of Integral Education who envisioned and organized the international conference and the experts who made their texts
available for the publication in our theological journal VOICES from the
Third World.
Shirley Lal Wijesinghe
University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
EATWOT, Sri Lanka
· 17
Teilhard's Mysticism:
The Circle of Presence
1
Kathleen DUFFY ssj
There were moments, indeed, when it seems to me that a sort of
universal being was about to take shape suddenly in Nature before my
very eyes.2
Abstract: In an early essay, Teilhard provides a road map through
the intensely mystical environment in which he lived and moved, describing the stages of his mystical growth in terms of five concentric circles.
These circles, more properly imaged as loops of a spiral that he revisits
throughout his life, provided him with stepping stones into an ever deepening reality, a reality informed as much by the science of his time as
by his religious tradition. They plot his growth and development as he
sinks ever more deeply into the heart of matter and into the heart of God.
This journey began with an awareness of a subtle Presence pervading
the atmosphere in which he lived, and culminated in the perception of
the radiance of a loving, cosmic Person—the God for evolution. In this
paper, I trace Teilhard’s life journey through the first of these, the Circle of
Presence, where Teilhard became attuned to the beauty of Earth and his
sensitivity to nature opened him to the Divine Presence.
From my perspective as a Catholic scientist, Pierre Teilhard de
Chardin has developed one of the most creative approaches to mysticism
in modern times. What makes his approach particularly unique is the fact
that it was fostered to a remarkable degree by both his love for Earth and
his devotion to science, especially the science of evolution. Troubled as
a young adult about how to love both God and science with his whole
18 · Kathleen DUFFY
heart, he learned to rely equally on his inner psychological experience,
his scientific knowledge, and his religious tradition. He allowed these
influences to interact until they produced a view of God and the world
that satisfied him.
In an early essay entitled “The Mystical Milieu,” he describes the
five stages of his mystical journey into the heart of God as circles that
actually form a spiral: the Circle of Presence, the Circle of Consistence,
the Circle of Energy, the Circle of Spirit and the Circle of Person. In this
paper, I focus on the first of these: the Circle of Presence.
Teilhard’s mystical journey began in the Circle of Presence. A nature lover from his youth, he was strongly affected by the lush beauty of
the sense world that surrounded him. Something as simple as a song, a
sunbeam, a fragrance, or a glance would pierce his heart and heighten
his awareness of an unexplainable presence. The aesthetic pleasure that
these encounters elicited enveloped him and penetrated to the depths of
his soul. Although such moments were fleeting, they set up cosmic vibrations that invaded his being and took possession of him. Such encounters
opened him to a new dimension that he yearned to explore. They stirred
in him a desire to become one with the cosmos, to become “immersed
in an Ocean of matter.” 3 Each encounter fostered in him “an insatiable
desire to maintain contact . . . with a sort of universal root of being.” 4
Apparent from his childhood, Teilhard’s openness to this numinous presence would continue to grow within him in clarity and in depth. This
innate ability to lose himself in the numinous would lead him to experience a Divine Presence gleaming at the heart of matter.
Many people are surprised that Teilhard, a scientist who understood so well the physical properties of sound and light, would give himself over to the lure that these moments can provide. Yet, the pleasure
that came to him from contact with the physical world stimulated his
mystical life and provided him with images capable of describing an
experience that is otherwise unutterable. Moreover, his strong understanding of physical phenomena served to further amplify his mystical sense.
Teilhard’s love affair with rock, his captivation with its hardness
and density, and his overwhelming natural appetite for the solid, the everlasting, and the changeless initiated him into the world of mysticism. So
profound was his passion for rock that he eventually chose geology and
paleontology as fields of graduate study, fields for which he showed great
natural talent. Throughout his life he was ever on the lookout for fossils
and unusual specimens of rock, “never without his geologist’s hammer,
his magnifying glass, and his notebook.” Years of careful collecting found
Teilhard's Mysticism: The Circle Presence · 19
him “gifted with very sharp sight.” In fact, his friends claim that “his quick
eye would catch any chipped or chiselled stone that lay on the ground.” 5
This sensitivity to the shape of the arrowhead and the print of the fossil
kept him always alert to the beauty and texture of the landscape.6
Field work in geology and paleontology brought Teilhard great
satisfaction. His professional activity entailed observing geological formations and searching for fossils and primitive tools to discover clues about
how Earth’s rocky surface evolved and how the variety of life forms emerged on Earth. These pursuits satisfied his need for prolonged contact with
Earth. They were his way of touching what he sensed was animating and
directing everything.7 The sparks of Divine Presence that he discerned
within Earth’s rocky layers enlivened him, nourished him, 8 and fueled his
desire to be fused with Earth. They helped him to deepen his relationship
with a Presence, “a sort of universal root or matrix of beings.” 9
Although Teilhard focused much of his attention on rock, he was
actually a keen observer of the natural world in whatever form it presented itself and never missed a chance to enjoy Earth’s beauty. Letters
to friends and family are full of observations about the people that he
met, the work that he was doing, and the thoughts that he was thinking.
But they are also full of rich and sensuous detail about the landscape.
For instance, he wrote to his cousin Marguerite about the “cranes, swans,
geese, spoonbills and beautiful ducks with dazzling plumage [that] nest
and swim almost as fearlessly as the birds in a public garden.”10 During
his long ocean voyages he often spent time contemplating the beauty of
the sea and sky. In a letter to Marguerite written on his way to China, he
described an unusual sunset:
Yesterday I could never tire of looking to the east where the sea
was uniformly milky and green, with an opalescence that was still not
transparent, lighter than the background of the sky. Suddenly on the
horizon a thin diffuse cloud became tinged with pink; and then with
the little oily ripples of the ocean still open on one side and turning to
lilac on the other, the whole sea looked for a few seconds like watered silk. Then the light was gone and the stars began to be reflected
around us as peacefully as in the water of a quiet pool. 11
The songs of the birds and their plumage, the wild hum of insects,
the tireless blooming of the flowers 12—all of these touched him deeply.
His senses were alive to the colors, odors, and sounds that enveloped
him. In one of his wartime essays, he remarked: “I have contemplated
nature for so long and have so loved her countenance.” 13
Teilhard often found himself drawn by something shining at the
heart of matter. 14 Nature exerted power over him. A mysterious inner
20 · Kathleen DUFFY
clarity seemed to transfigure for him every being and event. 15 In an
early essay he wrote: “I have always loved and sought to read the face of
Nature; but . . . my approach has not been that of the ‘scientist’ but that of
the votary.”16 Reverence, awe, and devotion were aspects of this exquisite
relationship. Later in life, while reflecting on the days when he studied
theology in Hastings, he still vividly recalled
the extraordinary solidity and intensity I found then in the English
countryside, particularly at sunset, when the Sussex woods were
charged with all that “fossil” Life which I was then hunting for, from
cliff to quarry. . . . There were moments, indeed, when it seemed to
me that a sort of universal being was about to take shape suddenly
in Nature before my very eyes. 17
The aesthetic aspect of his encounter with nature served to amplify
the pleasure he derived from the experience. As he gave himself over to
nature’s allure, Beauty reverberated at the very core of his being 18 and
drew him out of himself, filling him with “an impassioned awareness of
a wider expansion and an all-embracing unity.” 19 In fact, he claimed that
he was “so surrounded and transfixed by [the Divine Presence], that there
was no room left to fall down and adore.” 20
Teilhard’s senses were particularly alert to the interaction of sunlight with the landscape. Like Impressionist artist Claude Monet, who
tried to capture in his paintings the play of sunlight on water, haystacks,
and water lilies as it changed throughout the day, Teilhard was fascinated
with the way the sun’s “deep brilliance” 21 seemed to make “the whole
surface of things sparkle.” 22 For instance, he described the view from
the window of the room that he occupied in Tientsin, China: “I still have
a wide vista of fields and fresh water which enchants me every evening
with the sweetness and purity of the hues it takes on in the setting sun.” 23
In his letters he would often mention unusually beautiful details about
his surroundings, such as the “large black butterflies with metallic-green
reflections and long tails,” 24 or the way “the sea often becomes sleek and
oily . . . its surface . . . white and opaque, like milk,” or how storms that
break over the mountains “form thick clouds which the setting sun paints
glorious colors.” 25 He was always conscious of the landscape.
Teilhard’s sensitivity to light and color opened another pathway to
the Divine Presence. It began, he says, “with a diffused radiance which
haloed every beauty” that day by day became “more fragrant, more coloured, more intense.” 26 Sometimes, he was enchanted with “the play of
colours [as] on a transparent bubble”;27 at other times, a crown of light
seemed to surround everything and disclose the unique essence of the
universe.28 Just as rays of sunlight strike dust particles, making the rays
Teilhard's Mysticism: The Circle Presence · 21
suddenly visible to the eye, so Divine Light impinged on his inner eyes
from all sides and caressed them.29 And like the reflections caused by
“sunlight in the fragments of a broken mirror,” 30 this Light was reflected
and scattered in all directions so that his inner world eventually became
luminous.31 Speaking of the Divine Light, he said: “This light is not [a]
superficial glimmer, nor is it [a] violent flash that destroys objects and
blinds our eyes. It is instead the calm and powerful radiance engendered
by the synthesis of all the elements of the world.”32
Teilhard compared the Divine Presence that he experienced “gleaming at the heart of matter”33 with a candle that is placed within a lamp
constructed from translucent materials. When candlelight penetrates
the outer covering of such a lamp, it transfigures the lamp from within.
For Teilhard, nature, like the lamp, is continually “bathed in an inward
light.”34
Not only could Teilhard see the light of Divine Presence, but he
could also taste it. It not only filled his eyes but also impregnated his
affections and thoughts.35 As his perception of the inner light intensified
and its color became more brilliant, he was drawn to explore its nature
and to bathe in its warmth. This inner light, he says, “becomes perceptible
and attainable . . . in the crystalline transparency of beings.” 36 He wanted
only this light: “If the light is extinguished, because the object is out of
place, or has outlived its function, or has moved itself, then even the most
precious substance is only ashes.” 37
Although he was able to write essays with a poetic flair, Teilhard
sometimes wished that he had been gifted with a talent for music instead.
Because music is more immediate than language, it “has a much larger
world of associations at its disposal” 38 and speaks more directly to the
soul.39 Its ambivalent and ephemeral nature and the intangibility of its
content would have afforded him, he thought, a better means of communicating his mystical experience to others. To one of his friends he confided: “I would like to . . . translate as faithfully as possible what I hear
murmuring in me like a voice or a song which are not of me, but of the
World in me.” 40 Yet, in his efforts to express his mystical experience, he
found that “it is not possible to transmit directly by words the perception
of a quality, a taste.” 41
He noted how certain types of sound, and particularly music,
poetry, and uplifting conversation, feed the soul: “If even the most humble and most material of our foods is capable of deeply influencing our
most spiritual faculties, what can be said of the infinitely more penetrating energies conveyed to us by the music of tones, of notes, of words,
of ideas?” 42 Although the stimulus of color provided him much nourish-
22 · Kathleen DUFFY
ment, it was more often “the magic of sound passing through [his] ears
as a vibration and emerging in [his] brain in the form of an inspiration” 43
that moved him. He realized that music can excite powerful emotions—
sometimes simply by allowing a single musical tone to arise from the
silence, or, at other times, by weaving into an intricate harmony several
voices, each with its own melodic beauty. 44 In fact, composers have at
their disposal a glorious diversity of melodies, harmonies, tempos, intensities, and rhythms that can effectively excite emotional response:45 the
sound of a cello or of a French horn playing a haunting melody, the interplay of voices in a fugue, the complex rhythms of jazz—each of these can
cause delight at a level beyond the auditory and can open the listener to
love. By first setting a mood of anticipation and then by providing either
immediate satisfaction or postponed gratification with the use of carefully controlled dissonances, musicians engage the listener at a deep level.
“Hearing is a way of touching at a distance.” 46 To the complex
organ that is the human ear and to the brain that eventually relays its
message to the rest of the body, this touch can be gentle and loving
or harsh and cold. Molecules of air are collected by the shell-shaped
pinna of the outer ear and then pound against the eardrum causing it
to vibrate. These vibrations set up mechanical waves in the middle ear
that are next transformed into pressure waves in the inner ear and finally
into the electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain. This complex
aural mechanism allows us to differentiate tones and to appreciate harmonies. Although we are often unaware of the soundscape in which we
are embedded and of its effect on our psyches, our ears are constantly
bombarded with sound waves—nature sounds such as the howl of a
strong, gusty wind, the song of a bird, mechanical sounds from traffic
and motors, and background music. And when we do become aware, it is
difficult to close off our ears to unwanted sonic incursions. Our outer ears
are at the mercy of whatever noise pollution is being broadcast through
the air at any moment. “Music,” on the other hand, “educates our ears
making us more receptive and sensitive to our sound environment.” 47
From his study of physics Teilhard would have had a rich understanding of the physical basis for harmony. He would have known how
the human ear is trained and how the mind is psychologically conditioned to respond favorably to certain harmonies, to certain combinations
of tones that work well together. Although composers have intuited how
to assemble consonant combinations and have constructed rules to guide
harmonic practice, scientists have been able to demonstrate a physical
basis for their choices. Structures in the cochlea of the inner ear determine the kinds of harmonies that are pleasing. Auditory signals that enter
Teilhard's Mysticism: The Circle Presence · 23
the cochlea cause hairs along the basilar membrane to vibrate in resonance at the same frequency, causing some combinations to be pleasing and
others to be disturbing. Tones that are very close in frequency excite hairs
that are quite close together along the basilar membrane, thus producing
a physical disturbance in the ears that renders the combination dissonant.
For centuries, the frequencies and intensities of the overtones
produced by pipe and string have served as the basis for the harmonic
practice of Western music. Pipes and strings produce harmonic overtones, patterns of consonant sounds that blend well together. Yet, harmonic practice differs from culture to culture and from age to age, and as
composers continue to experiment with new combinations of sound,
new rules emerge. In recent years composers have experimented with a
variety of musical harmonies, including those that avoid a tonal center
and those with musical tones whose frequencies fit somewhere between
two of the adjacent tones that make up the chromatic scale.
Even though Teilhard was not able to compose music, he often
used the language of musical acoustics to describe his experience of
Presence. By doing so, he hoped to show others how to listen to their
inner music and become caught up in its charm. The resonant frequencies
of a plucked string or of an open or closed pipe had their counterpart in
the resonant response of his heart to the inner music that delighted him.
The harmonious sound created by the interplay of seemingly divergent
voices spoke to him of the great harmony of communion that is the goal
of all mystical experience and the direction toward which it points.
The music of Teilhard’s outer world initiated the music of his inner
world. “It began,” he says, “with a particular and unique resonance which
swelled each harmony.” His initial sensitivity to nature sounds helped
him to listen more deeply for that unique musical tone that was singing
in his heart. Just as
all the sounds of created being are fused, without being confused, in a single note which dominates and sustains them . . . so all
the powers of the soul begin to resound in response to its call; and
these multiple tones, in their turn, compose themselves into a single, ineffably simple vibration in which all the spiritual nuances—of
love and of ecstasy, of passion and of indifference, of assimilation
and of surrender, of rest and of motion—are born and pass and shine
forth. 48
Not only did Teilhard experience the Divine Presence radiating
from within all things, but he also heard this Presence pulsating at the
heart of matter.49 “There is a . . . note,” he says, “which makes the whole
World vibrate” 50 with “a vibration that passes all description, inexhausti-
24 · Kathleen DUFFY
ble in the richness of its tones and its notes, interminable in the perfection of its unity.”51 The “resonance that lies muted in the depth of every
human”52 caused the very core of his being to vibrate in response.53 Like
a musical instrument, his spirit resonated with the unique tone emitted
by the Divine Presence, and within his whole being, he felt reverberate
“an echo as vast as the universe.” 54
For Teilhard, the duty of the mystic is to be aware of the inner
rhythm of the world and to listen with care for the heartbeat of a higher reality.55 As a result of this kind of listening, he was drawn out of
himself “into a wider harmony . . . into an ever richer and more spiritual rhythm,” 56 so that he eventually became “caught up in the essential
music of the world” 57 and responded to “the fundamental harmony of the
Universe.” 58 At this privileged place, he tells us, “the least of our desires
and efforts . . . can . . . cause the marrow of the universe to vibrate.” 59
“Indeed,” he wrote, “we are called by the music of the universe to reply,
each with [our] own pure and incommunicable harmonic.” 60
In music as in life, listening to the other, entering into the emotions
of the other is as important as expressing oneself. Performers must be
aware of the relationship between their own voice and the many other
voices with which they are conversing. Beauty and balance are achieved
only when each strand of a polyphonic texture is played so distinctly and
woven together so smoothly that each voice can be heard and appreciated as part of a single whole. 61 Teilhard’s sensitivity to music and to
nature sounds kept him ever attentive to the Divine, whose heartbeat
reverberates within each and every fragment of the world 62 and whose
voice becomes evident to those who know how to hear. It was this voice
that guided him as he encountered and responded to the joys and sufferings that composed his life.
Yet, despite his extreme sensitivity to the music of the cosmos,
Teilhard sometimes felt like “a deaf man straining in his effort to hear a
music which he [knew] to be all around him.” 63 The Divine Presence is
illusive. Just as the penetrating energies of a musical experience delight
the heart and elicit a subtle response only to fade into silence, a mystical
experience often lasts but a moment and then evaporates with only its
memory to haunt us.64 However, especially toward the end of his life,
Teilhard found himself constantly aware of the Divine Presence.
Unlike the sense of hearing, the sense of smell is a direct sense and
one that often arouses vivid memories. Organic molecules called esters
evaporate from a fragrant substance, float through the air, enter the nostrils, travel to the top of the nasal passages past the hair-like projections
Teilhard's Mysticism: The Circle Presence · 25
called cilia that filter out dirt from the air, dissolve in the mucous, and
bond to the smell receptors located on the olfactory receptor neurons in
the nasal epithelium. This bonding triggers neurons in the brain, which
then interprets and classifies the stimulant as one of about ten thousand
potential odors, and causes the perception of smell.
Just as he was so deeply moved by Earth’s sights and sounds,
Teilhard was also alive to Earth’s fragrance, to the “atmosphere heavy
with the smell of orange trees in bloom,” to the “hot desert regions of
Arabia, all perfumed with incense and coffee,” 65 to the flowers such as
the lilac and lavender that “smelt good and sparkled gaily in the hot
light.”66 These lovely scents allured him and encouraged him to “hasten...
freely and passionately” 67 along the mystical path.
Teilhard also came to recognize and to respond to the Divine
Presence shining through the eyes of others. While pursuing him doctorate in geology and paleontology in Paris at the Institut Catholique, the
Collège de France, and the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle, he spent time with
his cousin Marguerite Teillard-Chambon, whom he had not seen since
they were young children. The two found that they had similar interests
and developed at that time a deep and lasting relationship. As they shared
what was deepest in their souls, Teilhard was drawn to the light he saw
shining from Marguerite’s face, “a light glow[ing] for a moment in the
depths of [her] eyes.” 68 “Under the glance that fell upon [him], the shell in
which [his] heart slumbered burst open.” 69 A new energy emerged from
within, causing him to feel as vast and as rich as the universe. Marguerite
had awakened the feminine aspect of his being. His love for her drew
him out of himself, sensitized him, and stimulated his capacity for deeper
and more intimate relationships.70
As a stretcher bearer during the war, Teilhard had occasion to look
into the eyes of many a dying soldier. Just before the moment of death,
a strange light would often appear in a soldier’s eyes. Teilhard was never
sure whether the eyes were filled with “unspeakable agony or . . . with an
excess of triumphant joy.”71 Each time the light went out and the wounded soldier died, Teilhard was overcome with a deep sense of sadness.
Goethe once wrote that “every new object, well contemplated,
opens up a new organ of perception in us.” 72 This assertion certainly
proved true for Teilhard. Overwhelmed by nature’s grandeur, he seemed
capable of perceiving ever new dimensions within the texture of the
cosmos.
This scintillation of beauties was so total, so all embracing, and at
the same time so swift, that it reached down into the very powerhouse of [his] being, flooding through it in one surge, so that [his] whole
26 · Kathleen DUFFY
self vibrated to the very core . . . with a full note of explosive bliss
that was completely and utterly unique.73
In response to the diverse and captivating beauties that surrounded him, “all the elements of his psychological life were in turn affected;
sensations, feelings, thoughts.”74 He was experiencing an emotion that “is
impossible (once one has experienced it) to confuse with any other spiritual emotion, whether joy in knowledge or discovery, joy in creation or
in loving: and this not so much because it is different from all those emotions, but because it belongs to a higher order and contains them all.”75
Contact with the beauty of nature and of person began to break
down the senses of radical separation that he would naturally experience
between himself and others, between subject and object,76 and began
the process of dissolving his dependency on his ego. The more deeply
touched he was by Beauty in whatever form—whether a soft touch, a
brilliant tone, an exquisite flavor, or a delicate tint—the more he felt
free to experience true union with the other.77 Beauty “drew him out
of [himself], into a wider harmony than that which delights the sense,
into a richer and more spiritual rhythm.” 78 Being captured by something
outside himself and losing himself in something beyond himself was
an effective step toward disempowering his ego.79 Moments of ecstasy
blurred the boundaries of his being, engulfed him in feelings that were
oceanic, and revealed his bonds to the larger world. 80 He began to see
with the eyes of an artist who is sensitive to the soul’s inner currents,81
so that Beauty found its way into his life and healed his wounds.82 These
ecstatic moments gave him a greater grasp of the world,83 enabling him
to move away from feelings of isolation and to perceive the “unity of a
higher order.” 84 As a result, he became capable of stepping forth from
his self-imposed and imagined limits, of surrendering his autonomy, and
of opening himself to the larger reality that was presenting itself to him. 85
Having invaded his being and penetrated to its core, having pierced
through to his depths, Beauty drew him into that single privileged point
where Divine Presence exists equally everywhere, and where all diversities and all impurities yearn to melt away.
Although Teilhard was overcome by the sensible beauty of nature,
he eventually realized that to become absorbed in what is beautiful is not
satisfying enough. Somehow, he knew that matter itself was not the true
source of his joy. Instead, he was actually being allured by the Divine
Presence embedded deep within the sensible world, drawn inward ultimately to be invited to flow outward. 86 Rather than holding him prisoner,
Beauty continually reawakened him to an impassioned awareness of a
wider expansion and an all-embracing unity. Once having entered into
Teilhard's Mysticism: The Circle Presence · 27
the very depths of his being, Beauty would withdraw from him and bear
him away.
Earth’s beauty fed Teilhard’s soul and led him to perceive something
shining at the heart of matter. Illuminated by the radiance that emerges
from its very Center, the world became transparent. He savored this experience. He “had in fact acquired a new sense, the sense of a new quality...
of a new dimension. Deeper still: a transformation had taken place for
[him] in the very perception of being.”87 He had reached a place “in which
things, while retaining their habitual texture, seem to be made out of a
different substance,”88 a place where the Divine Presence “discloses itself
to us as a modification of the deep being of things.” Teilhard was learning
something that Thomas Merton expresses so well:
There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light,
a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. . . . There is in all things
an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of
action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out . . .
from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly,
saluting me with indescribable humility.89
Teilhard knew the Divine Presence as “a seeing, a taste . . . a sort of
intuition bearing upon certain superior qualities in things [that] cannot be
attained directly by any process of reasoning, nor by any human artifice.”
90 He knew that underlying Earth’s surface charms a vivid Presence lies
hidden within and penetrates all things. This was the only source that
could give him light and the only air that he could ever breathe. 91 He
yearned to sharpen his sensibilities so that he could see ever more deeply into the heart of matter. Along the first circle, the palpable world had
truly become for him a holy place,92 a divine milieu, permeated with a
vast, formidable, and charming presence. Clearly, this was “a gift, like life
itself,” 93 a gift for which he was most grateful. Fortified with this gift, he
was motivated to continue his journey through the next four Circles: the
Circle of Consistence, the Circle of Energy, the Circle of Spirit, and the
Circle of Person into the heart of God.
Notes:
1 This is an edited version of Chapter 2, K. DUFFY, Teilhard’s Mysticism: Seeing the Inner
Face of Evolution (Orbis Books; Maryknoll, NY 2014). (Used with permission.)
2 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, The Heart of Matter (tr. René Hague) (Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, Inc.; New York 1978) 26. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 20.
3 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 20.
4 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 20.
5 C. CUÉNOT, Teilhard de Chardin: A Biographical Study (tr. V. Colimore) (Burns and Oates;
London 1965) 129, 156, 91.
28 · Kathleen DUFFY
6 According to those who knew him, Teilhard had a marvelous talent for observation. “George
Le Febre, for example, noted . . . that ‘his downcast eyes would spot the smallest bit of
cut stone betraying itself by its redness on the bare greyness of the wind-swept soil’”
(CUÉNOT, Teilhard de Chardin, 91). His co-worker George Barbour notes that he “could
spot a single Palaeolithic implement in a bed of gravel three metres away without dismounting” (ibid., 156). His friend Helmut de Terra says that he “recognized Palaeolithic
artifacts with an uncanny sort of instinct. Often he would pick one of these from the
ground, look at it briefly from all sides, and hand it to me, saying: ‘It is suspicious; we
must find more to be absolutely sure’” (CUÉNOT, Teilhard de Chardin, 190).
7 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters from a Traveler (tr. Bernard Wall) (Harper & Row; New
York 1962) 66.
8 CUÉNOT, Teilhard de Chardin, 33, n. 27.
9 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 20.
10 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters from a Traveler, 119.
11 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters from a Traveler, 67.
12 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War (tr. René Hague) (Harper & Row,
Publishers; New York 1968) 194.
13 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 32.
14 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 17
15 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 15.
16 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 198.
17 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 25–26.
18 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 117.
19 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 118.
20 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 112.
21 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 130.
22 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends (tr. Helen Weaver; ed. Ruth Nanda
Anshen) (The New American Library; New York 1967) 123.
23 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 50.
24 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 39.
25 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 24.
26 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 129.
27 P.TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Hymn of the Universe (tr. Simon Bartholomew) (Harper &
Row, Publishers; New York 1961), 44.
28 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 119.
29 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 118.
30 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 114
31 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 246.
32 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 130.
Teilhard's Mysticism: The Circle Presence · 29
33 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Journal, Tome I, 26 aout, 1915 – 4 janvier, 1919 (ed. N.
Schmitz-Moorman and K. Schmitz-Moorman) (Fayard; Paris 1975) 13.
34 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 130.
35 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 118
36 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 73.
37 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 73.
38 D. BARENBOIM, Music Quickens Time (Verso; Brooklyn 2008) 3.
39 For a discussion of Teilhard and music, see T.M. KING, SJ, “Teilhard, Beauty, and the
Arts” Rediscovering Teilhard’s Fire (ed. K. DUFFY, SSJ) (St. Joseph’s University Press;
Philadelphia, PA 2010).
40 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 44.
41 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 59.
42 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 59.
43 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, The Human Phenomenon (tr. Sara Appleton Weber) (Sussex
Academic Press; Portland, OR 1999) 29.
44 L. BERNSTEIN, The Joy of Music (Simon and Schuster; New York 1959) 239.
45 R. JOURDAIN, Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures our Imagination
(William Morrow and Company; New York 1997), 309, 312.
46 R.M. Schafer, The Tuning of the World: A Pioneering Exploration into the Past History
and Present State of the Most Neglected Aspect of Our Environment: The Soundscape
(Alfred A. Knopf; New York 1977) 11.
47 J.M. ORTIZ, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology—Using Music to Change Your Life
(Samuel Weiser; York Beach, ME 1997) 213.
48 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 120.
49 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Human Energy, trans. J.M.Cohen (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich;
New York 1969) 123.
50 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 31.
51 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN,Science and Christ (tr. René Hague) (Harper & Row, Publishers;
New York 1968) 39.
52 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 101.
53 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Hymn of the Universe, 46.
54 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 101.
55 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 119.
56 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 117.
57 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 101.
58 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Toward the Future (tr. René Hague) (Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich; New York 1975) 59.
59 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 115.
60 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Human Energy, 150.
30 · Kathleen DUFFY
61 BARENBOIM, Music Quickens Time, 53, 50, 131.
62 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Christianity and Evolution (tr.René Hague) (Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich; New York 1969) 63.
63 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 40.
64 BARENBOIM, Music Quickens Time, 7.
65 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 24,
66 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters from a Traveler, 97.
67 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 192.
68 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 117.
69 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 118.
70 See U. KING, Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin (Orbis Books;
Maryknoll, NY 1996) 75.
71 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 65.
72 J.W. VON GOETHE, Goethe’s Werke: Hamburger Ausgabe, vol. 13, 5th ed. (Christian
Wegner; Hamburg 1966) 51.
73 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 65.
74 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 129.
75 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Heart of Matter, 17.
76 See T.M. KING, Teilhard’s Mysticism of Knowing (The Seabury Press; New York 1981) 67.
77 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 117–18.
78 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 117.
79 D. SOELLE, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance (Fortress Press; Minneapolis 2001) 212.
80 JOURDAIN, Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy, 327.
81 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Letters to Two Friends, 30.
82 SOELLE, The Silent Cry, 222.
83 JOURDAIN, Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy, 331.
84 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 15.
85 SOELLE, The Silent Cry, 27.
86 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 118.
87 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 129.
88 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 246.
89 C. PRAMUK, Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton (Liturgical Press; Collegeville,
MN 2009) 301.
90 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 131
91 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Writings in Time of War, 123.
92 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 112.
93 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Divine Milieu, 131.
· 31
The emerging power of Teilhard's Vision
in the march of Humanity towards a Commom Destiny
Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
Abstract: Teilhard's prediction about the gradual emergence of
a collective human thinking is coming true with the intensification of
communications and more frequent interactions within the human race.
A sort of convergence of human thought is actually taking place. This
has led to the development of a sense common belonging. According to
Teilhard, the mission of enlightened and responsible citizens is to strengthen this process of socialization with an aim to bring hearts and mind
together, while respecting the differences that exist between individuals
and communities.
Meanwhile the forces of dispersion too are evidently at work. One
easily notices in our times tensions between nations, ethnic groups, and
ideologies. Memories of historic hurts between nations and societies aggravate the situation. It is for responsible leaders to work for the healing of the
memories of historic injuries. A society has a future only if intellectuals
within it take note the negative memories in the minds of its members and
work for their healing, ease tensions between individuals and groups and
bring people together into happy relationships. In Teilhard's understanding, a commitment to harmony among people is the right way to contribute to further human evolution towards the Omega Point.
I. Teilhard’s Concepts on Evolution
In the evolutionary thrust of the upward and forward is shown at
every point across the board. The focus of this paper, in the main, shows
how the thrust of the Noosphere is tightening the strands of the whole
social body. The author speaks of a Theology of Cooperation, which
32 · Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
opens out into the domains of the personal, local, regional and Universal.
But, the anti-thesis of conflict, national, ethno-centric etc. which has to
be recognised and combatted at all levels. Nothwithstanding, this convergence is spreading through inter-locked network of psychical and
socio-economic global order.However, According to Teilhard the points
of breakthrough will be internalised in the "Mystery of Togetherness"
through Enlightened Minds and Hearts.
A Jesuit and a paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)
is considered one of the greatest minds of the contemporary world for
attempting to suggest a vision of the world which scientists, philosophers
and theologians would find coherent. It is indeed a seductive ‘global
vision’ that he presents on the universe “wherein matter and spirit, body
and soul, nature and supernature, science and faith find their unity in
Christ” (Cardinal Feltin). Teilhard sees matter passing from an undifferentiated state to that of organized forms of more and more complex structure leading to the emergence of consciousness in living things and to the
development of self-consciousness in human beings and the expansion of
collective human thinking (noosphere) on the earth. He saw the human
being as the arrowhead of the cosmic flow and the key for understanding
the universe.
Teilhard’s vision is coming true with the intensification of communications and more frequent interactions within the human race in recent
years, leading to a gradual confluence of human minds and convergence
of human thought at the world level. He felt convinced that the mission
entrusted to the human family was to press ahead in the same direction
until humanity fully realized its ultimate destiny and converge at the
Point Omega. Evolution of the human person further is not to produce
the fittest individual or a new species, but to promote the growth of the
human species through socialization and deepening and strengthening
the union among the members of the humankind. The optimism of this
prophetic visionary and the synthetic sweep of his vision made a wide
appeal on all sections of people.
While there are still forces in society pulling humanity apart,
growing interaction among human groups and communities have greatly
contributed to the development of a sense of common belonging, e. g.,
through activities like mutually dependent commerce, intense political
interactions, travel, migration, development of communication especially
after revolutionary changes in the digital world. These changes in recent
years have made it possible for us to be immediately aware of the joys
and sorrows, successes and failures, disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, conflicts and peace efforts in every place on the planet no matter
The Emerging Power of Teilhard's Vision · 33
how distant it is. However, this awareness should also evoke a sense of
responsibility in us for each other.
II. Teilhard’s Predictions about the Noosphere Coming True
1. Convergence of Human Thought
In the 1960’s Marshall McLuhan felt that the means of social communications had brought the world so close together that it seemed like
a ‘global village’. Today its size has been further reduced to the size of
the “Round Table” of King Arthur, or to the “Coffee Table” of discussion
groups. We communicate instantly with people who are at great distances and feel close to them; we discuss and debate, make major decisions
or change people’s minds, as though they were just on the other side of
the Round Table. Thus Teilhard was not wrong in foreseeing a gradual
convergence of human thought.
McLuhan’s conviction was that the New Media would change our
collective self-awareness and bring into existence a new self-consciousness as the human family; that it would strengthen people’s sense of responsibility for world events, both for tragedies and for achievements. This
was exactly what Teilhard had predicted. In earlier times men depended
more directly on nature, today they increasingly depend on each other.
In a developed society this mutual dependence finds diverse expressions.
We continuously feel the need of the assistance of the computer expert
and the health specialist, the electrician and the engineer, the telephone
operator and the postman, the plumber and the pilot. Human society has
become just a large family (Maroky, 16-17).
2. “A Single Thinking Envelope”
Our inter-relationships are moving further ahead. The digital
revolution that has transformed the world beyond recognition could not
have been imagined even 50 years ago: the blogs, text messaging, other
social media and digital tools. The blogs were first initiated in 2002 and
has remained very youth-friendly. One can blog about anything: boxing,
music, politics, or about social responsibility. Today there are group blogs,
corporate blogs, commercial blogs, institutional blogs. You can educate,
encourage, expose excellence, evaluate, and evangelize (Vogt, 117-19). As
long as you are natural and spontaneous, you remain interesting.
More than one-third of the world population are already Internet
users. The social consciousness so created has profoundly transformed politics, business, education, and human self-consciousness itself.
Individuals and groups find it easy to establish a public presence at very
little cost, each promoting their causes with spectacular success; for exam-
34 · Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
ple, the Arab Spring used Facebook and Twitter to stir Egypt, Tunisia and
other nations. In the same way entrepreneurs capture markets and social
activists draw people to commitment. Enthusiasm just spills over. “...The
earth is not only becoming covered by myriads of grains of thought, but
becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope... individual reflections
grouping themselves together and reinforcing one another in the act of
a single unanimous reflection”. A sort of superconsciousness seems to be
emerging (Teilhard, The Phenomenon, 276-77).
In this context, responsible citizens can win the attention of society
and contribute towards shaping a healthy public opinion But they must
make sure to present balanced views on controversial issues and preserve
a human touch in everything. They can chronicle their ideas, exchange
views, debate, comment, and build up new relationships (Vogt, 58).
Anonymity also can be an advantage for bloggers who desire to remain
unknown.
There is no doubt that people are eager for information, inspiration, encouragement, and connection. That is why when committed
citizens speak with fire in their hearts, people know it. When many do
it, they make an impact. Even a strongly amoral world cannot ignore a
passionate group of committed people, even if they constitute a small
minority. They speak as having authority.
3. Constantly Expanding Digital Continent
The Facebook for social networking was started by the Harvard
students in 2004 and it gained 200 million users in 8 months. In 2008
Google reported over one trillion websites. Cyberspace today is flooded
with information, images, videos, and sounds. The younger generations
seem “natives” on the “Digital Continent” where the elders are only
“immigrants”. They have developed a vernacular of their own, think
differently from others, and relate among themselves in their own way.
They show a preference for small, self-organizing groups, networks, and
equality-based relationships.
Such web relationships have brought to postmodern youth a
heightened consciousness of togetherness and of human solidarity. They
are eager for a holistic view of things and open to the mystical and spiritual, though deeply immersed in a modern scientific worldview. People
with relevant and valid ideas can connect with them through social media
if they know how to relate meaningfully. The network of psychic and
economic inter-relationships around the world is strengthening themselves. We are forced to think together. The world of co-thinking and rela-
The Emerging Power of Teilhard's Vision · 35
tionships that Teilhard spoke about (noosphere), seems to be emerging
in unforeseen ways.
4. Teilhard’s Socialization is not Mobilization of the Masses, not Mob-pulling
With increasing social disharmony in various parts of the world,
the most serious question we need to ask ourselves today is whether this
togetherness is meant to be merely that of an anonymous impersonal
crowd. Even where we seem to be together like at world assemblies and
regional gatherings, we do not seem to have a sense of co-belonging.
We may know how to make use of each other or of each other’s competences, but we fail to build up relationships with each other as persons
manifesting mutual esteem and love. We fail to respect the personhood
of individuals and the identity of communities in order to build up the
human family. Socialization in Teilhard’s mind is not crowd-mobilization,
it is not manipulation of the masses; it comes from a union of hearts,
with due respect for individualities, identities, and differences of people.
Where force decides issues, what come into existence are pseudosocieties. The socialization imposed by Nazism, Fascism and Communism
during the last century turned out to be monstrous perversions. Similarly
today, lawless Capitalism, reducing people to the status of mere labour
and market on the one hand and devaluing the social dimension of
human life and fostering the cult of the isolated individual on the other,
is a monstrosity. The union that Teilhard was speaking of must bring
together what is best in individuals and in diverse communities (Maroky,
18-19).
5. Human Interests are Getting Inter-locked
Nature itself draws us into continuous interactions and relationships. According to an estimate, in every cubic centimeter of air there are
30 billion billion molecules made up of any number of atoms interacting
among themselves (Gould, 31). We keep moving in space amidst trillions
and trillions of waves of energy in different lengths and force fields like
fish in water functioning in harmony (Gould, 59). We notice several
models of various patterns of inter-relationships and integrated systems:
atoms, molecules, organs, body; individuals, families, tribes, societies,
and nations. As the material world is made up of an inseparable network
of linkages, and as the human body and nature itself are self-regulating
systems, in the same way we belong to each other in an intimate fashion
within the human family. That is what makes scholars of various disciples come together and cooperate so that their conclusions can be more
holistic.
36 · Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
Economies are getting inter-locked. Even a nation that hates
another as a competitor or as an opponent, stands in need of their markets, natural resources, or manpower. Health experts speak of the need
for holistic approaches, scholars of interdisciplinary collaboration. The
professors from mathematics, biology, evolutionary psychology, ethics,
history of science, philosophy, philosophy of science, theology recently
came together at Harvard University to research on “The Theology of
Cooperation.” Such cooperation has become necessary in every sphere
of life and community, and it is fully in keeping with the concept evolutionary “strategy” that spontaneously arises for the very survival of the
human species. It is the continuation of the cooperation that emerged
when molecules began working together, and later chromosomes, bacteria, and primate societies to the level of human societies. But further
breakthroughs are possible only if humans play a conscious part (Nowak, 2).
III. Developing a Sense of Responsibility
1. Humans are Architects of Their Own Destiny
During the Easter Week of 1916 Teilhard was in the trenches of
Dunkirk. He wrote a prayer which concluded, “Lord Jesus, you are the
centre towards which all things are moving” (Faricy at Maroky, xxiv).
The burgeoning French philosopher understood the Christian mission as
cooperation with God’s plan to progressively unite all things in Christ.
It is towards this end that the human being must work with vigour and
enthusiasm for progress in every area of human life. In this effort he
may have to make high demands of himself/herself. For Teilhard, as he
explains in the The Divine Milieu, it is the ‘Cross’ precisely in this form
that the Christian believer must take up daily in order to follow Christ. He
must work for human progress even through suffering and intense effort
(Faricy at Aroky, xxi). Thus humans become the makers and architects
of their own future and take forward the Evolution of the cosmic reality
towards the Omega Point.
2. Every Individual and Every Community and Culture (Society, Nation,
Civilization, Faith) can Make its own Contribution if they avoid Ethnocentrism
and Pessimism
As we can see, we are moving into a fast globalizing world and
into most exciting times. World economy is taking new directions and
revealing new potentialities, innovations in communications are bringing
peoples and communities together, international solidarity offers indefi-
The Emerging Power of Teilhard's Vision · 37
nite possibilities for generous services to each other. There are increasing
opportunities for communities, cultures, civilizations, and faiths to dialogue with each other, to listen to each others’ insights, and learn from
each others’ wisdom.
But that is not what is happening. Daily we hear of war and
violence, corruption, deception on a gigantic scale, damage to environment, threat of global warming, democratically elected leaders betraying
people’s trust, and misuse of media. These are counter-evolutionary
trends, weakening the energies generated from the co-thinking in the
noosphere. They are calculated to drive the human race back to the mud
from which took its origins. It is time that Enlightened Citizens awaken
a sense of responsibility to re-capture the dynamism of true evolutionary
thrust.
As with individual citizens, so with communities and civilizations
to make their own contribution. At a given period of history an individual
society (civilization) can be over-confident and grow unconcerned about
the destinies of other societies.... or become pessimistic about itself and
lose confidence for its own future. The West was exuberant during the
period of its awakening (Renaissance) and expansion (exploration, discovery, colonial expansion). This mood changed during the World Wars.
Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) predicted the decline of the West, arguing
that having rejected religion and opted for rationalism, mass manipulation, economics and physical expansion, it had lost its soul. Some of his
points seem to have been valid which became evident by the time the two
World Wars ended and the colonial era concluded. The recent economic
recession and the phenomenon of aging population have been pointers
to an uncertain future for the dominant regions of the world.
However, we need to be cautious of ethnocentric philosophies of
history and social theories in spite of their merit as thought-provokers.
While it may be difficult to go all the way with Spengler, it may be easier
to agree with Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) who in his 12-volume A Study
of History argues that a community’s growth comes from its positive
response to a challenge, and that it maintains its progress as long as it
keeps tapping its spiritual forces. That reminds us that we need to give a
positive response to the challenges of today.
3. Violence: “Privatization of the Means of Destruction” in our Times
There are moments during this endeavour we may get discouraged. For, the forces of dispersion seem to be gathering strength in our
times. Tensions are noticeable: nation against nation, class against class,
38 · Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
ethnic group against ethnic group, majority against minority and vice
versa, people who follow one ideology against those who follow another,
theological radicals against others. The strong usually have their way. No
wonder that dominant nations and groups are perceived as exploiting
the weaker. Those who feel that they are unjustly treated take to violence
in response. There are also enough people to foster anger against every
perceived injustice in the name of culture, ethnicity, minority status, gender, colour, environment, and even to the point of violence. All slogans
are about ‘rights’; there is not enough reference to duties. Every claim of
rights seems to be valid until its exaggerations make its limitations evident. Meantime peace keeps eluding the human race.
All religions have taught peace, impartiality, and fairness. And yet
there are instances of violence in the name of religion in any number
of places: Israelis-Palestinians, Serbs-Croats-Muslims, Indians-Pakistanis;
tensions in Chechnya, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, Philippines, Indonesia.
Nor can we forget the violence caused by the ‘secular religions’ (ideologies) of our days. Eric Hobsbawm calls the ideological wars of last
century “the most militant and bloodthirsty of the religious wars”, which
were linked with secular pieties like personality cult and utopian confidence in permanent solutions to human problems (Hobsbawm, 563).
Solutions however never came. And today, we in Asia, the continent of
Ahimsa, may be spending more on purchasing arms than any other continent in the world.
Wars in ages past were between kings, emperors, dynasties or
sovereign nations. In our times they are often between ethnic groups
and local activists: caste against caste, ethnic group against ethnic group,
vested interest against vested interest, majority against minority and vice
versa, social activists against the Establishment. Hobbes said people usually fight over necessities, but often enough also over trifles (Fukuyama,
1992:155). That is to say that many human quarrels rise over non-issues,
as expressions of petty self-assertions and puerile pride (of leaders who
want to take advantage of the anger rising out of the injured pride of an
ethnic group, a party or a nation), or a trivial mistake on the part of a
person who represented a group at a given time. This is true of conflicts
from the time of the Kurukshetra War and the epic performance of Greek
heroes to those of our own days.
Hobsbawm argues that the weakening of state power during the
second half of the 20th century has led to the “democratization or privatization of the means of destruction” (Hobsbawm, 560). Studying the
present trends, there is no way we can feel confident that the age of
Holocausts, Hiroshimas, and bloody revolutions is over.
The Emerging Power of Teilhard's Vision · 39
4. Mission of Healing of Historic Memories, of Anger-reduction
One reason is that that there are rooted prejudices in people,
strong memories of historic injuries, and deep convictions about the
other party’s vested interests. Historically, we have hurt each other as
ethnic groups, nations, or civilizations. It is part of the work of committed
citizens to heal the memories of historic wounds, at the ethnic, cultural,
national and even civilizational levels. It is not easy. And it is here that
we often fail. And yet we know that the healing of negative memories
of recent events or of historic past is absolutely necessary for building a
confident future for any society or nation. It is precisely while offering
this service we see that the evolutionary energies of the cosmic reality
come alive.
Having worked in the area of reconciliation between communities in conflict for about two decades, I know the meaning of ‘collective
anger’. It is terrible. The work of anger-reduction has become central
to the service that an intellectual ought to offer almost everywhere in
our times: anger of class against class, caste against caste, ethnic group
against ethnic group, tribe against tribe, religious group against religious
group, ideologies against ideologies, theological vision against theological vision, economic interest against economic interest, national ambition
against national ambition, political alliance against political alliance. Can
we become the ‘Lambs of God’ ( John 1:29) who take away the ‘Anger
of the World’? At least reduce that anger? While we sing with the angels
on Christmas night ‘Peace to men of good will’ (Luke 2:14), can we help
generate this ‘good will’ that seems to be absent?
The main argument of Arnold Toynbee’s Study of History is precisely that collective violence in one direction is usually a response to
similar earlier violence in the opposite direction. Only a healing of memories can bring a less destructive world into existence. In recent years,
prayer-services and commemoration of the dead have been conducted on
sites associated with wars, with unhealed or unacknowledged collective
wounds: Verdun, Gettysburg, Auschwitz, Hiroshima (Russ Parker, Healing
Wounded History, Darton, Longman & Todd, London, 2001, 57). We cannot change our past, but we can change our response to the past.
Further, with the weakening of the credibility of established authorities, today there is an undefined anger against authorities of every kind.
There is a suspicion, in like manner, of all systems of thought, ideologies, comprehensive explanations, which, our society feels, have been
instrumentalized for power. The same suspicion and anger are extended
analogically to all forms of established order and authority, moral codes,
40 · Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
standard explanations, and religious admonitions. We need intelligent
and committed guides, inspirers with no self-interest.
5. A Sense of Responsibility Proposes Developing the Art of Dialogue,
Persuasion….not of Weapons
History has shown down the centuries to what cruel forms of
inhumanity human groups can descend when they look at each other as
threats and not as friends and fellow-travellers towards a common destiny. Driven by hatred, people can find hidden resources and unlimited
energies in themselves to be able to inflict mortal injuries on the supposed ‘enemy’. Hatred has strength. But what I want to argue today is that
love is stronger, especially when it is enlightened and committed. It is
in keeping with the law of Evolution; in fact, that is the law of law that
guides all things to their cosmic destiny.
“It is through dialogue, not weapons, that controversies are resolved,” said Pope John Paul II during his visit to Kazakhstan soon after
the attack on World Trade Centre in New York. In this era of increased
assertiveness and tensions it is good to search for paths that lead to conversation, reconciliation, collaboration, and communion... to convergence
of thought and relationship. It is in this way that Teilhard’s vision comes
true.
IV. Enlightened Persons Must Show the Way
1. The Noosphere is Built by Intellectuals Who Show the Way
Indeed, in this divided and confused world, we would be fulfilling
the mission that Teilhard visualized only if we acted as agents of unity
and of positive social transformation. It is our duty to exert ourselves to
promote freshness in thinking and the re-emergence of genuine human
values in society. We ought to act as agents of peace, promoters of integrity in a corrupt society, protectors of nature where environment is
threatened, supporters of good governance in weak states, advocates of
responsible media in a world of biased and distorted reporting.
But for this, we need to be prepared to pay the price. A society
has a future only if intellectuals within it keep themselves informed
and show the way. This assistance has become all the more necessary
in our fast changing times when there is a blurring of ethical horizons.
We need people who think, reflect and discern their way forward amidst
the new anxieties that are continuously arising. If responsible citizens
want to act as a vigorous and fruitful current in the noosphere (Teilhard,
Phenomenon, 323) they should take this mission seriously. There lies the
secret of mutual fecundation (Teilhard, Phenomenon, 315).
The Emerging Power of Teilhard's Vision · 41
By intellectuals, in this context, I mean those who have reflected
over human affairs, transformed their knowledge into ‘wisdom’, and developed a profound ‘sense of responsibility’ for the common good. Such
leaders become reliable guides who show the way. That is the role I am
proposing that genuine intellectuals take up.
In the Rig Veda we read “One ignorant of the land asks of one
who knows it; he travels forward instructed by the knowing guide.
This, indeed, is the blessing of instruction; one finds the path that leads
straight onward” (Rig Veda, 10.32.7).
Toynbee used to insist that it was always a “Creative Minority” that
led a particular society to its true greatness. Whatever be the expression
that you use, intellectuals, thinking element, knowing guide, what I
would like to do is to invite a sense of responsibility from persons who
are truly ‘Enlightened’ in our society. Teilhard used to say “We have as
yet no idea of the possible magnitude of ‘noospheric’ effects”; we would
understand it only if we took note of the effect of human vibrations on
the cosmic processes (Teilhard, Phenomenon, 313). That is why Teilhard
used to suggest a new science called human energetics (Teilhard,
Phenomenon, 311).
2. The Mission of the ‘Creative Minority’
There were periods in ancient history when human beings were
reduced to becoming cogs in the wheel of a mighty imperial machinery,
e.g. as slaves and forced labour serving the cause of an empire. Similarly
totalitarian (Nazi, Fascist, Communist) regimes even in modern times held
the masses in slavery making use of bureaucrats, technicians, scientists
and slave-soldiers. These were situations when Evolution was put on the
reverse, human beings seeking to return to the slush from where they
rose.
In a similar way today, a society today that is driven only by its economic concerns is producing reduced personalities who are satisfied with
a wide choice of consumer goods, as the Roman slaves were happy with
‘bread and circuses’. It is claimed that citizens in market-led democracies
enjoy freedom in full measure and that they can express their dissent
and displeasure in whatever manner they choose; that they can freely
protest. But the truth may be that the road-shows of the masses today
and their street demonstrations are not the ‘upsurge of consciousness’,
but a display by blind hordes. They are mere mimesis, poor mechanical
imitations of civic protests that had significance and depth when they
were organized by the great heroes of the past for a great cause.
42 · Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
This is the result of transforming thinking men into mechanical
robots in factories and pay-lines. These demonstrations are merely taking
the negative fruits of mechanization to the streets. And those mechanized
men are protesting against the very evil that they have not removed from
their hearts and their life styles (corruption, lust, rudeness). The forces of
dispersion seem to be growing stronger these days than those of convergence. And they go counter to the laws of cosmogenesis, Christogenesis
and Omegization.
To such worrying situations as these, Teilhard’s response is positive. “In the presence of such a profound perversion of the rules of noogenesis, I hold that our reaction should not be one of despair but of a determination to re-examine ourselves” (Teilhard, Phenomenon, 282). After
all, the human mind is creative and can produce a super-abundance of
what is good even in difficult situations. But if, instead of re-thinking our
lifestyles and goals, we allow economic and political powers to dictate to
us, we can look forward only to a bleak future. For, material achievements
are not the ultimate measure of the progress of a civilization, as Toynbee
held firmly. For this reason, the self-congratulation of Modern Civilization
for its unparalleled technological and economic success is misplaced. In
fact, the greatest material achievements may be made by a civilization
even when it is well on the way to decline. Is that already happening?
3. People Listen to a Sober Voice
Solutions to our problems will ultimately come only when we learn
to take inspiration from each other. We in South Asia have borrowed
many ideas and traditions from other societies: democracy, technology,
industrialization, socialism, Marxism, the Market. But, it has not always
been that the best met the best. Unfortunately, we learn faster about
nuclear devices and corruption practices than about creative peace efforts
and ways of integrity. Humanity will find its way forward only when what
is best in each civilization/culture meets what is best in others. That seems
to be in keeping with the message of Teilhard de Chardin.
No doubt, thinkers like Marx suggested that historical progress
can be achieved only through conflict (Capra, 1983:16). What they often
forget is the fact all struggle in nature takes place within the wider
context of cooperation. Social observers do admit that in times of transition tensions are possible. It is in view of this possibility that I. Ching
suggested centuries ago that conflict should be reduced in times of social
transition (Capra, 1983:16-17). Lao Tzu had the same thing in mind when
he suggested “by nonaction everything can be done” (Capra, 1983:20). In
The Emerging Power of Teilhard's Vision · 43
this context “nonaction” would mean a relaxed and appropriate approach
to things, an intelligent and balanced way of handling problems.
But, we have to face the reality we see today of even normally fairminded persons surprising the world with cruel, inhuman deeds during
ethnic or religious clashes. It is in such contexts that one should ‘stand
out’ of one’s own identity and distance oneself from the immediate issue
and listen to a sober voice, whoever is able to give it. Every person seeking to be a conscientious citizen has a duty to equip himself/herself for
this great mission. Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in this way
while he was on a campaign in Parthia, “So: one thing is worth a lot,
to live out one’s life with truth and justice, and with kindliness toward
liars and wrong doers” (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, at Nussbaum, 224).
He knew how to ‘stand apart’ in his inner world even while leading a
campaign. Teilhard too knew how to do it while serving in the trenches,
committing his thoughts into writing.
The deeper the interiority of an individual, the more effective the
contribution he/she can make to social evolution. Such persons know
that they are participants in the subtle mystery of an unfolding cosmic destiny. They know that when they do what is good (e.g. show an
extraordinary gesture of generosity, make a unique discovery, have an
intense experience of the divine, hit a target with perfection, write an
inspired poem, give a spiritual message) they are in harmony with the
cosmic forces of the Universe, and that they are fulfilling a plan formed
long ago without realizing it. They will not allow any narrow self-interest
to limit, diminish or trivialize this perception of reality.
4. Be Gentle as Doves
Hegel noticed that in a warlike situation people became ready
for sacrifice and in comfortable contexts they became self-absorbed and
effeminate (Fukuyama, 1992:329). Hence his belief that conflict was the
driving force of history. Such a belief easily finds acceptance in contexts
where a warrior ethos prevails, as an economy-driven society would insist
that human beings can be motivated by profit alone. But we see that
leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Gandhi or Nehru were
led forward by the power of their ideas and ideals and that they were
able to contribute in abundant measure to the progress of human society.
They could stir the hearts of millions towards a common goal even at
enormous sacrifice (Nussbaum, 2).
In this endeavour of communicating a vivifying message, my
advice is, “Be gentle as doves” (Matthew 10:16); that is the ‘Asian way’
44 · Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL JOWAI
of sharing ideas. For we know and appreciate the wisdom contained
in such teachings as this: “Those who lead others in harmony with the
Tao (Way) do not use force to subdue others, or attempt to dominate
the world through force of arms. For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even when well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself”
(Tao Te Ching, 30). A non-adversarial approach to each other, listening
to another’s voices than one’s own, readiness to accept the wisdom of
the wider community…that is the Asian way. Dhammapada says, “Do not
speak harshly to anybody; those who are spoken to will answer thee in
the same way. Angry speech is painful, blows for blows will touch thee”
(X, 133). “One cannot steal, lie, commit adultery or go along the banks
of the Ganges striking, laying waste, mutilating and commanding others
to mutilate, oppressing and commanding others to oppress”, without reaping the consequences (Digha Nikaya I, 52).
Referring to a gentle approach the Physicist David Peat says,
“Gentle action is global… It addresses itself not just to practical issues,
as the price of oil or the efficiency of a given factory, but also to values,
ethics, and the quality of life…. Like the ripples around the point, it
moves inward to converge on a particular issue. Gentle action works not
through force and raw energy but by modifying the very processes that
generate and sustain an undesired or harmful effect… Gentle action…
gives a new dimension to the whole idea of social action…It suggests that
the origins of effective action can lie in ordinary people, both as individuals and as members of a group—and with their values, ethics, goals,
and desires” (Hathaway, 387).
“Learn from me”, Jesus said, “because I am gentle and humble in
spirit” (Matt 11:29).
References
F. CAPRA, The Turning Point, Flamingo (Harper Collins; London 1983).
F. FUKUYAMA, The End of History and the Last Man (Penguin Books; London, 1992).
F. FUKUYAMA, The Origins of Political Order (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; New York 2011).
D. GOULD, Science and the Soul (Paragon House; St. Paul MN 2006).
E. HOBSBAWM, The Age of Extremes (Vintage Books; New York, 1995).
P. MAROKY, Convergence (Oriental Institute of Religious Studies; Kottayam).
M. NOWAK, Evolution, Games, God (Harvard University Press; London 2013).
M. NUSSBAUM, Political Emotions (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; 2013).
P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, The Phenomenon of Man (Fontana Books; London 1967).
A. TOYNBEE, A Study of History (one-vol. ed.Thames & Hudson; Oxford 1995).
B. VOGT, The Church and New Media (Our Sunday Visitor; Huntington 2011).
· 45
From Noosphere to Omega Point
The actuality of Teilhard's vision
Jacques ARNOULD
Abstract: Sixty years after the death of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,
his intellectual and spiritual heritage has perhaps never been so pertinent
to prepare the future of humankind. The emergence and development
of ICT (Information and Communication Technology), especially by
using space opportunities, have realized the technical dimension of what
Teilhard and Vernadsky have named: the noosphere. The challenge is
now to build an ethical corpus, related to this new situation. It requires
a new vision of humankind, of common responsibility, where the idea of
convergence could be e key reference. Consequences of the Christian tradition would be the necessity to elaborate a Cosmic Christology, without
fear to lose the foundations of faith but, in the contrary, to discover new
dimensions.
(1) Pierre Teilhard de Chardin died April 10, 1955 in New York,
Albert Einstein the 18th of the same month and the same year at
Princeton, in nearby New Jersey. Each in their own way, these two men
have profoundly influenced our understanding of the reality: that which
precedes us, that to which we belong, that which we build but also destroy, that will survive us.
I suppose, Einstein and Teilhard de Chardin have never had the
opportunity to meet together, but they were apparently motivated by
close beliefs and perspectives of philosophical, spiritual and theological
quest.
“I want to know how God created the universe”, said Albert Einstein
to his student Esther Salaman, in Berlin in the 1920s. “I'm not interested
by this or that phenomenon, this or that element. I want to know the mind
of God; the rest is just details.”
46 · Jacques ARNOULD
Teilhard de Chardin was inhabited, as we know, by the same quest
for God.
On the other hand, if Einstein was nicknamed the “Jewish Saint”
and Teilhard belonged to the society of Jesus and the Catholic Church,
both claimed and retained freedom against religious hierarchies, to
defend and develop their own answers to theological questions that they
arose: Einstein believed in a God close to that of Spinoza, as Teilhard put
in question the historicity of the narratives of Genesis and proposed to
reintroduce the cosmic Christology of the Early Churchs Fathers.
Finally, both believed in a God whose “dimensions” would be
compatible with those conferred on reality by science; a “growing Christ”
wrote the Jesuit.
But Einstein and Teilhard de Chardin did not forget humanity. Both
have lived, differently but painfully, the two world wars. They were forced
to leave their homeland, they have suffered exile. In 1933, Einstein, because he was Jewish, had to leave the Germany and was even expelled from
the Academy of Prussia; Teilhard, we know, was condemned to silence
by his superiors and returned only by episodes in France, his homeland.
Perhaps these exiles have given to their work, their thoughts a more
international, a more universal dimension, a deep concern for humanity
as a whole.
I wanted to talk about Albert Einstein, not to minimize Father
Teilhard de Chardin thought, but to relativize his ideas, I mean to articulate them to the field of more general reflections on God, humankind,
world. This field has been profoundly shaken up and changed by the
scientific and technological developments, in the 20th and the 21st centuries. Each with their own personality, knowledge, faith, life, Einstein and
Teilhard were giants on whose shoulders we are perched, today, to now
address the future.
(2) A century after the beginning of the first World War in 1914 and
seventy years after the D-Day, the invasion of Normandy by the Allies in
Normandy in June 1944, 2014 is a favorable year to remind the influence
of the two World Wars of the 20th century on the thought of Teilhard. He
speaks about them as two earthquakes that shook all the living beings of
Earth, and especially human kind. These disasters have shown weaknesses of our species, have cracked it, sometimes broken, but never dislocated human block.
Yet in 1918 as in 1945, he marveled, he was enthusiastic because,
behind “a psychological veil of weariness and resentment”, he has seen
From Noosphere to Omega Point · 47
“an irresistible physical process: human collectivization” (Un grand événement qui se dessine: la planétisation humaine, 1945).
We know the both physical and metaphysical origins of the vision
of Teilhard, his fascination with combined processes of complexity and
consciousness which characterize the universe. Although it is not the
outcome of his thought, Le Phénomène humain describes this momentum, this rise from the simplest material to more sophisticated organisms,
these successive layers, without borders. Until the emergence of humans,
the first beings to have the conscience, Homo sapiens sapiens, the first
elements of what Teilhard chooses to call the noosphere.
(3) Teilhard de Chardin did not create the term, nor the concept
of noosphere. The term seems to appear in the mind of Edouard Le
Roy. But the idea, if it can be already guessed in the posthumous book
of Huyghens Cosmotheoros, published in Russia in the 18th century, is
mainly the work of Russian Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky. In an article
published in 1943, he defends the idea that the noosphere is the final
stage of the evolution of the biosphere, through strictly geochemical processes. The man is the center of a additional and singular process, that
of the cephalisation, i.e. to increase his brain capacity; it's a irreversible,
progressive process, by which living matter is entering into a new era,
the era known as anthropogenic or even as the age of the noosphere.
“We are entering the noosphere, writes Vernadsky. This new geological
process takes place in a troubled period, that of a destructive world war.
But the most important is that our ideals democratic are granted the basic
geological processes, laws of nature and the noosphere. Thus, we face the
future with confidence. It is in our hands. We must not let him escape.”
Teilhard de Chardin fits into this perspective. For him, every individual, every group occupies a center, a focal point, whose value lies not in
their particular position but the connections that they maintain with each
other more. “Under the effect of reflection, and the reploiements that it
entails, the chains close; and the Noosphere tends to form a single closed
system-where each element to itself sees, feels, desires, suffers the same
things as all of them at once.” (Le Phénomène humain, 1948)
(4) Many people have said Teilhard de Chardin and sometimes Vernadsky are the prophets of the internet and Information and
Communication Technologies, in general, because they had proposed the
concept of noosphere.
With the Modern Period, human have been able to navigate on
the seas and all around the Earth globe, to navigate in the air since the
48 · Jacques ARNOULD
beginning of the 20th century, to navigate in space since the middle of
the 20th century. And now they are navigating, surfing on computer and
virtual networks. Does it mean that we approach the time, the realization
of the noosphere described by Vernadsky and Teilhard?
“Gain altitude, and mount high enough so that over superficial
details disorder, you can discover significant regularity of some great
phenomenon” (Un grand événement qui se dessine: la planétisation
humaine): what Teilhard, in 1945, could only imagine (but remember that
Arthur C. Clarke has published the same year an article explaining the
concept of the geostationary satellite and its possible utilization for communication) has been accomplished with the space technics. And philosopher Hannah Arendt saw in the flight of Sputnik October 4, 1957, a
“event, that nothing, not even the fission of the atom, cannot overshadow”
(The human condition). Not only because the human species appeared to
be able to escape out of the earthly prison, but also because these techniques enabled it to reconsider its own relationship to the world and to
itself, to articulate in a completely new way the overall, global level and
the local level. We have to precise this evolution.
From the 16th century and from the West, the navigation capabilities, first marine, then air, finally space, helped to draw routes on the
whole of our planet. We owe them an intensification of trade and internationalization of the economy, what we call in French “mondialisation”.
During the 20th century, an another, more intense phenomenon has
occurred, that of globalization: this term means that it is not only the establishment of interconnections, but now a process of integration. Each of
us can now move between multiple scales, from local to global, an experience of compression of space and time, of immediacy and simultaneity;
and we cannot escape to this phenomenon. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
the famous French pilot and writer, also a contemporary of Teilhard de
Chardin, wrote in Le Petit Prince:
“The policy has not changed, said the igniter. That is the drama!
the planet from year to year has turned increasingly faster, and the policy
has not changed!”
In the mid-20th century, Teilhard sees the emergence of “planetisation” or “unanimisation” movement; the next step, always in Teilhard’s
perspective would be the emergence of the “ultrahumain”. Are we really
engaged on this way, in this process? On the way, perhaps, but to the
destination yet. Because the challenges facing humanity are difficult,
especially one that Teilhard mentions: the establishment of a friendly
phase (“phase sympathique”).
From Noosphere to Omega Point · 49
(5) “Yes, we call on all the European Governments, the Europe of
the twelve, to consider all solutions, including the use of force to stop the
war. Tomorrow, they will not be able to say that they did not know, they
will not be able to say that they could not.”
These words of the French journalist Jacques Julliard, in november
1992, in part summarizes the ethical issue launched by new information
and communication technologies: if many worry about their impact on
the privacy of each of us or the maintenance of cultural diversity, a more
imperative issue is the emergence of a new scale of responsibility. We
humans in the 21st century, are we not new Cain who are asked with
the same question: “What have you done to your brother?” Because we
now know so much about life, health, needs of all the inhabitants of this
planet, we can be obliged to take our responsibilities to each of them. We
know; but what are we ready to do? Perhaps Teilhard was right to talk
about the need for "friendly, sympathetic phase."
If we have learned to know the life of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,
if we have read his correspondence, we know how much he loved cultivating friendship. He said one day: “The Earth is round, that friendship
can do the tour of it.” And Teilhard himself, real globe trotter, has never
ceased to forge a genuine network of friends. Let me mention just a few.
During the First World War, while he was a young Jesuit priest
Teilhard lives in the trenches. The soldiers respect him, even when they
are Muslims. Teilhard takes care to send letters to the families of the
soldiers killed. After having published a book on Teilhard de Chardin in
2005, I received from a family the copy of one of these letters, piously
conserved for almost a century!
During his journeys in the Red Sea, he founds a surprising friendship with Henry de Monfreid, the “Pirate of the Red Sea”, this adventurer
who is involved in trafficking of weapons, drugs, slaves perhaps. Thanks
to him, Teilhard was able to conduct expeditions in Abyssinia.
During his long stay in China, Teilhard also forges links of very
strong friendship, for example with Davidson Blake, one of the discoverers of the Sinanthrope. When Blake dies suddenly in 1934, Teilhard
swears to “fight more than ever to give a hope to work with human
research”. The same friendship links Teilhard to many scientific colleagues, their families, on several continents.
Teilhard has many friends among his Jesuit colleagues. Pierre
Leroy, with which he has long lived and worked in Beijing, faithfully kept
the memory of this friendship, at the same time as the thought of his
elder. When I had the opportunity to meet and know him and to serve
50 · Jacques ARNOULD
at his mass for almost two years; when we exchanged shortly before his
own death in 1992, he was still inhabited by this great fraternity and
friendship.
The Teilhard friendship overview would be incomplete without an
oversight on Teilhard relation with the women: the respectful admiration
for his mother, the spiritual closeness with his cousin and war correspondent Marguerite Teillard-Chambon, the same passion for philosophical
research with Léontine Zanta, the special friendship for the artist Lucile
Swan, etc. He acknowledged that there were sometimes “too many petticoats” around him, but also owed to his female friendships a part of the
completion of his spiritual quest.
Thus, in the eyes and in the practice of Teilhard, as he wrote in his
Esquisse d’un univers personnel (1936), the friendship is not the lovingpassion, which focuses on the persons themselves, in an exclusive quest.
Friendship, on the contrary, remains open to a growing multiplicity. The
individuality is not forgotten or denied; it joined a common interest: the
pursuit of an ideal, the advocacy, the adventures of a search. Not penetration from the other, precise yet Teilhard, but rather progress together
in a new world, “affinity more or less confused that connects us psychologically to all enveloping us”, what Teilhard called the cosmic feeling,
consciousness.
(6) This cosmic sense, which, for Teilhard, has to inspire the highest human relations, which gives them the taste for friendship and a
sense of sympathy, this cosmic sense has deep theological roots. Because,
as we know, Teilhard finds the inspiration, has the genius to rediscover a
theological field forgotten by the Christians of the West since the end of
the patristic era: the Cosmic Christology.
The tradition Biblical, patristic and theological of the cosmic Christ
then sets out, develops, and confesses to the idea of a Christ which summarizes in him all creation to save it and finish it:
“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and,
having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile
all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or
things in heaven.” (Epistle to the Colossians 1:19-20)
This work of reconciliation is part of a world and a story where
death and Sin still exist, but yet are already saved by Christ, in the faith
of the Creation and the Redemption by God. Is this religious perspective
prohibiting any historical vision which would be marked by the contingency? Does this require to introduce a finalized vision, led by orthogenic
From Noosphere to Omega Point · 51
evolution? It seems that Teilhard makes the choice to do so, even if he is
in opposition, during the 1950s, with many scientific colleagues.
I will not engage here in the field of epistemology but in the
theological one. There, I believe, Teilhard shows a interesting originality.
While the debates between believers and non-believers are often reduced
to oppose a strict necessity triumphant coincidence, Teilhard invites to
rediscover the meaning of theological affirmation that Christ attracts the
created reality to him. Its power of attraction is great, but it is not total,
necessary: the human being remains free to consent or refuse. Moreover,
Teilhard considers that man becomes more free that he is approaching to
the Omega Point in this process of unification: “operated in sympathy, the
union does not limit, it enhances the possibilities of being” (La formation
de la noosphère, 1947). A sum of freedoms that can act freely: here’s how
Teilhard conceived the approach of the Omega Point, which he identifies
with the Christ of the Parousia.
(7) Without any doubt for me, Cosmic Christology requires more
interest from contemporary theologians, to better present and explain the
Christian faith in the context of increasing globalization in which humanity is involved, but also in the context of a scientific understanding of the
world whose dimensions are not those of our only planet. Two 'trends'
that can frighten the Christians, too inclined to link christocentrism and
anthropocentrism. Thanks to Teilhard de Chardin, they need not fear
to think a ever greater Christ and, subsequently, a ever greater creation, without, however, losing the human scale. I repeat, never Teilhard,
following Christian tradition, confuses the process of convergence under
the effect of the “attracting” Christ, with a kind of process of confusion
which would contain or conduct to a form of Pantheism.
We know that Teilhard has discovered and experienced the beauty
and the attractiveness of a pantheism all impregnated of Eastern mysticism, especially during his period in a Jesuit school in Egypt. Many facets
of his personality and his history could lead him to take the pantheistic
way and spirituality. But other facets, deeply enrooted in his familial
culture and Christian tradition, stop the pantheistic “temptation” and give
him the capacity to transform this attraction in the rediscovery of the
cosmic dimension of the faith and the Christian tradition. He takes more
awareness of this personal and perhaps original trend, a few years later,
on the front of the First World War. In his Diary, February 7, 1916, he
writes: “I have always had, I believe, the pantheistic soul. It is very convenient to be Christian.” And, finally, this affirmation to Father Fontoynont,
in March 15, 1916: “I will divert the drunkenness of the pagan pantheism
52 · Jacques ARNOULD
for Christian use, acknowledging creative and formative God’s action in
all hugs and all clashes, in all passivity unavoidable and irreducible.”
Escaping to pantheism, Teilhard can dock his theology of convergence in a perspective which respects individuals, personalities, without
denying the links that exist between them. It is in this sense that his
theology, all inspired by Christ and Christian tradition, can now offer
foundations to ethics that humanity needs to really enter the technical
reality of a technical and tomorrow psychological and spiritual noosphere, to give it a horizon, a goal, a hope. For Teilhard, it still remains
the main concern: how to maintain, during the immense periods of the
future, the desire not only to survive, but the passion, the enthusiasm
to move forward? Without this passion, all our physical and chemical
powers remain miserably inert in our hands (L’énergie d’évolution, 1953),
for Teilhard, going forwards, progressing is essential: “finding God in the
act of progress itself... The future leads us to the extent of our faith...”
(Journal, October 10, 1917).
· 53
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision
to the Contemporary World
Science, religion and planetary humanity
Ursula KING
Abstract: Teilhard de Chardin was a great thinker, a great scientist,
a great mystic – he was above all an extraordinary human being whose
inspiring vision still remains far too little known. He so much stressed
the importance of seeing, of having a vision that pulls us forward and
upward. For him, life is vision. I will examine how this vision - embracing science, religion and the future of planetary humanity - presents a
challenge to the contemporary world and an inspiration to create a better
future for all people.
The first part of my essay looks at our world in crisis, dominated by
science, but politically fragmented, suffering from much injustice, poverty
and violence. Where are we going? Teilhard’s evolutionary, convergent
and universalist thinking can be a guiding light for the contemporary
world to move ahead.
The second part highlights important features of planetary humanity faced with the responsibility of its further self-evolution. Has the human
species the evolutionary capacity for developing its life to a higher stage,
for truly transformative action to create greater collaboration and unity,
more universal peace and justice?
The third part examines the spiritual energy resources needed for
the further development of the human community, especially the necessary
zest for life, the all-transforming power of love and compassion, and the
need for an environmentally and ecologically sound way of life to ensure
the wellbeing of all people and the planet.
The fourth part deals with the challenge of Teilhard’s life and vision
for the contemporary world, showing that we need a new spiritual awake-
54 · Ursula KING
ning, and a deeply mystical, action-oriented spirituality to take humanity
forward. The brief conclusion sums up Teilhard’s legacy and integral
vision, rooted in both modern science and a fervent Christian faith, which
represent an inspiring and powerful challenge for life, thought and action
of contemporary humanity.
The Teilhard Centre at the Sri Lankan Subodhi Institute of Integral
Education is probably unique in the whole of Asia. It owes its existence
to the foresight, passionate dedication and hard work of Father Mervyn
Fernando to whom deepest thanks are owed for developing this inspiring centre with so much imagination, thought and love. I came to Sri
Lanka long ago, to a meeting in early 1982, when I lectured on Teilhard
for a seminar on “Human Development and Eastern Religions” organised
by the Subodhi Institute. Unfortunately, due to illness, I had to miss the
Silver Jubelee celebration of the Teilhard de Chardin Centre for Science,
Spirituality and the Future during 2014, but I was there in spirit.
I want to mention the important fact that, from 1923 onwards,
Teilhard de Chardin visited Sri Lanka briefly on several occasions when
he was travelling by boat to China. In 1926 he wrote with enthusiasm
about his visit to Colombo, to its beautiful Botanical Garden and its
museum where he was particularly interested in looking at some fossils.1
Teilhard was a great thinker, a great scientist, a great mystic – he
was above all an extraordinary human being whose inspiring vision still
remains far too little known. He so much stressed the importance of
seeing, of having a vision that pulls us forward and upward. For him, life
is vision, as he wrote in the Foreword on “Seeing” in his great book The
Human Phenomenon.2
In order to show what a challenge Teilhard’s vision presents to us,
I begin with some general comments about the critical state of today’s
world (1); then reflect on planetary humanity at the crossroads (2); in
order to consider what spiritual resources we possess for ensuring the
future wellbeing of people and planet (3). Finally I will conclude by summing up the challenge of Teilhard’s life and vision for the contemporary
world (4).
1. A world in crisis: where are we going?
We are living in a highly interconnected, global world with many
seemingly insoluble problems: there is the runaway growth of the human
population, the maldistribution of resources, the existence of widespread
military and structural violence, the absence of stable peace. There are
also the profoundly unjust inequalities linked to the growing imbalance
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision: Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity · 55
between the extremes of abject poverty and those of ostentatious wealth,
and there is the threat of ecological disaster looming large on the horizon. Our age is often described as an age of unbelief, with its growing
secularism, especially in the northern hemisphere, where many people
appear to be spiritually impoverished, marked by a crass materialism,
much greed, and a loss of transcendence. Yet at the same time we know
of many people with a deep ethical commitment to transformative social
and ecological action, attracted to a new spirituality emerging from
within the secular.
The great intellectual adventures of modern times have primarily
been connected with scientific and technological inventions. These represent an ongoing, continuing quest for the exploration and understanding
of the world around and within us, of cosmos, nature, life, and human
beings – their immense diversity and richness, and the social, cultural and
spiritual evolution of the human species.
The scientific quest can be described as a quest for ever more
knowledge, a quest which expands our perception and experience of
the boundaries of the real, which ultimately seeks the unity and interrelatedness of all knowledge. But like all human endeavours, the pursuit
of science is characterised by profound ambivalence and many ethical
problems.
Teilhard de Chardin saw perhaps less of this dark side of modern
science, its power for evil and destruction, than we perceive today. His
own practice, praise and love of science were undertaken from a position
of responsibility and deep reverence, permeated by a religious spirit. He
understood the scientific quest as a search for the unity of knowledge and
saw it at its deepest level as closely related to the great human longing for
union that expresses itself in the scientific, religious and mystical quest.
Yet he was also never tired of pointing out how our understanding
of science is much too narrow, particularistic and fragmentary. Its power
of analysis must now be matched by attempts at synthesis, by a more
holistic and global way of thinking. Teilhard saw everything from a wider,
more universal perspective and in need of transformation. Science and
mysticism are not in opposition to each other but ultimately interrelated.
For him the rational and mystical are much closer to each other than
generally thought. Teilhard’s holistic vision is grounded in both science
and faith; both are approached from an all-embracing perspective that
is evolutionary, convergent, and universalist. Its comprehensiveness and
depth offer a tremendous challenge that can empower people to think,
act and live differently – what Teilhard called to “superlive”: to live a
fuller, better, more rewarding life shared with our fellow human beings.
56 · Ursula KING
Through his temperament and travels, and through his detailed
scientific studies of the history of human life on earth, Teilhard developed an extraordinary sense of the earth as a whole, and of humankind
as one. He spoke early of the ‘planetisation’ of humankind, or what we
today would call ‘globalisation’. One of the strongest expressions of this
sense of the earth and of humanity as one is found in his 1931 essay “The
Spirit of the Earth”. 3
He saw the whole world and all peoples within it as one. Beyond
the external forces of unification or globalisation, brought about by scientific research, economics, finance, political power, media communication
or even militarization, Teilhard was looking for the “miracle of a common
soul”,4 for a greater convergence and union of the diverse elements of
humanity. This cannot be achieved without the powers of love and compassion. It is an ideal that cannot be reached without developing the
spirit of the earth, nor can it be found without what he calls “the arising
of God”, that is to say, the continuous development of the idea of God
on earth, or what some might perceive as the openness to the presence
of the spirit.
Teilhard recognized that there may exist resistance “to open our
hearts wide to the call of the world within us, to the sense of the earth”.5
Yet this sense can reveal to us “the newly freed energies of love, the dormant energies of human unity, the hesitant energies of research.” 6 He
explains these in both metaphorical and religious terms. Love is described
as “the most tremendous and the most mysterious of the cosmic forces”.
“Huge, ubiquitous and always unsubdued”, love is a “wild force”, but also
“a sacred reserve of energy” - it is “like the blood of spiritual evolution”. 7
As to human unity, human beings often experience more of an
“instinctive repulsion” and distance from each other than genuine attraction; we cannot truly love millions of strangers but are often profoundly
disturbed by the plurality of human beings we encounter. The “spirit of
the earth” and the experience of human unity seem at present more of
a dream than a reality, yet Teilhard felt that this “sense of, this feeling
for greater human unity is now ‘in process of formation’”; it is “the irresistible pressure which unites people at a given moment in a passion
they share.” 8 This creates a movement towards human convergence and
union through a new form of love practiced through mutual “interlinking”
rather than mere personal attraction. 9
Teilhard also diagnosed many symptoms of a growing crisis in
different spheres of human activity. He wrote:
From the economic and industrial point of view the crisis is evident…Too much iron, too much wheat, too many automobiles – but
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision: Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity · 57
also too many books, too many observations; and also too many
diplomas, technicians and workmen – and even too many children.
The world cannot function without producing living beings, food,
ideas. But its production is more and more patently exceeding its
powers of absorption and assimilation…we must ask what this excess
production means. Is the world condemned, as it grows, to automatic
death by stifling beneath its own excessive weight?
He answered this question in the negative and interpreted the
numerous problems in the contemporary world as a “crisis of birth”. He
finished his essay on “The Spirit of the Earth” with the powerful, visionary statement:
The age of nations has passed. Now, unless we wish to perish we
must shake off our old prejudices and build the earth…The more scientifically I regard the world, the less can I see any possible biological future
for it except the active consciousness of its unity. 10
Teilhard’s way of thinking is thoroughly shaped by the evolutionary dynamic of becoming. For him, the world is going somewhere! His
essay “How I Believe” (1934) sums up his vision in evolutionary terms:
I believe that the universe is an evolution.
I believe that evolution proceeds towards spirit.
I believe that spirit is fully realized in a form of personality...
I believe that the supremely personal is the universal Christ.11
In other words, evolutionary processes are universal; they embrace
all realities, from the depths of matter to the height of spirit, from the
cosmic to the human and divine. Teilhard perceived this divine presence
everywhere and encountered above all in the incarnate and cosmic Christ.
The universe was not simply an object of scientific enquiry for him, but
a living, evolving reality. The world of nature, “Mother Earth”, which
he passionately loved and embraced as something alive, pulsating with
energy and growth, revealed to him a greater presence, an environment
suffused with divine life.
He sees humanity moving into a new environment, into “a world
that is being born instead of a world that is”,12 with a new relationship
between matter and spirit, a new humanism, and a new understanding of
God – complementary movements which perhaps mark “the beginning of
a new era for humankind”.13
2. Planetary Humanity at the Crossroads
This is the rise of a truly planetary humanity where the increasing
complexity of matter and material organisation results in an accompan-
58 · Ursula KING
ying rise of consciousness and spiritual awareness. For Teilhard this is
connected with the mutual embeddedness of the biosphere with what
he called the “noosphere”, the specific human sphere of thinking and
action, today sometimes described as the “planetary mind”. This also
includes important aspects of what we today call eco-justice and social
justice, animated above all by the transformative and healing powers of
love. For Teilhard, the noosphere has also a deeply spiritual dimension
which he described as “the divine milieu”, a field of divine energy and a
central focal point which is both immanent and wholly transcendent at
the same time.
Teilhard was a great scientist. He qualified in geology, was well
acquainted with biology, physics and chemistry, and excelled in palaeontology, the study of human origins, where he gained an international
reputation. But the more closely he studied ancient fossils, the more he
turned away from the past and developed a fascination with the present,
and even more the future. Reflections on the future of humankind and
its further social, cultural and spiritual development feature prominently
in his work. He expressed with clarity and forcefulness that we are
one humanity, with one origin, and one destiny. We are also a group of
humans that has not yet reached maturity in terms of its possibilities. Its
immense problems somehow resemble the turmoils of youth in individual human development.
Wherever we live today, it is becoming obvious that ever more
people are developing a new planetary vision and sense of the earth.
The general awareness of the history of the earth, of life and the great
biodiversity of our planet is much greater today than ever before.
A new consciousness is emerging in the world in connection with
our understanding of the story of the universe, linked to our knowledge
of the immensity of space, the depth of time, and the complexity of life
and of human cultures in a globally interconnected world. This aweinspiring story is beautifully told in the film “The Journey of the Universe.
The Epic Story of Cosmic, Earth, and Human Transformation” produced
by Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim and Brian Swimme.14 It demonstrates
clearly that the story of humanity emerges out of the story of the universe
and is an integral part of the vast, interconnected web of life covering
our planet Earth.
The discovery of universal evolutionary processes implies a profound revolution in human thinking and action; it gives rise to an altogether new awareness of the universal processes of evolutionary becoming that now call for the further self-evolution of humanity. This implies
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision: Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity · 59
that humanity bears a tremendous responsibility for the future evolution
of the whole human species and the planet itself.
Teilhard asked how can we be “architects of the future”? How can
we develop a better, higher life for the human community? He reflected
on the conditions and criteria by which human beings might become
more united – economically, politically, and spiritually. How will the
human species evolve further? His book The Future of Man carries the
motto: “The whole future of the Earth, as of religion, seems to me to
depend on the awakening of our faith in the future.”15 He combined
such faith in the future with what he called “faith in man”, that is, a faith
in the further development of human beings, and in the greater global
collaboration and unity among the peoples of the earth. He spoke of a
new threshold in the development of human consciousness and organization, not simply a search for the continuity of life or mere survival. What
is needed is the development of life to a higher stage which involves an
effort to create a higher form of life, a more unified humanity.
The problem of the future is paramount for the present: will
humanity survive or be annihilated, will it progress or stagnate? Teilhard
thought we have no decisive evidence for either hope or despair, but we
have today perhaps more reasons to be pessimistic than he was more
than sixty years ago. One thing is certain: we need to find the right road,
make the right choices and put our will into effective action to create
the right world for humanity today. Teilhard was certainly convinced that
despair cannot provide the necessary energy for action, but hope can.
In a postscript to the The Human Phenomenon he describes the
social phase of human evolution as “the rise toward a collective step of
reflection”, a second stage of hominisation whose final success is by no
means certain, although this process has certain irreversible features, one
of which is “a revealing association of technical arrangement and psychic
centration”. How can we fail to recognize this as the work of “the very
same force that made us?” he asked.16
Humanity now bears full responsibility for its own future; both
education and scientific research play a great role in this. It is also an
immense challenge – the kind of future we will get depends to a large
extent on the quality of people who shape it. Teilhard emphasised the
need for a “homo progressivus”,17 for future-oriented and future-affirming
human beings who possess a wide, open awareness,and the necessary
energy of thought and perception to recognise the problems of the future
and find their solutions.
This is a bold vision entailing tremendous challenges and risks – a
vision that may instil fear in some of us and invite others to new expe-
60 · Ursula KING
riments and great daring. Teilhard was a pioneer in calling attention to
the problems of the future; again and again he insisted on the need for a
scientific study of and consciously planned work for the future. The social
integration of people around the globe into some kind of “super-humanity” presupposes the further self-evolution of human beings towards a
higher order. Like some of his scientific colleagues Teilhard took it for
granted that a basic mutation has already taken place in modern postDarwinian, post-Marxian and post-Freudian consciousness, but he postulates yet another necessary mutation: a greater awareness of humanity’s
necessary collectivity and the emergence of a higher shared consciousness to form together new, more integrated collective and collaborative
reality, just as the larger reality of the individual human brain is formed
through the association and collaboration of innumerable cells.
Teilhard’s firm personal belief in a finally successful outcome of
evolution was directly related to his detailed scientific knowledge, but
his interpretation of the overall direction and ultimate goal of evolution
was ultimately grounded in his fervent Christian faith and deep Christian
hope in the light of which he interpreted all the data of evolution available to him. In an essay called “The Grand Option”(1939) 18 he discussed
the possible paths humanity might take next, now that it finds itself at
the threshold of higher human socialisation. What road should be taken?
1. That of pessimism or optimism?
2. If the latter, would it be an optimism of withdrawal or an optimism of evolution?
3. Should the further evolution of the human community occur in
terms of more plurality or a higher unity of humanity?
For Teilhard, the right choice consists always in the necessary
action for the higher unification and unity of humanity. This is the overall
direction of the further evolution of the human species.19 In his view,
humanity has practically lived for most of human history without analysing its own activities; it has existed from hand to mouth in the pursuit
of more or less limited aims, guided more by instinct than by reason.
But now, with the expansion of our thought, the environment of human
action has changed; with our new awareness of the immensities of space
and time, of past and future, of living in an evolutionary and convergent
universe we experience a sense of “universal unification”.
He saw these general, irreversible developments as indications
“that the spirit has acquired an added dimension”, that a “wave of new
life” penetrates all our undertakings and that everything is animated “with
a flow of Presence and Love”, a love which he also described as “the free
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision: Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity · 61
and imaginative outpouring of the spirit over all unexpected paths”. 20
He spoke of a
general and irreversible readjustment of the values of existence...
showing our accession, beyond all ideologies and systems, to a different and higher sphere, a new spiritual dimension.
He also referred to “the greatness of the present moment”, to a
“new world into which we are being born”.21 These inspiring words
come from a great visionary thinker seeing far ahead. Yet this text makes
painful reading, if set into the socio-political context of 1939 when these
words were written, six months before the outbreak of the Second World
War. Yet Teilhard was fully aware of the length of time and the many
battles it might take for planetary humanity to evolve to this higher stage
of life.
As always, he remained a prophet of hope to the last, presenting
an empowering vision to suffering humanity. After the end of the Second
World War, he spent another decade working out what resources we
can draw upon for nurturing the zest for life and the desire to evolve in
order to create a worthwhile future for all people and the planet. Given
the immense problems of the contemporary world, we are more painfully aware than ever before that planetary humanity is now truly at the
crossroads: much decisive action is needed to find acceptable solutions
for our immense social, political and environmental problems. Which of
Teilhard’s ideas can challenge and inspire us?
3. Spiritual resources for the future wellbeing of people and planet
An enormous number of material and spiritual resourcesare needed to ensure a viable future for humanity. Certain external and internal
conditions have to be fulfilled if human and natural life are to remain in
balance. If these conditions are not met, life on earth will fail.
Teilhard often speaks about the need to examine all available
energy resources, especially those required for nourishing and sustaining
human growth and action. Central to maintaining the dynamic of action
is the zest for life, the will to live and love life. Enemy number one is
indifference and boredom, the loss of a taste for life, the absence of inner
resources, and the danger of dropping out of acting altogether. Teilhard
highlighted the existing contradiction
that all over the earth the attention of thousands of engineers and
economists is concentrated on the problem of world resources of coal,
oil or uranium – and yet nobody…bothers to carry out a survey of the
zest for life: to take its ‘temperature’, to feed it, to look after it, and…
to increase it. 22
62 · Ursula KING
The taste and zest for life, for all life, human and non-human, is
essential for the future of our planet. 23
Teilhard favoured a closer contact and dialogue between members
of different faiths, and encouraged their active collaboration in making
the world a better place. After his return from China, he was actively
involved in interfaith dialogue in Paris between 1947-50, but this is generally little known. On several occasions he reflected on the contribution
of different world faiths to the ongoing convergence of religions. 24
In looking at its resources, the human community does not give the
same attention to its available spiritual energy resources as it does to the
calculation of its available material energy reserves. Yet spiritual energy
resources are indispensable for sustaining persons and planet; human
beings bear the responsibility to locate them, use them for their sustenance, and increase them. The religious and philosophical traditions of the
world – our global religious heritage - contain irreplaceable resources on
which we must draw to nourish our zest for life, sustain the biosphere,
foster the growth of the noosphere, and advance the balanced integration
of the diverse groups and nations of the global community. Nowhere is
this better expressed than in Teilhard’s 1950 address on “The Zest for
Living”25 given to an interfaith group in Paris. He says that at the deepest
level, the zest for life is linked to an act of faith:
…what is most vitally necessary to the thinking earth is a faith –
and a great faith – and ever more faith.
To know that we are not prisoners.
To know that there is a way out, that there is air, and light and
love, somewhere, beyond the reach of all death.
….And it is there that we find what I may well be so bold as to
call the evolutionary role of religions. 26
He stressed that contemporary religious needs are different from
those in the past, and that our historically new situation and consciousness require a new spirituality and a new image of God. A spirituality
mainly concerned with the individual is no longer sufficient; what is
needed is a faith in humanity and the earth. Teilhard’s own spirituality
was deeply rooted in what he called the “divine milieu”, a deep faith in
a divine centre and heart of the world that suffuses every context and
environment with the energy, presence, and grace of the spirit whose
dynamic action animates the entire universe. Thus the noosphere is not
only a sphere of human evolution, but one that bears the traces of divine
love and transfiguration. Love is for Teilhard both a human task and an
“effect of ‘grace’ and ‘revelation’.” 27 To create stronger bonds within the
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision: Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity · 63
human community and bring about a better world for all, the energies of
love in all their different dimensions and practical expressions are needed
most. Love is the highest form of human energy and “the blood of spiritual evolution”,28 as already mentioned.
We cannot advance the world and the flourishing of people and
planet without a zest for life. He described this zest as “nothing less than
the energy of universal evolution” but, at the human level, the feeding
and development of this energy, of this zest, “is to some degree our responsibility”. 29
This theme preoccupied him until the day of his death. In one of
his last essays, the profoundly personal and mystical text “The Christic”,30
written in March 1955, he speaks of “the primordial sources of the Energy
of Evolution” which modern science has discovered, but also of the need
for humanity “to find a way to increase the Drive of Evolution”:
If humanity is to use its new access of physical power with balanced control, it cannot do without a rebound of intensity in its zest to
act, in its zest to seek, in its zest to create”. 31
Teilhard’s vision of how to feed “the zest for life” within ourselves
and within the world is truly empowering and inspirational, if we really
want to seed and grow a better future for the whole of humanity, and
not only for its privileged members. There now exists a growing number
of“noospheric institutions” (like the United Nations and so many NGOs)
which are working in ever so many fields for the good of the inhabitants
of the earth. New processes of global networking are constantly emerging, and the possibilities for a “global-interlinking-through-love” that
Teilhard first perceived in the 1930s, have grown exponentially through
the fast advances of electronic means of communication and other ways
of networking around the globe, and that also includes multiple new
ways of understanding spirituality today. This is an important point to
make, especially in Asia where religious pluralism is so vividly present
everywhere, from multiple indigenous religious traditions to the richness
of Indian, Chinese and Japanese religions as well as different Christian
traditions.
4. The challenge of Teilhard’s life and vision for the contemporary world
The greatest challenge of all lies perhaps in Teilhard’s own example, in the powerful testimony of his life and experience in which a
scientific and spiritual vision of life, humanity and God are so deeply
interwoven.
Teilhard de Chardin had an extraordinary life, full of adventures
of mind and spirit, yet in his own church he was marginalized and made
64 · Ursula KING
to suffer, ostracized for his integral vision of combining the insights of
evolutionary science with those of a fervent Christian faith. In the words
of his former Jesuit superior, Fr René d’Ouince, Teilhard was truly “a prophet on trial” in the church of his time. Today he has become somewhat
more accepted and better known than sixty years ago, but he is also still
largely ignored, especially among Catholics.
Few people will know thatin the early twentieth century Teilhard
already thought about cultural and religious diversity, global interdependence and a growing “planetisation” of the human community, about
biodiversity and the fragility of life on the planet, but also about the significant contribution of China in shaping the future of humanity. It was
amidst the killing fields of the First World War that he first perceived the
rise of human interthinking and interaction. He eventually described this
as the rising of the “noosphere”, of a layer of interlinking connections that
encircles our planet like the geosphere, the biosphere, the atmosphere
and other layers surrounding the earth. For some people this extraordinary foresight makes Teilhard almost a patron saint of what we now
know as the internet.
To sum up the unity of Teilhard’s life and thought, it seems to me
most appropriate to characterise him by one metaphor he so frequently
uses himself – that of fire, flame, and spark. He truly was a “Spirit of
Fire”32 who followed the “road of fire” throughout his life and writings.
He was a man of deep thought and faith, but also of great depth of feeling – a passionate thinker rather than a merely intellectual one. This is
evident from many of his letters, diary entries and essays, especially the
spiritual autobiography The Heart of Matter (1950), written late in his life.
But his integral vision is there from his very first essay on “Cosmic
Life” (1916) which celebrates “communion with God through the world”.
Traditionally, religious people have often sought communion with God
by separation and escape from the world whereas secular people, immersed in the world, have pursued the development of the world or immersion in nature without a link to the divine. For Teilhard, both these “fires”
or “energies” need to be combined in “communion with God through
the world” where God is loved like a world and the world is loved as
something divine, as animated by the spirit of God. In many ways this
is an ancient Christian vision going back to the cosmic hymns of St Paul
and the early Greek fathers, but Teilhard translates this into a partly new
vision that is rooted in a dynamic, evolutionary universe.
Another important, unusual element of his spirituality is his
emphasis on the feminine which he also calls the “unitive element”. By
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision: Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity · 65
this he refers particularly to the love he had experienced through the
influence of several women in his life – initially the nurturing presence of
his mother, the love of his sisters and cousins, and later his lasting friendships with a number of outstandingly creative women. It was through
these experiences that he really felt that the universe is suffused by love.
Love is the secret thread that runs through the universe, the outpouring
of the spirit over all unexplored paths.
Teilhard argued that humanity has to harness the powers of love
and develop them to a much greater potential than ever before. Human
beings need love as much as they need light, oxygen and vitamins. We
need love to be well, whole, and connected in communion and union.
His understanding of love refers not only to love between individuals, but
envisages a new kind of love that creates the strongest bonds across the
whole human community. This is what he understood by building up the
earth: the amorization of planetary humanity and the whole universe.
Teilhard can only be understood in the wider context of evolution,
providing us with a new cosmology and a new Earth consciousness. It
is as if all his thoughts were nested within ever expanding circles of the
universe. This may be the reason why Thomas Merton entitled his essay
on Teilhard’s Divine Milieu “The Universe as Epiphany”. Teilhard provides
a great example of “seeing anew” by celebrating a vision at once cosmic,
human, and divine. 33
He discovered the heart of God in all creation, in the heart of matter, at the centre of life, and of humanity. The divine heart beats throughout the evolving cosmos, and for Teilhard it was above all encountered
in the cosmic Christ “clothed in the glory of the world”. Living in the
divine milieu means discovering fire through the all-transforming power
of love, forging a new spirituality in and for an evolutionary world, a spirituality that is linked to a new mysticism of action, love, and unification.
Teilhard once described himself as “consumed by fire from within”.
His spirituality may be described as a pan-christic fire and heart mysticism,34 but also a mysticism that in Kathleen Duffy’s poignant expression
is closely interwoven with “seeing the inner face of evolution”.35
Conclusion
Where is Teilhard’s legacy debated today, his prophetic voice listened to, where are his ideas experienced as energising and empowering?
These questions will be answered differently, depending on where one
is coming from. Even after a thorough critical sifting Teilhard’s ideas still
provide many enriching perspectives for fresh creative thinking, whether
66 · Ursula KING
on the evolutionary understanding of the universe and planetary humanity, or in relation to contemporary process thought, or in the context
of the ecological movement and sustainability debates. Although global
thinking has much advanced in all these areas, elements of a truly balanced ecological spirituality can be found in many of Teilhard’s writings. In
fact, some of the powerful statements in the new Earth Charter, aimed
to ensure the future of the community of life on our planet, would have
deeply resonated with him.36
It is particularly Teilhard’s personal experience and understanding
of spirituality and mysticism, centred in the cosmic Christ and a deeply
personal Christian faith related to the dynamic of the contemporary
world, which attracts many of his followers. Yet even in contemporary
works on spirituality Teilhard is rarely given the careful attention he
deserves as a creative thinker in this field, and as someone who embodies
some of the best Christian spiritual practice.
Let us celebrate the unique legacy of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
and congratulate the Teilhard Centre at Subodhi on completing 25 years
of its important educational work. Together we can rejoice that the
Catholic tradition has brought forth such a man of faith and dynamic
vision wherein science, religion and mysticism are so creatively interrelated. Far from being outlived and passé, Teilhard’s ideas will attract a
renewed interest since they can enrich our discussions on the future of
people and planet, and provide a strong witness to the life-giving powers
of a deep religious faith that relates to the great hopes and desires of the
world we live in. To finish with Teilhard’s own words:
In truth, at the rate the consciousness and the ambitions of the
world are increasing, it will explode unless it learns to love. The future of the thinking earth is organically bound up with the turning of
the forces of hate into forces of love.”37
Notes
1
P.Teilhard de Chardin, Letters to Two Friends. London: Collins Fontana Books, 1972, hereafter LTF, 26. The first time he called there was in April 1923 – see his description in his
Letters from a Traveller (1966), 67-69.
2 P. Teilhard de Chardin, The Human Phenomenon. A New Edition and Translation of Le
Phénomène humain by Sarah Appleton-Weber. Brighton & Portland: Sussex Academic
Press, 1999, 3. Hereafter cited as HPh.
3 Published in his book Human Energy. London: Collins 1969: 19-47; hereafter cited as HE.
4 HE, 35.
5 HE, 31.
The Challenge of Teilhard's Vision: Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity · 67
6 HE, 32.
7 HE, 33, 34.
8 HE, 35 (my translation).
9 The French original reads ‘l’amour d’interliaison, au-dessus de l’amour d’attrait’; see
L‘Énergie Humaine. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1962: 44.
10 HE, 37f.
11 P. Teilhard de Chardin,Christianity and Evolution, 96. For Teilhard’s discovery of evolution
see Ursula King “A Vision Transformed: Teilhard de Chardin’s Evolutionary Awakening at
Hastings”. The Heythrop Journal 54/4 (2013) 590-605.
12 See the essay “The New Spirit” (1942) in P. Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man.
London: Collins, 1964: 82-86 (hereafter FM); see 88 for the quotation.
13 FM, 96.
14 See www.JourneyoftheUniverse.org
15 FM,7.
16 HPh, 220.
17 FM, 137.
18 FM, 37-60.
19 In what follows I paraphrase FM, 59-60.
20 FM, 55.
21 FM, 60.
22 P. Teilhard de Chardin, Activation of Energy. London: Collins, 1970 (hereafter AE), 236.
23 An extensive discussion of Teilhard’s understanding of “the zest for life” is found in my two
essays “Feeding the Zest for Life; Spiritual Energy Resources for the Future of Humanity”
in Thierry Meynard, S.J., ed., Teilhard and the Future of Humanity. New York: Fordham
University Press, 2006: 3-19, and “The Zest for Life: A Contemporary Exploration of
a Generative Theme in Teilhard’s Work” in Ilia Delio, ed., From Teilhard to Omega.
Co-creating an Unfinished Universe. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2014: 184-202.
24 See Ursula King, The Spirit of One Earth. Reflections on Teilhard de Chardin and Global
Spirituality. New York: Paragon House, 1989, especially chp. 7 “Exploring Convergence:
The Contribution of World Faiths” and chp. 8 “Teilhard’s Association with the World
Congress of Faiths, 1947-1950”.
25 AE, 229-43.
26 AE, 238.
27 AE, 242. I have discussed Teilhard’s understanding of love in my article ‘Love – A Higher
Form of Human Energy in the Work of Teilhard de Chardin and Sorokin’, Zygon: Journal
of Religion and Science 39/1 (2004) 77-102.
28 HE, 34.
29 AE, 231, 232.See also Ursula King, “The Zest for Life: A Contemporary Exploration of a
Generative Theme in Teilhard’s Work” (details in note 23 above).
30 See P. Teilhard de Chardin, The Heart of Matter. London: Collins, 1978, 80-102. Hereafter
cited as HM.
68 · Ursula KING
31 HM, 96-97 (my translation).
32 I have used this as the title of my biography of him; see Ursula King, Spirit of Fire. The Life
and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996. A revised version
will be published by Orbis Books in 2015.
33 This great cosmotheandric vision provides the structure for his autobiographical essay
“The Heart of Matter” found in Teilhard’s book of the same title; see HM 15-29.
34 See Ursula King, “ ‘Consumed by Fire from Within: Teilhard de Chardin’s Pan-Christic
Mysticism in Relation to the Catholic Tradition”. The Heythrop Journal 40/4 (1999), 456-77.
35 See Kathleen Duffy, Teilhard’s Mysticism: Seeing the Inner Face of Evolution. Maryknoll,
NY: Orbis Books, 2014.
36 See the essays edited by Celia Deane-Drummond, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin on People
and Planet. London and Oakville: Equinox Publishing, 2006. I contributed “One Planet,
One Spirit: Searching for an Ecologically Balanced Spirituality”, ibid., 74-95.
37 P.Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe. London: William Collins Sons & Co,
1965,125.
Orbis Books, NY
· 69
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Thought
to the Contemporary World
With special reference to Aurobindo Ghose
and Rabindranath Tagore
M.D. Joseph
Abstract: This paper titled Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Thought
with Special Reference to Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore,
is an effort to see and understand the Indian view of evolution and to
know how relevant Teilhard has been to humanity with special reference
to Aurobindo Ghose and Tagore who are considered as some of the prominent thinkers of contemporary India. It has been particularly the hope
of Teilhard that his vision will be carried forth in the years to come in all
cultures of the world particularly in the field of Science and Religion.
1.0. Indian Thought
When anyone wants to know all about Indian Philosophy, the
question arises, “what does Indian Philosophy really mean and what are
the problems which have figured prominently in Indian Philosophy?”1
In order to understand Indian Philosophy, we have to go back to its
authentic roots in the Upanishadic thought.2 It is in the Upanishads that
the Indian Philosophy can be said to have its origin.3 Thus Dr. Daniel
Acharuparambil points out;
…The oldest among the living great religions of the world, with
a history of more than 4000 years, Hinduism has been the fruit of a
gradual development of the religious quest of the people of India. It
has no historical founder. It doesn’t possess a centralized authority
for defending the limits of orthodoxy in doctrines, beliefs and observances. … far from being a simple, monolithic religion; it may well be
qualified as a ‘league of religion.’ With all its complexity and heterogeneity, Hinduism possesses some well defined Sacred Scriptures as
the main source of all its teachings and practices. These scriptures,
written in Sanskrit language, come under two categories: revelation
70 · M. D. JOSEPH
(sruti), and tradition (smrti). The scriptures considered as ‘revelation’ are called Veda and they are believed to embody eternal, infallible, transcendent truths. Vedas as recognized: Rgveda, Yajurveda,
Samaveda, Atharvaveda, of which the first is the most important.4
As regards to tradition (smrti) come all the rest of the sacred books,
such as the two great epics called Ramayaïa and Mahabharata, the
Bhagavadgita (The Song of the Lord) - the ‘New Testament of Hinduism,’
the law books called Dharmasastra, the mythological accounts of the
Purana and so on. 5
Thus, Dr. Ved Prakash Gaur points out;
The main problem that Indian thinkers took up was that of an
enquiry into the nature of Brahman i.e. Being from which everything
that has originated, that in which everything sustains and that into
which everything returns, an enquiry into the nature of truth; the
reality behind all that is, the permanent as the ground of the transient.6
It is here that one can find a similar pattern of Teilhard’s thought
to ‘Indian Thought.’ Thus according to Teilhard “Law of Complexification,”
governs the evolutionary process. This law prompts the inorganic matter, which in turn is evolved into life forms.7 He holds that humans
are not all together separate and peculiar beings. They bear the marks
of their origin in their organism and they are material system within a
larger physical system.8 Thus, viewed introspectively, a human being is
a self-conscious creature with rationality and freedom, having capacity
for action and inquiry. 9 Each element in the world has some of this dual
exterior and interior aspects, though consciousness arises only late in the
evolutionary history.10
He believed that it is illogical to doubt that matter can give rise to
mind or any basis for reducing mind to matter. Thus, the prospects of
humanity are gratifying as evolution accelerates through the law of complexification with the freedom of human choice. He calls it Omega; that
is for him Christ’s fullness which includes a unified humanity at peace.11
1.1. Evolution in Indian Philosophy
In the course of the study of Teilhard and Indian Thought, it is most
fitting that we examine the concept of evolution in the ancient philosophical systems of India.12 Thus Dr. Jacob Kattackal points out that there
are certain striking similarities between the ancient Indian Philosophical
concept of evolution and the Teilhardian view of evolution.13 Samkhya
and Vedanta, among the six Indian philosophical systems (viz. sad-dar-
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Tought – Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore · 71
sanas are: Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Viseshika, Purva-mimasa and Vedanta),
have developed the ‘parinama-vada,’ or the evolution theory.14 In all
probability, it is the Samkhya that has originally developed the evolution
theory in a systematic manner; Vedanta later adopted it and adapted it to
the Vedantic system.15
1.1.1. Evolution in Samkhya
Dr. Kattackal points out;
The dualism of Samkhya postulates (Purusha and Prakrti-the two
eternal-infinite-ultimate principles): Prakrti is the principle of materiality, and is devoid of intelligence; while Purushaa is the principle
of spirituality and intelligence; Prakrti is the dull primordial matter
while Purushaa is her animator. The unintelligent Prakrti alone undergoes evolution at the mere glance and proximity of Purusha. And
this Prakrti, through her evolutionary process, produces the myriads
of objects of this universe. In this Samkhya system, at least in its
later form, there is practically no place for God, unless one conceives
the Purusha or Parama-purusha (as in Rgveda 10.90) the Supreme
Being. 16
1.1.2. The Vedantic Concept of Evolution
While the non-dualistic system of Advaita, on the contrary does not
accept any ultimate principle besides Brahman, the Supreme; Brahman is
‘one without a second’ – advitiyam.17 Thus Kattackal affirms;
There is no Brahman plus world’ – situation in Advaita, there
is ‘no Infinite plus finite,’ ‘no Spirit and matter’ in Advaita, for the
Advaitin, the world is nothing but Brahman appearing in the form of
the world: world is Brahman’s self-manifestation. 18
Therefore, for the Advaitins, through the evolution (parinama)
that is going on in Brahman, the world comes into Being. Just as clay
is transformed into jugs and jars and pots, etc., so too Brahman evolves
itself into the various objects of this world. 19 But many of the later
Advaitins reject the term ‘parinama’ (real change) and accept ‘vivarta,’
instead; which means apparent modification in evolving subject.20 Thus,
the later Advaitic vivarta-vada consists in the idea that ‘Brahman the
un-changeable does not suffer any real change in the process of worldevolution or creation.’21 Thus, the Samkhyans and Vedantins-Advaitins as
well as Visishtadvaitins-base their evolution theory on ‘sat-karya-vada’ or
the ‘effect-in-cause’ theory which holds that the effect, before its production from the material cause, pre-exists in its material cause (upadanakaraïa), and that effect is essentially non-different from its material cause,
72 · M. D. JOSEPH
as oil remains in oil-seeds identical with the oil-seeds, or cloth exists
in threads non-different from the threads. Though the Samkhyans and
Vedantins draw contradictory conclusions out of this theory. 22
1.1.2.1. Shankara’s Concept of Evolution
Sri Shankara, the great exponent of Advaita-Vedanta emphatically
combats the atheistic Samkhya theory that the inanimate and irrational
world (jada-prakrti) evolves without any guidance or control of a rational
agent.23 He argues that the universe was evolved, and still evolves, under
the supervision of the Supreme Intelligence.24 Thus he says;
We must assume that the world was evolved at the beginning of
the creation in the same way as it is at present seen to develop itself
by names and forms, viz. under the relationship of an intelligent creator; for, we have no right to make assumptions contrary to what is
at present actually observed. 25
For him this universe is of amazing beauty and harmony, as has
Brahman for its creator. Further, Shankara refutes the Samkhyans who
hold the theory that Prakrti (primordial matter) is the material cause
or upadana-karana; who also hold that there is no efficient cause or
nimitta-karana; for the world of evolution.26 Dr. Kattackal points out that
according to Shankara;
‘The intelligent Brahman is the material and efficient cause of
the world.” 27 Quoting Brahmasutra 1.4.26: Shankara declares: “The
Paramatman (Brahman) is the object of action (material cause) as
well as the agent (efficient cause); the Paramatman is the operative
(efficient) as well as the material cause (cf. 1.4.24); Brahman is the
material cause of the world, for the reason also that the Scriptures
speak so. 28
1.1.3. A Comparison
The Samkhya-Vedánta sat-karya-vada (i. e. ‘the-effect-pre-exists-inthe-cause theory’) has remarkable affinity with the Teilhardian concept of
“cosmic embryogenesis.”29 Thus the Satkarya-vadins hold that ‘an utterly
non-existing thing cannot come into existence nor can an existing thing
cease to exist.30 In similar fashion, Teilhard affirms that only what already
is, can come to be.31 Thus in the discussion on the ‘advent of life’ in his
The Phenomenon of Man Teilhard says; “everything, in some extreme
attenuated extension of itself, has existed from the very first.” 32 Thus he
says; “on the experimental and phenomenological plane, a given universe
and each of its parts can only have one and the same duration, to which
there is no backward limit.” 33
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Tought – Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore · 73
Though there is an affinity of Teilhardian theory of ‘cosmic embryogenesis,’ with sat-karya-vada, the two theories differ on an important
issue.
Thus Dr. Kattackal points out:
Teilhard would not subscribe to the Samkhya-Vedantic doctrine
that the effect is essentially non-different from its material cause.
Teilhard is very emphatic on the point that cosmic embryogenesis
should not be understood, in such a way that it excludes the historic birth of things. The coming to-be or becoming for Teilhard is
not mere explicitation of what was already implicitly in the material
cause; he conceives ‘coming-to-be’ in terms of real growth and real
birth. But some Advaitins like Gaudapada have come to deny all kinds
of origination; they hold ‘non-origination.’ Teilhard affirms that proper
life which blossoms from pre-life brings into the universe something
“profoundly original. 34
As for the Samkhyans evolution starts with Prakrti, and ends with
the evolution of the five gross elements35 (viz. air, fire, earth, water, and
akasa or ether: vayu-tejas-prithvi-ap-akasa), 36 and later in the next age
or ‘yuga’ everything goes on to dissolution or ‘pralaya,’ and this process
of creation-dissolution goes on in eternal cycles. However, Teilhard, foresees ‘cosmogenesis’ as an arrow towards an irreversible Omega; for him
evolution comes to an absolute end once it attains the Omega point. 337
The Samkhya philosophers hold that Prakrti’s evolution is progressive because evolution brings about the liberation of the fettered
‘purushas’ or ‘spirits.’ 38 Thus Dr. Kattackal claims; “on this issue Teilhard
sees eye to eye with Samkhayans. In his creed he says, ‘I believe that the
universe is an evolution. I believe that evolution proceeds towards the
spirit.’”39
For the Indian mind perfect liberation (moksha) of the individual
is the end of evolution. For Teilhard too such is the ultimate goal of
evolution. For him the Omega at which cosmogenesis culminates is the
supremely personal and personalizing Centre.40 And humans by uniting themselves with the Supreme Centre will achieve perfect liberation.
But in their liberation by Omega they do not cease to be themselves.41
Omega superpersonalizes the persons. 42
Teilhard holds that the universe is in the process of unification
at Omega, which calls for the humanity to a responsible involvement in
the evolving world; (while the Vedantins insist on the necessity of mystic
experience or intuitive vision).43 For Teilhard the world is full of the
active presence of God. The world is His milieu. And humans by their
love inspired actions in the world, no matter how small and low they
74 · M. D. JOSEPH
may appear, are ‘co-operating with God who is operating’ in the world
to unify it. 44
Teilhardian view is in harmony with the Gita-doctrine of ‘action for
the love of the Lord, which reads;
Whoever offers to Me (Lord) with love a leaf, a flower, a fruit or
even water,
I relish that love-offering of that devout person.
Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer, whatever
penance you perform, do it all for my sake. (Bhagavad-gita, 9.2627).45
Thus as Dr. Kattackal points out that for Teilhard, love inspired
actions always generate more love. For when there is more love in the
world, the world becomes more God-centered, because God is Love.46
1.2. Aurobindo Ghose and Teilhard de Chardin
Aurobindo Ghose and Teilhard de Chardin are two significant religious thinkers of the twentieth century. One a believing Christian and
renowned scientist, who arrested his attention of the world by his conception of man (humans) and the universe formed in the light scientific
discoveries and his religious experiences. 47 While Aurobindo’s fame rests
on his interpretation of the advaita vedanta in the light of the modern
theory of evolution, 48 who is considered as one of the master-minds of
modern India, who among Teilhard’s contemporary thinkers stands closest to him. 49
Aurobinodo is considered as the greatest of the mystics of the
twentieth century India, who started his life as a lecturer and a literary
man. But he soon entered into active politics which he abandoned in
order to devote himself for speculation and contemplative life.50
Thus Dr. Veliathil affirms;
Even in the early periods of his life, while teaching at the Baroda
College and working as the private secretary of King of Baroda, he
was having profound mystic experiences and seems to have been
living in a state of cosmic consciousness.51
In like manner, Teilhard being the member of a big religious order
and thus the heir of a rich spiritual heritage was called for a religious
life with its spiritual and ascetical practices. At the same time by his very
nature was prone to see the divine everywhere and he did not hesitate to
call his system, ‘a superior form of ‘pantheism.’52
Teilhar’s words about the time he spent in the First World War as
a stretcher-bearer bear witness to his life having lived in constant cos-
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Tought – Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore · 75
mic consciousness. Aurobindo and Teilhard, though mystics accepted
the temporal reality and tried to discover the eternal significance in the
temporal reality. 53 Thus, a mystic’s approach to reality with his (her)
supera-rational mystical instinct. While the philosopher approaches reality by his (her) analyzing and synthesizing reason.54 The approach of both
Aurobindo and Teilhard was evidently that of a mystic as reason for both
of them was inadequate for knowing reality fully.55 Thus Teilhard writes
in The Phenomenon of Man;
Scientifically we can envisage an almost indefinite improvement in
the human organism and human society. But as soon as we try to put
our dreams into practice, we realize that the problem remains indeterminate or even insoluble unless, with some partially super-rational
intuition, we admit the convergent properties of the world we belong
to. Hence belief in unity.56
In similar fashion Aurobindo emphasizes in his The Hour of God;
“intellect cannot comprehend life and reality. Intellect goes round the
object, intuition enters into the object.”57 Another important theme of the
mystics is the convergence of human personality on the Divine Being.
Thus for Aurobindo and Teilhard this was the most interesting theme. But
they differ from other mystics in explaining how it takes place. According
to them this convergence takes place as a consequence of the evolution
of the universe. Evolution was so real and meaningful that it became the
key-note of their thought.58 Thus R. C. Zaehner writes in his Evolution
in Religion: A Study in Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin, (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1971), p.25;
Teilhard and Aurobindo, then are united… in their belief that evolution is nothing less than the ascent from the kingdom of matter
to the kingdom of spirit through man who is the bridge between the
two.59
Aurobindo is considered as one of the most original thinkers of the
contemporary India. The striking point of his thought was his mystical
experiences as he says; “I had to write down in terms of intellect… and
philosophy was there automatically.” 60 He expressed his thoughts mainly
in the form of commentaries of the ancient Indian Religious Scriptures
as Dr. Radhakrishnan writes in his The Brahma Sutra; “even the most
original of thinkers do not claim to expound a new system of thought,
but write commentaries on the three great works, the Upanishads, the
Bhagavadgita and Brahma-Sutra.” 61 In similar manner, Teilhard is one
the most original interpreters of Christianity of the twentieth-century,
who depends for his new interpretation of his faith mainly on St Paul
and St John. 62
76 · M. D. JOSEPH
Thus Dr. Veliathil affirms;
By their interpretations both of them brought out an aspect of
their religions which had been long neglected. The inspiration to reinterpret their religions was drawn from an evolutionary and dynamic
world view. 63
They were fully convinced that only science and technology can
unify the modern world externally as sciences and technology create
ever larger units cooperating voluntarily and purposefully in stupendous
enterprises, and the ever-accelerating progress of science and technology
seems to provide man (humans) with unlimited possibilities of further
coming together.64 Thus Dr. Veliathil affirms that Aurobindo and Teilhard
are the greatest visionaries of this century. They had the firm hope of
bringing out on earth the City of God. 65 This they believed, will be simply the end-result of the evolution of the universe, man (humans) finds
his (her) fulfillment in the deliberate cooperation in achieving it and in
taking his (her) place there.66
According to them matter is not an illusion, on the contrary, it is
fully real and the evolution of the material universe is no a mere hypothesis, but a fact as well as the fundamental law of the universe. Thus they
attempt to give the reason of the origin of matter and its evolution.67
For this, Aurobindo takes the basis on his non-dualistic concept of reality, while Teilhard relies on his observations as a Christian scientist. For
Aurobindo the origin of matter is to be found in the Supreme Being,
Brahman. 68 Thus he writes in his The Hour of God; “before there could
be any evolution, there must needs be an involution” 69 and this “act
of involution is the graded descent from Saccidananda to Supermind,
Overmind, intuition, illumined mind, higher mind, soul, life and finally
matter.” 70 So “matter is not other than or different from Brahman,” writes
Aurobindo in his The Divine Life. 71 And the “secret of terrestrial evolution is the slow and progressive liberation of the latent indwelling spirit,”
says Aurobindo in his The Hour of God.72
Teilhard, as a Christian, defended the concept of creation out of
nothing as the only reasonable explanation of the origin of the world. At
the same time he did not hesitate to interpret the concept of creation in
a way that would suit better his view of the world. 73 Thus he says in his
Writings in Time of War, “to create as it appears to me, means to condense, concentrate, organize, unite.” 74 For him once matter is formed, it has
to evolve because it is created with a conscious inner phase that keeps
matter on the path of evolution and development. He says that there is a
conscious inner phase that everywhere duplicates then ‘material,’ external
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Tought – Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore · 77
phase. And all that is in the universe comes into existence because of
this evolution and all things are interrelated. Thus the universe is a living
totality that is constantly evolving.75
Evolution, according to Aurobindo and Teilhard is a process of
ascent from the kingdom of matter to the kingdom of spirit through man
(humans) who is the bridge between the two. For both of them the phenomenon of man (humans) evolved is very significant in the process of
evolution. 76 Thus until man (humans) appeared in the universe, evolution went on automatically without the conscious awareness and influence of its participants. 77 But once man is evolved, his reflective activity
can direct evolution, and the future of evolution becomes the result of
human reflective activities. Thus, the fact that man (humans) can think
about his (her) world and anticipate the future, means that he (she) can,
if wills, direct his (her) own evolution to a certain extent at least. 78
According to Teilhard evolution, till the appearance of man was
growth in multiplicity and complexity. But with man (humans) the process of evolution begins to converge on one centre as we have seen earlier, he call this centre, Omega.79 Aurobindo also speaks about a point of
convergence.80 For him it is the Supermind who is the very Saccidananda,
the Absolute, considered under its dynamic aspect. 81 For them, these
states are supreme consciousness.82 For Teilhard, evolution has been a
growth in ‘complexity’ and hence in ‘consciousness.’ 83 Thus he believed
that mankind (humanity) is destined for super-consciousness and superunity in the realm of the Spirit which brings Teilhard to the conclusion
that Omega should evolve.84
On the other hand, Aurobindo from his religious and philosophical presupposition reached the conclusion that the Supermind should
evolve.85 Thus he affirms that the existence of the Supermind is a logical
necessity arising directly from the position with which we have started.86
Thus, both for Teilhard and Aurobindo, the appearing in the individuals
of cosmic-consciousness is a guarantee of the future ‘cosmic-consciousness,’ that may one day be born. 87
The main theme that runs through the works of Teilhard and
Aurobindo is that of ‘becoming,’ or ‘evolution.’ 88 They are not the first or
the only persons to formulate some of the problems raised by the nineteenth century discovery of evolution. But they are the first to grasp the
immensity of the change in thinking to which the discovery of evolution
would give rise.89
78 · M. D. JOSEPH
1.3. Teilhard de Chardin and Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), the Goethe of India, through
his work Sadhana revealed himself as completely noble and harmonious
thinker, who belongs not only to India but to the entire human race.90
In similar manner Teilhard has influenced modern man’s thinking in a
remarkable way as G. Sukumaran Nair says;
His thought is a harmonious blend of science, religion and philosophy. The fascinating Teilhardian synthesis is given chiefly in The
Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard’s magnum opus. It was published
soon after his death in 1955. Sir Julian Huxley considers it “a very
remarkable book by a very remarkable human being.” 91
A comparison can be made between Teilhard de Chardin and
Rabindranath Tagore, which also can bring out the relevance of Teilhard
and his works to humanity in the context of Indian Thought. Thus Prof.
Sukumaran Nair says; “a comparison of the mystic philosophies of these
two thinkers gives scope to the research worker who wishes to pinpoint a wholesome philosophy of the macrocosm, the microcosm and
of God.”92 Thus, Teilhard by his works is not trying to present a more
mysticism of action. But what he tries to present is what we do and what
we endure should aim at making life whole and holy. For him holiness
and wholeness is as synonymous terms. 93
In similar manner Tagore in his The Religion of Man says that this
whole Universe is intimately related to us.94 In his Fruit Gathering, he
would say that a bit of dust can hide your image.95
Thus he writes,
I don’t comprehend its meaning. Now I have achieved more discriminative knowledge. I can read whatever was once hidden to me.
The bit of dust is coloured by the petals of flowers. The waves have
brought the dust to the shore. The cliffs are trying hard to preserve
the dust on their heads. Oh! God! I have turned my face away from
you. So I could not understand its meaning. Now I have grasped its
meaning.96
Likewise, Teilhard affirms that man (humans) follows the Creator
God through minute things. He faces God everywhere in his (her) activity
and everywhere his visible universe surrounds him. For him before man
(humans) in the first stage of his (her) spiritual progress, the divine environment confronts him (her).97 The divine universe contains and encloses all his (her) potentialities and powers. But this containedness and
enclosedness are in exact proportion to man’s (humans’) efforts towards
spirituality.98 Thus he writes in his The Divine Milieu; “‘In our Universe,’
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Tought – Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore · 79
we went on to say, ‘in which each soul exists for God, in our Lord, all that
is sensible, in its turn, exists for the soul.’” 99
He further writes;
God is inexhaustibly attainable in the totality of our action. And
this prodigy of divinization has nothing with which we dare to compare it except the subtle, gentle sweetness with which this actual
change of shape is wrought; for it is achieved without disturbing at
all (non minuit, sed sacravit…) the completeness and unity of man’s
endeavour. 100
Thus, he affirms;
God, in all that is most living and incarnate in him, is not far from
us, altogether apart from the world we see, touch, hear, smell and
taste about us. Rather he awaits us every instant in our action, in the
work of the moment. There is a sense in which he is at the tip of my
pen, my spade, my brush, my needle-of my heart and my thought.
By pressing the stroke, the line, or the stitch, on which I am engaged, to its ultimate natural finish, I shall lay hold of that last end
towards which my innermost will tends. 101
In similar fashion Tagore writes in his Sadhana;
In his effort to proclaim his own glory man tries to isolate himself from the material universe. Man regards the material world as a
stumbling block to his spirituality. As his knowledge increases, man
realizes that this view of the material world is meaningless. He begins
to learn that the material world and himself should grow together and
they are to be in close harmony. 102
He would indicate in his Fruit Gathering that man kisses this world
with his hands and feet. He keeps to his heart the world in different
layers. He fills up his days and nights with his thoughts, until he achieves
the harmony of his life with the world. 103
This is also the view of Teilhard regards to life as Prof. Sukumaran
Nair points out that Teilhard exhorts us to see and love the dynamic
relationship between the ‘human existential centre,’ and the ‘Divine
Centre.’104 For him there is no difference between the spiritual discipline focused in man (humans) and the mysticism in God’s Centre.105 For
him when man enters into an unitive life with God, he becomes a new
creature and then by becoming completely divine, starts on his journey
to eternal rest.106 He does not see any conflict between development and
renunciation, attachment and detachment in Christian life.107
Teilhardian view of life reminds us of the lines of Gitanjali-the
Nobel-prize-winning book of Tagore. He writes; “Deliverance-where is it?
Our Creator has taken upon his shoulders the relations of creation and
80 · M. D. JOSEPH
the shackles of creation with perfect joy.”108 These lines of Tagore remind
us that God is eternally bound to us, the human race. He expressly criticizes the escapist view of life and dry-as-dust asceticism. 109 For him
salvation is the divine life on earth as God has created this Universe. God
co-operates with loving servitude to man.110
Teilhard was influenced by the western humanist outlook, evolutionism and a Christian humanistic outlook. And as Prof. Sukumaran Nair
points out that with this synthetic vision he wrote his The Appearance of
Man, The Vision of the Past and The Phenomenon of Man.111
Thus, Sukumaran Nair affirms:
Teilhard’s book “Le Milieu Divin” is to explicate the union of the
macrocosm with the microcosm Jesus Christ. He considered the
transforming life towards unity the divine work which keeps us intact
before the presence of God. The Kingdom of God is within us. The
arrival of the Divine milieu reveals the metaphysical quest in man
and the diaphany of God. We are not coming across only epiphany.
The divine environment grows through love and takes us to mystic
experience. With this way of thinking, Tagore agrees wholeheartedly.
Teilhard has given us a vision the constituents of which are: (1)
the unique feature of freedom in human relations-individual human
contacts (2) the ethical flavor of creatureliness. Tagore and Teilhard
would say with one voice that all sensory experiences and objects
exist for the sake of the soul. 112
As Teilhard is for the glorification of humanity and its development
through science and technology, in Tagore too we can see the constant
glorification of human life and the perfecting of humanity.
Thus he writes in his Personality:
Our personalities can fully express themselves only when our
hearts open with the pressure from love or such a great emotion.
That personality begins to express for expression’s sake. Then art
arrives. We break asunder the shackles of necessity. We are delivered
from the miserliness and utility. ‘The spires of our temples begin to
kiss the stars up above and the musical notes in us start plumbing
the depths of inarticulate bliss.’ 113
These have been some of the striking similarities between Teilhard
de Chardin, a scientist, philosopher-theologian from the West of the last
century and Tagore – the Nobel Prize Laureate, who is considered as the
Goethe of India, from the East, which also tells us remarkably how relevant has been Teilhard from the West and his works to humanity with
his fellow-pilgrims.
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Tought – Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore · 81
Conclusion
To summarize Teilhardian Vision and Indian Philosophy, into a few
pages is not an easy task. Thus Swamy Siddinathananda writes;
Teilhard was a priest-scientist. He was a religious of the Society
of Jesus and at the same time a first-rate paleontologist. He seems
to have inherited his scientific genius from his father and the spiritual thirst from his mother. But the two traits co-existed in him not
without conflict. The long drawn war between religion and science
that was raging in the west had its repercussions on this scion of
both. The scientist in him was drawn to the world. But the Christian
in him was drawn to God. These two attractions pulled him in opposite directions. His problem was to combine and harmonize them. Can
one be a good scientist genuinely interested in building up this world
and be at the same time a sincere Christian? This is the issue which
Teilhard wanted to tackle. 114
He says;
The Hindu mind also raises a similar question. How can we combine harmoniously our social obligations with our spiritual aspirations?
How can one combine karma and tyaga, action and renunciation? 115
This effort has been partly an answer to similar questions and to
bring out a synthesis of science and religion dialogue in the context of
Indian Thought and Teilhard with special reference to Aurobindo and
Tagore. At this it could be also brought to our attention that Teilhard may
look pessimistic as regards to Indian thought and its civilization as he
writes in The Phenomenon of Man;
India-the region par excellence of high philosophic and religious
pressures: we can never make too much of our indebtedness to the
mystic influences which have come down to each and all of us in
the past from this ‘anticyclone.’ …The primitive soul of India arose
in its hour like a great wind but, like a great wind also, again in its
hour, it passed away. How indeed could it have been otherwise?
Phenomena regarded as an illusion (Maya) and their connections as a
chain (Karma), what was left in these doctrines to animate and direct
human evolution? A simple mistake was made-but it was enough-in
the definition of the spirit and in the appreciation of the bonds which
attach it to the sublimations of matter. 116
To this view of Teilhard, R.C. Zaehner writes:
It is clear enough that Teilhard’s acquaintance with Hinduism was
neither extensive nor adequate. Had he had a better acquaintance
with Hinduism, especially with the Gita, he would not have so easily
written off Hinduism, as superannuated religion. 117
82 · M. D. JOSEPH
At the same time it could be pointed out that in some of his later
writings, Teilhard is very optimistic about the eastern religions though his
thinking tends towards the west. Thus he writes in his I Believe:
The great appeal of the Eastern religions (let us, to put a name
to it, say Buddhism) is that they are supremely universalist and
cosmic. Never perhaps has the sense of the whole, which is the lifeblood of all mysticism, flowed more exuberantly than in the plains
of India. It is there, when a synthetic history of religions comes to
be written, that we shall to locate, some centuries before Christ,
the birth of pantheism. It is there again, when the expectation of a
new revelation is growing more intense, that in our days the eyes of
modern Europe are turned. Governed, as I have described, by love
of the world, my own individual faith was inevitably peculiarly sensitive to Eastern influences; and I am perfectly conscious of having
felt their attraction, until the day when it became clear to me that by
the same words the East and I understand different things. For the
Hindu sage, spirit is the homogeneous unity in which the complete
adept is lost to self, all individual features and values being suppressed. All quest for knowledge, all personalization, all earthly progress
are so many diseases of the soul. Matter is dead weight and illusion.
By contrast, spirit is for me, as I have said the unity by synthesis in
which the saint realizes his full being, carrying to the furthest possible point what differentiates its nature, and the particular resources it
possesses! Knowledge and power-that is the only road that leads to
freedom. Matter is heavily loaded, throughout, with sublime potentialities. Thus the East fascinates me by its faith in the ultimate unity of
the universe… 118
As I conclude, I take the words of Swamy Siddinathananda:
Verily, seekers of Truth and at all times are fellow-pilgrims. Their
visions and views are fundamentally identical. This fact furnishes us
with hope that the concord and amity prevailing among the followers
of the diverse religions of the world will grow stronger. AMEN. 119
May the vision of Teilhard leads the world to its Omega with his
fellow pilgrims wherever they are found!
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Notes
1 V.P. GAUR, Indian Thought and Existentialism, with Special Reference to the Concept of
Being in Gabriel Marcel and the Upanishads, (Eastern Book Linkers; Delhi 1985) 2.
2 V.P. GAUR, 2.
3 V.P. GAUR, 2.
84 · M. D. JOSEPH
4
D. ACHARUPARAMBIL, Hindu
Spirituality Christian Insights,
(Trivandrum; Kerala 2010) 1.
5 D. ACHARUPARAMBIL, 2.
6 V.P. GAUR, 2.
7
M. D. JOSEPH, “Teilhardian
Contribution to the Understanding
of Human Being and ScienceReligion Dialogue,” MPh diss.,
Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth Pune,
Maharashtra, India, February 2007,
1 / M.D. JOSEPH, “Teilhardian
Contiribution to the Understanding
of Human Being and ScienceReligion Dialgoue,” Parangat (MA)
Philosophy diss. Tilak Maharashtra
Vidyapeeth, Pune, India, May 2007,
1.
8 M. D. JOSEPH, 1.
9 M. D. JOSEPH, 1.
10 K.E. YANDELL, “Teilhard de Chardin,
Pierre”, Routledge Encyclopedia
of Philosophy, version. 1.0. (ed)
London.
11 M. D. JOSEPH, 1.
12
J. KATTACKAL, “Evolution in
Indian Philosophy and Teilhard”,
Convergence: A Study on Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin and Other
Eminent Thinkers,” (ed. Paul
Maroky) (CMS Press; Kottayam
1981) 61.
13 J. KATTACKAL, 61.
14 J. KATTACKAL, 61.
15 J. KATTACKAL, 61.
16 J. KATTACKAL, 61.
17 J. KATTACKAL, 62.
18 J. KATTACKAL, 62.
24 J. KATTACKAL, 70.
25 J. KATTACKAL, 70-71.
26 J. KATTACKAL, 71.
27 J. KATTACKAL, 71.
28 J. KATTACKAL, 71.
29 J. KATTACKAL, 75.
30 J. KATTACKAL, 75.
31 J. KATTACKAL, 75.
32 J. KATTACKAL, 75.
33
P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, The
Phenomenon of Man (William Collins;
London 1959) 77.
34 J. KATTACKAL, 76.
35 J. KATTACKAL, 76.
36 J. KATTACKAL, 69.
37 J. KATTACKAL, 76.
38 J. KATTACKAL, 76.
39 J. KATTACKAL, 76.
40 J. KATTACKAL, 77.
41 J. KATTACKAL, 77.
42 J. KATTACKAL, 77.
43 J. KATTACKAL, 77.
44 J. KATTACKAL, 77-78.
45 J. KATTACKAL, 78.
46 J. KATTACKAL, 78.
47
J. VELIATHIL, “Aurobinodo Ghose
and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin”,
Convergence: A Study on Pierre Teilhard
de Chardin and Other Eminent Thinkers,
(ed. Paul Maroky) (CMS Press; Kottayam
1981) 92.
48 J. VELIATHIL, 92.
19 J. KATTACKAL, 62.
20 J. KATTACKAL, 62.
21 J. KATTACKAL, 62.
49 J. VELIATHIL, 92.
22 J. KATTACKAL, 62.
23 J. KATTACKAL, 70.
52 J. VELIATHIL, 92-93.
50 J. VELIATHIL, 92.
51 J. VELIATHIL, 92.
53 J. VELIATHIL, 93.
Teilhard de Chardin and Indian Tought – Aurobindo Ghose and Rabindranath Tagore · 85
54 J. VELIATHIL, 93.
55 J. VELIATHIL, 93.
56 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN,
Phenomenon of Man, 284.
57 J. VELIATHIL, 93.
58 J. VELIATHIL, 93.
59 J. VELIATHIL, 93.
60 J. VELIATHIL, 94.
61 J. VELIATHIL, 94.
62 J. VELIATHIL, 94.
63 J. VELIATHIL, 94.
64 J. VELIATHIL, 94.
65 J. VELIATHIL, 94.
66 J. VELIATHIL, 94.
67 J. VELIATHIL, 94.
68 J. VELIATHIL, 94-95.
69 J. VELIATHIL, 95.
70 J. VELIATHIL, 95.
71 J. VELIATHIL, 95.
72 J. VELIATHIL, 95.
73 J. VELIATHIL, 95.
74 J. VELIATHIL, 95.
75 J. VELIATHIL, 95.
76 J. VELIATHIL, 96.
77 J. VELIATHIL, 96.
78 J. VELIATHIL, 96.
79 J. VELIATHIL, 96.
80 J. VELIATHIL, 96.
81 J. VELIATHIL, 96.
82 J. VELIATHIL, 97.
83 J. VELIATHIL, 97.
84 J. VELIATHIL, 97.
85 J. VELIATHIL, 97.
86 J. VELIATHIL, 97.
87 J. VELIATHIL, 97.
88 J. VELIATHIL, 99.
The
89 J. VELIATHIL, 99.
90 G.S. NAIR, “Pierre Teilhard de
Chardin and Rabindranath Tagore”,
Convergence: A Study on Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin and Other
Eminent Thinkers”, (ed. Paul
Maroky) (CMS Press; Kottayam
1981) 100-101.
91 G.S. NAIR 100.
92 G.S. NAIR, 101.
93 G.S. NAIR 102.
94 G.S. NAIR, 102.
95 G.S. NAIR 102.
96 G.S. NAIR, 101-102.
97 G.S. NAIR, 102.
98 G.S. NAIR, 102.
99 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, The
Divine Milieu, (Harper & Row; NY
1965) 58.
100 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, The
Divine Milieu, 63-64.
101 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, 64.
102 G.S. NAIR, 102.
103 G.S. NAIR, 102.
104 G.S. NAIR, 102.
105 G.S. NAIR, 102.
106 G.S. NAIR, 102.
107 G.S. NAIR, 102.
108 G.S. NAIR, 103.
109 G.S. NAIR, 103.
110 G.S. NAIR, 103.
111 G.S. NAIR, 103.
112 G.S. NAIR, 103.
113 G.S. NAIR, 103.
114
Swamy
SIDDINATHANANDA,
“Teilhard
and
Karmayoga”,
Convergence: A Study on Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin and Other
Eminent Thinkers, (ed. Paul Maroky)
(CMS Press; Kottayam 1981) 79.
115 Swamy SIDDINATHANANDA, 79.
86 · M. D. JOSEPH
116 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, The Phenomenon of Man, 210, / Cf. Swamy
SIDDINATHANANDA, 87.
117 Swamy SIDDINATHANANDA, 87.
118 P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, How I Believe (Harper & Row; NY 1969), 68-70.
119 Swamy SIDDINATHANANDA, 91.
Getting the Poor Down From the Cross
Cristology of Liberation
A classical work of EATWOT's International Theological Commission
In 30 days after the «Notification» against Jon Sobrino,
the EATWOT's International
Theological Commission requested and collected the
contributions of more than 40
theologians, from all over the
world, to reflect and testify
about their theological work,
as «getting the poor down from
the cross».
As a result, there is this
digital book, which in its first
week -40 days after the «Notification- registered more than
three thousand downloads.
It continues to be on line
for downloading in several
languages (English, Spanish,
Italian) and in paper (English,
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Printable originals with full resolution can still be requested for local editions
without profit purposes.
Getting the Poor Down from the Cross: still on line digital edition, which was
printed on paper in many places, 314 pp
Bajar de la cruz a los pobres: edición digital en línea, y también una edición en
papel, por Dabar, México 293 pp.
Descer da Cruz os Pobres: edição só em papel, pela Paulinas, São Paulo, 357 pp
Deporre i poveri dalla croce: edizione soltanto digitale, nella rete.
More information at the webpage:
InternationalTheologicalCommission.org
See also, alternatively: servicioskoinonia.org/LibrosDigitales
· 87
Religious Life
in a Teilhardian Perspective
Leopold RATNASEKERA omi
Abstract: Teilhard de Chardin, himself a Jesuit and a Catholic
Priest, is a pioneering Christian thinker, scientist and mystic, whose efforts
are well known for demonstrating the harmony between science and faith,
nature and the transcendent within the theory of the process of evolution,
which he sees as tending rectilinearly towards a final point of consummation and fulfillment. This final stage is referred to as the “Omega
Point” which he identifies as the Cosmic Christ. This on-going process
proceeds through a steady phylum of love in which one can locate the life
and mission of consecrated men and women in religious life. It is significant that Vatican II and the Synod document “Vita Consecrata” explain
religious life which is one of detachment and search for the divine, as the
pursuit of perfect charity and as a witness to the power of God’s love that
transforms human life. Religious life, therefore, has to be located in the
context of a Teilhardian vision, within the process of perfect hominisation
in the “noosophere” and “Christogenesis” in the “theosphere”. Religious
being those in search of a profound experience of the divine and union
with it, thus shine out as living cells of the Body of Christ which grows
into perfection and completion of the New Man and new humanity in the
power of the Spirit – the Pleroma. Life in the spirit and witness to it explain
the dynamism of religious life. It is, hence, clearly a facet of the Phylum of
love which Teilhard de Chardin identifies as the Christian Phenomenon
in the process of evolution.
88 · Leopold RATNASEKERA
Introduction
The topic of this presentation is to propose an understanding of
Christian religious life in the context of the evolutionary categories of matter, energy and spirit as propounded by the scientist cum philosopher and
spiritualist Teilhard de Chardin who himself was a Religious in the Jesuit
order for 56 years and a Catholic priest for 44 years. He was well schooled in the famous classical spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, his
founder, which stress the systematic discipline of self leading to inner
purification as a requirement to attain the sublime heights of spiritual
experience ending in union with God in total love. He would constantly
relate the detachment and the contemplative elements constitutive of the
three evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience together
with its communitarian dimensions to his own spiritual ascent to the
transcendent. For him it was to be filled with the Cosmic Christ, the high
point of the evolution of the spirit. On the other hand, the paleontologist
and the scientist that he was, he would constantly weigh this spiritual
experience over against the transformation of the human into the image
and fullness of Christ, which he defined as Christogenesis. Perfection
in religious life therefore, would be a person’s total transformation and
immersion in the mystery of Christ, self-emptied totally in incarnation,
crucifixion, Resurrection and diffusing his Spirit. This Spirit is the purest
source of all sanctity, which means to being filled with God, so that God
may be all in all. The later Christian reflections of sacred authors like Paul,
the missionary apostle and John the Beloved, would prove to be very relevant to our discussion, since they speak about integration of all in Christ
and primacy of love that is fullness of life, respectively. The religious life
of all consecrated men and women, who embrace the life-style of the
evangelical counsels, has to be located in the phylum of love that grows
into the Omega-Point, the Pleroma or the Fullness of Christ. They form an
important segment in the Christian Phenomenon. 1
This paper will be divided into three major parts:
I - Basic Teilhardian premises relevant to the nature and mission
of religious life.
II - Identifying the basic spiritual elements of consecrated life of the
evangelical counsels.
III - The emerging concept of Religious Life in a Teilhardian perspective.
Religious Life in Teilhardian Perspective · 89
Part I – Basic Teilhardian Premises
Teilhard de Chardin was a deeply spiritual man, judging from what
he has written especially in the “Divine Milieu”. Three specific premises
of his spiritual thinking can be enunciated which in reality form the three
evolutionary spiritual principles of his thought.
1. The Neo-logisms: Geosphere, Cosmogenesis, Noosphere, Biogenesis,
Anthropogenesis, Christogenesis.
The whole cosmos is filled with the divine presence and is directed towards a transcendent fulfillment consummated in an Omega Point
or term of evolution which is spirit-filled. The whole universe of which
matter is the foundational element is continuously being transformed
resulting in its energy growing into a harmonious universe of a cosmic universal dimension, This is the stage of evolution which is termed
“Cosmogenesis”, the birth, begetting or appearance of a harmonious
material world. It is basically the transformation of energy in the direction
of a cosmic harmony. This aspect is the evident external manifestation of
creation which is supremely teleological. They are not hap-hazard movements at random. Some transcendental force is behind its guidance in
an orderly manner. The beautiful cosmos that we experience is a result
of this creative and integrative action. He based his entire theory on the
three faces of matter: plurality, unity and energy. 2
From Cosmogenesis evolves anthropogenesis, which is the appearance of hominization to which is linked the noosphere of the phenomenon of the mind, which is a prerogative of rational creatures. This sphere
exhibits consciousness and the process of thinking and is defined in relation to “nous” which is the Greek term for the mind. However, it should
not be confused with the “soul” of Greek philosophy or the “world soul”
of Plato because Teilhard very clearly denounced a pantheistic conception of the external world. It is a question of all things being in God and
not God in all things as if, divinity fills every created thing. The sphere
of “nous”, thought and consciousness belong specifically to the anthropological realm which witnesses to the manifestation of the appearance of
man, the human with rationality and self-awareness. We can bring in here
the element of free-will and free choice. All these elements come together
in his classical title: “The Phenomenon of Man”.of Man”.
90 · Leopold RATNASEKERA
Under the guidance of the movement of the spirit of God, homogenesis in a slow but steady process is transformed into Christogenesis
which is the christification of man and in him the entire universe. 3 For,
man is a micro-cosmos where all the elements of a harmonious cosmic
order is present and active but in a conjoint manner. One can say that
in the stage of homogenesis or anthropogenesis, the entire evolutionary
process upgrades itself, attaining a superior stage of growth and perfection. It is the emergence of thought and consciousness as has been
pointed out earlier. The evolutionary process sees here one more step of
advancing towards the Omega-Point. The Omega-Point for Teilhard de
Chardin is nothing else than Christ, the cosmic Christ which is personification at his highest evolutionary point. Unless the personal and socially
collective stage are not reached, evolution would still be lacking its movement towards perfection. This is why, to hold his evolutionary thought
together in a consistent manner, he sees the categorical need of positing
the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. Hence, the evolutionary process of cosmogenesis leading to anthropogenesis (noosphere)
and finally to Christogenesis (Omega-Point) is one of the fundamental
working principles of Teilhard’s thought.4 This is integrated consequently
into his spirituality and God-experience. It is the philosophy of humanity
and history. The Phenomenon of Christianity appears precisely in this
context.of Christianity appears in this context.
2. The Phylum of Love
Through the zig-zag movement of the evolutionary process, that
might have its ups and downs, moments of positive growth and negative
diminishment such as life and death in the various stratifications, there
is however a clear rectilinear movement that lances always forward. This
direction is identified as the phylum of love. There might be many points
of convergences when the evolutionary process moves in conciliatory
directions. These meeting points are real progressive points of convergence that line up in a forward movement to carry the evolution process to
its fulfillment, which evidently is the high point of love. It has to be the
in-breaking of divine love, Agape/Eros, if you may call it. The fulfilling
point is the Omega, identified as the Cosmic Christ, in whom all things
are integrated and reconciled. Love engendering activity or interpersonal
relationships bring persons towards each other and towards the Centre
(Omega). Love-energy governs the noosphere as physical energies do in
the plane of matter. 5 The evolution of the universe is a trajectory of the
evolution of love. 6 “Love” says Teilhard, “is a sacred reserve of energy; it
is like the blood of spiritual evolution”. 7
Religious Life in Teilhardian Perspective · 91
The variety of different leaps works through the initial cell becoming “someone”. After the grain of matter, Teilhard says, evolves the grain
of life; and now at last we see constituted the grain of thought. We are
now in the complexity of individualization and personalization with the
advent of the power of reflection. The more highly, each phylum became
charged with psychism, the more it tended to granulate. 8 In fact, true
religion is a link with a Father-God. It is the religion of the personal.
Christianity is first and foremost the religion of the person. It is through
Christ’s message and through his operation, that the personifying depth
of Love is both revealed and realized. 9 A phylum is precisely an evolving
branch of life or a life’s species taking a leap towards thought and hominisation within the noosphere of thought and consciousness. It encapsulates the energy that moves from within each phylum. phylum.
The phylum of Love is really the Spirit of God acting within. It
is always through Love that God fills the universe and especially the
humans in their deepest of depths of awareness. The Greek “menein”
explains it very clearly. The world abides in God’s Love. But Teilhard has
taken good care not to allow his system and insights of thought being
interpreted in pantheistic terms. He was an open critic of pantheistic concepts of the Godhead. We are guests of the divine milieu.10 Aren’t we not
told that it is in Him that we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
So, Teilhard had been clearly faithful to this prime truth, constantly recalled in Scripture and Christian Tradition, by the Fathers of the Church and
no less than the Mystics.11 Hence we can see that the phylum of Love
is none other than the Creator, savior and the sanctifying God whom we
are called to contemplate as existing in every one of his creatures.
his creatures.creatures.
3. The Christian Phenomenon
Religious life locates itself within this phylum. Teilhard leads us to
recognize the fundamental root from which the sap of Christianity has
risen from the beginning and is nourished. One cannot reduce it to a
gentle philanthropism. It is in Christianity that the most realistic and most
cosmic of beliefs and hopes are to be found. It is a prodigious biological
operation - that of the redeeming Incarnation. 12 Christianity offers itself
to every human and to every class of humans, and from the start it took
its place as one of the most vigorous and fruitful currents the noosphere
has ever known. It adds a qualitative value by the appearance of a specifically new state of consciousness. Teilhard thinks here of Christian Love. It
is the heart-beat of charity.13 This is how the intensification of the divine
milieu is effected with its over-arching environment of love of neighbor
92 · Leopold RATNASEKERA
in which rests the power of divinization. Charity is the beginning and the
end of all spiritual relationships. Christian charity is nothing else than the
more or less conscious cohesion of souls engendered by their communal
convergence in Jesus Christ. 14
Christ in fact is the term supernaturally, but also physically assigned to the consummation of humanity. In his theandric being, he gathers
up all creation. In him all subsist. 15 Christ who is defined as the Cosmic
Christ, the image portrayed in St. Paul’s letter to the Colosians and the
Word become Flesh, the Alpha and Omega of Revelation as St. John presents, is the point of convergence and the Pleroma of the Phylum of Love,
to which evolution leads us finally. The collective personalization of this
movement is concretized in the life and progress of the religious community of the Christians of all ages, who keep activating this movement.
The only subject capable of mystical transfiguration is the whole group of
humankind forming a single body and a singe soul in charity. 16 This is
the Christian phenomenon within the evolutionary process that constitutes a fulfilling history. According to Teilhard, human history is teleological
and not just haphazard. It leads to the Omega-point, the eschatological
fulfillment of humankind and its history. It is incarnated in the Christian
Church’s journey of faith, liturgy sacraments and mission, the people of
faith who form the Mystical Body of Christ, the Pleroma.
The essence of Christianity is Love as energy. It must be considered
in its dynamism and its evolutionary significance. 17 Naturally it has to
manifest itself as a personal collectivity – a community of persons. In fact,
Teilhard says “At the present time no other energy of a personal nature
could be detected on earth save that represented by the sum of human
persons”. 18 Personalism and universalism is well attested by Christianity.
It bears witness to the fact that thousands of men and women are daily
renouncing every other ambition and every other joy save that of abandoning themselves to Christian Love and laboring within it more and more
completely. Mystics have drawn from its flame a passionate fervor that
outstrips by far in brightness and purity the urge and devotion of any
human love. 19 Teilhard has summed up his reflection on this subject by
saying “Christianity as a phenomenon exhibits a true characteristic of a
phylum in its rootedness in the past and ceaseless development. Reset in
an evolution interpreted as as ascent of consciousness, this phylum, in
its trend towards a synthesis based on love, progresses precisely in the
direction presumed for the leading-shoot of biogenesis.” 20
Religious Life in Teilhardian Perspective · 93
Part II – Christian Religious Life: Its Basic Features
This section will look into two special documents that address
the subject of Religious Life in the Christian tradition: Vatican II Decree
Perfectae Caritatis on renewal of religious life and the Apostolic
Exhortation Vita Consecrata. 22 Religious are men and women in consecrated life who have embraced the evangelical counsels of chastity,
poverty and obedience. They wish to live a spirituality of discipleship of
Jesus Christ and of being his witnesses and missionaries of his Gospel,
which promotes a culture of life and a civilization of love. 23 Concretely,
this style of life demands renunciation of material goods, family life and
one’s own will principally for the sake of exclusively pursuing God’s
Kingdom and its experience. Hence, it represents a profound life-style of
renunciation from material things. Consecrated life is nurtured through
exercise of prayer and life lived in community. Every religious congregation, both contemplative and active will have its own particular Charism
and mission in the Church for the sake of the world.
It is very significant that Vatican II defines religious life as a quest
for Perfect Charity, 24 meaning union with God in love for him and with
love for Neighbor rooted in the former. Religious Life is imitation of Jesus
Christ who is taken as a supreme model of this way, truth and the life and
in turn is a parable and a symbol of the Kingdom of God. Kingdom of
God means the pervasive presence of God and the realization of His rule
in the hearts of people. It has personal, communitarian, collective, historical and cosmic dimensions. The manifestation of the Kingdom of God is
documented in the Old Testament of the Bible in the religious and secular
history of the nation of Israel and later in the New Testament, in the life
and ministry of Jesus Christ who fulfills the messianic expectations of
Israel and who empowers the community of his disciples, the historical
Church, to continue in the missionary task of proclaiming the Kingdom,
celebrating its faith, fostering its values and transforming the city of man
into the City of God25 so that in the fullness of time, indicated as the final
coming of Christ at the end time (Parousia), God will be all in all. It will
be the dawn of the new creation of which St. Paul has written and attested to by the Book of Revelation of St. John - a new heaven and a new
earth. Besides, solidarity in sin is transcended with the overflowing solidarity of mankind Christ, who is a grace - upon-grace gift (Rom 5: 12-21).
The theology of the Body of Christ alive with many charisms and
gifts, which refers to the communion of all Christian communities in St.
Paul 26 with its wonderful classical text of Christian love 27 provides a
good background to understand what religious life is, dedicated as it is
94 · Leopold RATNASEKERA
to a life of love and being a dynamic element in the growth of the Body
of Christ. Each religious congregation is a special charism enriching the
Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is at work in these charismatic operations.
Life in the Spirit is the standard path of holiness for men and women in
consecrated life as Paul teaches in the letter to the Galatians. 28 Life in
the spirit, which is the way of a life of love is well clarified by St. Paul
in his catechesis to the Romans. 29 It is this love-involved spirit-filled life
that makes a disciple cry out to God as “Abba-Father”!
Religious men and women therefore are life the salt of the earth
and the leaven in the dough taught in the sermon on the Mount by Christ
and their life itself is a leaven of the Beatitudes themselves as exemplifying the nature of the Kingdom of God which is basically people under
the spell of the love of Christ and his spirit. Discipleship with Christ chaste, poor and obedient in his total love commitment to the Father makes
of religious, sharers in the very breath and heart-beat of Jesus Christ, in
whom they live, move and have their being. They are in communion with
Jesus at the service of humanity. 30 Religious live a fraternal life in love
and are called to be a leaven of communion at the service of the universal
Church with their gifts meant for the growth of the entire Mystical Body
of Christ. Here we see a note of universality and communion, essential to
understand the evolutionary transformation posited by Teilhard. 31
In the light of the above considerations, we perceive how consecrated life of discipleship of Christ which enables an authentic life of
the beatitudes and for which prayer means a God-experience as a loving
“Abba” contributes dynamically to the enriching of the phylum of love
which is Christianity: lived and enlivened in the Church as a communion
of committed persons. However, this committed life involves working
for the Kingdom of God which takes up necessarily the transforming of
temporal realities or sanctification of the world. 32
This commitment takes on a prophetic role as well. Vita Consecrata
teaches that discipleship of Christ involves prophetic witness. It requires
discernment of spirits and through denouncing of that which contravenes
with God’s will and through exploring new ways to apply the Gospel in
history, in expectation of the dawn of God’s Kingdom. A discerning prophetism must be the hall-mark of any branch of the Body of Christ that
plays a socially transforming role. 33 Isn’t Teilhard de Chardin himself
taking on his prophetic role blazing this new trail in synthesizing the evolutionary perspective of modern science with the Christian world-view!
Naturally, there had been negative reactions from the official Church to
his writings. 34 The position of Teilhard stands in stark opposition to
militant atheism today, which explains the universe solely by evolution
through natural selection reinforced by the denial of a divine creative act.
Religious Life in Teilhardian Perspective · 95
Part III – Towards a Teilhardian Understanding of Religious Life
We have seen in studying Teilhardian categories the centrality of
cosmogenesis, anthropogenesis (with the dawn of the noosphere with its
features of the mind and consciousness) generates hominisation which
eventually leads to Christogenesis or the christification of humanity and
its world in the theosphere. This last stage identifies with the reaching of
the Omega-Point which for us is the Cosmic Christ. This is how the God
of revelation becomes identified with the God of Evolution and how matter
charged with energy is spiritualized to attain that incredible but totally
possible spirit-filled universe, the dream of escatology: the Pleroma of
creation.
In relation to the above, three observations can be made regarding
religious life as: 1) an effective agent in the christification of humanity; 2)
as the path of love which answers the groaning of creation thirsting for
freedom (Rom 8: 19-23); and 3) as a channel of cosmic fulfillment realized
in the Church, the personalized community of love anchored on Cosmic
Christ and drawing sap and life from Him as the branches from the vine.
1. Christification: Embracing a life of evangelical counsels means
that a person wishes to live a life in the spirit in union with Jesus Christ,
the head of the mystical body which is the Church of communion of persons. The mystics realize in this state of total contemplation a marvelous
life of communion and union with God who fills their life. The soul of
their life is the Spirit that fills them, body, mind, consciousness and their
inner personal centre. They have entered a path of cosmic integration in
which they are in communion with creation and the creator. St. Francis
of Assisi is a perfect example of such intimacy with creation and its creator. In such a person, creation itself reaches fulfillment for in him all
the function of a living being, all the activities of a sensitive nature and
that of the spiritual intellect conjointly operates in harmony. It is easy for
such a person to be freed from all that would slow down the process of
christogenesis. If man is christified, in him the entire nature is transformed too for each human being is the cosmos in miniature. In a religious
community life, socialization too takes place. The christified universe is
the kingdom of heaven and is replete with love, joy, harmony and peace.
It is the peace which surpasseth all understanding.
2. The religious vows are actually the path of inner freedom as
exemplified in chastity that enables one to become more fervent in the
love for God and for all humanity. Religious therefore recall the won-
96 · Leopold RATNASEKERA
derful nuptials made by God which will be made manifest in the age to
come, and in which the Church has Christ alone for her Spouse. 35 The
striking example of Mother Teresa is a radiant instance of the breaking
in of God’s love into her love, intimacy and care of the most destitute of
humans, seeing the wounds of Christ incarnate in their wounds, pains
and afflictions. She transmitted love and affection to them in healing that
wounded and disfigured humanity. It is becoming that phylum of love
that divinizes humanity. Evangelical poverty enables them to share in the
poverty of Christ who for our sake became poor, though he was rich, so
we can be enriched through his poverty (2 Cor 8:9; Mt 8:20). 36 St. Francis
of Assisi lived this incredible joy of poverty by which he could identify
with poor and heal an otherwise alienated Church of extravagance and
worldliness. Religious obedience is no destroyer of freedom. On the
contrary, one is freed to be at the service of the Church and humanity
in being united to God’s saving will and to Christ who laid down his life
for the redemption of many. Thus, they endeavor to attain to the measure
of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13). 37 Religious orders in
enclosed monasteries far from being away from the world are in intimate
union with it in their intercessions and love for humanity. “Ora et labora”
sums it up all too well. They are with the sacred for the sanctification of
the world. 38 All religious are in search for the sacred and long to experience it intimately, for immersed in it only would all human restlessness
come to rest as St. Augustine has taught. 39 Contemplative religious thus,
is a symbolic articulation of the thirst and hunger for the fullness of life
that can be found only in God: more precisely in that mystical nuptials
with Christ the spouse. Monasteries indeed do not shut out the pangs of
the world. They are intercessory communities.
According to Teilhard, a religious “hallows through chastity, poverty and obedience, the power enclosed in love, in gold and independence”. 40 A saint therefore is not one who escapes matter, but one who seeks
to make all his powers (gold, love, freedom) transcend themselves and
cooperate in the consummation of Christ and who so realizes for us the
ideal of the faithful servant of evolution. He says that “no one denies that
religious life can be a normal and natural flowing of the human activity
in search of a higher life. Nevertheless, the practice of virtues of poverty,
chastity and obedience does represent the beginnings of a flight beyond
the normal spheres of earthly, procreative and conquering humanity; and
for this reason they had to wait, before becoming generally valid and
licit, for a “Duc in Altum” to authenticate the aspirations maturing in the
human soul. That authorization was given once and for all in the Gospel
by the Master of things. This must also be heard individually by those
Religious Life in Teilhardian Perspective · 97
who are to benefit from it; it is ‘vocation’. 41 In religious life, he might
be interpreted to say further that, “attachment and detachment, development and renunciation are not mutually exclusive... They harmonize like
breathing in and out of the two lungs...They are two components of the
impulse by which one uses things as a springboard from which to mount
beyond them.” This is typical Teilhardian idiom. 42
3. The above considerations manifest the actualization of the
phylum of love that is central to the teleological movement of evolution
in the life of all who are wedded to the sacred reality and the divine even
on this earth. They are part of the activated divine milieu. So, the One
who is at the centre of Teilhardian thought is Christ, the prototype of
Man-Love; God-Love reaching fulfillment only in love and with it he can
conclude to a Christianity which is nothing more nor less than a phylum
of love, within nature. 43 It is within this phylum that consecrated life of
men and women find its proper place, identity and function. They are
a blessing on all humanity groaning for fullness of life who cannot but
be Christ incarnate, crucified and Risen glorious, the name above every
name before whom the entire cosmic powers must bow, proclaiming him
Lord for the Glory of God the Father, as one of the most ancient confessions of faith and a liturgical hymn puts it (Phil 2: 9-11). It is striking
too, that Vatican II has presented Christ as Perfect Man who sums up
all things in himself, and as the one in whom the entire mystery of man
comes to light and his enigma solved for good. This reference is one of
those poignant texts of the council that brims with a Teilhardian flavor
and subtitled: Christ-Alpha and Omega. Incidentally, it is located in the
document that talks about Church-world relations which strikingly has a
Christological flavor. Therefore, it is worth quoting it in full: “The Lord
is the goal of human history, the focal point of the desires of history
and civilization, the centre of the humanity, the joy of all hearts, and the
fulfillment of all aspirations. Animated and drawn together in his Spirit,
we press onwards on our journey towards the consummation of history
which fully corresponds to the plan of his love: to unite all things in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.” 44
Further, the exhortation Vita Consecrata covers some radically
essential elements of the Teilhardian vision: namely, consecrated life as a
sign of communion in the Church (Chapter II) and as a service of Charity
(Chapter III). The latter paraphrases it to say, that it is a manifestation
of God’s love in the world. It is a fraternal life in love (n 42), a leaven of
communion (n.47). It has for its mission, to be at the service of God and
humanity (n 73) and exercising the act of loving with the heart of Christ
98 · Leopold RATNASEKERA
himself (n 75). Christogenesis is crystal clear at this point. Magisterium
of the Church now teaches that man with his limitations, inner conflicts
and possibilities as well is the way for the Church and that Christ is the
way for man. 45 Here we see the inter-active relationship between homogenesis, Christogenesis and Ecclesiogenesis. “The Church is like a great
tree whose roots must be energetically anchored in the earth while its
leaves are serenely exposed to the bright sunlight. In this way she sums
up a whole gamut of beats in a single living and all-embracing act, each
one of which corresponds to a particular degree or a possible form of
spiritualization”. 46 Consecrated men and women in religious life exemplify this Christian experience par excellence in a way that ordinary laity
cannot prophetically express.
Conclusion
Coming to the end of this paper, we are led to accept that much
of Pauline and Johanine theology that speak about the christification of
the human being and his universe, harping clearly on the reality of the
Cosmic Christ offers a strong basis for the thought of Teilhard de Chardin.
He was convinced that the energy of evolution will finally reach the
Omega point of a spirit-filled universe of which human being is part and
perfected in Christ: he who is center of all centers and the point of integration. Consecrated life is given to experience and witness to the sense
of the Sacred, immersed in the mystery of love, which in turn becomes
the phylum of love in which God’s presence is consciously appropriated.
In a religious, the “love-energy” immerses the person in the mystique of
evolutionary transformation. In Teilhard himself, the scientist and mystic,
the secular and the sacred so fused in such a fine harmony that it offers
a brand new paradigm of modern spirituality, fit and relevant enough to
a culture of science and progress.
If religious life is meant for the pursuit of perfect charity, it is
drawn to loving with the heart of Jesus Christ, the Omega Point. This
would be achieved in the right use of creatures, the assumption of human
values, perfect detachment in a life that is not cut off from the world,
thecontemplation of God in and beyond all things and the acceptance of
his will loved for its own sake, passionate love of Jesus Christ and the
desire for his kingdom and the boldness of grand designs to serve Him. 47
In this manner, the religious life of all men and women in consecrated life embellishes the phylum of love, energizes the spiritual evolution
centripetally to the Omega point, so that God may be all in all in Jesus
Christ, the Man-love, in a process permanently projected further to the
Religious Life in Teilhardian Perspective · 99
future. Being a category of a personalized and at the same time a collective force, it spearheads a prophetic mission in fulfilling the energy of love
which is nothing by the nature of the essence of God.
Bibliography
P. TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, The Phenomenon of Man, (Harper Torch books; New York
1965).
____ , Le Milieu Divin: An Essay on the Interior Life (Fontana Books, Collins; London &
Glasgow 1964/1971).
____, Human Energy (Collins; London 1969).
Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia (Claretian; Bangalore 1997).
H. de Lubac, Teilhard de Chardin. The Man and His Meaning, (New American Library; NY
1967.
M. Fernando, Whither Mankind? Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Vision of the Human Future
(Subodhi Publications, Sri Lanka 2009).
John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation following Bishops’ Ordinary
Synod IX) 25 March 1996.
Vatican II, Perfectae Caritatis (Decree of on the Up-to-Date Renewal of Religious lIfe) 28
Oct. 1965.
____, Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution of the Church n the Modern World), 7 Dec.
1965.
Notes
1 Religious life represents a segment of Christianized humanity, where contemplation and
chastity tend to gain legitimate mastery over anxious work and direct possession. Cfr.
Le Milieu Divin. An Essay on the Interior Life (Collins; London 1964) 110.
2 The Phenomenon of Man (Harper & Row, NY 21965) 40.
3 Pope John Paul II. His first encyclical begins with the same idea when he says: “The
Redeemer of Man, Jesus Christ, is the centre of the universe and history”, Redempptor
Hominis, 4th March 1979, n.1
4 In other words, the evolutionary process goes from the geosphere (sphere of matter),
through the biosphere (sphere of life) to the noosphere (sphere of the mind). It is a
movement of vitalization of matter proceeding to a hominization of life.
5 M. Fernando, Whither Mankind (Subodhi Institute 2009) 20.
6 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Human Energy (Collins; London 1969) 33.
7 TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, Human Energy, 34.
8 Phenomenon of Man, 173
9 These references and comments made by Henri de LUBAC, Teilhard de Chardin. The Man
and His Meaning, (The New American Library; 1967) 25-26
10 Henri de LUBAC, 28-30.
11 Henri de LUBAC, 31.
100 · Leopold RATNASEKERA
12 Phenomenon of Man, Epilogue, 293.
13 Phenomenon of Man, Epilogue, 295.
14 Le Milieu Divin, 142-144.
15 Cfr. Henri de LUBAC, 42-43.
16 Le Milieu Divin, 144.
17 Phenomenon of Man, 264.
18 Phenomenon of Man, 291.
19 Phenomenon of Man, 295.
20 Phenomenon of Man, 298. In a letter from Cape Town to his superior General dated 12th
Oct. 1951, Teilhard mentions three of his convictions: “The unique significance of Man
as the spear-head of Life, the position of Catholicism as the central axis in the convergent bundle of human activities and finally, the essential function as consummator
assumed by the Risen Christ at the centre and peak of Creation”. He says that these
have driven roots very deep and have entangled in the whole fabric of his intellectual
and religious perception (Cfr. Le Milieu Divin, 38-39).
21 One of the sixteen documents of this 21st Ecumenical Council, voted on 28th Oct 1965.
22 Issued by Pope john Paul II on 25th March 1996 following the 9th Bishops’ Synod of
October 1994.
23 Cf. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, Encyclical, 25th March 1995 (esp. ch. IV). Christianity
is for a culture of life as against a culture of death that is prevalent in our times: abortion,
violence, euthanasia, wars etc.
24 Perfectae Caritatis, n 1. Cf. significant parallel on Charity in Le Divin Milieu, 142-144.
25 Cf. the classical work of St. Augustine: “The City of God” where he contrasts it with the city
of man with its mythologies, forms of idolatry and social structures of domination and
hedonism. Both cities originate from two kinds of loves as explained in Book XIV: One
is born of life according to the flesh, the other according to the spirit.
26 I Cor 12:12-30; Rom 12:4-5.
27 I Cor 13.
28 Gal 5:22-25; Rom 12:1-2.
29 Rom 6:1-17.
30 Cf. Vita Consecrata, nn. 95, 100, 105.
31 Cf. Vita Consecrata, n. 47.
32 Many see the influence of Teilhard’s thought in the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in
the Modern World: Gaudium et Spes of Vatican II in general.
33 Cf. Vita Consecrata, nn. 82 and 84. Para 82 highlights the necessary feature of ‘option
for the poor’.
34 His application to publish “Le Groupe Zoologique Humain” was refused by Rome in
1950. After his death, thirteen volumes of his essays published by a friend were also
forbidden. On 30th June 1962 the Holy Office issued a “monitum” (warning) about the
writings of Teilhard, since they “abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious
errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine.” In 1981 the Holy See reiterated this warning against rumors that it no longer applied in the communiqué of the Press Office of the Holy
See. Cf. L’Osservatore Romano, 30th July 1981.
Religious Life in Teilhardian Perspective · 101
35 Perfectae Caritatis, n. 12.
36 Perfectae Caritatis, n. 13.
37 Perfectae Caritatis, n. 14.
38 Cf. Divine Miliieu: “The Christian Perfection of Human Endeavor”, 64-73.
39 Confessions, Book I, ch. 1
40 Writings in Time of War (Collins, Harper & Row; 1968) 222.
41 Citation from Le Milieu Divin, 98.
42 Le Milieu Divin, 99; Cf. 2 Cor 4:10-12: “We carry the death with us in our body, the death
that Jesus died, that in this body also, life may reveal itself, the life that Jesus lives”.
43 Le Milieu Divin, 15.
44 Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, n.
45. An earlier text says: “The Church likewise believes that the key, the center and the
purpose of the whole of human history is to be found in its Lord and Master … in Christ
who is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 10).
45 Cf. John Paul II, Redeemer of Man, Encyclical, 04th March 1979, n. 14. Pope Benedict XVI
referred to this sayng in his Homily at the Beatification of John Paul II on 01st May 2011.
46 Le Milieu Divin, 101.
47 Cf. comments by Henri de Lubac, 113-114.
102 ·
An Autobiographical
Excursus on the
Art of Theologizing
in Asia
Alousius
Tie-ris,
5* >
Tulana Research Centre,
Gonawala-Kelaniya
Sri Lanka, 2013
· 103
Proceedings of the
Teilhard de Chardin International Conference
Mervyn Fernando and Augustine Fernando
Sri Lankan Teilhardian Studies have been mostly inspired by the
initiatives of the Teilhard Centre of the Subodhi Institute of Integral
Education. The Silver Jubilee of the Teilhad Centre (1989-2014) was celebrated with an international conference on the theme “Whither Humanity,
Whither Asia, Whither Sri Lanka” from 24-27 April 2014 attracting many
experts on Teilhardian, Asian and Sri Lankan studies. The theme was
chosen to address the troubled contemporary scenario all over the globe,
with the hope that Teilhard’s futuristic vision could indicate directions
towards the future for Sri Lanka, Asia and the whole of humanity.
The Conference was inaugurated on the 24th of April 2014 by His
Lordship, Rt. Rev. Dr.Thomas Savundranayagam, Bishop of Jaffna. He referred to the relevance of Teilhard’s thought for the contemporary society
and expressed appreciation for organising the venture.
The key-note address was delivered by Dr. Ursula King, one of the
foremost contemporary scholars on Teilhard de Chardin. As she could not
travel to Sri Lanka due to ill-health her address was delivered via Skype.
Dr. King spoke on The Challenge of Teilhard’s Vision to the Contemporary
World: Science, Religion and Planetary Humanity. She referred to
Teilhard as a great human being, thinker, scientist, mystic and stated that
his inspiring vision still remains far too little known. In her tripartite
presentation she dealt with (i) the crisis of the modern world dominated
by science, political fragmentation, injustice, poverty and violence, (ii)
whether the human species has the evolutionary capacity for developing
life to a higher stage for truly transformative action for universal peace
and justice? (iii) the spiritual energy sources needed for human development, specially the necessary zest for life, for love and compassion and
104 · Proceedings of the
for an ecologically sound way of life which will ensure the well-being
of all people. What is needed is a new spiritual awakening and a deeply
mystical and action-oriented spirituality, the kind of spirituality offered
by Teilhard. Her presentation was followed by a film on the geological
and paleontological work of Teilhard mostly in China and East Asia was
screened.
The first presentation on 25.04.2014 was by Archbishop Thomas
Menamparampil of Guwahati. He spoke on The Power of Teilhard’s Vision
for Forging a Common Human Destiny. He asserted the need to have a
sense of belonging to a wider society, need for collective awareness of all
humanity as a family and the need to be committed to sacrifice for the
common good, and to repudiate violence - nation against nation, class
against class, race against race. He reiterated the need to respect rights
and the need for consciousness concerning duties. There should be a
movement towards the union of hearts, from nationality to internationality and to universality. We should fathom the “mystery of togetherness”,
and think of co-operation and discover the truth of “my completeness
is in you”. We should recognize that though we are inadequate we are
architects of a common destiny and that it is a thinking minority that has
brought civilization into existence.
Responding to Archbishop Thomas’ talk, Dr. Bill Shaw of the US
(President of “Crosscurrents”), remarked that we should instead of talking
of “them” look at ourselves and ask “what can I do?”. He referred to his
own Organization “Crosscurrents” which is trying to build bridges across
nations and cultures towards an international world. As Teilhard said,
the age of Nations is past. In Rev. Fr. Alexis Fernando’s response he said
that Teilhard was a child of heaven and a child of the earth. He asked,
if the basis of Teilhard’s vision is Christianity how can it have an appeal
to non-Christians? But Teilhard’s desire to discover fire for the second
time to set the world aflame with love is very inspirational. Some of the
questions and assertions of the issuing discussion were “whether in the
contemporary world, there is a clash of civilizations or a clash of thinking?”, “that all religions yearn for transcendence, for the human to reach
‘the beyond’ ”, “the goal of Buddhism as taking human being beyond the
dukkha of the present human condition to a state of ‘bliss’ ”, “whereas
in Sri Aurobindho the movement was from above to below, in Teilhard it
was from matter to spirit; matter developing into spirit”, “ our task is to
live our life reflectively and evolve through consciousness to a divinized
level, because creation has been divinized from the beginning”.
The next paper was read by Rev. Dr. M.D. Joseph of Guwahati,
India. It was on Teilhard and Indian Thought with Special Reference to
Teilhard International Conference · 105
Sri Aurobindho and Rabindranath Tagore. He noted that the meaning
and purpose of human existence has been the central preoccupation
of philosophy and religion in India. Indian philosophy with its roots in
Upanishadic thought has its origins in Hinduism which has no historical founder or authority; it is a gradual development in India over 4000
years. All teachings stem from the Vedas. Gandhi, Aurobindho and Tagore
have given outstanding expression to these teachings. Like the Vedantins,
Teilhard too wrestled with the problem of the One and the Many, Infinite
and Finite, Spirit and Matter.
More specifically, for both Aurobindho and Teilhard the end of
evolution is the manifestation of the Absolute who is involved. While
Aurobindho came to this conclusion from his religious and mystical
intuitions, Teilhard reached this conclusion from his observations and
reflections as a geologist and paleontologist to whom the process of
evolution itself discloses a direction or an axis along which it moves to
its end-point. In respect of Tagore: both Tagore and Teilhard regard the
whole universe as related to the human. For Tagore the material world is
no hindrance to spirituality; human being and the material world should
grow together in close harmony. For Teilhard there is no conflict between
development and renunciation, attachment and detachment in Christian
life.
In the afternoon, the focus of the presentations was Teilhard
and Buddhism. In his introduction Rev. Fr. Mervyn Fernando spoke on
Teilhard and Asian Cultures. He observed that though Teilhard was from
the West and his thought shaped by Western Christianity, he was a man
of the East due to his close association with Asian cultures, particularly
China. For two long decades he was living and working in China and Far
East. He had therefore a first-hand experience of Asian life and culture.
In an important essay entitled “The Spiritual Contribution of the Far East”,
Teilhard speaks of three forms of spirituality in the region, namely Indian,
Chinese and Japanese. The last segment of that essay looks at “the confluence of East and West”. Though apparently there is some bias towards
the West there is much food for thought in Teilhard’s comparisons and
contrasts between the Weltanschauugen (vision of the world) of East and
West.
In his address, Martin Wickremesinghe and Teilhard Dr. Asanga
Tillekeratne pointed out that the only Sinhala-Buddhist thinker of the
20th century who paid any attention, to Teilhard de Chardin surprisingly
was Martin Wickremesignhe, the respected essayist and novelist, conversant in Sinhala and English. In his book “Revolution and Evolution”, he
has a chapter entitled, “Father Chardin, a daring thinker”. In addition to
106 · Proceedings of the
some general remarks on Teilhard’s philosopohy, he draws certain parallels between Teilhard’s thought, Hinduism and Marxism.
The subject of the next major presentation was Reconciling
Evolution with the Genesis Account of Creation. Having led the major
part of the presentation on the nature of Genesis accounts of creation,
Prof. Shirley Lal Wijesinghe of the University of Kelaniya concluded that
the first creation narrative found in Gen 1,1-2,4a was written after the
second creation narrative recorded in Gen 2,4b-24. The second narrative
in its present form is a socio-spiritual reading of History of Israel from
the perspective of the exilic experience in Babylon. Gen 3,1-24 has been
structured as a court case and includes misdemeanor, inquiry, judgment
and the execution of the judgment. Furthermore he asserted that the
creation stories in the Bible are not concerned about the “how” of creation, but the meaning of creation, theology or theologies of creation. Prof.
Wijesinghe was joined by Rev. Dr. Tyrell Alles OSB and Rev. Fr. Suranga
Gunasekera OMI in a panel presentation. They pointed out that the apparent contradiction between theories of evolution and the creation stories
in the Book of Genesis is due to a faulty understanding of the biblical
story. The author of Genesis is giving a theological message. He is not
writing history. Unfortunately we have got accustomed to reading Genesis
as a record of history, as a scientific account of the origins of the human
being, when it is not. It’s message being religious and ethical the story
deals with God’s relationship with human being.
The first session on the 26.04.2014 was conducted by Rev. Dr.
Kethleen Duffy SSJ. She presented a paper entitled: Teilhard’s Mysticism:
Seeing the Inner Face of Evolution. Her paper was based on an essay
by Teilhard “The Mystical Milieu”, where he describes the stages of his
mystical growth in terms of five concentric circles. She traced Teilhard’s
journey through these circles often substituting modern science for
Teilhard’s science, to show the relevance of science to mysticism, to
stimulate a sense of awe and wonder vis-à-vis the ‘mysteries’ of nature.
In the second circle we see the complex structure of the cosmos, elaborated by modern cosmology, and in the third circle, the power of the
evolutionary paradigm and the dramatic story of the rise of complexity/
consciousness. The fourth circle is neuroscience, the science of the brain,
the unbelievably complex living organism. Finally, the fifth circle leads to
the cosmic Christ, the source and goal of the evolutionary project, which
culminates in the mega-unity of humankind in Omega. In the discussion
which followed, many questions were asked referring specially to cosmology, the brain and neuroscience and the evolutionary process.
The following speaker Rev. Dr. Leopold Ratnasekera OMI dealt
Teilhard International Conference · 107
with The Spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin with Special Reference to
Religious Life. He showed that there is no difficulty reconciling science
and faith and nature and the transcendent. Teilhard consistently related
the evangelical counsels of religious life – poverty, chastity, obedience
and community life to the evolutionary process of unification in the
human condition, in the Noosphere. Religious life is a project of building the agape-sphere, the phylum of love growing within humankind,
flowing against the prevalent currents of violence, egoism, division and
destruction. The talk was a salutary affirmation of the relevance of the
religious life, particularly the consecrated life.
Dr. Jacques Arnould spoke on From the Noosphere to Omega Point:
the Actuality of Teilhard’s Vision. At the outset he remarked that Teilhard
and Einstein died in the same year, in the same month with a gap of a
few days (Teilhard d. 10.04.1955; Einstein d. 18.04.1955). They both had
difficulties with their religious communities. Both were exiled from their
native countries and ended up in the US. Einstein’s “God” was like that
of Spinoza, for Teilhard God was far “bigger” than the God of traditional
Christianity, He had cosmic dimensions. Strikingly, both, despite their
“high” science were concerned with human beings, existentially. Both
lived through the horrors of two world wars. Arnould took pains to show
that the Noosphere of Teilhard is integration and not mere connection.
As we go faster and faster there is hardly any time for integration, deep
connectedness.
The following ideas emerged in the discussion that followed: “the
teaching of Teilhard is very much conducive to bringing peoples together
across boundaries of nation, race etc. and in such a context can there be
a western, eastern, Asian ways of thinking? and even with regard to religion, the Cosmic Christ is larger than any particular religion”, “there is a
need for a dialogue of religions and this is already begun”, “whether the
resources spent on manned and unmanned space flights are a wastage?
couldn’t the huge finances involved in this endeavour be better spent
for more urgent needs of poverty alleviation, education etc.?”, In his response Dr. Arnould said that despite the appearances to the contrary, the
expenditure of space exploration was percentagewise small in relation to
national budgets. But in any case there is in human being an innate drive
for exploration and discovery. Emmanuel Kant said, sapere aude (dare to
know); we could say with Teilhard, alter utrum amare aude, (dare to love
each other), sperare aude (dare to hope).
The presentations on the final day of the conference (27.04.2014)
focused on the future of humanity and the future of Sri Lanka. In his presentation Can the United Nations be the Foundation for a New Universal
108 · Proceedings of the
Order of Peace and Harmony the first speaker Mr. Lynn Ockersz asked
the question whether the United Nations could be the foundation for
a new universal order of Peace and Harmony. In his presentation he
gave a guarded positive response: the UN has the potential and capacity
to achieve that but the major obstacle is the strong self-interest of the
constituent nations. The UN is however involved in a wide spectrum of
human development activities through its numerous agencies in the areas
of health, education, peace-keeping etc. But peace and harmony are not
just the absence of conflict but positive co-operation among nations for
the common well-being of all, to be integrated as a family of nations.
Hopefully the UN will be able to overcome this obstacle gradually.
Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke spoke on the subject of the future of Sri Lanka.
In his presentation The Future of Sri Lanka: Gazing into the Crystal Ball,
he saw the country in a multiple-crisis situation, the main crisis being
the uneasy truce between the North and the South. Though the end of
the war with the LTTE in 2009 opened the door for a new beginning,
the government failed to grasp the opportunity. It is now at loggerheads
on the one hand, with the North on the question of devolution of power
via the 13th Amendment, and on the other hand with the Human Rights
Commission (Geneva) on the allegation of grave human rights violations
towards the end of the war in 2009. One disturbing phenomenon at the
moment is the rise of Sinhala-Buddhist fundamentalism. Though there
has been remarkable infrastructure development after the war, the day to
day life of the people has not benefitted proportionately. The crystal ball
does not on the whole show a very pleasing picture.
A Parallel Session in Sinhala Language
Under the auspices of the Department of Western Classical Culture
and Christian Culture of the University of Kelaniya, Mr. Wijith Rohan, the
head of the department organized a parallel Teilhardian conference in
Sinhala on the 26.04.2014. The main speaker of the parallel session was
Rev. Prof. Aloysius Pieris SJ and he dealt extensively on the thought of
Teilhard in his talk An Outline of the Thought of Teilhard. Rev. Dr. Kethleen
Duffy SSJ. presented a summary of her paper Teilhard’s Mysticism: Seeing
the Inner Face of Evolution with the help of a Sinhala interpreter.
Teilhardian Thought in Dance and Drama
A unique feature of the Conference was the dance-drama (mime)
directed by Rev. Fr. Saveri Nicholaipillai’s depicting the evolutionary pro-
Teilhard International Conference · 109
cess studied by Teilhard, from the Big Bang to its final consummation
at Omega Point. The evolution of plant and animal life was depicted by
the actors in expressive costumes and symbolic rythmic movements. The
central focus of the performance was evolution at the level of the human
from stage of the hunter-gatherer to contemporary social life with its
zig-zag, forward-backward movements of conflict, harmony, war, peace,
development, destruction, separation, unification culminating finally at
the end of the long march through history, in the grand Unity at the
Omega Point.
Mervyn Fernando
Augustine Fernando
110 ·
Toward a Planetary Theology
Gerald BOODOO is Director of the Center for African Studies, and
The fifth
and last Duquesne
volume ofUniversity,
the Series.
Associate Professor
of Theology,
Pittsburgh USA.
Member of International
Committee
of
World
Forum
on
Theology and
Published in March 2010,
Liberation, Co-ordinator of Editorial Team of EATWOT and member of
by Dunamis Publishers, Montreal, Canada, 198 pages.
the Executive and Editorial Committees of the Conference on Theology
in the Caribbean Today.
A collective EATWOT's
Edmund CHIA is a Malaysian who served
as Michael
executive
secretary
work by
AMALADOSS
of interreligious dialogue for the Asian Bishops’
Conferences
from
(India), Marcelo BARROS19962004. He then joined Catholic Theological Union
in Chicago
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served as Associate Professor and Chair of theENTI
Doctrinal
Studies
(Brazil), Edmund department. Since 2011 he has been on the facultyCHIA
of the
Australian Catholic
(Malaysia-USA),
Amín
University in Melbourne.
EGEA (Spain), Paul KNITTER
(USA), David LOY (USA),
Laurenti
MAGESA
(Tanzania),
Antton EGIGUREN ofm, was born in the
Basque
country
in Spain.
NEUSNER
IrfanIn
He worked as a missionary for twenty years Jacob
in Korea
and (USA),
Thailand.
Teresa OKURE
1999 he obtained a Master’s degree in MissionOMAR
and (USA),
Interreligious
Studies
PANIKKAR a
at St Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. In(Nigeria),
2001 heRaimon
was awarded
(India-Spain),
PHAN a
Licentiate in Christian Ethics at the same university.
In 2002 Peter
he received
Aloysius On 5
Licentiate in Pastoral Theology at the Catholic (Vietnam-USA),
University of Leuven.
PIERIS
(Sri Lanka),
Richard of
July 2005 he was awarded a PhD in theology at
the Catholic
University
(Canada),University
Amando
Leuven. He is currently an associate professorRENSHAW
at the Catholic
ROBLES
(Costa Studies.
Rica), K. He is
of Leuven in the department of Interdisciplinary
Religious
SESHAGIRI (USA), Afonso
a regular professor in Manila as well as in China.
SOARES (Brazil) Faustino
TEIXEIRA (Brazil) and José
Maria JIAO YanMei, a religious sister Maria
of theVIGIL
Congregation
(Panama) of St.
Joseph of Beijing Diocese, is currently doing doctoral studies in Mission
and Religions of Missiology at Pontifical University Urbaniana, in Rome,
Italy. She hasYou
lectured
in many
different
religious
communities
in China.
can download
freely
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She served as vice-director
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http://tiempoaxial.org/AlongTheManyPaths/
for the Study of Christianity and Culture, vice-superior general, formator,
paper it
published
DUNAMIS PUBLISHERS
vice-secretaryOn
general
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and volunteered as translator in the Beijing Research Center of Education
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did religious service at Beijing Olympic
For Canada: $20 (shipment included)
& Paralympics Games 2008. She obtained her MA in Theology and the
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Chicago, IL, U.S.A. Her dissertation was entitled Initial Formation for
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But see also O'Murchu's webpage: http://www.diarmuid13.com
· 111
Profiles of Authors
at the
Teilhard de Chardin International Conference
Jacques ARNOULD, born in 1961, holds PhD in History of Sciences
and PhD in Theology. He is actively interested in the interrelation between sciences, cultures and religions with a particular focus on the themes “the life sciences and evolution” and “space conquest”. He has published several works on life sciences and evolution. He works as an expert
in French Space Agency (CNES) on ethical, social and cultural aspects of
space activities.
Kathleen Duffy, SSJ, is Professor of Physics at Chestnut Hill
College, where she directs the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and the
Institute for Religion and Science. She is the editor of Teilhard Studies and
serves on the Advisory Board of the American Teilhard Association. She
has published an edited volume of essays entitled Rediscovering Teilhard’s
Fire (St. Joseph’s University Press, 2010) and Teilhard’s Mysticism: Seeing
the Inner Face of Evolution (Orbis Books, 2014).
Rev. Fr. Augustine Fernando STL (Rome) is a Roman Catholic
priest of the diocese of Badulla, Sri Lanka. He has been the Vicar General
of the diocese and is interested in theological and ecological sciences.
He is pastorally involved working in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious
context in the remote Uva Province amidst a majority Sinhala-Buddhist
population and a sizable minority of Tamil-Hindu plantation workers.
112 · Profiles of the Authors
Rev. Dr. Mervyn Fernando holds MA from Fordham University,
New York and JCD from the Angelicum, Rome and a Diploma in
Buddhist Philosophy (Kelaniya). He is a Roman Catholic priest from the
Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is the founder-director of Subodhi
Institute of Integral Education and the Teilhard de Chardin Centre for
Science, Spirituality and the Future. His main areas of study and apostolate concern education, theology, philosophy of science, psychology/counseling, astronomy and human development. Among his publications are
Whither Humankind: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Vision of the Human
Future. This has been translated into Sinhala which is the first work on
Teilhard in Sinhala language.
M. D. Joseph ( Jose Mannukulangara) born in 1962 in Kerala,
India, is a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Guwahati, Assam,
India. He holds MPh from Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth Pune, Maharashtra,
India and an MA in Philosophy from Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth,
Pune, India. He is currently reading for a doctorate on Thilhard with the
dissertation entitled, “Teilhardian Contribution to the Understanding of
Human Being and Science-Religion Dialogue.” He is a research scholar
at Guwahati.
Ursula King holds STL (Paris), MA (Delhi), PhD (London), and
is a FRSA. She is Professor Emerita of Theology and Religious Studies,
University of Bristol, England, and held the Chair in Theology and
Religious Studies from 1989-2002. She has taught and conducted research
in India, at the University of Leeds, London, University of Oslo, Xavier
University, Cincinnati, University of Louisville, Kentucky. She is currently
a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, University
of Bristol, and a Professorial Research Associate in the Department of
the Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and
a Fellow of Heythrop College, both at the University of London. Among
her publications are Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard de
Chardin (1996), Christian Mystics (2001), Gender, Religion and Diversity:
Cross-Cultural Perspectives (co-edited with Tina Beattie) (2005), and The
Search for Spirituality: Our Global Quest for a Spiritual Life (2009). Her
latest book is Teilhard de Chardin and Eastern Religions. Spirituality and
Mysticism in an Evolutionary World (2011). Ursula King holds honorary
doctorates from Edinburgh University (1996), Oslo University (2000) and
the University of Dayton, Ohio (2003). She is a Life Fellow of the Royal
Society of Arts (FRSA), London.
Profiles of the Authors · 113
Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Menamparampil, the Archbishop of
Guwahati,India is a scholar in history, theology, ecology and anthropology. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1965 and spent his early
years as an educator among the tribal communities of the region. Even as
bishop from 1981 at Dibrugarh and Archbishop from 1992 at Guwahati,
he never lost interest in the problems of the tribals in the interior hills.
Keenly interested in the cultures of indigenous people, he has written
many articles on their traditions and value-systems. . In 1998 he won the
Maschio Award (Mumbai) for peace and reconciliation. His latest book
(on Ecology) is “All Creation Groans with Pain”.
Rev. Dr. Leopold Ratnasekera OMI holds doctorates in Philosophy
and Theology from Rome and Paris respectively. He is a religious priest
from the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
(OMI) and at present is the Superior of the Oblate Scholasticate,
Ampitiya, Sri Lanka. He is a member of the academic staff of the National
Seminary, Ampitiya, Sri Lanka where he has taught theology and comparative religion for the last 25 years. He is also the Deputy General
Secretary of “Religions for Peace International” in Sri Lanka. He has also
taught at Aquinas University College in Colombo and at the Institute
for Consecrated Life in Asia (ICLA) in Manila. He was also the Assistant
Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka.
114 ·
Diarmuid O'MURCHU moves the theological debate into the only valid perspective for
today: the global one, interdisciplinar, in cosmic and evolutionary dimension, beyond
religions... He presents a panoramic vision, so courageous as challenging and enthusiastic, witnessing the axial transformation we are currently crossing.
Postcolonialism is probably the more radical cultural and epistemological criticism
ever risen. Brother of our Liberation Theology, it is the stretch it has to cover now to
keep faithful to its original mission. In Latin American as well all over the world. Being
a Post-Colonial... will be the only way of being a Christian in the emerging adult world.
· 115
116 ·
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· 117
Caderno para
o Diálogo Inter-religioso
Dossier pour le Dialogue
Inter-Religieux
Dossier for Inter-religious Dialogue
Cuaderno para el diálogo inter-religioso
Cuaderno para el Diálogo
Inter-Religioso
118 ·
· 119
Presentation
We are children of time, since we are children of Our Earth, -- cosmic substance of the stars. Our time -- now after the twentieth century
-- has made possible for us to see Our Earth from the outside for the
first time, and to recognize this little rocky, blue, white and green planet
as Our Home within the vast universe. The photographs show how tremendously artificial are political boundaries and national sovereignties.
Clouds and birds come and go without a passport -- as does also the
pollution. Today migration increases -- both legal and illegal i.e. without
a passport. Political boundaries under pressure and involved in growing
conflict, give rise to new cultural and religious boundaries, offering this
huge challenge to religions: either we become one large family, or we
will cease to exist.
These signs of the time confirm the thesis of Hans Küng : There
will be no peace among nations until there is peace among religions; and
no peace among religions until there is mutual knowledge beyond that
respectful recognition of what makes us unique and irreducible because
of the richness of our differences. Inter-religious dialogue has become,
therefore, one of the great signs of our time. If we are children of time
then our challenge is also to become parents of time: parenting peace and
a more humane society. Religions are like the trunk of a teacher which is
able to come up with riches both ancient and modern.
This present “Pamphlet for Inter-religious Dialogue”, is an offspring of the International Theological Commission of the Ecumenical
Association of Theologians and Third World Theologians, EATWOT, that
was brought to light through the exercise of this responsibility by children of time, engendering new eras, in which dialogue and recognition
must come to replace phobia, intolerance and violence.
120 ·
There are numerous initiatives, multilateral dialogues, communication -- both oral and written -- into which this effort is being spliced . This
pamphlet is specifically centered on the spheres of Abrahamic traditions
sprouting from the religious nursery of the Middle East, which determine
the Abrahamic voice range, or rather dilemma of Abraham when faced
with the divine woice: to choose between sacrifice or mercy, hostility or
hospitality. The three great Abrahamic traditions have in common the
words of the prophets plus wise and mystical personages. To this we
can also add the many possibilities of interpretation, thereby delegating
responsibility to interpreters.
In this pamphlet we find texts of different interpreters, voices in
a choir that sings neither in unison, but neither off key. On the contrary, this dissonance leaves space for future decisions, and stimulates
new accompanying chords. From the view point of the Theological
Commission of EATWOT, this is the beginning of a dialogue that remains
open, invites new dialogue, and peacefully assimilates the wealth offered
by different viewpoints.
The pamphlet has been designed to be practical: to serve groups
and communities that want to respond to a pressing need for interreligious dialogue that perhaps we all feel without even recognizing it. It
offers these testimonies to serve as a basis for dialogue in a discussion
group, or even at a community celebration. It can be used quite freely.
Of course, there are some common principles: a good religion is
one that does not exclude others, but rather promotes peaceful co-existence and enriches humanity through relationship between their religious
traditions. This premise is absolutely necessary in the course of religious
traditions of the word, of the book, of justice and mercy, as places where
divine transcendence is manifested. As a result, in this pamphlet a good
stretch of the route has been covered together, despite the news outlets that insist upon underlining our shared mistakes and conflicts. It is
precisely because of the risk of misunderstandings and their sad consequences, that the authors are driven to find joy in putting into the same
booklet the wealth of different Abrahamic traditions, whether Jewish,
Muslim or Christian. The pamphlet seeks only to serve the common
cause, helping to promote more dialogue, more meetings, more exchanges, more debates. Because if boundaries still make any sense, they are
not for building barriers but rather for identifying areas of hospitality,
exchange of gifts and endless conversations, similar to what took place
beneath the oak of Mambre.
Luiz Carlos Susin
The World Forum on Theology and Liberation
· 121
Apresentação
Somos filhos do tempo, assim como somos filhos da terra, substância cósmica das estrelas. O nosso tempo, depois do século XX, nos
permitiu ver a terra de fora dela, pela primeira vez, reconhecendo este
pequeno planeta rochoso, azul, branco e verde, como a nossa casa no
imenso universo. As fotografias enviadas do seu entorno mostraram o
quanto são artificiais as fronteiras políticas e as soberanias nacionais.
Transitam as nuvens, os pássaros sem passaporte e também a poluição.
Mas hoje transitam em aumento também as migrações, inclusive as clandestinas sem passaporte. Fronteiras políticas sob pressão e em conflitos
crescentes fazem emergir as fronteiras culturais e religiosas. Estas levam
a novas pressões, novas possibilidades de conflitos e, portanto, levam
enormes desafios para as religiões: seremos, antes de tudo, uma grande
família humana ou não existiremos.
Esses sinais dos tempos dão muita razão à tese de Hans Küng: não
haverá paz entre os povos sem paz entre as religiões, e não haverá paz
entre as religiões sem mútuo conhecimento com exercício do reconhecimento do que nos é comum e do respeitoso aprendizado do que nos
torna únicos e irredutíveis na riqueza das diferenças. O diálogo interreligioso tornou-se, portanto, um dos grandes sinais do nosso tempo. Se
somos filhos do tempo, o desafio é sermos também pais do tempo, geradores de tempos de paz e de convivência mais humana. As religiões são
como o baú de um mestre que sabe retirar dele riquezas antigas e novas.
O presente Caderno para o diálogo interreligioso, iniciativa de
VOICES, publicação da Comissão Internacional de Teologia da Associação
Ecumênica de Teólogos e Teólogas do Terceiro Mundo, ASETT/EATWOT,
se insere no exercício desta responsabilidade de filhos do tempo e de
geradores de tempos novos, em que o diálogo e o reconhecimento substituam a fobia, a intolerância e a violência.
122 ·
Há inúmeras iniciativas, multilaterais, de diálogos orais e escritos,
aos quais este esforço se soma. Este Caderno se situa mais especificamente nos espaços das tradições abraâmicas, provindas do berçário religioso
do Oriente Médio que está sob a pressão de decidir, como numa encruzilhada abraâmica, ou melhor, como no dilema de Abraão diante das novidades divinas, se escolhe o sacrifício ou a misericórdia, se escolhe a
hostilidade ou a hospitalidade. As três grandes tradições abraâmicas têm
em comum a palavra dos profetas, dos sábios e dos místicos da palavra.
E têm em comum as múltiplas possibilidades de interpretação, delegando
assim irrenunciável responsabilidade aos intérpretes.
Neste Caderno lemos textos de diferentes intérpretes, vozes em
um coro que não canta em uníssono mas também não canta desafinado.
As próprias dissonâncias abrem espaço a resoluções futuras, estimulam
novos acordes. Portanto, do ponto de vista da Comissão Teológica da
ASETT/ETAWOT, é um começo de diálogo que permanece em aberto,
clamando por novos diálogos, este modo de se conduzir pacificamente
na riqueza das diferentes visões.
O Caderno está pensado para a prática: quer servir aos grupos e
comunidades que queiram aprofundar nessa urgência de diálogo interreligioso que todos nós temos, mesmo sem saber. Oferece esses testemuchos para servirem como base para o diálogo no grupo de reflexão e
até na comunidade da celebração. Sintan-se livres no modo de utilizá-lo.
Evidentemente, há premissas comuns: uma boa religião não é a
que exclui a outra forma de religião, mas a que promove a convivência
pacífica e o enriquecimento de humanidade nas relações entre as próprias tradições religiosas. Se esta premissa é absolutamente exigida para
todas as religiões, ela se impõe com facilidade no caminho das tradições
religiosas da palavra, do livro, da justiça e da misericórdia onde se revela
a transcendência divina. Portanto, neste Caderno, se partilha um bom
trecho de caminho já trilhado juntos, ainda que as notícias por fora insistam em mostrar nossos descaminhos e conflitos. Exatamente por causa
do risco de mal-entendidos e suas consequências tristes, a alegria de
colocar no mesmo Caderno diferentes riquezas desde diferentes tradições
abraâmicas, sejam elas escritas em hebraico, em grego ou em árabe, é o
que move os autores. O Caderno busca honrar ou promover mas a causa
comum, a promoção de mais diálogo, mais encontro, mais intercâmbio,
mais debate. Pois se fronteiras ainda tem sentido, não são para traçar
muros, mas para serem lugares de hospitalidade, de troca de dons, de
conversações sem fim, como o carvalho de Mambré.
Luiz Carlos SUSIN
World Forum on Theology and Liberation
· 123
Presentación
Somos los hijos del tiempo, ya que somos hijos de la Tierra, sustancia cósmica de las estrellas. Nuestro tiempo, después del siglo XX, nos
permitió ver la Tierra desde fuera por primera vez, reconociendo así este
pequeño planeta rocoso, azul, blanco y verde, como nuestro hogar en
el universo inmenso. Las fotografías mostraron cuán artificiales son las
fronteras políticas y las soberanías nacionales. Las nubes, y las aves, van y
vienen, sin pasaporte, y también la contaminación. Hoy aumenta la migración, incluida la ilegal, sin pasaporte. Fronteras políticas bajo presión y en
conflicto creciente, hacen surgir nuevos límites culturales y religiosos, con
un enorme desafío para las religiones: o llegamos a ser una gran familia,
o no existiremos.
Estos signos de los tiempos dan razón a la tesis de Hans Küng:
no habrá paz entre las naciones sin paz entre las religiones, y no habrá
paz entre las religiones sin el conocimiento mutuo y sin el reconocimiento común y respetuoso de lo que nos hace únicos e irreductibles en la
riqueza de las diferencias. El diálogo interreligioso se ha convertido, por
tanto, en uno de los grandes signos de nuestro tiempo. Si somos hijos del
tiempo, nuestro desafío es también ser padres del tiempo: generadores de
tiempos de paz y de una sociedad más humana. Las religiones son como
el baúl de un maestro que sabe sacar de él sus riquezas viejas y nuevas.
El presente Cuaderno para el diálogo interreligioso, iniciativa
de la Comisión Teológica Internacional de la Asociación Ecuménica de
Teólogos y Teólogos del Tercer Mundo, ASETT/EATWOT, se inscribe en
el ejercicio de esta responsabilidad de los hijos del tiempo, generadores
de nuevos tiempos, para quienes el diálogo y el reconocimiento deben
sustituir a la fobia, la intolerancia y la violencia.
Existen numerosas iniciativas, diálogos multilaterales de comunicación, oral y escrita, a las que este esfuerzo se suma. Este Cuaderno se
124 ·
coloca específicamente en los espacios de las tradiciones abrahámicas,
surgidas en el vivero religioso de Oriente Medio, que se encuentra en la
tesitura de tener que decidir, en una encrucijada abrahámica, o más bien,
como en el dilema de Abraham antes de la palabra divina, si elige el
sacrificio o la misericordia, la hostilidad o la hospitalidad. Las tres grandes tradiciones abrahámicas tienen en común la palabra de los profetas,
de los sabios y de la mística. Y también las múltiples posibilidades de
interpretación, delegando así la responsabilidad a los intérpretes.
En este Cuaderno leemos textos de diferentes intérpretes, voces en
un coro que no cantan al unísono, pero que tampoco desafinan. Por el
contrario, las disonancias abren espacio a resoluciones futuras, y estimulan nuevos acordes. Desde el punto de vista de la Comisión Teológica de
EATWOT / ETAWOT, se trata de un principio de diálogo que permanece
abierto, que pide nuevos diálogos, que combinen en paz la riqueza de los
diferentes puntos de vista.
El Cuaderno está diseñado para la práctica: quiere servir a los grupos y comunidades que desean salir al paso de esta urgencia de diálogo
interreligioso que todos sentimos, quizá sin siquiera saberlo. Ofrece estos
testimonios para que sirvan como base para el diálogo en el grupo de
discusión, o incluso en la comunidad de celebración. Puede ser usado
con toda libertad.
Por supuesto, hay principios comunes: una buena religión no es
la que excluye a la otra, sino la que promueve la convivencia pacífica y
el enriquecimiento de la humanidad mediante las relaciones entre sus
tradiciones religiosas. Esta premisa es absolutamente necesaria en el
camino de las tradiciones religiosas de la palabra, del libro, de la justicia
y de la misericordia, lugares en los que se revela la trascendencia divina. Así que en este Cuaderno se comparte un buen trecho del itinerario
que ya hemos recorrido juntos, aunque las noticias exteriores insistan
en mostrar nuestros errores y conflictos. Precisamente a causa del riesgo
de malentendidos y sus tristes consecuencias, la alegría de poner en el
mismo Cuaderno riquezas de diferentes tradiciones abrahámicas, ya sean
en judías, musulmanas o cristianas, es lo que impulsa a los autores. El
Cuaderno no busca sino servir a la Causa común, ayudando a promover
más diálogo, más reuniones, más intercambios, más debate. Porque si las
fronteras aún tienen sentido, no es para levantar muros, sino para identificar lugares de hospitalidad, intercambio de dones y conversaciones
interminables, como la qyue tuvo lugar junto al roble de Mambré
Luiz Carlos Susin
Foro Mundial de Teología y Liberación
· 125
Filhos de um mesmo pai:
O diálogo entre o Islamismo e o Cristianismo
na construção de uma cultura de paz
Patrícia Simone do PRADO
Belo Horizonte, Brasil
Aquilo que nos une é mais forte do que aquilo que nos separa. Essa
poderia ser a máxima utilizada pelas duas maiores tradições religiosas
do mundo: o Islamismo e o Cristianismo. Protagonistas de uma história
milenar que atravessa o tempo e sobrevive a conflitos épicos, essas duas
grandes tradições são filhas de um mesmo pai, tem uma mesma raiz teológica, se desenvolveram nas bases de uma mesma história de fé e devoção.
Da casa de Abraão dois grandes povos surgiram – os árabes e os
judeus - e desses, três grandes tradições: o Judaísmo, o Cristianismo e o
Islamismo. Herdeiros de uma promessa feita pelo próprio Deus, seus filhos Ismael e Isaque tornaram-se pais de nações e de homens e mulheres
que se tornaram guardiões da mensagem eterna do monoteísmo. E assim,
hoje judeus, muçulmanos e cristãos são mais que amigos, são filhos de um
mesmo pai na fé e também, filhos de um mesmo Pai na criação.
Diante destes fatos inegáveis que nos une em uma única família
cabe-nos algumas questões: nesse tempo o que nos impede de aproximar
do Islã? O que tem impedido o Islã de se aproximar de nós? Existe realmente uma divisão ou separação entre as fés que as torne tão distante
no sentido de tornar o diálogo impossível? O que nos separa e o que nos
une? E o que juntos podemos fazer para a construção de uma cultura de
paz?
Fundamentalismo religioso como ponto de tensão
Quando pensamos nas questões que envolvem os filhos de Abraão
é comum a ideia de que os conflitos que os cercam são de cunho religioso, levando-nos assim a simplificação dos fatos. Porém, a realidade nos
126 · Patrícia Simone do PRADO
revela que questões políticas e sociais são na verdade o X da questão
entre Cristãos, Muçulmanos e porque não dizer, também, entre Judeus.
No caso do Islã, especificamente, percebemos que, após os atentados do 11 de setembro a imagem que passou a circular sobre essa religião
era o reflexo da barbárie e terror, levando a um pensamento homogêneo
sobre a religião. Porém os atentados não revelam o Islã como um todo,
mas antes grupos que utilizando do discurso religioso busca atrair o
maior número de seguidores a fim de responderem as questões que os
alimentam em causas das mais diversas.
Em proporções e formas distintas esses discursos que para Chauí
(2004) refletem um tipo de fuga que desemboca no passado por não ter
coragem de assumir e mudar o presente, movimentam todas as estruturas
sociais sem, contudo trazer uma mudança efetiva. Kepel (1991, p. 22) por
sua vez, acha que são mais que isso, são vozes sociais que encontram
no discurso religioso a linguagem capaz de traduzir seus desejos e desesperos.
[...] o discurso e a prática desses movimentos são portadores de
um sentido; não são produto de um desregramento da razão nem de
uma manipulação por forças obscuras, são o testemunho insubstituível de um mal social profundo que as nossas categorias tradicionais
de pensamento não permitem decifrar.
Isso nos leva a pensar que as dinâmicas pelas quais passa o mundo
contemporâneo exigem de seus concidadãos um enfrentamento das crises que se revelam não apenas nas adaptações – culturais, econômicas,
políticas – mas na própria consciência individual, e o retorno ao discurso
dos fundamentos os leva de encontro a uma imagem mais conhecida, sem
muitas surpresas, o que talvez seja um dos motivos para sua apreensão
e aceitação.
O pensamento moderno não trouxe mudanças apenas no campo
filosófico e religioso, mas intimamente foi sentido na economia. Em uma
busca frenética por mercado e consumidores o mundo passou a viver sob
a égide do consumo e esse trouxe o aumento da produção e também o
aumento da exclusão. O preço pago por essa “mercadoria” foi à ausência
de um Estado em favor do mercado, seu grande cliente, o qual deve ser
protegido.
O crescimento do privado em detrimento do público tem gerado
a instabilidade nos Estados que de soberanos passam a ser dominados
pelas grandes corporation, pelas multinacionais que acabam “privatizando” o próprio Estado. “O medo do efêmero leva à busca do eterno”
(Chauí, 2004, p.155) e diante das incertezas, da insegurança, da violência
que a exclusão causa, o Sagrado parece ser o agente mais confiável.
Filhos de um mesmo Pai · 127
E é dentro desse estado de tensão que os discursos de cunho
fundamentalistas ganham peso. Unindo o retorno às bases da fé com
propostas ligadas ao Estado, esses movimentos se “vestem” com a mais
alta roupagem moderna: a do Estado. Não é o retorno de uma vivência
religiosa, mas o retorno de uma vivência onde a religião rege a vida em
todos os sentidos ,inclusive econômico-social.
[...] os leigos não esperam da religião apenas justificações de
existir capazes de livrá-los da angústia existencial da contingência
e da solidão, da miséria biológica, da doença, do sofrimento ou da
morte. Contam com ela para que lhes forneça justificações de existir
em uma posição social determinada, em suma de existir como de
fato existem, ou seja, com todas as propriedades que lhe são socialmente inerentes. (Bourdieu, 1982, p.48)
A questão do fundamentalismo religioso como um possível gerador
de fechamento ao diálogo e por isso, passível de difundir a violência, é
uma realidade. Refletindo com Ferreira (2010, p. 86) infere-se que essa
difusão pode ser lida como um sinal que diz que “[...] os conflitos em
torno da religião só ocorrem quando a vida é questionada em sua origem
ou no modo de vivê-la e, também, quando o poder religioso é fragilizado
pela compreensão racional do mundo”.
Desta forma, dizer que o fundamentalismo religioso é um tipo de
resistência identitária que tem como origem a necessidade de reafirmar
os pressupostos da fé diante de grupos ou da sociedade que tenta reavaliar seu modo de crer e viver não seria de todo incorreto, porém é
importante pontuar que o fundamentalismo religioso como uma atitude
de reafirmação pode e ocorre em qualquer grupo, inclusive entre os cristãos, logo não é uma atitude especifica do Islã.
E assim, esse olhar que se reveste de um preconceito alimentado
pelo medo ou pela forma como a história nos é contada, faz surgir a imagem de um outro que além de diferente nos é rival; que ao contrário de
nós, não entende a lei do “dar a outra face”, mas antes nos fere a face na
sua leitura do que seja justiça. E se a imagem do Islã vai sendo desenhada
assim, seria possível pensar em um diálogo entre nós e eles? Haveria algo
ainda que nos coloque como irmãos? O que de fato nos une?
No diálogo inter-religioso a busca pela paz
Quando falamos sobre religião, dizemos de um fenômeno constituído por sistemas simbólicos e com plausibilidades próprias, o que
significa que se caracterizam por uma subjetividade compreendida e
vivenciada de forma mais próxima pelos que se identificam com esse
128 · Patrícia Simone do PRADO
sistema. Em seu escopo que se formula em dimensões variadas – fé, instituição, rito, experiência, ética – transitam em um mundo do individual
ao coletivo que extrapola o privado cumprindo assim funções não apenas
individuais, mas sociais.
Desta forma, não podemos descartar as religiões ou aprisiona-las
em lugares de “religiões superiores”, “religiões inferiores”: a religião é
uma construção social em constante comunicação com os atos sociais,
logo, devem ser analisadas não apenas no sentido da transcendência, mas
também da imanência.
No universo cristão católico, desde o Concílio Vaticano II, uma
abertura e incentivo ao diálogo entre as religiões têm sido vista. Porém,
tal ação requer dos envolvidos atitudes de interesse pelo outro, além de
“reciprocidade, reconhecimento mútuo de valores e de verdades, caminhada conjunta em busca da expressão mais plena do significado último
da vida humana, ajuda mútua e ação conjunta” (Neefjes, 1987, p.14).
Como temática recente, própria da modernidade, o diálogo
inter-religioso tem como objetivo o amor à verdade e a busca pela
paz no mundo. Para isso, quatro formas ou níveis são propostos pelo
Cristianismo em prol de um diálogo objetivo com as religiões cristãs e
não cristãs, que são: o diálogo no nível existencial, no nível místico, no
nível ético e no nível teológico.
Tais níveis revelam que aproximar-se das tradições não é uma tarefa simples, contudo necessária, uma vez que, diz respeito não somente a
comunhão entre os crentes, mas acima de tudo, relaciona-se diretamente
com o rumo que a humanidade tende a tomar.
O fundamentalismo religioso com sua pretensa de verdade única
não pode ser o guia nesse percurso entre as religiões, mas antes o guia
deve ser o diálogo, que começa na abertura e disposição de se aproximar:
sem disposição não há diálogo. E se é preciso que algo seja dito a fim de
despertar essa disposição em conhecer o outro, ouvir o outro, dialogar
com o outro, talvez um dos argumentos seja o da busca pela paz.
Se o diálogo nasce do conhecimento e reconhecimento do outro
é preciso, no caso do Islã, uma aproximação maior por parte dos agentes que fomentam a paz. Estigmatizada, a imagem do Islã ainda é de
intolerância e negação a vida, porém um olhar cuidadoso e interessado
revela a outra face do Islã. “O islã não é mais violento do que outras religiões e nem predispõe seus mais seguidores ao fanatismo e à violência”.
(Demant, 2004, p.340).
Filhos de um mesmo Pai · 129
As novas gerações devem se alimentar desse diálogo a fim de estacar esse “sangue” que jorra entre os radicais fundamentalistas. O diálogo
inter-religioso no nível ético pode ir além do discurso pela paz. Ele pode
promover a busca real pela justiça social numa luta que tem como objetivo o desenvolvimento de valores como direito e igualdade.
A paz, ideal que soa utópico a cada dia, deve ser a nossa busca
diária, de vida; nosso projeto primeiro, pois onde falta a paz não é possível desenvolver nada de concreto, de referência, de verdadeiro. Sem
paz não há educação, não há desenvolvimento, não há crescimento, não
há tolerância, não há paz. Onde a paz reina há solidariedade, há compreensão, há paciência, há respeito, há tolerância. E se as pessoas são
ensinadas a odiar, a desprezar, a serem intolerantes elas podem também
aprender, desenvolver e viver em uma cultura de paz, parafraseando
nosso inesquecível Mandela.
O Islã como uma tradição religiosa, data do século VII e bebeu das
fontes cristã e judaica. Seus textos, mesmo quando se utiliza o discurso
da Revelação, são a continuidade dos escritos das citadas tradições e suas
práticas rituais revelam o mesmo. Logo, a própria Revelação nos une
como filhos, como irmãos, como anunciantes e ouvintes de uma mensagem que tem o intuito de nos aproximar em um ideal de paz.
O Deus que se manifesta seja na Revelação Escrita Corânica, seja
na pessoa de Jesus nos desafia e nos convida a esse reencontro e um
dos caminhos está no desenvolvimento de um diálogo inter-religioso
em um movimento duplo: de dentro para fora, através da promoção de
seus agentes internos dispostos a quebrar esse círculo que os aprisiona e
estigmatiza em sua tradição; e de fora para dentro, com as tradições que
devem se unir em busca de pressupostos que orientem sua aproximação
do Islã, e esses devem ser baseados em princípios de cooperação, ajuda
mútua, justiça social.
Uma reforma na política externa com o Islã também deve acontecer, pois “[...] ditadura e pobreza é uma ameaça direta à estabilidade
internacional e nacional e um claro risco para a paz mundial”. (Bhutto,
2007, p.280).
O desafio é grande, mas não impossível. O diálogo inter-religioso
com o Islã não só é necessário, mas urgente. Desse entendimento entre
as nações e o Islã depende o futuro das nações, depende a paz.
Considerações finais
O que nos une é maior do que o que nos separa, sim é maior.
Crentes em um mesmo Deus, que se revelou aos Patriarcas, que permite
130 · Patrícia Simone do PRADO
ser conhecido através de Escrituras inspiradas ou reveladas aos homens,
o que nos une é maior. Seja muçulmano, seja cristão, cremos em um Deus
único ou poderíamos dizer também “Cremos em Allah (Deus), no que nos
tem sido revelado, no que foi revelado a Abraão, a Ismael, a Isaac, a Jacó
e às tribos; no que foi concedido a Moisés e a Jesus e no que foi dado
aos profetas por seu Senhor; não fazemos distinção alguma entre eles, e
a Ele nos submetemos” (Alcorão 2:136).
E é por essas e tantas outras questões que nos une que o encontro
entre essas duas tradições religiosas deve ser promovido a fim de gerar
uma cultura de paz, que trate nossas diferenças como um traço da identidade e não do conflito e que busca as convergências no desejo sincero de
desenvolver diálogo e relacionamento. Afinal, somos todos irmãos, seja
na fé ou na humanidade, como bem nos ensinou Imam Ali 1.
As dores comuns do mundo e da qual compartilhamos nos une e
nos faz enxergar o Deus que sofre e se preocupa com a criação a ponto
de despertar Profetas e Mensageiros que não temeram à morte; que como
vozes que clamam no deserto denunciaram as injustiças e a opressão no
desejo de que o Reino de Deus fosse uma realidade em seu tempo.
Os exemplos que tecem nossas histórias confirmam nossa filiação:
quando olhamos para Jesus ou para Hussein 2 podemos encontrar a dor
e o martírio, mas também a obediência e a certeza de que é morrendo
que se vive para a vida eterna, como também nos ensinou Francisco de
Assis. E assim, os exemplos destes personagens tão reais que teceram
essa história da qual hoje somos participantes nos chama a ação conjunta
nesse retorno as nossas origens a fim de encontramos aquilo que nos une
para além das diferenças.
Como um pai que deseja reconciliar seus filhos, Deus está neste
tempo a provocar situações em que o diálogo seja inevitável; as dores do
mundo vão nos unindo e nos mostrando que nós, cristãos e muçulmanos,
podemos e devemos olhar para esse Deus que se compadece e por isso
deseja compartilhar conosco a tarefa de aliviar, alimentar, confortar aquele que assim necessita. E assim, Deus dialoga conosco através da vida e
1
“Enche de misericórdia o teu coração para com os súditos, de afeição e bondade para
com eles. Não caias sobre eles como os animais famintos que se sentem satisfeitos
em devorar. Eles são de duas espécies : ou são teus irmãos na fé, ou são como tu, na
criação”. Carta 53 de Imam Ali, primo e genro do Profeta Mohammad, à Malik.
2
Hussein, o filho caçula de Ali assim como seu pai e irmão, fora assassinado por Yazid, filho
de Mu’awiya. Símbolo da resistência e do martírio, a morte de Hussein é lembrada todos
os anos pelos xiitas em uma cerimônia conhecida como Ashura. Sua entrega em prol da
justiça alimenta o ideal revolucionário até os dias atuais.
Filhos de um mesmo Pai · 131
com a vida e ninguém mais do que Ele está interessado em unir esses
meninos que são e sempre serão filhos de um mesmo Pai.
Referências Bibliográficas
BOURDIEU, Pierre. Economia das trocas simbólicas. Trad. Sérgio Micelli. 2 ed. São Paulo:
Perspectiva, 1982.
BHUTTO, Benazir. Reconciliação: islamismo, democracia e o Ocidente. Trad. Alexandre
Martins Morais. Rio de Janeiro: Agir, 2008.
CHAUÍ, Marilene. Fundamentalismo religioso: a questão do poder teológico-político. In:
NOVAES, Adauto (Org) Civilização e barbárie. São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 2004.
p.149-169.
DEMANT, Peter. O mundo muçulmano. 2.ed. São Paulo: Contexto, 2005.
FERREIRA, Amauri Carlos. Viver sem Deus e sem religião: a vida possível no ateísmo.
Horizontes Dossiê: Neoateísmo: Questões e desafios. Belo Horizonte, v.8, n.18, jul/
set.2010. Disponível em: http://periodicos.pucminas.br/index.php/horizonte/article/view/
P.2175-5841.2010v8n18p85/2605.
KEPEL, Gilles. A revanche de Deus: cristãos, judeus e muçulmanos na reconquista do
mundo. Trad. J.E.Smith Caldas. São Paulo: Siciliano, 1991.
NEEFJES, Frei Félix. De uma igreja-monóloga para uma igreja-diálogo. In: Conferência
Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil. Guia para o diálogo inter-religioso:relações com as
grandes religiões, movimentos religiosos contemporâneos, filosofia de vida. São
Paulo:Paulinas, 1987.
SURATA AL-BAQARAH. In: Tradução do sentido do Nobre Alcorão para a Língua Portuguesa.
Trad. Samir El Hayek.s/d.
132 ·
A Theological Project Completed!
The fifth and last volume was published
«Along the Many Paths of GoD»
a five volume collection series, edited by the
Latin American Theological Commission of EATWOT
and concluded by its
International Theological Commission.
The first and until now unique work addressing the cross-fertilization
between Theology of Liberation and Theology of Pluralism
The five volumes are:
I. Challenges of Religious Pluralism for Liberation Theology
II. Toward a Latin American Theology of Religious Pluralism
III. Latin American Pluralist Theology of Liberation
IV. International Pluralist Liberating Theology
and the last one now also appearing in English:
V. Toward a Planetary Theology
edited by José María VIGIL vwith the collaboration of:
M. Amaladoss (India), M. Barros (Brazil), A. Brighenti (Brazil),
E.K-F. Chia (Malaysia), A. Egea (Spain), P.F. Knitter (USA),
D.R. Loy (USA), L. Magesa (Tanzania), J. Neusner (USA),
I.A. Omar (USA), T. Okure (Nigeria), R. Panikkar (India-Spain), P.C.
Phan (Vietnam-USA), A. Pieris (Sri Lanka), R. Renshaw (Canada), J.A.
Robles (Costa Rica), K.L. Seshagiri (USA),
A.M.L. Soares (Brazil), F. Teixeira (Brazil).
This fifth book is published in English by Dunamis Publishers
To order: [email protected] / dunamispublishers.blogspot.com
For the Spanish edition: [email protected] / www.abyayala.org
(sold also in digital format: at half price, by e-mail )
For further information:
tiempoaxial.org/AlongTheManyPaths
tiempoaxial.org/PorLosMuchosCaminos
tiempoaxial.org/PelosMuitosCaminhos
tiempoaxial.org/PerIMoltiCammini
Comisión Teológica Latinoamericana de ASETT
comision.teologica.latinoamericana.org
and the International Theological Commission of EATWOT
internationaltheologicalcommission.org
· 133
Children of the same father:
Dialogue between Islam and Christianity
building a new culture of peace
Patrícia Simone do PRADO
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
That which unities us is greater than that which divides us. This
could be the maxim of two of the largest religious traditions in the world:
Islam and Christianity. Main characters of a millennial history that has
survived epic conflicts, these two great traditions are children of the same
father: they have the same theological roots and have developed from the
same history of faith and devotion.
From the house of Abraham two great groups emerge – the Arabs
and the Jews – and from them three great traditions: Judaism, Christianity
and Islam. Heirs of a promise made by God himself to Abraham, his
children Ishmael and Isaac became fathers of nations: Men and Women
who became guardians of monotheism’s eternal message. Thus, nowadays
Jews, Muslims and Christians are more than friends; they are children
from the same father in both faith and in creation.
Facing this undeniable fact which unites us into one single family,
some questions emerge. What stops us from getting closer to Islam? What
has prevented Islam from getting closer to us? Is there really such a
separation between these two faiths that places them so distant from one
another making dialogue impossible? What divides us and what unities
us? And what can we do together in order to build a culture of peace?
134 · Patrícia Simone do PRADO
Religious fundamentalism as point of tension
Reflecting on the questions involving Abraham’s children, it is common place to think that the conflicts recently surrounding us are religious
in nature. This thought oversimplifies the issue. Reality reveals to us that
socio-political issues are, in fact, the main point in the conflicts between
Christians, Muslim and also Jews.
In the case of Islam, in particular, it is noticeable that after
September 11th the religion began to be surrounded by an image of barbarism and terror, thus homogenizing the general concept about Islam.
However, the attacks do not reflect Islam as a whole, rather of groups
using religious discourse in order to attract a large amount of followers
in order to fulfill the most diverse causes.
To Brazilian philosopher, Marilena Chauí (2004), these discourses,
in distinctive proportions and forms, reflect a type of escape which leads
to the past. They do not have the guts to embrace the present in order to
change it; rather they stir social structures without bringing any effective
change. Giles Kepel (1991, p.22), on the other hand, believes they are
more than that; they are social voices finding themselves in religious discourse, a language capable of translating their desires and desperations.
(...) the discourse and the praxis of these movements bear the
same meaning; they are not the outcome of a corruption of reason
neither of some manipulation by obscure forces. They are the irreplaceably testimony of a deep evil social which our traditional categories
of thought are incapable of understanding.”
This leads us to ponder upon the contemporary world’s dynamics.
People are demanded to confront crises which come out to be not just
adaptations – being them cultural, economic and/or political – but also
part of the individual conscious. Returning to the fundaments takes them
to a more familiar place, without many surprises, which might be one of
the reasons for its understanding and acceptance.
Contemporary thinking has not established changes only in the
philosophical and religious fields; it has been intimately present inside
the economy. In a frenetic search for more markets and consumers, the
world has been under the aegis of consumption which has brought a rise
in both production and exclusion. The price paid for these “commodities”
has been the absence of the State in favor of its great client, the Market,
which must be protected.
The rise of the private sphere in detriment of the public sphere has
generated the instability of sovereign States. They have become dominated by the big corporations, by the multinational companies which pri-
Children of the same Father · 135
vatize the State itself. “The fear of the ephemeral brings the quest for the
eternal” (CHAUÍ, 2004, p.155) and facing these uncertainties, insecurity
and violence caused by exclusion, that what is Sacred becomes the most
trustworthy factor.
Thus it is inside this tense situation which fundamentalist based
discourses become more powerful. By uniting the return to the cornerstones of faith with propositions connected to governance, these movements
wear the most contemporary of all garments: the State’s. It is not about
returning to a religious living, but returning to life which, in all its sides,
is ruled by religion, including socioeconomically.
(...) laypeople do not – or not only – expect from it justifications
for existence capable of freeing them from the existential anguish or
contingency and dereliction or even biological misery, sickness, suffering or death, but also and above all justifications for existing in a
determinate social position and existing as they exist, that is, with all
the properties that are socially attached to them”. (BOURDIEU, 1982,
p.48)
It is true that religious fundamentalism is a possible cause for the
refusal of furthering dialogue and, therefore, susceptible to disseminating
violence. Upon reflecting with Ferreira (2010, p.86) it is deductible that
this dissemination may be interpreted as a sign in which “(…) the conflicts surrounding religion only occur when life itself or the way to live
it is questioned and also when religious power is weakened through the
rational understanding of the world”.
Thus, it is not at all incorrect to say that religious fundamentalism
is a sort of resistance identity which has originated from the need of
reaffirming the tenets of faith to societies seeking to reevaluate its way of
living and believing. However, it is imperative to highlight that religious
fundamentalism as a tool of reaffirmation may occur in every society,
including Christians. Therefore, it is not an exclusive Islamic attribute.
Consequently, this preconceived notion, nurtured by either fear or
by how facts are exposed to us, builds an image of “the other” which is
not only different but also a rival. Unlike us, the other does not understand the law of “turning the other cheek”; our cheek is hurt upon what
the other understands as justice. If the imagine of Islam is thus presented
to us, would it be possible to think about a dialogue between us and
them? Would there be anything that could pose us as siblings? Is there
anything which unities us?
136 · Patrícia Simone do PRADO
The search for peace in interreligious dialogue
When we talk about religion, we speak of a phenomenon constituted by symbolic systems and its own plausibility. This phenomenon is
characterized by an understood subjectivity, experienced closely by those
who identify with this system. Diversified dimensions – faith institution,
rite, experience, ethic – are formulate in its scope and navigate in a world
from the individual to the collective, surpassing the realm of the private
thus carrying out functions not only individual but also social.
This way it is not possible to discard religions or place them in
“superior religion” or “inferior religion” categories. Religion is a social
construction, constantly communicating with social acts; therefore, they
must be analyzed not only in what is transcendent, but also in what is
immanent.
Inside the Christian Catholic sphere, since the Second Vatican
Council, an incentive to the dialogue between religions has been progressed. However, this action requires from the ones involved that attitudes
and interests towards others to go beyond “reciprocity, mutual recognition of values and ideas of truth, a joint walk towards the most complete
expression of the last meaning of human life, mutual support and action”
(NEEFJES, 1987, p.14).
As a recent theme, typical of contemporaneity, the interreligious
dialogue has as goal the love for the truth and a search for peace in the
world. In order to achieve that, four mean or levels are proposed by
Christianity towards an objective dialogue with the Christian religions
and also those who are not Christian: dialogue in the existential level, on
the mystical level, on the ethic level and on the theological level.
These levels show that an approach to traditions is not an easy
task. Nevertheless, it proves to be necessary not only the communion
between believers, but above all, to relate directly with the course that
humanity tends to take.
Religious fundamentalism, with its pretentious unique truth, cannot
be the guide in the road between religious. The guide must be dialogue
which starts in the openness and disposition to approach: without disposition there is no dialogue. And it is thus necessary that something is
said in order to awaken this disposition in meeting the other, listening to
the other, dialoguing with the other. Maybe one of the arguments would
be the search for peace.
If dialogue is born from knowing and recognizing the other, it is
imperative, in the case of Islam, a closer approach from the ones who
Children of the same Father · 137
encourage peace. Stigmatized, the image of Islam still is one of intolerance and of negation of life. However, a more careful and interested look
will reveal the other cheek of Islam. “Islam is not any more violent than
any other religion and it does not predispose its followers to fanaticism
or violence” (DEMANT, 2004, p.340).
The new generations must be nourished from this dialogue in
order to halt all this “blood” gushing out of radical fundamentalists. The
ethic leveled interreligious dialogue may reach beyond the discourse
for peace. It may promote the real search for social justice in a struggle
aiming to develop values such as justice and equality.
Ideal peace, which gradually sounds more and more utopic, must
become our daily quest, our life’s quest: our foremost project. Where
there is no peace it is not possible to develop anything concrete, referential, truthful. Without peace there is no education, no development,
no growth, no tolerance. Where peace prevails there is solidarity, there
is comprehension, there is patience, there is respect, there is tolerance.
If people are taught how to hate, to disdain, to be intolerant than may
also learn, develop and live in a culture of peace, paraphrasing our unforgettable Mandela.
Islam as a religious tradition dates back to the 7th century and
drank from both Christian and Jewish fountains. In its texts, even when
using the discourse of Revelation, there is continuity to the writing of
the other two cited traditions. Its religious practices reveal the same
influence. Therefore, Revelation itself unites the traditions as children, as
siblings, as announcers and listeners of a message that has the goal of
approaching us to an ideal of peace.
God, who manifests Himself in both the written Koranic Revelation
and in the person of Jesus, challenges and invites us to this reunion. One
of the paths is on the further development of interreligious dialogue with
two components: from inside out, through the promotion of its internal
agents who are willing to break this cycle which imprisons them and stigmatizes their tradition; from the outside in, with the traditions that must
unite themselves in the search for the tents that will guide how to get
closer to Islam, and these must be based on the principles of cooperation,
mutual support and social justice.
External political reform within Islam must occur, because “(…)
dictatorship and poverty are a direct threat and menace to the national
and international stabilities and a clear risk to world peace” (BHUTTO,
2007, p.280).
138 · Patrícia Simone do PRADO
The challenge is large, but not impossible. The interreligious dialogue with Islam is not only necessary, but urgent. The peace and the
future of nations are dependent of this understanding between nations
and Islam.
Final thoughts
That which unities us is greater than that which divides us; yes, it
is greater. Believers of the same God, who revealed to us the Patriarchs,
who allows us to know Him through the Scriptures that were inspired or
reveled to humankind, what unites us is greater. Muslim, Christian, we
believe in one God or we could also say “We believe in Allah and that
which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham,
and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses
and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord.
We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have
submitted.” (The Holy Qur’an 2:136)
It is because of these and so many other questions uniting us that
the encounter of these two religious traditions has to be promoted in
order to generate a culture of peace. A culture that attends to our differences as a sign of identity and not of conflict; searching convergences
inside the sincere desire of developing dialogue and a harmonious relationship. After all, we are all siblings, in both faith and humanity as it was
well taught to us by Imam Ali 1.
The mundane sorrows of this world which we share also unites
us and makes us see the God that suffers and is so concerned about
His creation that He has called Prophets and Messengers, who did not
fear death. Their voices clamored in the desert denouncing injustice and
oppression and the wish that the Kingdom of God would be a reality in
their time.
The examples weaving our stories together confirm our common
heritage: when we look at Jesus or Hussein 2 we can find pain and martyrdom; but also obedience and the certainty that it is in dying that we
are born to eternal life, as it was taught to us by Saint Francis of Assisi.
1 “Habituate your heart to mercy for the subjects and to affection and kindness for them. Do
not stand over them like greedy beasts who feel it is enough to devour them, since they
are of two kinds, either your brother in religion or one like you in creation”. Letter 53 from
Imam Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, to Malik.
2
Hussein, the youngest child of Ali, like his father and brother, was murdered by Yazid, son of
Mu’awiya. He is the symbol of resistance and martyrdom and his death is remembered
every year by the Shiite in a large ceremony known as Ashura. Hussein’s surrender in
respect of justice nurtures the revolutionary ideal up to the present.
Children of the same Father · 139
Thus, the examples brought by these characters are so real that have
weaved together the story which we are now protagonists, calls us for a
unified action: to return to our origins in order to find that which unites
us beyond the differences we have.
As a father who wishes to reconcile his children, God is, in our
time, provoking situations in which dialogue will become inevitable; the
world’s sorrows uniting us and showing us that Christians and Muslims
can and must look at this sympathizing God. For this reason, He wishes
to share with us the task to relieve, feed and confront those in need.
Thus, God dialogues with us through life and with life and nobody else
but Him, is interested in uniting these children who are and always will
be children of the same Father.
Bibliography
BOURDIEU, Pierre. Economia das trocas simbólicas. Trad. Sérgio
Micelli. 2 ed. São Paulo:
Perspectiva, 1982.
BHUTTO, Benazir. Reconciliação: islamismo, democracia e o ocidente. Trad. Alexandre Martins Morais. Rio de Janeiro: Agir, 2008.
CHAUÍ, Marilene. Fundamentalismo religioso: a questão do poder
teológico-político. In: NOVAES, Adauto (org) Civilização e barbárie. São
Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 2004, p.149-169.
DEMANT, Peter. O mundo muçulmano. 2.ed. São Paulo: Contexto,
2005.
FERREIRA, Amauri Carlos. Viver sem Deus e sem religião: a vida
possível no ateísmo. Horizontes Dossiê: Neoateísmo: Questões e desafios. Belo Horizonte, v.8, n.18, jul/set.2010. Available in Portuguese in:
<http://periodicos.pucminas.br/index.php/horizonte/article/view/P.21755841.2010v8n18p85/2605>.
KEPEL, Gilles. A revanche de Deus: cristãos, judeus e muçulmanos
na reconquista do mundo. Trad. J.E.Smith. Caldas. São Paulo: Siciliano,
1991.
NEEFJES, Frei Félix. De uma igreja-monóloga para uma igreja-diálogo. In: Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil. Guia para o diálogo
inter-religioso:relações com as grandes religiões, movimentos religiosos
contemporâneos, filosofia de vida. São Paulo:Paulinas, 1987.
SURATA AL-BAQARAH. In: Tradução do sentido do Nobre Alcorão
para a Língua Portuguesa. Trad. Samir El Hayek.s/d.
140 ·
· 141
O difícil diálogo entre irmãos
Proposta para um diálogo cristão-islâmico
na América Latina
Marcelo BARROS
Recife, Brasil
Nas últimas décadas, de alguma forma, o Islã esteve no centro das
discussões políticas do mundo, seja por causa da onda de migrações que
tomou conta da Europa e dos países do norte, seja por causa das oposições políticas que usam o nome do Islã, como agora se fala de “Estado
Islâmico”, apesar de algumas reportagens denunciarem que se trata de
uma farsa produzida em conluio com o governo norte-americano para
justificar o começo dos bombardeios americanos contra a Síria 1.
Na América Latina, o Islã é uma religião minoritária, ainda restrita
quase exclusivamente ao grupo de migrantes de países de cultura árabe
presentes em diversos países. Tanto na realidade presente, como na história, o Brasil tem um contato com a cultura islâmica, seja pelas raízes em
comum com Portugal e Espanha, que, durante séculos, conviveu com os
muçulmanos que ocuparam o sul da Penísula Ibérica, seja por causa dos
migrantes, vindos de países árabes que moram com suas colônias em São
Paulo, no sul do Brasil e no Centro-oeste.
Na história do Brasil, no século XIX, em Salvador (Bahia), houve
uma grande rebelião dos escravos muçulmanos, na época chamados de
“malê”. Eram em sua maioria africanos de etnia nagô e hauassá. Eram
mais de 500 homens. Na noite de 24 a 25 de janeiro de 1835, liderados
pelo escravo Mala Abubakar, eles saíram de Vitória (atual bairro da Barra)
e invadiram Salvador tentando tomar os quarteis, derrubar o governo e
transformar a Bahia em uma nação muçulmana. O movimento foi vio1 Ver artigo de Reginaldo Nasser em www.cartamaior.com.br
142 · Marcelo BARROS
lentamente reprimido e, como a religião muçulmana foi considerada o
estopim da revolta dos escravos, essa religião foi proibida aos negros
durante todo o tempo do Império. Na época, o Cristianismo era a religião dos proprietários de terra que escravizavam os negros e o Islã era
a religião de escravos e mais do que de outros escravos, proibida pelo
sistema. Evidentemente, em tal contexto não se podia pensar em diálogo
entre cristãos e muçulmanos. Esse diálogo não se tornou possível até as
décadas mais recentes.
1. Experiências recentes e atuais.
Desde os anos 60, o Conselho Mundial de Igreja tomou várias iniciativas para unir ao trabalho ecumênico esforços no sentido de diálogo
inter-religioso, especificamente com o Judaísmo e o Islã. Da parte católica, esse diálogo foi praticamente inaugurado com a publicação da declaração Nostra Aetate, do Concílio Vaticano II (1965). Na América Latina,
houve mais experiências de contato e diálogo entre cristãos e judeus do
que diretamente com muçulmanos.
Desde vinte anos, existem algumas iniciativas de diálogo entre
cristãos e muçulmanos na região das três fronteiras (Brasil, Argentina e
Paraguai, na região de Foz do Iguaçu). Também nos últimos anos, a partir
da URI (Iniciativa das Religiões Unidas), houve certo contato e diálogo
amigo entre cristãos e skeiks sufis de São Paulo. Desde o início dos anos
90, uma vez ao ano, em Campina Grande, PB, se realizam os encontros
“para a nova consciência”. O que caracteriza esses encontros durante os
dias de Carnaval é que são encontros entre pessoas crentes e que não
precisam representar a sua religião. Em Campina Grande, se dá talvez a
única experiência de encontro interreligioso que não é pensado para chefes, nem sacerdotes e sim para crentes comuns. No entanto, todas essas
experiências ainda são localizadas e restritas.
No pequeno mosteiro beneditino da Anunciação do Senhor, em
Goiás, que funcionou de 1984 a 2009, diariamente, os ofícios litúrgicos
do meio dia eram realizados pelos irmãos e irmãs do mosteiro (todos
cristãos) em comunhão com uma das grandes religiões da humanidade.
E cada sexta feira, dia sagrado para os muçulmanos, fazíamos o ofício
em comunhão com os irmãos e irmãs do Islã. Cada sexta feira, ao meio
dia, cantávamos mantras em árabe que proclamavam a misericórdia de
Alá e líamos um texto do livro sagrado. Isso me deu a possibilidade de
conhecer o Corão do início ao fim e reler várias vezes o mesmo texto.
Lembro-me de ter descoberto que, da parte do Islã, segundo o Corão,
o diálogo dos crentes com as “pessoas do livro” (judeus e cristãos), não
O difícil diálogo entre irmãos · 143
somente é possível, mas útil e bom. O texto é claro: “Não disputai com o
Povo do Livro, exceto no modo melhor ou no caso desses transgredirem.
Nós cremos naquilo que nos foi enviado e naquilo que foi enviado para
vós. O nosso Deus e o vosso Deus é o mesmo Deus e a Ele nos submetemos” (Corão 29: 46).
2. Diálogo a partir da cidadania e da sociedade plural
Nos anos mais recentes, como esse panorama entre as religiões
não tem mudado e nem revelado nenhuma nova abertura, parece que a
própria sociedade e mesmo os governos têm se preocupado em promover o diálogo intercultural e interreligioso. Em um mundo marcado por
guerras e conflitos surgidos a partir de injustiças sociais e econômicas, de
segregação cultural, mas também de fundamentalismos religiosos, cada
vez mais o diálogo entre cristãos e islamitas interessa não somente aos
membros das duas religiões, mas ao mundo todo. Por isso, nas últimas
décadas, na América Latina e em várias partes do mundo, têm surgido
diversas iniciativas de fóruns e mesas de diálogo que promovem e estimulam o diálogo entre pessoas de religiões diferentes. Entre essas, se encontram na mesma equipe ou fórum, cristãos e muçulmanos. Essas iniciativas
são laicais, têm em vista questões sociais como a paz e a justiça e a luta
contra a discriminação. Em alguns estados brasileiros, principalmente no
sul, cristãos e islamitas se encontram e dialogam nas Comissões estaduais
pela Diversidade Religiosa e contra a Discriminação, organismo ligado à
Secretaria de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República.
O objetivo desse diálogo é assegurar à sociedade um testemunho
e o trabalho comum de pessoas de várias tradições religiosas, por uma
sociedade de diálogo intercultural e que conviva melhor com as diversidades. A base dos grupos constituídos para isso é a convicção de que a
sociedade deve ser laical e todas as pessoas devem ter total liberdade de
expressão religiosa e cultual. No entanto, é normal que as pessoas que
creem em Deus, tanto membros de outras religiões, como no nosso caso,
cristãs e muçulmanas, busquem aprofundar a base desse diálogo nas próprias expressões de fé e não apenas nas leis da sociedade e dos países.
Mesmo se, nesses fóruns, os crentes se encontram como cidadãos e preocupados em lutar no plano social e político, (e não propriamente do diálogo sobre a fé e o culto), não há como separar essas dimensões e esses
grupos têm colaborado por uma aproximação no plano da fé de pessoas
e grupos que pertencem à tradição cristã e à tradição muçulmana.
144 · Marcelo BARROS
3. Pontos delicados e desafios para o diálogo
Há vários comentários do Corão que insistem em evitar a priori
posições rígidas e dogmáticas. Um haddit conta que o profeta saudou
com a paz (salam) crentes e não crentes, adoradores de Deus 2.
O convite para a moderação e a abertura ao diálogo é também em
relação às pessoas que não têm o livro, como aparece claro no verso 108
da surata 6: “E não insulteis aqueles que invocam outros que Deus”.
Da parte dos cristãos, embora não se possa falar em diálogo
propriamente dito, hoje se sabe que os místicos islâmicos medievais
influenciaram profundamente místicos cristãos como Santa Tereza d’Ávila
e talvez mesmo São João da Cruz que, embora sem citar, em vários de
seus escritos, têm textos muito semelhantes aos místicos sufis medievais.
Evidentemente, ao tratar desse tema, só posso olhá-lo a partir da
perspectiva cristã. Devemos escutar os irmãos e irmãs do Islã para saber
como eles sentem essas questões.
Mas, pelo momento, clareemos alguns princípios e critérios:
1o - Dialogar é entrar na lógica do outro. Isso significa que o outro
– o diferente – é acolhido como é – em sua diferença radical e não se trata
de dialogar a partir das semelhanças e pontos de acordo.
2o – No acolher o outro e sua fé como ela é, não existe uma relativização confusa da nossa própria identidade. Aceitamos sim relativizar
nossa expressão de fé (não fazer isso seria ficar presos ao dogmatismo)
para aprender com o outro, mas sem que seja necessário crermos como
o outro, ou pensarmos como ele.
3o - Com ele, alargamos nosso olhar e enriquecemos nosso modo
de compreender e viver a fé, aceitamos as perguntas e questões que o
encontro e o diálogo nos proporcionam e estimulam.
Provavelmente, o diálogo entre cristãos e muçulmanos nos ajudará
como cristãos a aprender a viver e expressar nossa fé de modo que a pessoa de Jesus Cristo não pareça obstáculo para nos colocarmos no diálogo
com os judeus e islamitas que insistem na unicidade de Deus.
Também podemos aprender do Islã e ajuda-lo a aprofundar a
relação entre fé e politica, aprofundando a nossa missão de crentes no
mundo de hoje.
2 Citado em SORAVIA, GIULIO, Il difícile dialogo islamo-cristiano, in Confronti 9, settembre
2011, pp. 57.
· 145
L'exigeant dialogue entre frères
Propos sur un dialogue chrétien-islamique
dans l'Amérique Latine
Marcelo BARROS
Recife, Brasil
Durant les décennies les plus récentes, l’Islam a occupé le centre
des discussions politiques internationales, tant pour la vague des migrations qui a envahi l’Europe et les pays du nord 1, que pour les groupes
qui utilisent le nom d’Islam, comme maintenant on parle de l’ ‘État islamique’, même si quelques reportages ont dénoncé qu’il s’agit d’une farce
produite en accord avec le gouvernement nord- américain pour justifier le
commencement de l’invasion américaine contre la Syrie 2.
En Amérique Latine, l’Islam est une religion minoritaire, encore
limitée presque exclusivement au groupe des migrants de pays de culture arabe présent dans plusieurs de nos pays. Actuellement, comme dans
l’histoire, le Brésil a un contact avec la culture islamique, soit pour les
racines communes avec Portugal et Espagne, qui, pendant des siècles, ont
vécu avec les musulmans, soit pour les migrants, venus des pays arabes
qui ont habité à São Paulo, au sud du Brésil et dans d'autres régions.
Dans l’histoire du Brésil, au 19ème siècle, une grande rébellion
des esclaves musulmans, à l’époque appelés « malé » a eu lieu à Salvador
(Bahia). Ils étaient, presque tous, africains des ethnies nagô et hauassá.
Ils étaient plus de 500 hommes. Au soir du 24 janvier 1835, ils sont sortis
de Vitória (actuel quartier de la Barra) et, ayant à la tête l’esclave Mala
Abubakar, ils ont envahi Salvador. Ils ont essayé d’occuper les casernes,
destituer le gouvernement et faire de la Bahia une nation musulmane.
1
Selon les recherches, il y avait dix ans, en Europe, le nombre des musulmans dépassait
23 millions. (Cf. JÚNIOR, ARNO DAL RI et ORO, ARI Pedro, Islamismo e Humanismo
Latino, diálogos e desafios, Petrópolis, Vozes, 2004, p. 34.
2 Voir article de Reginaldo Nasser en www.cartamaior.com.br
146 · Marcelo BARROS
C’était un mouvement social contre l’opression qu’ils vivaient, mais c'était
aussi un mouvement de fond religieux. Cette révolte fut réprimée avec
violence et, comme la religion islamique fut considerée à l'origine de la
rébellion, cette religion fut interdite aux noirs pendant tout le temps de
l’Empire brésilien.
À l’époque, le Christianisme était la religion des propriétaires
terriens qui tenaient les noirs en esclavage, l’Islam était considérée
comme la religion des esclaves et, pour cela, interdite pour le système.
Évidemment, dans un tel contexte, on ne pouvait pas envisager de dialogue entre chrétiens et musulmans. Au Brésil, comme dans d'autres
pays d’Amérique Latine, ce dialogue fut possible seulement à partir des
décennies plus récentes.
1 – Expériences récentes et actuelles
Depuis les années 60, le Conseil Mondial des Églises a pris diverses
initiatives pour unir au travail oecuménique les efforts pour un dialogue
interreligieux, surtout avec le Judaisme et l’Islam. De la partie catholique, ce dialogue était avancé pour des mystiques chrétiens en dialogue
avec les mystiques musulmans (aux siècles du Moyen Age). Même si il
ne s’agissait pas encore d’un dialogue plein, actuellement les recherches
montrent que les mystiques islamiques médiévaux ont affecté profondement la littérature mystique chrétienne. Des saints comme Therese d’Avila
et Jean de la Croix, même sans jamais citer, ont des textes écrits très semblables aux mystiques sufis du Moyen Âge.
Plus récemment, des hommes spirituels comme Louis Massignon
ont dédié leur vie à ce dialogue. Il fut un spirituel français du début du
20ème siècle. Sa rencontre avec l’Islam remonte à 1905, en Égypte, mais
c’est deux ans plus tard lorsque, prisonnier à bord d’un vapeur turc, en
Irak, Massignon est visité par l'Étranger, qu'il trouve sa vocation, au "
terrain de contact spirituel entre le christianisme et l’islam ". Désormais,
il n’aura de cesse de chercher des points de convergence entre les deux
religions, à travers certaines figures exemplaires : Mansûr Hallâj, fameux
soufi, condamné à mort et crucifié à Bagdad, en 922, Abraham, bien sûr,
le Père de tous les croyants monothéistes, Salmân al-Farisi, un chrétien
converti et compagnon persan du prophète de l’Islam, Fâtima, dont
l’hyperdulie, surtout chez les shî’ites, est si proche du culte marial, les
Sept Dormants d’Éphèse, enfin, saints et martyrs chrétiens dont l’histoire
est rapportée dans le saint Coran (sourate al-Kahf). Son œuvre scientifique, enfin, compte des milliers de pages et elle a durablement fondé,
jusqu'à nos jours, l’islamologie. Louis Massignon fut ami de Charles de
L'exigeant dialogue entre frères · 147
Foucauld qui fit de lui son exécuteur testamentaire en 1917, après l’avoir
vainement attendu au désert pour lui succéder. Il a eu quelque influence
aussi sur des amis écrivains comme Paul Claudel, François Mauriac, le
grand Taha Hussein, son élève au Collège de France, Jacques Mercanton,
des poètes, Jean Cocteau, le Pakistanais Mohammed Iqbâl, des philosophes, Rachid Reda, Jacques Maritain, Gabriel Marcel, l’Iranien Alî Shariati
qui fut son disciple. Il a eu des dialogues amicaux et profonds avec des
théologiens comme Martin Buber, le Cardinal Daniélou, des savants
tels comme Henry Corbin, Théodore Monod, Vincent Monteil, Maxime
Rodinson et Serge de Beaurecueil, des hommes politiques, enfin, dont
Giorgio La Pira et Edmond Michelet. Il fut aussi un disciple de Gandhi.
Dans l’Église Catholique, l’expérience de Louis Massignon et des
autres fut toujours marginale, presque à l’époque du Concile Vatican II
(1962- 1965). Le dialogue plus officiel entre les catholiques et les musulmans fut pratiquement inauguré avec la publication de la Déclaration
Nostra Aetate, du Concile Vatican II (1965). En Amérique Latine, les expériences de contact furent plus entre chrétiens et juifs que directement
avec les musulmans.
Depuis 20 ans, il y a quelques initiatives de dialogue entre chrétiens et musulmans dans la région de Foz de Iguaçu, aux trois frontières
(Brésil, Argentine et Paraguay). Aussi, ces dernières années, dès le la URI
(Initiative des Religions Unies), il y a eu certains contacts et dialogues
amis entre chrétiens et skeiks sufis à São Paulo. Souvent ces contacts
touchent seulement quelques pasteurs et leaders spirituels. Ils n’arrivent
pas à atteindre les groupes de bases ou communautés, ni d’un côté ni
de l'autre. Depuis le commencement des années 90, une fois par an, à
Campina Grande, PB, on réalise les rencontres « pour la nouvelle conscience ». Ces rencontres ont lieu pendant les jours de Carnaval et elles
rassemblent des gens croyants qui n’ont pas besoin de représenter leur
religion. À Campina Grande, peut-être fait-on l’unique expérience au
monde d’une rencontre interreligieuse qui n’est pas pensée pour les
ministres mais pour les croyants communs. Cependant, ces expériences
sont encore localisées et limitées.
À Goiás, (centre-ouest du Brésil), le petit Monastère de
l’Annonciation du Seigneur fut une expérience bénédictine de spiritualité
oecuménique de 1984 à 2005. Là, chaque jour, les offices liturgiques de
l’heure méridienne étaient réalisés pour des frères et sœurs du monastère (tous chrétiens) en communion avec une des grandes religions de
l’humanité. Chaque vendredi, ils faisaient l’office en communion avec les
frères et sœurs d’Islam. Chaque fois, on chantait des mantras en arabe qui
proclamaient la miséricorde d’Alláh et on lisait des textes du Coram. Ainsi
148 · Marcelo BARROS
j’ai pu connaître le livre sacré et écouter que, selon le Coram, le dialogue
« avec les gens du livre » (juifs et chrétiens), est non seulement possible,
mais utile et important. Le texte est clair : « Ne disputez pas avec le peuple
du livre, que ce soit pour une manière meilleure de vivre ou dans le cas
où ils pèchent. Nous croyons à ce qui nous a été envoyé et aussi à ce qui
fut envoyé en fonction de vous. Notre Dieu et votre Dieu sont le même
Dieu et à Lui, nous devons nous soumettre” (Coram 29: 46).
2 – Dialogue dès la société plurielle
Aux années récentes, comme cette réalité de division et manque de
dialogue entre les religions n’a pas profondément changé, ni n'a révélé
quelque ouverture significative, il paraît que la même société et les gouvernements se sont occupés et préoccupés de promouvoir le dialogue
interculturel et interreligieux. Dans un monde marqué par des guerres et
conflits surgis des injustices sociales et économiques, de la ségrégation
culturelle, mais aussi des fondamentalismes religieux, de plus en plus,
le dialogue entre chrétiens et musulmans est important non seulement
pour les membres des deux religions, mais pour tout le monde. Ainsi,
durant les dernières décennies, en Amérique Latine et dans les autres
continents, ont surgi diverses initiatives de groupes de dialogue qui
stimulent le dialogue et le contact amical entre des personnes de religions différentes. À la même équipe d’étude et action sociale de justice,
participent des chrétiens et des musulmans. Il s’agit d’initiatives laiques
qui luttent pour la justice et la paix. Dans quelques régions brésiliennes,
chrétiens et musulmans se rencontrent et dialoguent dans divers comités
locaux pour la Diversité Religieuse et contre la Discrimination, organisme
lié au Secrétariat de Droits Humains de la Présidence de la République.
Le but de ce dialogue est d'assurer à la société un témoignage du travail
commun de personnes des différentes traditions religieuses, pour susciter
une société de dialogue interculturel pluraliste qui sache vivre ensemble
avec les diversités. Ces divers groupes sont fondés sur la conviction que
la société doit être laique et que toutes les personnes doivent avoir totale
liberté d’expression religieuse et cultuelle. Cependant, il est normal que
les membres des diverses religions cherchent à approfondir les bases
de ce dialogue dans les mêmes expressions de la foi et pas seulement
aux lois de la société et des états. Même si, dans ces groupes officiels,
les croyants se trouvent comme citoyens, préoccupés par les questions
sociales et politiques, il ne faut pas séparer ces dimensions de la foi et
du culte. Pour cela, ces groupes ont collaboré pour une approche de la
foi des personnes et des groupes qui sont de tradition chrétienne et aussi
musulmane.
L'exigeant dialogue entre frères · 149
Sur le dialogue spécifique entre des chrétiens et musulmans, au
Brésil, on a publié un livre collectif, dont le titre est « Islam et Humanisme
Latin : dialogues et défis » 3. Le livre veut « reconstruir un image positive de l’autre » et aborde tant le dialogue civil et social, que le dialogue
interreligieux.
3 - Défis pour le dialogue
Il y a divers commentaires du Coram qui insistent à éviter a priori
des positions rigides et dogmatiques. Un haddit dit que le prophète a
salué avec la paix (salam) croyants de l’Islam et pas croyants, mais qui
fussent adorateurs de Dieu 4.
L’invitation pour la modération et l’ouverture au dialogue est aussi
envers les personnes qui n’ont pas le livre, comme il apparaît clairement
au verset 108 de la surate 6 : « Vous ne devez pas insulter ceux qui invoquent d’autres Dieux que le nôtre ».
Évidemment, je puis traiter ce thème, seulement dans une perspective chrétienne. Nous devons écouter les frères et sœurs de l’Islam
pour savoir comment ils ressentent ces questions. Pour ce moment, voici
quelques principes et critères que nous pensons importants dans notre
contact avec les frères des autres religions et, dans ce cas, de l' Islam :
1 - Dialoguer est rentrer dans la logique de l’autre. Cela signifie
que l’autre – le différent – est accueilli comme il est, dès la différence qui
existe entre nous. Il s’agit de dialoguer en acceptant les différences et pas
seulement la similarité.
2 – Le fait d’accueillir l’autre et sa foi ne signifie pas quelque relativisation confuse de notre identité. Nous acceptons de relativiser nos
expressions de la foi parce que nous ne voulons pas rester captifs de nos
dogmatismes. Nous acceptons de mettre en discussion notre forme de
parler de la foi pour apprendre avec l’autre. Cela n’exige pas que nous
croyons ou que nous pensons comme l’autre croit ou pense.
3 – Avec lui, nous agrandissons notre regard et nous cherchons à
enrichir notre forme de comprendre et vivre la foi. Nous accueillons les
demandes et les questions que la rencontre et le dialogue nous fournissent et nous stimulent.
3 Cf. JÚNIOR, ARNO DAL RI JÚNIOR et ORO, ARI PEDRO, Islamismo e Humanismo Latino:
Diálogos e Desafios, Petrópolis, Ed. Vozes, 2004.
4 Citado em SORAVIA, GIULIO, Il difícile dialogo islamo-cristiano, in Confronti 9, settembre
2011, pp. 57.
150 · Marcelo BARROS
Il est probable que le dialogue entre chrétiens et musulmans nous
conduira à vivre et exprimer notre foi de manière à ce que la personne
de Jésus Christ ne soit pas obstacle pour notre dialogue avec les juifs et
les musulmans qui insistent dans l’unicité de Dieu. Aussi, nous pourrons
apprendre de l’Islam que la foi se manifeste dans la réalité sociale et
politique et nous pourrons l’aider à mieux approfondir la forme de relation entre foi et politique, en sauvant la dimension laicque de l’État et en
approfondissant notre mission de croyants au monde d’aujourd’hui.
Along the Many Paths
J.M.VIGIL, Luiza TOMITA, Marcelo BARROS (eds.)
Foreword: Pedro CASALDÁLIGA
Series : Interreligious Studies, edited by Frans Wijsen and Jorge Castillo
Published by the Chair of World Christianity at Radboud University Nijmegen
Latin American theology is
associated with liberation, basic
Christian communities, primacy of
the praxis and option for the poor.
The present volume shows that
Latin American theologians added
new themes to the previous ones:
religious pluralism, inter-religious
dialogue and macroecumenism.
It is the fruti of a programme of
the Theological Commission of the
Ecumenical Association of Third
World Theologians (EATWOT) in
Latin American, to work out a
liberation theology of religions.
This volume summarizes the
three first ones of the series of five
volumes.
Distributed in North América by Transactions Publishers: [email protected]
Distributed in UK by Global Book Marketing, London, www.centralbooks.co.uk
Distributed from Germay: Lit Verlag, Berlin and Münster: www.lit-verlag.de
· 151
The difficult dialogue between brothers
Proposal for Christian-Muslim
dialogue in Latin America
Marcelo BARROS
Recife, Brazil
In recent decades, somehow, Islam has been at the center of political debates in the world, both because of the wave of migration that has
spread through Europe and northern countries, or because the sectors
of political opposition, using the name of Islam -such as now speak of
"Islamic state" - although some reports say it is a montage, in collusion
with the US government to justify the initiation of US bombing against
Syria. 1
In Latin America, Islam is a minority religion, restricted almost
exclusively to the group of migrants from Arab countries culture present in several countries. Like in current reality, as in history, Brazil has
a contact with Muslim culture, either by common roots with Portugal
and Spain, which, for centuries, lived with Muslims who occupied the
southern Iberian Peninsula, or due to migration from Arab countries who
live with their colonies in São Paulo, south, and west central Brazil.
In the history of Brazil in the nineteenth century in Salvador
(Bahia), there was a great rebellion of Muslim slaves, then called "malê".
They were mostly of African ethnicity of Nago and hauassá. There were
more than 500 men. On the night of January 24 to 25, 1835, led by the
slave Abubakar Bag, they left Vitoria (present district of Barra) and invaded Salvador, trying to take the barracks, overthrow the government and
convert Bahia into a Muslim nation. The movement was violently repressed, and as Islam was considered the gasoline that ignited the outbreak of
the revolt of the slaves, that religion was banned to blacks during the time
of the Empire. At that time, Christianity was the religion of the landowners
1 View article Reginaldo Nasser in www.cartamaior.com.br
152 · Marcelo BARROS
who enslaved blacks and Islam was the religion of slaves, prohibited by
the system. Of course, in this context, dialogue between Christians and
Muslims could not be thought of. This dialogue has not been possible
until recent decades.
1. Recent and current experiences.
Since the 60s, the World Council of Churches took several initiatives to unite interreligious dialogue, especially with Judaism and Islam, to
the efforts of ecumenical work. From the Catholic side, the dialogue was
more or less open with the publication of the declaration Nostra Aetate
from the Second Vatican Council (1965). In Latin America, there were
more experiences of contact and dialogue between Christians and Jews
than directly to Muslims.
From twenty years ago, some initiatives for dialogue between
Christians and Muslims in the region of the three frontiers (Brazil,
Argentina and Paraguay, in the region of Foz do Iguaçu). Also in recent
years, from the URI (United Religions Initiative), there were some contacts
and friendly dialogue between Christians and skeiks Sufis of São Paulo.
Since the early 90s, once a year, in Campina Grande, PB, meetings "for
the new consciousness" are celebrated. What characterizes these meetings
during the Carnival days is that they are meetings between believers but
does not have to represent their religion. In Campina Grande, perhaps, it
is the unique experience of interreligious encounter that is not intended
for the chiefs or priests, but for ordinary believers. However, all these
experiences are still very localized and restricted.
In the small Benedictine Monastery of the Annunciation in Goiás,
which operated from 1984 to 2009, noon liturgical services were performed daily by brothers and sisters of the monastery (all Christians) in
communion with one of the great religions of mankind. And every Friday,
the holy day for Muslims, we prayed the office in communion with the
Islamic brothers and sisters. Every Friday at noon, we chanted mantras
in Arabic to proclaim the mercy of Allah and read a text from the Holy
Book. This gave me the opportunity to learn the Quran from beginning
to end and reread several times the same texts. I remember discovering
on behalf of Islam, according to the Quran, dialogue of believers with the
"people of the Book" ( Jews and Christians) is not only possible but useful
and good. The text is clear: "Do not dispute with the People of the Book
except in the best way, or discuss some transgression. We believe in what
was sent to us and what was sent to you. Our God and your God is the
same God, and to Him we submit "(Quran 29:46).
The difficult dialogiue between brothers · 153
2. The dialogue of the citizenship and plural society
In recent years, as the situation between religions has not changed
and has not shown any new opening, it seems that society itself and
even governments have been keen to promote intercultural and interfaith
dialogue. In a world marked by wars and conflicts arising from social
and economic injustice, cultural segregation and religious fundamentalism, the dialogue between Christians and Muslims seem to interest not
only to members of the two religions, but all society. Therefore, in recent
decades, in Latin America and around the world have been several forums
and roundtables initiatives to promote and encourage dialogue among
people of different religions. In those meetings, Christians and Muslims
are on the same team or forum. These initiatives are secular and point
to social issues such as peace and justice and the fight against discrimination. In some states of Brazil, mainly in the south, Christians and
Muslims meet and converse in state committees for Religious Diversity
and Discrimination linked to the Human Rights Presidency.
The purpose of this dialogue is to ensure to society a testimony
and work in collaboration of various religious traditions for intercultural dialogue in society, and to live better with diversity. The basis of the
constituted groups is the belief that society must be secular, and that all
people should enjoy full freedom of religious expression and worship.
However, it is normal that people who believe in God, members of other
religions, as in our case, Christian and Muslim, seek to deepen the basis
of this dialogue in their own faith traditions, not just in society and countries laws. Although believers are just citizens in these forums, concerned
about contributing to social and political level (and not exactly facing
the dialogue on faith and worship), there is no way to separate these
dimensions, and these groups end up causing an approximation of the
individuals and groups who belong to the Christian tradition and Muslim
tradition, also on the faith level.
3. Points and delicate challenges for the dialogue
There are several commentaries on the Quran which insist on
avoiding a priori rigid and dogmatic positions. A haddit speaks that the
Prophet greeted with peace (salam) to believers and non-believers, worshipers Deus. 2
2
Quoted in SORAVIA, GIULIO, Il difícile Islamic-Christian dialogue, in Confronti 9 settembre
2011, pp. 57.
154 · Marcelo BARROS
The call for moderation and openness to dialogue is also for
people who do not have the book, as becomes clear in verse 108 of Sura
6: "And not insult those who call on others instead of God."
On behalf of Christians, although we cannot speak of a dialogue
itself, it is now known that medieval Islamic mystics deeply influenced
Christian mystics like St. Teresa of Avila and maybe even John of the
Cross that even without mentioning, in several writings, they have very
similar texts to medieval Sufi mystics.
Of course, when it comes to this subject, I can only look at it from a
Christian perspective. We must listen to the brothers and sisters of Islam,
to know how they feel about these issues. But for now let us establish
some principles and criteria:
1. The dialogue is for entering to the logic of the other. This means
that the other -different- is welcome as it is, in its radical difference; the
purpose is not to dialogue about similarities and points of agreement.
2. Accept others and their faith as they are, does not involve a
confusing relativization of our own identity. Accept, yes, relativize our
expression of faith (do not do it means to be prisoners of dogmatism) to
learn from each other, without being necessary to believe as the other,
or think like him.
3. With it, we broaden our vision and enrich our understanding
and living the faith, accept questions and issues that the encounter and
dialogue provide and stimulate.
Probably the dialogue between Christians and Muslims will be of
great help to Christians learn to live and express our faith so that the
person of Jesus Christ does not appear as an obstacle to dialogue with
Jews and Muslims who insist on the unity of God.
We can also learn from Islam and help deepen the relationship
between faith and politics, our mission as believers in the world today.
· 155
El difícil diálogo entre hermanos
Propuesta para un diálogo cristiano-muslmán
en América Latina
Marcelo BARROS
Recife, Brasil
En las últimas décadas, de alguna manera, el Islam ha estado en
el centro de los debates políticos en el mundo, tanto por causa de la ola
de migración que se ha extendido por Europa y los países del norte, o
debido a los sectores de oposición política, que utilizan el nombre del
Islam –tal como ahora hablamos de "Estado islámico"–, a pesar de que
algunos informes dicen que se trata de un montaje, en connivencia con
el gobierno de Estados Unidos, para justificar el inicio de los bombardeos
estadounidenses contra Síria 1.
En América Latina, el Islam es una religión minoritaria, restringida
casi exclusivamente al grupo de migrantes de los países de cultura árabes
presentes en varios países. Tanto en la realidad actual, como en la historia, Brasil tiene un contacto con la cultura musulmana, ya sea por las
raíces comunes con Portugal y España, que, durante siglos, vivió con los
musulmanes que ocuparon el sur de la península Ibérica, o debido a las
migraciones procedentes de países árabes que viven con sus colonias en
São Paulo, en el sur, y en el centro Oeste de Brasil.
En la historia de Brasil, en el siglo XIX, en Salvador (Bahia), hubo
una gran rebelión de esclavos musulmanes, llamados entonces "malê".
Fueron en su mayoría de africanos de la etnia de Nago y hauassá. Hubo
más de 500 hombres. En la noche del 24 a 25 enero 1835, dirigidos por
el esclavo Bolsa Abubakar, dejaron Vitoria (actual barrio de Barra) e invadieron Salvador, tratando de tomar el cuartel, derrocar al gobierno y convertir Bahia en una nación musulmana. El movimiento fue violentamente
1 Ver el articulo de Reginaldo Nasser en www.cartamaior.com.br
156 · Marcelo BARROS
reprimido, y como la religión musulmana fue considerada la gasolina que
prendió fuego al estallido de la revuelta de los esclavos, esa religión fue
prohibida a los negros durante la época del Imperio. En ese momento,
el cristianismo era la religión de los terratenientes que esclavizaron a los
negros y el Islam era la religión de los esclavos, prohibida por el sistema. Por supuesto, en este contexto, no se podía pensar en diálogo entre
cristianos y musulmanes. Este diálogo no ha sido posible hasta las más
recientes décadas.
1. Experiencias recientes y actuales
Desde los años 60, el Consejo Mundial de Iglesias tomó varias iniciativas para unir el diálogo interreligioso, especialmente con el judaísmo
y el islam, a los esfuerzos de trabajo ecuménico. Desde la parte católica,
el diálogo fue más o menos abierto con la publicación de la declaración
Nostra Aetate, del Concilio Vaticano II (1965). En América Latina, hubo
más experiencias de contacto y el diálogo entre cristianos y judíos, que
directamente con los musulmanes.
Desde hace veinte años existen algunas iniciativas para el diálogo
entre cristianos y musulmanes en la región de las tres fronteras (Brasil,
Argentina y Paraguay, en la región de Foz do Iguaçu). También en los
últimos años, a partir de la URI (Iniciativa de las Religiones Unidas),
hubo algunos contactos y un diálogo amistoso entre cristianos y skeiks
sufíes de São Paulo. Desde principios de los años 90, una vez al año, en
Campina Grande, PB, se realizan los encuentros "para la nueva conciencia". Lo que caracteriza a estas reuniones durante los días de Carnaval
es que son encuentros entre personas creyentes pero que no tienen que
representar a su religión. En Campina Grande, tal vez se da la única
experiencia de encuentro interreligioso que no es pensada para los jefes
o sacerdotes, sino para los creyentes comunes. Sin embargo, todas estas
experiencias todavía son muy localizadas y restringidas.
En el pequeño monasterio benedictino de la Anunciación, en
Goiás, que funcionó desde 1984 hasta 2009, oficios litúrgicos mediodía
fueron realizados diariamente por hermanos y hermanas del monasterio
(todos ellos cristianos) en comunión con una de las grandes religiones
de la humanidad. Y todos los viernes, el día santo para los musulmanes,
rezábamos el oficio en comunión con los hermanos y hermanas del Islam.
Todos los viernes a mediodía, cantábamos mantras en árabe para proclamar la misericordia de Allah y leíamos un texto del Libro sagrado. Esto
me dio la oportunidad de conocer el Corán de principio a fin y releer
varias veces los mismos textos. Recuerdo haber descubierto que por parte
El difícil diálogo entre hermanos · 157
del Islam, según el Corán, el diálogo de los creyentes con el "pueblo
del libro" (judíos y cristianos), no sólo es posible, sino útil y bueno. El
texto es claro: "No disputéis con el Pueblo del Libro, excepto de la mejor
manera, o si comenten alguna transgresión. Nosotros creemos en lo que
fue enviado a nosotros y en lo que fue enviado a ustedes. Nuestro Dios
y vuestro Dios es el mismo Dios, y a Él nos sometemos" (Corán 29:46).
2. Diálogo de la ciudadanía y la sociedad plural
En los últimos años, como la situación entre las religiones no
ha cambiado y no ha mostrado ninguna nueva apertura, parece que la
propia sociedad e incluso los gobiernos han tenido mucho interés en
promover el diálogo intercultural e interreligioso. En un mundo marcado
por las guerras y los conflictos derivados de la injusticia social y económica, de la segregación cultural, así como del fundamentalismo religioso,
el diálogo entre cristianos y musulmanes parece interesar no sólo a los
miembros de las dos religiones, sino a toda la sociedad. Por eso, en las
últimas décadas, en América Latina y en todo el mundo, ha habido varias
iniciativas de foros y mesas redondas para promover y estimular el diálogo entre personas de diferentes religiones. En ellas se encuentran, en
el mismo equipo o foro, cristianos y musulmanes. Estas iniciativas son
laicas, apuntan a cuestiones sociales como la paz y la justicia y la lucha
contra la discriminación. En algunos estados de Brasil, principalmente en
el sur, los cristianos y los musulmanes se reúnen y dialogan en los comités estatales para la Diversidad Religiosa y la Discriminación, vinculados
a la Secretaría de Derechos Humanos de la Presidencia.
El objetivo de este diálogo es asegurar a la sociedad un testimonio
y un trabajo en colaboración de las diversas tradiciones religiosas, para
un diálogo intercultural de la sociedad, y par convivir mejor con la diversidad. La base de los grupos constituidos para esto es la creencia de que
la sociedad debe ser laica, y que todas las personas deben gozar de plena
libertad de expresión religiosa y de culto. Sin embargo, es normal que las
personas que creen en Dios, los miembros de otras religiones, como en
nuestro caso, la cristiana y la musulmana, busquen profundizar la base
de este diálogo en sus propias tradiciones de fe, y no sólo en las leyes
de la sociedad y de los países. Aunque en estos foros los creyentes se
encuentren simplemente como ciudadanos, preocupados por contribuir
a nivel social y político (y no propiamente de cara al diálogo sobre la fe
y el culto), no hay forma de separar estas dimensiones, y estos grupos
acaban provocando una aproximación de las personas y grupos que pertenecen a la tradición cristiana y la tradición musulmana, también en el
nivel de la fe.
158 · Marcelo BARROS
3. Puntos y retos delicados para el diálogo
Hay varios comentarios del Corán que insisten en evitar a priori
posiciones rígidas y dogmáticas. Un haddit cuenta que el profeta saludó
con paz (salam) a creyentes y no creyentes, adoradores Deus 2.
El llamado a la moderación y la apertura al diálogo es también para
las personas que no tienen el libro, tal como aparece claro en el versículo
108 de la sura 6: "Y no insultéis los que invocan a otros en vez de a Dios".
Por parte de los cristianos, aunque no podamos hablar de un diálogo propiamente tal, hoy se sabe que los místicos islámicos medievales,
influenciaron profundamente místicos cristianos como Santa Teresa de
Ávila y tal vez incluso Juan de la Cruz que, aun sin citarlos, en varios de
sus escritos, tiene textos muy similares a los místicos sufíes medievales.
Por supuesto, cuando se trata de este tema, yo sólo puedo mirarlo
desde una perspectiva cristiana. Debemos escuchar a los hermanos y
hermanas del Islam saber cómo se sienten ellos estos temas. Pero por el
momento establezcamos algunos principios y criterios:
1 - El diálogo es para entrar en la lógica del otro. Esto significa que
el otro –diferente– es bienvenido tal como es, en su diferencia radical; no
se trata de dialogar a partir de las similitudes y de los puntos de acuerdo.
2 - Acoger al otro y su fe como son, no conlleva una relativización
confusa de nuestra propia identidad. Aceptamos, sí, relativizar nuestra
expresión de la fe (no hacerlo significaría quedar presos del dogmatismo) para aprender del otro, sin que sea necesario creer como el otro, o
pensar como él.
3 - Con él, ampliamos nuestra visión y enriquecemos nuestra forma
de entender y vivir la fe, aceptamos las preguntas y cuestiones que el
encuentro y el diálogo nos proporcionan y estimulan.
Probablemente el diálogo entre cristianos y musulmanes nos será
de gran ayuda a los cristianos a aprender a vivir y expresar nuestra fe de
forma que la persona de Jesucristo no aparezca como obstáculo para el
diálogo con los judíos y musulmanes, que insisten en la unidad de Dios.
También podemos aprender del Islam y ayudarle a profundizar la relación entre la fe y la política, nuestra misión como creyentes en el mundo
de hoy.
2 Citado en SORAVIA, GIULIO, Il difícile dialogo islamo-cristiano, in «Confronti» 9, settembre
2011, pp. 57.
· 159
Que a Paz e a Justiça se beijem
entre cristãos e musulmanos!
Magali do Nascimento CUNHA
São Paulo, Brasil
Sou nascida cristã. Quando criança, passei por batismo e catequese
católica-romana e na adolescência, em função de convivência e convite de
um grupo de jovens, me tornei protestante, membro da Igreja Metodista,
na qual congrego até o presente. Devo muito à formação cristã que recebi.
Muito do que sou e da visão de mundo que construí, da busca pelo Reino
de Deus e sua justiça, se deve à leitura da Bíblia à luz da vida e da compreensão de que amar a Deus é amar o mundo e tudo o que nele existe.
Esta visão se ampliou com o meu engajamento no movimento ecumênico,
experiência marcante da juventude. Nele aprendi que ser cristã é ser promotora da paz com justiça, e que nesta pauta estão o respeito, o diálogo
e a cooperação entre as religiões.
E aí adentrei numa trajetória que tem sido árdua. Somos cercados por mensagens dentro e fora do campo religioso, em especial pelas
grandes mídias, que nos estimulam a competir com os próprios cristãos
e a condenar aqueles que não o são. Entre os não-cristãos passaram a se
destacar os muçulmanos, que nos últimos tempos, nos são apresentados
como ameaça mundial, "terroristas" que desejam o controlar o mundo.
Mais do que uma religião, o Islã nos é artificialmente representado como
uma força política que promove guerra e morte para alcançar os seus
propósitos de poder. Uma religião que tira a paz. Um inimigo do mundo,
mas acima de tudo, dos cristãos detentores da “verdadeira paz”. Uma pergunta-chave emerge, então, a partir desta imagem negativa, de negação
da dignidade dos muçulmanos: como ser fiel aos princípios ecumênicos
e falar de respeito, de diálogo e de cooperação com o Islã neste contexto
de guerra religiosa que se construiu?
160 · Magali do Nascimento CUNHA
Para responder esta pergunta, com base na minha trajetória cristã
e ecumênica, busco inspiração em dois elementos-chave da minha formação: a Bíblia cristã e as ações propostas pelo Conselho Mundial de
Igrejas.
A Bíblia está recheada de textos que ressaltam o apelo por paz. Ela
exalta o shalom que procede do Deus da Vida. Não a paz que se sente,
mas a paz que se vive, em todas as relações: familiares, do trabalho,
políticas, religiosas, ecológicas. Um dos anúncios da chegada do Deus
Conosco, o Messias, fala dele como “Príncipe da Paz”, que torna possível
que as armas e as “botas sujas de sangue sejam queimadas” (livro de
Isaías). O nascimento de Jesus de Nazaré é um anúncio de paz na terra
entre todas as pessoas de boa vontade (livro de Lucas). Imagens fantásticas! Mas há outra magnífica imagem nos escritos bíblicos, com um ensino
que não podemos desprezar. É uma das sentenças mais belas e vem do
Salmo 85: “A justiça e a paz se beijam”. O poeta faz uma afirmação significativa: justiça e paz são unidas por um laço. Só há justiça quando há
paz e vice-versa. Do contrário, se vive uma falsa paz e justiça.
Reavivando esta afirmação de fé está o trabalho do Conselho
Mundial de Igrejas (CMI), associação de 350 igrejas cristãs, evangélicas
e ortodoxas, tendo a Igreja Católica Romana como observadora. Criado
em 1948, o CMI é uma das mais significativas expressões do movimento
ecumênico mundial em ações concretas nos campos da unidade cristã,
da promoção da vida e do diálogo entre as religiões. Além disso, lidera
esforços de paz com justiça, de busca dos direitos humanos e da sustentabilidade da vida. A 10ª Assembleia do CMI (Coreia do Sul, no final de
2013), lançou um convite aos cristãos e às pessoas de boa vontade de
todo o mundo: unirem-se numa peregrinação de justiça e paz. Ele foi
assumido pelo próprio organismo em sua reunião de planejamento de
ações para os próximos sete anos, realizada em julho passado.
O convite para peregrinação tem uma mensagem importante: os
cristãos são peregrinos neste mundo, a caminho, como diz a Bíblia, de
“um novo céu e uma nova terra” (livro de Apocalipse). Vivem e trabalham
por essa causa. Por isso deve ser uma peregrinação “de” e não “por” justiça e paz. Não mais uma forma de ativismo cristão e sim um compromisso com o Deus do “shalom”. Uma jornada “de” justiça e paz que os cristãos mesmos devem testemunhar, dentro de suas comunidades religiosas,
entre elas e com as outras religiões, contagiando o mundo.
Destas bases emergem uma visão, como um sonho ecumênico
a se alcançar: a chave para o diálogo entre cristãos e muçulmanos, no
contexto estabelecido de guerra religiosa hoje pelos poderes hegemôni-
Que a Paz e a Justiça se beijem entre cristãos e musulmanos · 161
cos do nosso mundo, está no entendimento de que há uma caminhada
de comum de paz com justiça. Cristãos e muçulmanos como peregrinos
em busca de "um outro mundo possível", para usar a expressão cunhada
pelos Fórum Social Mundial. Por isso é que, na perspectiva do Conselho
Mundial de Igrejas, o que dá sentido ao diálogo entre as religiões é o
encontro que resulta em cooperação: o diálogo com cooperação religiosa
na construção de um mundo de paz com justiça.
E para que isto aconteça, é preciso, primeiro, garantir a perspectiva
da justiça com o outro, o que significa, para os cristãos, uma revisão do
olhar sobre o Islã. Além de ser visto equivocadamente, por muitos cristãos, como uma religião de natureza intolerante, violenta e ameaçadora,
o Islã tem sido compreendido como um grupo religioso monolítico. Isto
quer dizer que se tem a noção de que em qualquer contexto em que se
esteja temos o mesmo e o único Islã. Esta visão ignora a diversidade de
teologias e de pensamento filosófico e jurídico, bem como de formas
de devoção popular. Aqui temos um elemento em comum entre cristãos
e muçulmanos: assim como se tem claro que os primeiros não são um
único grupo, é preciso ter a clareza de que os segundos também não o
são.
No entanto é preciso também compreender que, com toda essa
diversidade, há forte convicção que une os muçulmanos e suas diferentes
teologias e filosofias: aquela que afirma que Deus é fonte de toda a vida
e de tudo o que existe. Esta convicção leva à compreensão da soberania
absoluta de Deus sobre a criação o que torna impossível honrar como
divina qualquer pessoa ou qualquer coisa que não seja Deus. Daí o
rechaço a toda forma de idolatria. Dela deriva outra forte compreensão:
a de que Deus é justo, o que significa que Deus deseja que o ser humano
(que Deus nomeou como seu mordomo [Khalifah] na terra) conheça e
pratique a vontade de Deus. Por isso Deus é um Deus misericordioso e
cuida, por meio do envio de uma sucessão de mensageiros, que todas
as pessoas conheçam a vontade de Deus. Daí o Islã ensinar que desde
o início da história, Deus tem revelado sua vontade à humanidade. É
neste sentido que se institui o termo "muçulmano": aquele que se rende
totalmente, aceita e leva consigo a vontade de Deus. Isto é mais do que
entender "muçulmano" simplesmente como o membro da comunidade
islâmica.
Estas afirmações se encontram no importante documento do
Conselho Mundial de Igrejas intitulado "Questões nas relações cristãosmuçulmanos: considerações ecumênicas" (1992). Elas ressaltam tais
compreensões de fé como elementos comuns que unem cristãos e muçulmanos, e que de forma alguma eliminam as diferenças entre as duas
162 · Magali do Nascimento CUNHA
concepções de fé. Representam, sim, motivação para a caminhada de cooperação e estímulo para a superação das dificuldades que as distinções
teológicas certamente trazem.
E um elemento muito importante neste reconhecimento mútuo: a
paz está no coração tanto do Cristianismo como do Islamismo. Como já
mencionado nesta reflexão, a paz está no coração da espiritualidade cristã
e na redação dos textos bíblicos. No Islã as-salâm (Paz) é um dos nomes
de Deus. Muçulmanos, quando se encontram, se cumprimentam com a
expressão as-salâm alaikum (Paz seja contigo). Aí está uma contribuição
importante na peregrinação destes dois grupos religiosos neste mundo:
a paz que dá sentido à sua fé é fonte de promoção de ações de justiça
trabalhando juntos por relações sociais e raciais igualitárias, pela defesa
dos direitos humanos, pela promoção e garantia da liberdade de crença,
pela solução de conflitos sociopolíticos e econômicos de forma pacífica.
É por isso que neste tempo em que vidas inocentes perecem por
políticas injustas, seja em terras longínquas ou na esquina mais próxima,
fica o chamado pela unidade em torno da peregrinação de justiça e paz.
Que comunidades e líderes religiosos convertam discursos em palavras e
ações que tornem possível que a justiça e a paz se beijem.
· 163
Peace and Justice Kiss Each Other
between Christian and Muslims!
Magali do Nascimento CUNHA
São Paulo, Brazil
I am a Christian born. As a child, I went through baptism and
Roman Catholic catechesis and when teenager, due to acquaintanceship
and invitation by a youth group, I became a Protestant, member of the
Methodist Church, with which I am linked up to present. I owe a lot to
the Christian formation I received. Much of what I am and the world view
that I built, the search for the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, is
due to the reading of the Bible in the light of life and the understanding
that to love God is to love the world and everything that exists in it. This
vision broadened with my engagement in the ecumenical movement,
remarkable experience of youth. There I learned that being a Christian is
to be a promoter of peace with justice, and that in this agenda there are
respect, dialogue and cooperation between religions.
I entered a path that has been arduous. We are surrounded by
messages in and out of the religious field, especially by the larger
media, which encourage us to compete with Christians and to condemn
those who are not. Among the non-Christians, the Muslims began to be
highlighted. In recent times, they have been presented to us as a global
threat, "terrorists" who want to control the world. More than a religion,
Islam is artificially represented as a political force that promotes war and
death to achieve its power purposes. A religion that steals our peace. An
enemy of the world, but above all, enemies of Christians, the holders of
the "true peace". A key question arises, then, from this negative image,
denial of the dignity of Muslims: how to be faithful to the ecumenical
164 · Magali do Nascimento CUNHA
principles and speak of respect, dialogue and cooperation with Islam in
this context of religious war that has been constructed?
To answer this question, based on my Christian and ecumenical path, I seek inspiration from two key elements of my formation:
the Christian Bible and the actions proposed by the World Council of
Churches.
The Bible is full of texts that highlight the call for peace. It exalts
the shalom which proceeds from the God of Life. Not the peace that is
felt, but the peace that is lived in all relationships: family, work, political,
religious, ecological. One of the announcements of the arrival of God
with us, the Messiah, speaks of him as "Prince of Peace", which makes it
possible for weapons and "blood-stained uniforms to be burned" (Isaiah).
The birth of Jesus of Nazareth is a proclamation of peace on earth among
all people of good will (Luke book). Great pictures! But there is another
magnificent picture in biblical writings, with a teaching that cannot be
overlooked. It is one of the most beautiful sentences and comes from
Psalm 85: "Justice and peace kiss each other." The poet makes a significant statement: justice and peace are joined by a tie. There is only justice
when there is peace and vice versa. Otherwise, we live a false peace and
justice.
Reviving this statement of faith is the work of the World Council
of Churches (WCC), an association of 350 Christian, Evangelical and
Orthodox churches, and the Roman Catholic Church as an observer.
Created in 1948, the WCC is one of the most significant expressions of
the worldwide ecumenical movement into concrete actions in the fields
of Christian unity, the promotion of life and dialogue between religions.
In addition, heads of peace efforts with justice, seeking human rights and
sustainability of life. The 10th WCC Assembly (South Korea, at the end of
2013), issued an invitation to Christians and people of goodwill around
the world: join a pilgrimage of justice and peace. It was assumed by WCC
itself in its action planning meeting for the next seven years, held last
July 2014.
The invitation to pilgrimage has an important message: Christians
are pilgrims in this world, the way, as the Bible says, of "a new heaven
and a new earth" (book of Revelation). Live and work for this cause. So
it should be a pilgrimage "of" and not "with" justice and peace. No longer
a form of Christian activism but a commitment to the God of "shalom". A
journey "of" justice and peace that Christians must witness them, within
their religious communities, between them and with other religions, contaminating the world.
Peace and Justice Kiss Each Other Between Christian adn Muslims · 165
From these bases emerge a vision, an ecumenical dream to achieve:
the key to dialogue between Christians and Muslims in the context of a
religious war established today by the hegemonic powers of our world,
is the understanding that there is a common joruney of peace with justice. Christians and Muslims as pilgrims in search for "another possible
world", to use the expression coined by the World Social Forum. That is
why, in view of the World Council of Churches, the element that gives
meaning to the dialogue between religions is the encounter that results
in cooperation: dialogue with religious cooperation in building a world
of peace with justice.
And for this to happen, we must first ensure the perspective of
justice with the other, which means, for Christians, a review of the look
on Islam. Besides being mistakenly seen by many Christians as a religion
of intolerance, violence and threatening, Islam has been understood as
a monolithic religious group. This means that there is the notion that in
any context in which it is there is the same and the only Islam. This view
ignores the diversity of theology and philosophical and legal thinking, as
well as forms of popular devotion. Here we have an element in common
between Christians and Muslims: as it has been clear that the former are
not a single group, there must have been the clarity that the latter also
are not.
However it is also necessary to understand that with all this diversity, there is a strong conviction that unites Muslims and their different
theologies and philosophies: the one that says that God is the source of
all life and all that exists. This conviction leads to the understanding of
the absolute sovereignty of God over creation which makes it impossible to honor as divine anyone or anything other than God. Hence the
rejection of all forms of idolatry. Another strong understanding derives
from it: that God is righteous, meaning that God wishes human beings
(appointed by God as his steward [Khalifah] on earth) know and do the
will of God. Therefore God is a merciful God and makes, by sending a
succession of messengers, that all people know the will of God. Hence
Islam teaches that from the beginning of history, God has revealed His
will to humankind. It is in this sense that the term "Muslim" was established: one who surrenders and fully accepts and carries the will of God.
This is more than understanding "Muslim" simply as a member of the
Islamic community.
These statements are in the important document of the World
Council of Churches entitled "Issues in Christian-Muslim relations: ecumenical considerations" (1992). They point out such understandings of
faith as common elements that unite Christians and Muslims, and that in
166 · Magali do Nascimento CUNHA
no way eliminate the differences between the two conceptions of faith.
Represent, yes, motivation for cooperation and encouragement to walk
to overcome the difficulties that theological distinctions certainly bring.
And a very important element in this mutual recognition: peace is
at the heart of both Christianity and Islam. As already mentioned in this
reflection, peace is at the heart of Christian spirituality and in the writing
of biblical texts. In Islam as-Salam (Peace) is one of the names of God.
Muslims, when they meet, greet with the words As-Salam alaikum (Peace
be with you). There is an important contribution in the pilgrimage of
these two religious groups in this world: the peace that gives meaning to
their faith is a source of promoting justice actions working together for
equal social and racial relations, the defense of human rights, promotion
and guarantee of freedom of belief, the peaceful solution of social, political and economic conflicts.
That is why at this time, when innocent lives perish by unfair policies, whether in distant lands or in the nearest corner, echoes the call for
unity around the pilgrimage of justice and peace. May religious communities and leaders convert their speeches into words and actions that make
it possible for justice and peace kiss each other.
· 167
Jubileu do Diálogo
Rabino Michel SCHLESINGER
São Paulo, Brasil
Shamai e Hilel discutiram incontáveis assuntos legais por muitos
anos. Em certo momento, conta o Talmude, saiu uma voz do céu e declarou: “Elu VeElu Divrei Elohim Chaim VeHalachá KeBeit Hilel”, “estas e
também aquelas são palavras do Deus vivo, no entanto a Lei será determinada conforme a opinião de Hilel”.
Nossos sábios se perguntaram: se ambos possuem razão, então qual
o critério para se determinar a lei? E a resposta é maravilhosa. Hilel mereceu que a lei fosse determinada da sua maneira porque sabia dialogar
com elegância. Citava a opinião do seu oponente sempre com respeito,
antes mesmo de citar seu próprio pensamento.
O Jubileu de Ouro do Concílio Vaticano Segundo e da Declaração
Nostra Aetate, nos convidam a uma profunda reflexão sobre as conquistas
e desafios do diálogo católico-judaico.
Nos últimos cinqüenta anos, sociedades de todo o mundo organizaram grupos de diálogo e aprofundaram o trabalho de conhecimento
mútuo. No Brasil, a Comissão Nacional de Diálogo Católico-Judaico completou trinta anos de existência trabalhando em quatro diferentes esferas:
a teológica, social, pessoal e institucional.
Religiosos católicos e judeus se reúnem com freqüência em diversas
cidades brasileiras para estudar a tradição religiosa do outro, traduzindo
em pesquisa e análise o empenho de aproximação teológica. No âmbito social, unimos forças para promover causas comuns como a ética, a
168 · Michel SCHLESINGER
consciência ambiental, a segurança, a justiça social, entre tantas outras.
Vínculos pessoais entre líderes de ambas as comunidades foram estabelecidos e são constantemente fortalecidos.
Finalmente atuamos para aproximar as instituições da comunidade
judaica como a Confederação Israelita do Brasil (ConIB) e as diversas
Federações Israelitas das instituições católicas como a CNBB e o Celam.
Embora em estágio mais embrionário, importantes iniciativas vem
sendo realizadas com a comunidade muçulmana também. Em 2014, foi
realizado um simpósio inter-religioso na PUC de São Paulo, organizado
por judeus, cristãos e muçulmanos.
O desafio que nos aguarda para os próximos cinqüenta, em minha
opinião, é muito claro. Precisamos fazer com que o diálogo inter-religioso atinja também nossos congregantes. O membro comum de nossas
comunidades ainda não conhece o trabalho inter-religioso e, por vezes,
propaga preconceitos por total ignorância da natureza daquele que lhe
é diferente.
Muitas são nossas semelhanças, ao mesmo tempo, temos algumas
convicções distintas. Assim como Shamai e Hilel, não seremos julgados
pela verdade de nosso discurso, porque cada religião tem sua verdade,
mas pela elegância com que conduziremos as discussões.
Shalom.
· 169
Cincuenta años de diálogo
judeo-islamo cristiano
Rabino Michel SCHLESINGER
São Paulo, Brasil
Shamai y Hillel discutieron incontables problemas legales durante
muchos años. En un momento dado, cuenta el Talmud, se oyó una voz
desde el cielo, que dijo: "Elu VeElu Divrei Jaim Elohim VeHalachá KeBeit
Hillel", "éstas y también aquéllas son palabras del Dios viviente, pero la
ley se determinará de acuerdo con la opinión de Hillel" .
Nuestros sabios se preguntaron: si ambos tienen razón, entonces
¿cuál es el criterio para determinar la ley? Y la respuesta es maravillosa.
Hillel mereció que la ley fuese determinada a su manera, porque sabía
dialogar con elegancia. Citada la opinión de su oponente siempre con
respeto, incluso antes de mencionar su propio pensamiento.
El aniversario de los 50 años del Concilio Vaticano Segundo y de la
Declaración Nostra Aetate nos invita a una profunda reflexión sobre los
logros y los desafíos del diálogo entre católicos y judíos.
En los últimos cincuenta años, en las sociedades de todo el mundo
se organizan grupos de diálogo y se profundiza en la tarea del conocimiento mutuo. En Brasil, la Comisión Nacional para el Diálogo CatólicoJudío ha completado treinta años de trabajo en cuatro áreas diferentes: la
teológica, la social, la personal y la institucional.
Religiosos católicos y judíos se reúnen con frecuencia en diversas
ciudades de Brasil para estudiar la tradición religiosa del otro, transformando así en investigación y el análisis la voluntad que se tiene de acerca-
170 · Michel SCHLESINGER
miento teológico. En el ámbito social, unimos fuerzas para promover causas comunes, tales como la ética, la conciencia ambiental, la seguridad, la
justicia social, entre muchas otras. Lazos personales entre los líderes de
ambas comunidades se han establecido y se fortalecen constantemente.
Finalmente, trabajamos para aproximar las instituciones de la
comunidad judía, como la Confederación Judía de Brasil (ConIB) y las
distintas Federaciones Israelitas, con las instituciones católicas, como la
CNBB y el CELAM.
Aunque en fase más embrionaria, iniciativas importantes se han
realizado también respecto de la comunidad musulmana. En 2014, se
realizó un simposio interreligioso en la PUC de São Paulo, organizado por
judíos, cristianos y musulmanes.
El reto que nos espera para los próximos cincuenta años, en mi
opinión, es muy claro. Tenemos que hacer que el diálogo interreligioso
alcance también a nuestras feligresías. El miembro medio de nuestras
comunidades todavía no conoce el trabajo interreligioso y, a veces, propaga prejuicios por2ue desconoce totalmente la naturaleza de lo que es
diferente.
Muchas son nuestras semejanzas, y al mismo tiempo, tenemos
algunas convicciones diferentes. Como Shamai y Hillel no serán juzgados
por la verdad de nuestro discurso, ya que cada religión tiene su verdad,
sino por la elegancia con que seamos capaces de llevar a cabo nuestros
diálogos.
Shalom.
· 171
Fifty years of
Jewish-Islam-Christian Dialogue
Rabino Michel SCHLESINGER
São Paulo, Brazil
Translation of César Padilla
Shammai and Hillel discussed countless legal problems for many
years. At one point, says the Talmud, a voice came from heaven, which
said: "Elu VeElu Divrei Jaim Elohim VeHalachá KeBeit Hillel": "These and
those are words of the living God, but the law is determined in accordance with the opinion of Hillel.” Our sages asked: if both are right, then
what is the criterion for determining the law? And the answer is wonderful. Hillel deserved that the law was given in his own way, because he
knew to dialogue with elegance. Cited the opinion of his opponent always
with respect, even before mentioning his own thinking.
The anniversary of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and the
Declaration Nostra Aetate invites us to a profound reflection on the achievements and challenges of dialogue between Catholics and Jews.
In the last fifty years, societies worldwide dialogue groups are
organized and delves into the task of acquaintance. In Brazil, the National
Commission for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue has completed thirty years
working in four different areas: the theological, social, personal and institutional.
Religious Catholics and Jews meet regularly in various cities in
Brazil to study the religious traditions of each other, thus transforming
research and analysis the will we have of theological approach. In the
172 · Michel SCHLESINGER
social sphere, we join forces to promote common causes, such as ethics,
environmental awareness, security, social justice, among many others.
Personal ties between the leaders of both communities have been established and are constantly strengthened.
Finally, we work to bring the institutions of the Jewish community,
as the Jewish Confederation of Brazil (CONIB) and the various Israelites
Federations, with Catholic institutions like the CNBB and CELAM.
Although in most embryonic stages, important initiatives have also
been made with respect to the Muslim community. In 2014, an interfaith symposium was held at the PUC of São Paulo, organized by Jews,
Christians and Muslims.
The challenge ahead for the next fifty years, in my opinion, is very
clear. We have to accomplish that interreligious dialogue also reaches our
parishes. The average member of our community do not know yet about
interfaith work and sometimes spreads prejudices because it totally ignores the nature of what is different.
Many are our similarities, and at the same time, we have some
different beliefs. As Shammai and Hillel will not be judged by the truth
of our discourse, as each religion has its truth, but for the elegance with
which we are able to carry out our dialogues.
Shalom.
· 173
Principios judaico-islamo-cristianos
para el diálogo religioso y cultural
y la construcción de la paz mundial
José María VIGIL
Panamá, Panamá
Los 3 monoteísmos abarcan juntos a más de la mitad de la humanidad. Juntos somos responsables, también, más de las dos terceras partes... tanto de la economía mundial, como de las fuerzas destructivas del
planeta... Propiciar el entendimiento entre los tres monoteísmos sería la
urgencia política mayor para los intereses de la biosfera, de los pobres,
de la paz y de el buen vivir en el planeta.
Proponemos volver a los principios abrahámicos que brotan del
origen común de esta plataforma religiosa de la humanidad, ampliándolos
con la experiencia conseguida en el decurso de su desarrollo histórico y
con los aportes de la ciencia actual.
Proponemos concretamente plantearnos un primado teo-abrahámico (la memoria permanente del Dios de Abraham), el principio
del amor-justicia característico de la tradición abrahámica, el principio
pluralista inherente a la familia abrahámica y a su experiencia histórica
penitencialmente asumida, el principio oikocéntrico (ecocentrado) o de
vuelta a nuestros orígenes telúricos, después de nuestra huida sobrenaturalista, y el principio del shalom-shalam universal como utopía permanente y omnipresente, que no podemos de ninguna manera abandonar.
Desglosamos brevemente estos principios, como propuesta de diálogo humano e inter-religioso.
Primado teo-abrahámico
Somos un Pueblo elegido, conformado por pueblos también llamados, convocados, todos con su dignidad, su peculiaridad, su gracia, sus
dones, su contribución singular. Y todos juntos formamos la gran familia
humana, derramada, como las arenas de la playa, por todos los mares de
este planeta.
174 · José María VIGIL
La familia que es familia, permanece unida. Quienes se saben hijos
de un mismo padre, se sienten unidos, mutuamente queridos y apreciados, incapaces de malquerencia, ni siquiera de indiferencia. Somos
la misma familia, provenimos de la misma raíz, llevamos en nosotros el
mismo ADN divino, permanentemente heredado, acogido, agradecido...
y cuidado, elaborado, enriquecido, valorado y entregado a nuestros descendientes.
Como familia humana somos también una única y misma familia,
convocada de entre una inmensa diversidad unificada. Un mismo y único
común padre mayor Abraham, Dios mismo, nos convoca, de entre todas
las religiones de la Tierra. Este llamado, superior y universal, merece la
pena que sea percibido, escuchado, atendido y humildemente secundado.
Cada una de las religiones hará bien en renovar en sí misma la
intuición del primado teo-abrahámico: hay un principio superior, una
fuerza divina, que nos convoca con una fuerza superior a la de nuestros
propios llamados locales. Es una voz que nos convoca a salir de nuestras
acostumbradas seguridades, de nuestra tierra conocida, de nuestro aislamiento individualista, para hacernos sentir –y ser realmente– humanidad
mundial, familia humano-divina unida.
Principio del amor-justicia
El primer principio ético que caracteriza a la familia religiosa abrahámica es el del amor-justicia, también llamado de la misericordia, una
actitud profunda que nos hace sentir «entrañas de misericordia», una actitud espiritual sentida cuasi-físicamente incluso en nuestra propia carne,
ante todo sufrimiento.
Es una misericordia que vibra primeramente ante el mal que nos
atenaza y oprime. No puede hacer las paces con situaciones de injusticia
y opresión. Toda criatura que sufre tiene derecho a nuestra solidaridad, a
nuestro compromiso por su liberación.
Ante todo la justicia, y además, enmarcándolo y sobreabundándolo
todo, el amor, la bondad, la ternura incluso.
La misericordia radical ante todo sufrimiento, y la opción por la
justicia, se traducen para nosotros en una opción por todos los injusticiados, por los que están siendo oprimidos, por los pobres, como una sensibilidad radical que nos lleva a sentirnos siempre orientados en esta vida
hacia los valores de la Justicia y del amor, en la defensa de los pobres, de
las víctimas, de los injusticiados.
Principios islamo-cristianos para el diálogo y la paz · 175
Principio pluralista
Muchas religiones están saliendo de una actitud que todos hemos
vivido en el pasado, pero que, hoy día, a la luz de una nueva imagen de
Dios, nos parece obvio que debemos superar: se trata del exclusivismo, la
perspectiva primitiva que nos hizo pensar que nosotros, y sólo nosotros,
gozábamos del favor de Dios; que sólo nosotros le conocíamos correctamente; que sólo nosotros éramos portadores de salvación...
Teníamos una imagen de Dios muy pequeña, muy nuestra, muy
«tribal»... Nos creíamos representantes, lugartenientes de Dios ante las
demás culturas y religiones, a las que mirábamos como de segunda categoría, menos queridas por Dios.
Una nueva imagen de Dios nos ha hecho descubrirlo más grande,
infinitamente grande, inabarcable, sin límites ni fronteras. Es el Dios de
todos los pueblos de todos los nombres, de todas las religiones... No es
ya «nuestro» Dios, ni nos sentimos ante él privilegiados o escogidos...
Dios es un Dios universal, sin acepción de personas, ni de religiones ni
de pueblos.
Por eso, muchas personas de entre nosotros, están madurando la
idea de que debemos renunciar a la idea de «elección». Nos pareció ser
los elegidos, los privilegiados de Dios, frente a la masa de las religiones
«humanas o naturales»...
Hoy reconocemos con gozo que todas las religiones son hermanas,
todas respuestas humanas al Misterio Divino, y por eso, todas tienen su
validez y su peculiaridad irrepetible, su carisma, su gracia. Y también por
eso, todas se complementan, y todas nos enriquecen.
Es la hora de despatrimonializar las religiones, de abolir fronteras
y aduanas espirituales, declarando públicas todas las fuentes espirituales,
para que todos podamos satisfacer nuestra sed en todas ellas.
Principio ecocéntrico
Éste es un nuevo principio que apenas estamos descubriendo,
pero que debemos adoptar, y debemos asumirlo con urgencia. Por las
limitaciones que nuestro género humano ha experimentado en los últimos milenios (parece que antes no fuimos así), venimos de un tiempo
reciente en el que hemos estado encerrados en una ideología apartada de
la naturaleza, autoentronizada en un llamado mundo «sobrenatural», en
el que creíamos ser superiores y no ser dependientes del mundo natural.
Esa ideología nos llevó a creernos fundamentalmente racionales y
espirituales, alejados de la carne y de la materia, pendientes sólo de «otro
176 · José María VIGIL
mundo» situado en un piso superior, del que dependería todo en este
mundo de abajo en el que vivimos. Por eso, hemos pasado por la naturaleza con aire de superioridad, considerándola sólo como una despensa
de recursos a nuestro servicio. Hemos considerado a los demás seres
vivos como seres inferiores creados únicamente para nuestro omnímodo
servicio.
Con esta forma tan antropocéntrica de ver el mundo, nos hemos
convertido en explotadores de todos los recursos, y con el crecimiento
incontenible de nuestras capacidades, y nuestra superpoblación del planeta, nos hemos convertido en una carga que este planeta no está en
capacidad de soportar, estándonos acercando a una crisis de supervivencia planetaria.
El error de considerar el mundo como algo profano, no sagrado,
pura materialidad... nos ha hecho mucho daño, y todavía no hemos corregido la visión que nos ha traído hasta aquí, en la que las religiones –las
nuestras muy en concreto– son muy responsables del daño causado. Son
por eso igualmente responsables de la necesidad de suscitar la concienciad de la necesidad de salir de esta situación.
Las religiones, que hemos sido las principales educadoras de nuestros pueblos, con la fuerza religiosa que llevamos entre manos, somos
responsables de desmontar aquella visión utilitaria de la naturaleza, y
aquella sensibilidad insensible a su naturaleza espiritual. Necesitamos
unos nuevos ojos, una nueva sensibilidad, para que cambien nuestro
corazón y nuestras manos, y dejemos de hacer la guerra a la vida en todas
sus formas. como hasta el presente estamos haciendo.
Principio Shalom-Shalam
La Paz, Shalom, Shalam, ha sido siempre muy querida para nuestra
familia abrahámica. Ahora renovamos esa querencia desde una perspectiva universal, planetaria, como corresponde a estos tiempos mundializados. Sabemos que somos co-responsables de la paz del mundo y queremos ser fieles a esa corresponsabilidad.
Nos sentimos obligados a luchar por la paz, poniendo en primer
lugar la aportación primera que las religiones deben hacer a esa lucha
por la paz. No habrá paz en el mundo mientras no haya paz entre las
religiones, y no habrá paz entre las religiones mientras no cambien de
mentalidad, de visión, y adopten una que esté a la altura de los tiempos
actuales: inclaudicables ante injusticia, embebidas entrañablemente de
amor, abiertas en una visión radicalmente pluralista, sintiéndose hermanas universales de todos los seres animados e inanimados.
Principios islamo-cristianos para el diálogo y la paz · 177
Es la hora de levantar un movimiento religioso de base que opte
decididamente por crear conciencia sobre la urgencia máxima que esto
reviste para los intereses de la Humanidad, para los intereses de las mismas religiones, y para la misma sobrevivencia de la vida en este planeta.
Se trataría de
volver a nuestras fuentes abrahámicas,
a nuestro hogar térreo-espiritual,
para desde ahí elaborar una estrategia concreta
de peregrinación abrahámica,
a la búsqueda de la utopía
de la Tierra Prometida y Recuperada.
Next
World Forum on Theology and Liberation
to be held at
TUNNIS, March 25-28, 2015
See information about at its webpage:
http://wftlofficial.org
and its tentative program, here at pag. 243
178 ·
Escritos sobre Pluralismo 1992-2012
José María VIGIL
Partially multilingual edition
Free downloadable at: servicioskoinonia.org/LibrosDigitales
Printable originals with full resolution can be requested
for local editions without profit purposes.
· 179
Jewish-Islam-Christian Principles
for the cultural-religous dialogue
and the construction of world peace
José María VIGIL
Panamá, Panamá
The three monotheisms cover together more than half of humanity.
Together we are responsible, as well, for more than two thirds… both of
world economy and of the destructive forces of the planet… To foster an
understanding among the three monotheisms would be the major political
urgency for the interests of the biosphere, the poor, peace and the well
being of the planet.
We propose to go back to the Abraham principles that emerge from
the common origins of this religious platform of humanity, widening them
with the experience got during its historical development and with the
input of present science.
We concretely suggest we should propose a Theo-Abraham primacy (the permanent memory of the God of Abraham), the principle of
love-justice characteristic of the Abraham tradition, the pluralistic principle inherent to the Abraham family and its historic experience assumed
in penitence, the oiko-centric principle (centered on ecology) or of a
comeback to our telluric origins, after our supernatural and omnipresent
escape, and the universal shalom-shalam principle as permanent and
omnipresent utopia, which we should never abandon.
We briefly develop these principles as a proposal for a human and
inter-religious dialogue.
Theo-Abraham Primacy
We are a chosen People, formed by peoples also called, summoned,
all with their dignity, peculiarity, grace, gifts, particular contribution. And
all together we form the great human family, spread, like the sand on the
beach, over all the seas of this planet.
180 · José María VIGIL
The family which is family remains together. Those who know they
are children of the same father feel united, mutually loved and appreciated, incapable of ill will, not even of indifference. We are one family, we
come from the same root, we carry in ourselves the same divine DNA,
permanently inherited, welcomed, thankful… and cared, elaborated, enriched, valued and handed down to our descendants.
As a human family we are also a unique and same family, called
among a unified vast diversity. One and same common father, Abraham,
God himself, summons us, among all religions on Earth. This call, superior
and universal, is worth perceiving, heard, assisted and humbly seconded.
Each one of the religions will do well in renewing within itself the
intuition of the Theo-Abraham primacy: there is a superior principle, a
divine force that calls us with a force greater than our own local calls. It
is a voice that summons us to leave our customary securities, our known
land, and our individualistic isolation, to make us feel –and really be– a
global humanity, a united human-divine family.
Principle of love-justice
The first moral principle that characterizes the Abraham religious
family is that of love-justice, also called mercy, a profound attitude that
makes us feel heart-felt compassion, a spiritual attitude felt almost physically even in our own flesh, facing all suffering.
It is a compassion that firstly vibrates in front of the bad things that
grip and press us. It cannot come to terms with situations of injustice and
oppression. All creatures that suffer have the right to our solidarity, to our
commitment for their liberation.
Above all justice, and also, framing and covering it all, love, goodness, even tenderness.
A radical compassion before all suffering, and an option for justice, mean for us an option for all those who suffer injustice, for those
oppressed, for the poor, like a radical sensitivity that makes us feel always
oriented towards the values of Justice and love in this life, in the defense
of the poor, the oppressed, the victims of injustice.
A Pluralistic Principle
We feel that at this time when many religions are leaving an attitude we have all had in the past, but that today, under the light of a new
image of God, it seems obvious we must overcome it. It is exclusiveness,
a primitive perspective which led us to think we, and only us, enjoyed
Jewish-Islam-Christian Principles for the cultural-religious dialogue · 181
God’s favor, only us knew him correctly, only us were the owners of
salvation…
We had a very small image of God, our own image, very “tribal”…
We believed to be God’s representatives, lieutenants before other cultures
and religions, which we looked down on as second class, less dear to
God.
A new image of God has allowed us to discover him as greater, infinitely greater, and unfathomable, without limits or boundaries. It is God
of all peoples, of all names, of all religions… It is not just “our” God, we
do not even feel we were the chosen or privileged… God is a universal
God, not bound to persons, religions or peoples.
Therefore, many persons among us are maturing the idea that we
have to renounce the idea of “chosen”. We thought we were the chosen,
the privileged of God, before a mass of “human or natural” religions…
Today we recognize joyfully that all religions are sisters, all are
human answers to the Divine Mystery, and hence, they all have their
value and unique peculiarity, charisma, grace. And as well because of it,
they are all complementary, and they all enrich us.
It is time to take away from religions the patrimony of faith, to abolish borders and spiritual customs, declaring all spiritual sources public,
so that we can all satisfy our thirst for them.
Eco-centered Principle
This is a new principle we are just now discovering, but that we
must adopt, and assume it urgently. Due to the limitations human beings
have experienced in the last millennia (it seems we were not like this
before), we come from a recent time in which we have been isolated in an
ideology separated from nature, self-enthroned in a so called “supernatural” world, in which we believed we were superior and did not depend
on the natural world.
This ideology led us to believe ourselves to be mainly rational and
spiritual, separated from flesh and matter, only concentrated in “another
world” situated above us, from which everything down here where we
live depended. This is why we have passed through nature with an air of
superiority, considering it just as a larder of resources to our service. We
have considered the other living beings as inferior to us, created just for
our almighty service.
Following this anthropocentric way of seeing the world, we have
turned into exploiters of all resources, and with the uncontrollable deve-
182 · José María VIGIL
lopment of our capacities, and our overpopulation of the planet, we have
become a burden this planet cannot sustain, reaching a crisis of planetary
survival.
The mistake of considering the world as something profane, not
sacred, just materiality… has harmed us greatly, and still we have not
corrected the view that has driven us up to here, in which religions –ours
very specifically– are greatly responsible for the harm caused. They are
therefore equally responsible for the need to arouse conscience for the
need to overcome this situation.
The religions, which have been the main educators of our peoples,
with the religious force we have, are responsible for dismantling that
utilitarian vision of nature, and that insensitive sensitivity towards its
spiritual nature. We need new eyes, a new sensitivity, so that our hearts
and hands can change and we stop making war to life in all its forms, as
we have done up to now.
Shalom-Shalam Principle
Peace, Shalom, Shalam, has been very dear to our Abraham family.
Now we renew our love for it from a universal perspective, planetary, as
it corresponds to these globalized times. We know we are co-responsible
for the peace in the world and we want to be faithful to this co-responsibility.
We feel obliged to fight for peace, placing in the first place the first
contribution religions must make to that fight for peace. There will be no
peace in the world if there is no peace among religions, and no peace
among religions while they do not change mentality, vision, and adopt
another one in accordance to present times: unyielding before injustice,
embedded in love, open to a radically pluralistic view, feeling themselves
as universal sisters to all animate and inanimate beings.
It is time to start a religious movement of the bases that would opt
decidedly to create conscience about the extreme urgency this implies for
the interests of Humanity, for the interests of religions themselves, and for
the survival of life on this planet.
It would imply
A return to our Abraham sources,
to our earth-spiritual home,
to elaborate from there a concrete strategy
of Abraham pilgrimage,
in search for the utopia
of the Promised and Recovered Land.
· 183
Principes judéo-islamo-chrétiens
pour le dialogue religieux et culturel
et la construction de la paix mondiale
José María VIGIL
Panamá, Panamá
Traduction de Bernadette FIEUX
Les trois monothéismes recouvrent ensemble plus de la moitié de
l'humanité. Ensemble nous sommes responsables, également, de plus des
deux tiers … tant de l'économie mondiale, que des forces destructrices
de la planète… Favoriser l'entente entre les trois monothéismes serait
l'urgence politique majeure pour les intérêts de la biosphère, des pauvres,
de la paix et du bien vivre de la planète.
Nous proposons de revenir aux principes abrahamiques qui naissent de cette plate-forme religieuse de l'humanité, en les élargissant avec
l'expérience acquise durant le cours de leur développement historique et
avec les apports de la science actuelle.
Nous proposons concrètement de nous placer dans une primauté téo-abrahamique (la mémoire permanente du Dieu d'Abraham), le
principe d'amour-justice caractéristique de la tradition abrahamique, le
principe pluraliste inhérent à la famille abrahamique et à son expérience
historique pénitentiellement assumée, le principe écocentré ou de retour
à nos origines telluriques, après notre fuite surnaturaliste, et le principe
du shalom-shalam universel, comme utopie permanente et omniprésente, qu'en aucune manière nous ne pouvons abandonner.
Détaillons brièvement ces principes, comme proposition de dialogue humain et inter-religieux.
184 · José María VIGIL
Primat téo-abrahamique
Nous sommes un Peuple élu, constitué de peuples également
choisis, convoqués, tous avec leur dignité, leur particularité, leur grâce,
leurs dons, leur contribution singulière. Et tous ensemble nous formons
la grande famille humaine, dispersée comme les sables de la plage, par
toutes les mers de cette planète.
La famille qui est famille, demeure unie; ceux qui se savent fils d'un
même père se sentent unis, mutuellement chéris et appréciés, incapables
de malveillance, ni même d'indifférence. Nous sommes la même famille,
nous provenons de la même racine, nous portons en nous le même ADN
divin, en permanence hérité, accueilli, reconnaissant… et entouré, élaboré, enrichi, valorisé et transmis à nos descendants.
Comme famille humaine nous sommes aussi une unique et même
famille, appelée au sein d'une immense diversité unifiée. Un même et
unique père commun Abraham, Dieu lui-même, nous convoque de toutes
les religions de la Terre. Cet appel, supérieur et universel, mérite la peine
qu'on l'entende, qu'on l'écoute, qu'on l'observe et humblement qu'on le
répercute.
Chacune des religions fera bien de rénover en elle-même l'intuition
du primat teo-abrahamique: il y a un principe supérieur, une force divine, qui nous convoque avec une force supérieure à celle de nos propres
appels locaux. C'est une voix qui nous appelle à sortir de nos sécurités
habituelles, de notre terre connue, de notre isolement individualiste,
pour nous faire sentir – et être réellement – humanité mondiale, famille
humano-divine unie.
Principe de l'amour-justice
Le premier principe éthique qui caractérise la famille religieuse
abrahamique est celui de l'amour-justice, appelé aussi de la miséricorde,
une attitude profonde qui nous fait ressentir les "entrailles de miséricorde", une attitude spirituelle ressentie quasi physiquement y compris dans
notre propre chair, avant toute souffrance.
C'est une miséricorde qui vibre en premier lieu avant même le mal
qui nous tourmente et nous opprime. Elle ne peut faire la paix avec les
situations d'injustice et d'oppression. Toute créature qui souffre a droit à
notre solidarité, à notre engagement pour sa libération.
Avant tout la justice et de plus, pour l'encadrer, et en surabondance, l'amour, la bonté, la tendresse incluse.
La miséricorde radicale avant toute souffrance, et l'option pour
la justice, se traduisent pour nous en une option pour toutes victimes
Principes islamo-judéo-chrétiens pour le dialogue religieux et la construction de la paix · 185
d'injustices, pour ceux qui sont opprimés, pour les pauvres, comme une
sensibilité radicale qui nous porte à nous sentir dans cette vie toujours
orientés vers les valeurs de justice et d'amour, vers la défense des pauvres, des victimes, de ceux à qui on ne rend pas justice.
Principe pluraliste
De nombreuses religions proviennent d'une attitude que nous
avons tous connue dans le passé, mais que, de nos jours, à la lumière
d'une nouvelle image de Dieu, il nous semble évident que nous devons
dépasser : il s'agit de l'exclusivisme, la perspective primitive qui nous fait
penser que nous, et nous seuls, jouissons de la faveur de Dieu, que nous
seuls le connaissons correctement, et que nous sommes les seuls porteurs
du salut…
Nous avions de Dieu une image très petite, très possessive, très
tribale… Nous nous croyions les représentants, les lieutenants de Dieu
face aux autres cultures et religions, que nous regardions comme étant
de seconde catégorie, moins aimées de Dieu.
Une nouvelle image de Dieu nous l'a fait découvrir plus grand,
infiniment grand, trop vaste, sans limites ni frontières. C'est le Dieu de
tous les peuples, de tous les noms, de toutes les religions… Ce n'est plus
"notre" Dieu et devant lui nous ne nous sentons plus privilégiés ou élus…
Dieu est un Dieu universel, sans acception de personnes, ni de religions
ni de peuples.
C'est pourquoi, beaucoup de personnes parmi nous mûrissent
l'idée que nous devrions renoncer à l'idée d"élection". Il nous semblait
être les élus,les privilégiés de Dieu, face à la masse des religions "humaines ou naturelles"…
Aujourd'hui nous reconnaissons avec joie que toutes les religions
sont sœurs, toutes sont des réponses humaines au Mystère Divin, et pour
cette raison, toutes ont leur validité et leur particularité unique, leur charisme, leur grâce. Et c'est pour cela aussi que toutes se complètent, et
toutes nous enrichissent.
Il est l'heure de dépatrimonialiser les religions, d'abolir les frontières et les douanes spirituelles, en déclarant publiques toutes les sources
spirituelles, pour que tous nous puissions satisfaire notre soif en elles.
Principe écocentrique
Ceci est un nouveau principe que nous venons tout juste de découvrir, mais que nous devons adopter, et nous devons l'assumer d'urgence.
186 · José María VIGIL
Pour les limitations que notre genre humain a expérimentées au cours
des derniers millénaires ( il semble qu'auparavant nous n'étions pas
ainsi), nous venons d'une époque récente dans laquelle nous avons été
enfermés dans une idéologie éloignée de la nature, auto-intronisée dans
un monde appelé "sur-naturel", dans lequel nous avons cru être supérieurs et non dépendants du monde naturel.
Cette idéologie nous a amenés à nous croire fondamentalement
rationnels et spirituels, éloignés de la chair et de la matière, dépendants
seulement de "l'autre monde" situé dans un étage supérieur duquel
dépendrait tout dans ce bas monde dans lequel nous vivons. C'est pourquoi nous sommes passés par la nature avec un air de supériorité, la
considérant seulement comme une réserve de ressources à notre service.
Nous avons considéré les autres êtres vivants comme des êtres inférieurs
créés uniquement pour notre service universel.
Avec cette manière si anthropocentrique de voir le monde, nous
nous sommes convertis en exploiteurs de toutes les ressources, et avec
la croissance irrépressible de nos capacités, et notre surpopulation de la
planète, nous sommes devenus une charge que cette planète n'est pas
en mesure de supporter, et nous nous rapprochons d'une crise de survie
planétaire.
L'erreur de considérer le monde comme quelque chose de profane,
de non sacré, de pure matérialité…nous a fait beaucoup de torts, et nous
n'avons pas encore corrigé la vision qui nous a amenés jusque-là, dans
laquelle les religions – les nôtres très précisément – sont très responsables du dommage causé. Elles sont également responsables de la nécessité de susciter la conscience h de la nécessité de sortir de cette situation.
Les religions, nous en avons fait les principales éducatrices de nos
peuples, avec la force religieuse que nous avons en mains, nous sommes
responsables de (démolir) modifier cette vision utilitaire de la nature,
et cette sensibilité insensible à sa nature spirituelle. Nous avons besoin
d'un regard nouveau, d'une sensibilité nouvelle, pour que changent notre
cœur et nos mains, et que nous cessions de faire la guerre à la vie sous
toutes ses formes, comme nous le faisons à présent.
Principe Shalom-Shalam
La Paix, Shalom, Shalam, a toujours été très chérie (aimée, appréciée) par notre famille abrahamique. A présent nous renouvelons cet
attachement (cette affection) à partir d'une perspective universelle, planétaire, comme il convient à notre temps mondialisé. Nous savons que
nous sommes co-responsables de la paix du monde et nous voulons être
fidèles à cette co-responsabilité.
Principes islamo-judéo-chrétiens pour le dialogue religieux et la construction de la paix · 187
Nous nous sentons obligés de lutter pour la paix, en mettant au
premier plan ( en avant ) la contribution première que les religions doivent apporter dans cette lutte pour la paix. Il n'y aura pas de paix dans
le monde tant qu'il n'y aura pas de paix entre les religions, et il n'y aura
pas de paix entre les religions tant qu'elles ne changeront pas de mentalités, de vision, et qu'elles n'en adopteront pas une qui soit à la hauteur
des temps actuels : fermes devant l'injustice, affectueusement imprégnées
d'amour, ouvertes à une vision radicalement pluraliste, conscientes d'être
les sœurs universelles de tous les êtres animés et inanimés.
Il est l'heure de faire naître un mouvement religieux de base qui
opte avec détermination pour créer une conscience sur l'urgence maximale que ceci revêt pour les intérêts de l'humanité, pour les intérêts des
religions elles-mêmes, et pour la survie de la vie sur cette planète.
Il s'agirait de revenir à nos sources abrahamiques,
à notre foyer terrien et spirituel,
pour élaborer à partir de là une stratégie concrète
de pérégrination abrahamique,
à la recherche de l'utopie
de la Terre Promise et Retrouvée (Récupérée).
188 ·
Colección «Tiempo Axial»: http://tiempoaxial.org
· 189
Fé e Razão em Diálogo Aberto
O Islam na origem do discurso democrático
Karina Arroyo Cruz Gomes de MENESES
São Paulo, Brasil
A construção histórica do discurso religioso
A palavra visa ao desvelamento do oculto. O desconhecido precisa
manifestar-se para se tornar perceptível e aceito. Partindo desse pressuposto é evidente que a expressão coletiva e a troca de informações são
a base primordial para o conhecimento do mundo e, principalmente do
outro. Se nossas origens são biologicamente e espiritualmente comuns, as
diferenças de qualquer natureza não levantam barreiras intransponíveis,
tampouco nos torna qualitativamente diferentes, apenas limitam nosso
espaço, que precisa ser transposto pelo debate livre e racional.
A expressão livre e desvinculada de objetivos estritamente políticos
ou comerciais foi largamente utilizada na Grécia, quando Anaximandro
(610-547 d.C.) relativizou a funcionalidade da escrita e propôs que pensássemos na expressão oral como uma forma de reflexão acerca de como
seria formado o cidadão, pois desde então, não se podia pensar o homem
fora de sua comunidade, à parte de uma coletividade. Tal concepção
admite, por conseguinte, que não se pode viver sem conflito, haja vista,
o coletivo contém a matriz ideológica de sua fundamentação cosmológica, no entanto, não pondera ou controla os sujeitos e seus impulsos
individuais. Anaximandro reinventa a linguagem, descobre a prosa, seus
recursos, reflexões, passa a examinar o discurso, compreender seus mecanismos, desperta ritmos que a regularidade métrica dos poemas sufocava.
A prosa e seu discurso deixaram o pequeno círculo dos privilegiados,
instalaram-se no espaço público e nunca mais saíram (SCHULER, 2002).
O poder intrínseco ao uso da palavra e sua evocação pelo discurso que, poderá conter em seus signos uma interface instrumental, com
técnicas de persuasão, tropos, simbolismo e seus múltiplos significados,
já era reconhecido como pertencente a uma natureza divina. Na época
em que Anaximandro revoluciona a escrita, ele rompe um rito sagrado
190 · Karina Arroyo Cruz Gomes de MENESES
exclusivo dos deuses e foge da autoridade divina. Confiada às Musas,
filhas da Memória e de Zeus, a linguagem oral estava subordinada ao
Deus Supremo. (Ibidem, pg. 25) Nesta evidência ontológica, já se constata
desde os primórdios, a valorização da expressão oral e o poder imanente
e contínuo dessa prática em suas múltiplas formas e funcionalidades. A
relação com o Sagrado encontra maior embasamento teórico em Eliade
(1992) que afirma que esses rompimentos com o Sagrado, conferem poder
ao homem de controlar a sociedade e sua ação no mundo, tornando o
espaço heterogêneo, pois ele passa e reconhecer determinados gestos
como ritos, separando o que era estritamente divino e intocável em algo
divino e reprodutível no cotidiano. Essa manifestação do sagrado no rito,
no gesto e, principalmente, na escrita funda ontologicamente o mundo e
passa a categorizar ações e objetos em sagrado e profano. A isso, dá-se
o nome de hierofania, quando uma realidade imediata transmuda numa
realidade sobrenatural. Para Anaximandro, o ato de escrever reproduz o
Sagrado, uma ação outrora exclusiva dos Deuses, e aproxima o Sagrado
para si, pois como num rito in illo tempore, escreve para sacralizar. E é
assim que todas as religiões observam a importância dos seus escritos.
Ora de origem unicamente Sagrada, ora escrita por inspiração Divina com
permissão do Sagrado, a escrita confere rigor ao pensamento, sem tirá-lo
da publicidade, para ser lido, pensado, comentado, para alimentar os que
pensam (SCHULER, 2202, pg. 27).
Se podemos constatar a ligação eterna das Religiões e sistemas de
pensamento com a escrita, não há dúvida que a expressão oral, traduzida
em seus derivados cânticos, poemas e prosas, carregados de figuras de
pensamento, de linguagem, ricos em polissemias imagéticas e detentores
de um poder eterno, são a chave de uma compreensão mais acuradas
acerca dos dogmas e dos fundamentos religiosos em geral. Neste ínterim,
e em paralelo, faz-se necessário um diálogo aberto e constante sobre os
conflitos que permeiam o cotidiano hodierno e que têm constantemente
uma ligação com as origens do grupo religioso. A expressão oral e, o
conseqüente diálogo, são ao mesmo tempo, a origem e o método para
as relações humanas, em geral, e para o entendimento entre as religiões,
em particular, exatamente por ser a base na qual se fundam e por ser um
meio largamente democrático e justo de participação efetiva. O Islam,
foco dessa reflexão, apresenta em seus fundamentos ontológicos e em
seu din 1 propriamente dito, a base para o discurso democrático, que
deverá ser resgatado em toda e qualquer oportunidade para servir de
plataforma legítima e eficaz de troca, resolução e avanço social.
1
Modo de vida islâmico completo. Regras de conduta para todos os âmbitos da vida.
Fé e razão em diálogo aberto · 191
O Islam, a razão e o discurso
A sabedoria milenar do livro sagrado islâmico funda-se em alguns
pressupostos metodológicos extraídos após amplo estudo e investigação
feita pelos sábios da área do tafsser 2. Ele explora a questão do diálogo,
expondo sua importância, o incentiva e estabelece alguns princípios que
devem ser observados nessa prática. O primeiro deles explicado pelo
sábio Ayatullah Fadlullah (2007) é que na atividade do diálogo o primeiro aspecto importante se remete à época dos profetas e aos problemas que eles enfrentaram e às respostas que usualmente davam. A lição
primordial é evitar criar sentimentos de afastamento com os adversários
da fé. Em virtude de atmosferas demagógicas criadas pela discussão de
questões que gerem polêmica ou tensão, é desejável que os ativistas
muçulmanos sejam suficientemente delicados para fechar a cortina do
diálogo sobre tais assuntos, sem encerrá-lo, nem se afastar da linha ideológica verdadeira na qual o Islam se assenta, ou ainda, incitar sentimentos
adversos. (Ibidem, pg. 207) O que se pode apreender do exposto é que o
Islam na sua fonte mais primária incentiva o diálogo de maneira que ele
possa se conduzir a alguma finalidade proveitosa, sem se afastar da sua
verdadeira perspectiva, primando pela honestidade intelectual e se afastando de descontroles emocionais advindos de assuntos mal conduzidos.
A resposta do profeta Muhammad (S.A.A.S) quando convidado ao diálogo
sempre foi em consonância com a compreensão geral islâmica que reconhece a ação de adquirir conhecimento, seja em qualquer campo, como
um direito inalienável, natural de todo ser humano. Qualquer pessoa
deverá ter a liberdade de perguntar algo sobre a fé islâmica e suas leis.
Com isso, a função da religião seria, portanto, a de prover as janelas de
conhecimento com função libertadora. De acordo com Khalil e Nasser
(2003), o Islam confirma o diálogo para chegar à verdade através da
operação lógica do raciocínio e, também, confirma a proteção à liberdade do interlocutor, quando este apresenta sua idéia particular. A história
islâmica tem excelentes exemplos da abertura ao diálogo e à tolerância
em relação às adversidades conceituais. Imam Já’far Al-Sadeq (702-765
d.C.), grande sábio e jurisprudente islâmico, dialogou sobre temas sensíveis e controversos à comunidade local, de maioria pagã. Seus sermões e
diálogos abertos davam-se ao lado da Caaba na cidade de Meca, Arábia
Saudita, templo maior do Monoteísmo e símbolo material diametralmente
oposto ao instituído pela sociedade local. Discursar e dialogar em meio
à adversidade requer mais do que perspicácia e boa técnica persuasiva.
2
Ciência que estuda a interpretação dos versículos do Alcorão e extrai fundamentos, ensinamentos e princípios.
192 · Karina Arroyo Cruz Gomes de MENESES
Exige sensibilidade fraterna, profundo conhecimento acerca do que se
pretende expor e ainda capacidade para lidar com críticas. Esses são
alguns critérios que puderam ser testemunhados e transcritos em diversos
escritos e corroborados pelo que determina o Livro Islâmico.
Para ilustrar o princípio da isonomia no início de um debate islâmico, no capítulo 34, versículo 24 do Alcorão Sagrado, lê-se: “(...) Portanto,
certamente, nós ou vós estamos orientados ou em erro evidente?” Tal
indagação nivela o conhecimento dos interlocutores a um mesmo nível
peremptório. Não se pretende de nenhuma forma conceder vantagem
ao homem religioso em detrimento do homem curioso, que ali está para
conhecer, indagar ou reconstruir seu conhecimento. Ainda assim o diálogo deverá ser pautado sob certos cuidados, não se resumindo a uma disputa intelectual simplesmente. Sobre isso, lê-se no capítulo 16, versículo
125: “Convoca, ó Muhammad, (os humanos) à senda do Teu Senhor, com
sabedoria e uma bela exortação e dialoga de maneira benevolente (...).”
Observa-se de maneira contundente que o convite à crença, ao diálogo
sobre quaisquer questões deverá vir pautado sobre uma série de pressupostos que confere uma possibilidade real de se atingir um nível de troca
de informação, de aprendizado mútuo, em que ambos disponham de responsabilidade e sensatez sobre seus assuntos, perspectivas e conclusões.
A despeito do que se observa no cotidiano, esta breve reflexão
buscou de maneira concisa, a partir de alguns pontos basilares da
crença islâmica, organizar a fundamentação e os objetivos do diálogo
religioso. Os fatos hediondos que se sucedem interminantemente e as
intercorrências criminosas relacionadas a um Islam fabricado merecem
um olhar mais crítico e demorado. Para além da sucessão de agressões
morais observadas em larga escala ao redor do globo em nome de uma
religião reinventada por rearranjos sócio-políticos, que em seu princípio,
solapam o direito islâmico mais básico, conferido à quatorze séculos por
seu Livro e seus sábios, tem-se ainda que observar discursos infundados
por porta-vozes de pouca instrução. O Islam genuíno, capaz de garantir
o respeito às alteridades e ao diálogo franco e útil, nos aponta para uma
necessidade urgente de retornar às bases fundamentais de seus conceitos,
à sua historiografia e, principalmente, à necessidade de ceder ao convite
instituído em sua origem, ou seja, a procura incessante pelo conhecimento através da ferramenta islâmica por excelência: o diálogo.
Conclusão
Sem entrarmos em conflito, recaímos no indeterminado. O indeterminado é homogêneo e inexpressivo. Logo, os limites que nos diferenciam são indispensáveis para as oscilações entre unidade e afastamento.
Fé e razão em diálogo aberto · 193
Portanto, na condição de limitados é que convivemos. O limite nos funda
como diferentes e sustenta as identidades. É no reconhecimento dessa
diferença intrínseca e natural que as diferenças se reconfiguram e se edificam. É exatamente esse limite, esse horizonte simbólico que nos oferece
a condição ideal para falar.
Essa expressão nos confere uma suma responsabilidade de estar
no mundo e nos coloca diante do outro como uma representação viva de
um ideário singular, permitindo que se estabeleça uma ligação contínua,
rompendo o isolamento. Rompida a unidade, posicionamo-nos diante de
outros ora como juízes ora como réus. A indiferença anterior impedia
uma aproximação, em contraposição, o julgamento une. No entanto, os
juízos de valor naturais decorrentes desse rompimento e conhecimento
do outro encontram no diálogo aberto, o ponto primordial capaz de intermediar toda e qualquer relação de julgamento recíproco. O conhecimento
dos limites e o reconhecimento destas barreiras demandam duas atividades imprescindíveis e complementares: diferenciam os grupos reafirmando seus territórios e discursos e permitem que toda e qualquer diferença
seja compreendida e não apenas tolerada. O Islam, em particular, e a
experiência humana ao longo de seu percurso social nos garante que é na
fala, na expressão e no diálogo que o heterogêneo pode ser infinitamente
benéfico para a compreensão dos conflitos e é instrumento imprescindível para que tais posições mais encrudescidas sejam transpostas.
Referências
ELIADE, M. O Sagrado e o Profano. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1992.
FADLULLAH, M.H. Islam, a Religião do Diálogo. São Paulo: Arresala, 2007
KHALIL, M; NASSER, O. Um Diálogo sobre o Islamismo. Curitiba: Criar Edições, 2003.
MAHMOOD, S. The Politics os Piety. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004
PINTO, Paulo. G. Islã: Religião e Civilização – Uma abordagem Antropológica. Aparecida,
SP: Santuário, 2010
______Árabes no Rio de Janeiro: uma identidade plural. Rio de Janeiro: Cidade Viva, 2010
SCHULER, Donaldo. Origens do Discurso Democrático. Porto Alegre: L&PM, 2002
WEBER, M. The Sociology of Religion. Beacon Press, 1993
194 ·
Colección «Tiempo Axial»: http://tiempoaxial.org
· 195
Dialogue Between Faith and Reason
Islam within the origins of democratic discourse
Karina Arroyo Cruz Gomes de MENESES
São Paulo, SP, Brazil
The historical construction of religious discourse
The Word aims the uncovering of that which is concealed. The
unknown must reveal itself in order to become visible and accepted.
Starting out from this assumption, it is clear that collective expression and
exchange of information are part of the fundamental basis for knowing
of the world and, most importantly, knowing about the Other. If we have
common biological and spiritual origins, differences of any kind do not
constitute insurmountable barriers. Neither these differences render us
qualitatively different. They simply limit us in terms of physical space
which must be trespassed by means of free and rational debate.
Free expression detached from strictly political or commercial
goals was largely availed in Ancient Greece. Anaximander (610 BC - 547
BC) relativized the functionality of written language and proposed that
oral expression should be thought as a way of reflecting on how to form
citizens. Since then, one could no longer think about people outside of
their own communities, separated from a form of collective. Thus, such
conceptualization cannot survive without conflict as the collective comprises its main ideological foundation present in its cosmological principle. However, the collective is unable to ponder or control individuals
and their own impulses. Anaximander redesigns language; discovers the
resource and reflections within prose. Discourse becomes further examined and its mechanisms comprehended. Rhythm, once suffocated by the
poetic metrical regularity, is awaken. Prose and discourse left the small
world of the privileged becoming part of the public space and never left
it. (SCHULER, 2002)
196 · Karina Arroyo Cruz Gomes de MENESES
The intrinsic power the usage of words and their calling through
discourse - which may instrumentally contain symbolic features, persuasion, tropes, symbolism technics and their respective meanings - was
already well known and recognized as belonging to the divine sphere.
As Anaximander changes the written language he also ruptures a sacred
rite exclusive to the gods, thus escaping divine authority. Oral language was subordinated to the Supreme God, confidedexclusively to the
Muses, daughters of Mnemosyne (the personification of memory) and
Zeus. (SCHULER, 2002, p.25) This demonstrates ontologically how oral
expression and its immanent continuous power, in its multiple forms
and usages, have been valued since ancient times. The scholar Mircea
Eliade (1992) creates a better theoretical framework for the relationship
between the Sacred and oral expression. He states that these continuous
ruptures with the Sacred give people power to control society and
their role in the world. This process makes space more heterogeneous
as mankind begins to recognize certain procedures as rites, separating
what was strictly divine - thus untouchable - becoming reproducible in
society's daily lives. The manifestation of the Sacred as rite, gesture and,
mainly, written language, gives ontological birth to the world; actions
and objects are thus categorized as either sacred or profane. This process
is called "hierophany": immediate reality becomes supernatural reality.
Anaximander believes that the act of writing is an act of reproducing the
Sacred world - an act previously exclusive to the gods - and bringing the
Sacred closer. As in a rite in illo tempore, he writes in order to sacralize
it. This is the way in which all religions observe the importance of their
own writings. Writing sometimes has uniquely Sacredorigins, at times it is
written by Divine inspiration. Nevertheless, writing gives thinking rigor,
without given away its visibility to be read, thought, commented and to
feed those who think. (SCHULER, 2002, p.27)
If it is possible to verify the eternal link between Religions and
systems of thought with written, there is no doubt that oral expression
- being it as chants, poetry, and prose filled with figures of thought and
language, replete with eternally powerful imageticpolysemies - is the key
to better understand dogmas and religious foundations. In this context it
is necessary to have an open and steady dialogue about the contemporary
conflicts and that constantly have some connection with the origins of
religious groups. Generally, oral expression and, consequently, dialogue
are, at the same time, origin and method to human relations. Particularly,
oral expression also contributes to the understanding between different
religions, as it’s through oral expression their fundamental basis and a
largely democratic and fair method of effective participation. Islam, the
Dialogue Between Faith and Reason · 197
focus of this article, has inside its ontological foundations and inside
its concept of deen 1, the basis for democratic discourse which must be
recurred in every given opportunity as an effective and legitimate tool for
exchange, resolution and social progress.
Islam: reason and discourse
The millennial wisdom contained in the sacred Book of Islam,
the Holy Qu’ran, is based in methodological conjectures originated after
wide study and research by the wise tafsir3 scholars. Tafsir explores the
concept of dialogue while highlighting its importance, encourages the
importance of dialogue and establishes some principles which must be
followed in this practice. The first principle, cosigned to the time of the
prophets, the obstacles they have faced and the answers they usually
came up with, is explained by the scholar Ayatullah Fadlullah (2007) as
the practice of dialogue and its first important aspect. The lesson learned
is to avoid constructing gaps with the faith's opponents. As a demagogic
atmosphere is raised upon discussing polemic or tense queries, it is best
that Muslim activists become sufficiently careful when dismissing such
topics. However, dialogue should not be closed, nor should the true
ideological line in which Islam lies be driven away, not should adverse
feelings be incited. (FADLULLAH, 2007, p.207) What should be taken
for this is that Islam in its most primordial origins encourages dialogue
so that it may lead to a fruitions end. It does not, however, deviates
from its true prospect, focusing on intellectual honesty and averting
emotional unbalance which may rise from ill conducted topics. When
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.A.W) was invited for discussions, his answer
was always in accordance with the general Islamic comprehension in
which the action of acquiring knowledge, being it from any field, as an
inalienable right, natural to all humans. Any person shall have the right
to ask anything about the Islamic faith and its laws. Therefore, the role
of religion would be to provide knowledge as a means of attaining freedom. According to Khalil and Nasser (2003), Islam positions dialogue as
a way to attain truth through reason and, also, to establish protection to
the speaker's freedom when presenting a particular idea. Islamic history
has excellent examples on openness to dialogue and tolerance regarding
conceptual adversities.
1 Complete Islamic way of life. Rules of conduct to every scope of life.
2 Science which studies the interpretation of Koranic verses and thus developing teachings
and principles.
198 · Karina Arroyo Cruz Gomes de MENESES
Imam Já’far Al-Sadeq (702-765 AD), great Islamic scholar and jurist,
discussed touchy and controversial topics with the local mostly pagan
community. His sermons and open dialogues were delivered next to the
Caaba in the city of Mecca, modern Saudi Arabia, greatest monotheist
temple and material symbol diametrically opposite to the one establishes
by the local society. To lecture and to dialogue amid adversity requires
more than cleverness and good persuasive technic. It requires fraternal
sensibility and deep knowledge about the subject intended to be addressed, not to mention ability to deal with criticism. These are some of the
criteria that could be witnessed and transcribed in a number of written
materials corroborated by what the Islamic Book establishes.
In order to better demonstrate the principles of isonomy within
Islamic debate, the chapter 34, verse 24 from the Sacred Qur’an says: "(...)
and most surely we or you are on a right way or in manifest error?". This
enquiry puts the speaker's knowledge at the same level as the peremptory. There is no intend whatsoever in giving advantage to the religious
man over the curious man, who is there in order to uncover, enquire and
rebuild its own knowledge. Even so the dialogue shall be established
upon certain conditions and may not be reduce to a simple intellectual
quarrel. On this topic, says the chapter 16, verse 125: "Invite (mankind,
O Muhammad SAW) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and reason with them in a way that is better. (...)". There is a
decisive manner in which Faith is invited. Discussion and dialogue about
any issue has to be establishes upon a series of conjectures bestowing a
real possibility of achieving exchange of knowledge, mutual learning in
which both parts have responsibility and prudence on their topics, perspectives and conclusions.
Notwithstanding what may be observed habitually, this brief article, in a concise manner, tried to organize the pillars and objectives of
religious dialogue from some basic points inside the Islamic faith. The
heinous facts that have been occurring endlessly and its criminal intercurrences related to a fabricated form of Islam deserve a longer and more
critical outlook. Beyond the sequence of moral aggression being conducted in large scale around the globe in the name of a religion that was
reinvented by socio-political arrangements which have undermined the
most basic Islamic laws -that have been provided fourteen centuries ago
by their book and their scholars - one has to watch baseless speeches
been given by speakers of little instruction. The legitimate Islam, capable
of warranting respect to differences and to open useful dialogue, leads
us to the urgent need to return to the fundamental basis of its concepts,
its history and, more importantly, the need to accept the invitation given
Dialogue Between Faith and Reason · 199
upon its birth: the ceaseless search for knowledge through dialogue, the
par excellence tool of Islam.
Conclusion
Without conflict, we fall unto the realm of the indefinite. The
indefinite is homogeneous and inexpressive. Therefore, the boundaries
which set us apart are indispensable to the fluctuation between unity
and separation. Therefore, it is in the condition of finite beings in which
we coexist. The boundaries blend us as different maintaining identities. It
is upon recognizing these intrinsically and natural differences that these
differences are reconfigured and edified. It is exactly this boundary, this
symbolic horizon that offers us the ideal conditions for communication.
Oral expression gives us the supreme responsibility of being in the
world and puts us in front of one another as a living representation of
singular ideal, allowing a continuous liaison which breaks with isolation.
As unity is broken, we put ourselves in the face of one another as either
judges or defendants. The previous indifference prevented approximation
which, in contraposition, judgment unites. However, the moral judgment
deriving from this rupture and the knowing of the Other are found in
open dialogue, the primordial aspect, capable of intervening with any
mutual type of judgment. Knowing of the boundaries and recognizing
these barriers demand two vital and complementary actions: differentiate
groups reaffirming their territory and allowing that every and any difference to be comprehended and not simply tolerated. Islam, particularly,
and human experience alongside its social warrants that it is in speech,
in expression and in dialogue that the heterogeneous may become highly
beneficial to the understanding of conflicts. It is also an indispensable
tool to assure that the most cruel positions be crossed over.
References
ELIADE, M. O Sagrado e o Profano. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 1992.
FADLULLAH, M.H. Islam, a Religião do Diálogo. São Paulo: Arresala, 2007
KHALIL, M; NASSER, O. Um Diálogo sobre o Islamismo. Curitiba: CriarEdições, 2003.
MAHMOOD, S.The Politics of Piety. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.
PINTO, Paulo. G. Islã: Religião e Civilização – Uma abordagem Antropológica. Aparecida,
SP: Santuário, 2010
______________Árabes no Rio de Janeiro: uma identidade plural. Rio de Janeiro: Cidade
Viva, 2010
SCHULER, Donaldo. Origens do Discurso Democrático. Porto Alegre: L&PM, 2002
WEBER, M. The Sociology of Religion. Beacon Press, 1993
200 ·
· 201
Ascensão de uma Espiritualidade Política
Para a libertação humana e a construção da paz
Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
Foz de Iguaçú, PR, Brazil
Um dos resultados marcantes decorrente do fim da Segunda Guerra
Mundial foi a divisão ideológica do mundo em duas grandes correntes: o
Capitalismo e o Socialismo. Estas, que englobam filosofias, sistemas político, social e econômico distintos, eram vistas como únicas alternativas que
poderiam fundamentar desde movimentos sociais de transformação até
projetos de organização político-econômica das nações. Havia de alinharse a um dos dois eixos desta guerra predominantemente ideológica. Após
décadas desta guerra “fria”, a dissolução da União Soviética, que representava o campo socialista, representava o início de um período de hegemonia do capitalismo, representado pelos Estados Unidos da América. A
abertura da China Comunista para se tornar oficialmente um “socialismo
de mercado” parece confirmar o fracasso do socialismo marxista e a hegemonia capitalista estadunidense.
A política externa dos EUA baseada na ideologia capitalista levou o
país a ser o mais violento e agressor do século XX e sua política econômica se deflagrou em crises cíclicas e catastróficas para a vida humana,
em especial para os destituídos de poder econômico. Deste avanço da
violência surgem resistências de grande parte dos povos do mundo em
aceitar este modelo capitalista idealizado pela política dos EUA e suas
conseqüências humanitárias catastróficas. Uma das formas de resistência
pode ser vista no surgimento de revoluções e de novas ideologias no
mundo, tais como: o fortalecimento de uma terceira via chamada SocialDemocracia na Europa; a Teologia Cristã da Libertação na América Latina
na década de 1960 que viera a influenciar movimentos no continente,
como a Revolução Sandinista na Nicarágua em 1979, o pensamento de
líderes como Hugo Chávez na Venezuela e Papa Francisco da Argentina;
na mesma década de 1960, o Despertar Islâmico no Irã se deflagra, culminando na Revolução Gloriosa de 1979; o surgimento do Bolivarianismo
202 · Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
na Venezuela na década de 1990 como uma alternativa latino-americana;
o chamado “socialismo de mercado” reconhecido oficialmente como
novo modelo na República Popular da China no início dos anos 2000;
o Zapatismo no México na década de 1990; movimentos judaicos contra o sionismo israelense como IJAN (International Jewish Anti-Zionist
Network) e American Jews Agains Zionism.
Torna-se pertinente uma reflexão sobre as causas do fracasso do
capitalismo e do socialismo para dar respostas e propostas capazes de
organizar a vida humana de forma justa fornecendo bases para a felicidade e desenvolvimento social, humano, científico e dos princípios morais
da justiça e da dignidade contra a opressão e a favor da Paz. Mais que
isso, deve-se refletir sobre o papel universal da religião e da espiritualidade no envolvimento político e sua influência hoje nos movimentos
e ideologias que se colocam como alternativas de luta pelos princípios
citados e de organização social.
O fracasso do Capitalismo e do Socialismo
A questão central de todas as filosofias que pretendem propor
alternativas de organização social é: qual sistema é bom para o ser
humano, que lhes proporciona uma vida social feliz? O capitalismo e
o socialismo consideraram em suas análises a satisfação material como
sinônimo de felicidade humana e, portanto, social. Ainda que com perspectivas distintas, pois o primeiro a felicidade viria através da satisfação
material do indivíduo, enquanto que o segundo viria através da satisfação
material do coletivo.
Em termos econômicos, o capitalismo condena o método de estatização nos países socialistas, enquanto o marxismo aponta que o problema está na propriedade privada, a qual deve ser extinta através da luta de
classe e a ascensão do proletariado ao poder para construir o comunismo.
Segundo o pensador Mohammad Baqer Assadr1, o problema não
estaria nem na propriedade privada e nem na estatização da economia,
nem na liberdade individual e nem na construção do coletivo, mas estaria
relacionada a uma questão filosófica mais profunda, na forma materialista
de pensar o mundo. A tendência materialista de ambos os sistemas afastou o pensamento espiritual e por conseqüência a espiritualidade política
que visa a felicidade do ser humano na terra e na próxima vida, felicidade
que deve ser acompanhada de um sistema em que a paz e a justiça sejam
prerrogativas e que as necessidades da alma devem ser preservadas e seu
desenvolvimento alcançado junto com o desenvolvimento das condições
materiais.
1 Um grande sábio, teólogo e líder xiita no Iraque. Foi perseguido por suas idéias e militância
política e social. O regime ditatorial de Saddam Hussein o matou em 1980.
Ascensão de uma Espiritualidade Política · 203
A negação espiritual e o reducionismo materialista significou o
afastamento da moral, da elevação da alma e dos ensinamentos de todos
as mensagens enviadas por Deus à humanidade através dos profetas e
mensageiros. Essa limitação ao aspecto benéfico da vida material deu
origem a um pensamento desprovido de moral, uma ideologia responsável por grande parte das catástrofes mundiais promovidas em nome do
capitalismo e pelo socialismo. O capitalismo, por exemplo,
[...] se encheu do espírito materialista, a moralidade foi retirada
do cenário. Não pode ser encontrada em nenhum lugar no sistema.
[...] O interesse individual foi declarado o mais alto interesse. Isso
provocou a maior parte das tragédias, catástrofes, infortúnios e sofrimento que o mundo moderno tem experimentado. [...] determinouse a liberdade econômica segundo as diretrizes discutidas anteriormente. Permitiram-se vários métodos e modalidades de aquisição
da riqueza, não importando quão exorbitantes esta poderia ser, nem
quão perversos seriam seus métodos e razões. (ASSADR, 2012,
p.49;51)
Podemos dizer, então, que a ausência de moral provoca as circunstâncias em que as relações entre os indivíduos estão institucionalizadas
em um ambiente que propicia os males humanos. Este ambiente pode
ser chamado de estruturas e estes males podem ser chamados de “pecado
social”:
Pecado social, seria então um mal humano que adquiriu uma
existência anterior à consciência dos indivíduos e impondo-se a ela.
É exatamente a isso que aludimos quando falamos de “estruturas
de pecado”. As estruturas não são coisas, mas um modo de relação
entre as coisas. Tais modos de relação se deixam perceber principalmente pelos hábitos sociais, como por ex. preconceitos raciais,
religiosos, políticos, ideológicos etc.; nas leis, que legitimam práticas
sociais perversas, como por ex. a escravidão, o poder arbitrário, etc.
[...] a realidade miserável como a descreveram os bispos em
Puebla, “como o mais devastador e humilhante flagelo que é a
situação de desumana pobreza em que vivem milhões de latino-americanos, vítimas de salários de fome, de desemprego e subempregos,
da desnutrição, da mortalidade infantil, da falta de moradia adequada, dos problemas de saúde e de instabilidade no trabalho”. (BOFF,
1978, p.174; BOFF, 1979, p.11).
Em termos filosóficos, a pergunta provocativa que Assadr nos coloca é se a matéria seria a primeira fonte de existência e se a mesma seria
a causa de toda a essência? Em seu livro “A Nossa Filosofia” 2, faz uma
leitura crítica desta tendência materialista do capitalismo e do socialismo,
2 Ver também livro “A Nossa Economia” do mesmo autor.
204 · Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
sustentando que ainda que, certamente, matéria deve ser equacionada
na análise humana e social para formulação das propostas sociais, políticas e econômico, deduzir toda a análise das ciências humanas a partir
da matéria é incorrer em reducionismo que gera distorções e prejudica
diagnóstico, o prognóstico e o paciente, que no caso é a humanidade.
O primeiro passo deve ser não negar as características da natureza humana, ou seja, o amor próprio, a recusa em sentir dor, a busca
pela satisfação material, a elevação moral, são todas características do
ser humano que devem ser contempladas neste sistema. A partir desta
premissa, encontramos duas filosofias distintas até então, uma propondo substituir a natureza humana de amor próprio para um amor social,
o socialismo, e outra propondo dar oportunidade para cada indivíduo
saciar sua natureza humana de amor próprio.
No entanto, uma terceira proposta se faz alternativa a ambas.
Consiste desenvolver os aspectos do ser humano não lhe negando seu
aspecto espiritual, para que neste desenvolvimento do “amar a si mesmo”
- que deve ser acompanhado pela consciência política e pelo progresso
de suas capacidades – passe a um nível superior do “amar a si mesmo”(Mt
22,39), o nível de “amar ao próximo como a si mesmo” . Desta forma,
amar ao próximo como a si mesmo significaria mais que satisfazer as
necessidades materiais do ser humano, ainda que isto esteja incluso, mas
uma mentalidade e uma filosofia que permite ao homem ampliar sua
espiritualidade, preservar sua paz, desenvolver o conhecimento, amar
a humanidade e trilhar o caminho do bem e da felicidade desta vida
terrena.
A espiritualidade política seria o envolvimento do ser humano nas
questões concretas da vida com intuito de promover uma transformação
social e ideológico na busca da paz, dignidade humana e justiça, conclamando as pessoas para uma mentalidade que enxerga a realidade de
forma distinta: espiritual e material, política e mística; sempre pautada no
diálogo, no conhecimento e na defesa do ser humano. A espiritualidade
política é o reflexo dos ensinamentos dos profetas e mensageiros enviados por Deus à humanidade.
A missão libertadora dos profetas e a Espiritualidade Política
Se Deus Altíssimo possui em seus atributos uma essência de Justiça
Perfeita, poderia deixar a humanidade na escuridão? Por Sua Misericórdia,
Deus nos enviou não apenas um profeta, mas milhares deles no decorrer
da história humana para guiar os povos do mundo e servir de exemplo.
Quando o povo de Israel estava submerso na ganância por acúmulo de
riquezas e demasiadamente presos ao mundo material, eis que a promessa divina se cumpre e o Messias lhes é enviado com um sinal claro de
Ascensão de uma Espiritualidade Política · 205
milagre ao nascer do ventre da puríssima Maria, a Virgem. Jesus, ao nos
ensinar através de seus passos imaculados e suas palavras iluminadas, se
coloca ao lado do oprimido libertando-o das falsidades, da ganância, da
miséria espiritual, moral e material. Isso significa persistir no caminho
da justiça verdadeira, não da justiça proclamada pelos hipócritas que
falam da religião e nem dos demagogos, pois teria dito o próprio Cristo
repetidas vezes “Ai de vós escribas e fariseus, hipócritas!” (Mateus 23) e
ainda: “Porque vos digo que, se a vossa justiça não exceder a dos escribas
e fariseus, de modo nenhum entrareis no reino dos céus” (Mateus 5:20).
Quando Moisés, criado em berço de ouro, na elite da nobreza
faraônica, se coloca junto aos necessitados contra o poder arrogante do
Faraó, trilha também o caminho da libertação do ser humano, libertação
da condição de escravo, sub-humano, oprimido, destituído e enfraquecido, se coloca contra a injustiça dos que detinham o poder. Desta forma,
concluímos que alguns dos profetas não nasceram ou foram criados em
condições de pobreza, mas em meio a uma qualidade de vida provida de
condições materiais e conforto, no entanto se colocaram, independente
da “classe” em que estavam, ao lado dos necessitados.
Da mesma forma, outros profetas e mensageiros foram enviados
por Deus para guiar a humanidade e se colocar contra a opressão, a
exemplo de David, Noé, Abraão, José filho de Jacó, entre outros. Até que
Deus envia aos humanos o último profeta e mensageiro, Mohammad o
Louvado (Ahmad), para completar a religião divina e instituir o Islã como
religião. O Islã é a mesma religião de Jesus, Moisés, Abraão, Noé; a mensagem revelada pelo anjo Gabriel a Mohammad, o Corão, é a continuação
dos Evangelhos, da Torá e dos Salmos. Aceitar o Islã significa acreditar na
Unicidade e na Justiça Divina, significa seguir os passos de todos os profetas e aceitar todas as mensagens celestiais, significa não diferenciar as
pessoas segundo sua cor, gênero ou qualquer diferença, mas reconhecer
e amar o próximo como a si mesmo, pois como diz o Sagrado Corão: “Vos
dividimos em povos e tribos para reconhecerdes uns aos outros. Sabei
que o mais honrado, dentre vós, ante Deus, é o mais piedoso”. (49:13)
A religião de Deus se destaca pela busca da Paz e por admoestar
os humanos para que voltem suas almas ao Criador de toda a existência,
Deus Altíssimo. A condição de Paz, por sua vez, está carregada de pressupostos como o respeito ao próximo, a dignidade humana e a justiça.
A palavra Islã (Islam) tem sua origem a partir de duas outras palavras:
Salam, que significa Paz; e Sallama, verbo que significa servir voluntariamente. O que significa, então, servir voluntariamente (ou adorar) a
Deus? Servir a Deus não pode ser apenas uma etapa mística ou metafísica
de adoração ou meditação abstrata para que espiritualmente ou psico-
206 · Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
logicamente estejamos mais “zeins”. Adorar a Deus sem transbordar o
egocentrismo, sem transmitir a verdade, sem lutar para que o próximo e
sua Paz sejam respeitados e que a justiça reine na Terra é uma adoração
vazia, incompleta, que não serve para transformar o mundo em um lugar
de Paz. A espiritualidade, portanto, está conexa à prática social, ou seja,
a “espiritualidade se encontra [...] de uma forma global e completa: uma
espiritualidade com política, gnoses e atividades sociais; com submetimento a Deus Glorificado, junto com luta.” (KHAMENEI, 2008, p.25).
A Paz requer um esforço próprio para alcançá-la a nível individual
e a nível social. A nível individual significa elevar sua espiritualidade,
diminuir seus pecados, aumentar seu entendimento sobre o Criador, ser
justo e compassivo para com o próximo. A nível social significa uma luta
para que as condições de justiça e dignidade humana, que baseiam a Paz
social, sejam garantidas, conquistadas e respeitadas para todos os povos
do mundo. Esta paz se inicia, como afirmou o Papa Francisco, quando “o
ser humano reconhece no outro um irmão ou irmã com a mesma dignidade” (AGENCIA ECCLESIA, 2014).
Em outras palavras, não ser conformista diante de uma realidade
injusta que o rodeia. O conformismo nessas condições nunca foi característica dos profetas, mas sim a libertação humana das injustiças e obscuridade, do medo e do vazio, da miséria e dos desvios da alma. De tal
forma, segundo o Islã e nas palavras do Imam Ali (1998, p.433) “quem
comete a injustiça e aquele que colabora com que a pratica e aquele que
fica indiferente à injustiça, os três são sócios na prática da injustiça”, portanto ser negligente perante a injustiça é também cometê-la e ir contra a
missão profética de libertação, que por sua vez significa
[...] a ação que liberta, passo a passo, a realidade dos distintos
cativeiros a que está, historicamente, submetida e que contradizem
o projeto histórico de Deus, que é construir o Seu Reino onde tudo
é orientado a Ele, penetrado por Sua presença e glorificado, ao nível
cósmico e ao nível pessoal. (BOFF, 1979, p.57)
A libertação humana se encontra, portanto, no centro da teologia
que busca os fundamentos do ensinamento divino, e tal libertação só é
possível com o envolvimento social e político, mas não o político dos
politiqueiros e sim o político do submisso à causa da justiça; da política
que encontra a justiça como missão e as palavras de Deus como método,
verdade e orientação:
3 Ali é considerado a fonte do conhecimento islâmico, o protetor da mensagem divina e guia
da Nação Islâmica após a morte do profeta Mohammad. O profeta indicou que Ali seria o
Imam dos muçulmanos e disse: “Ensinei a Ali mil portas do Conhecimento e cada porta
abre pra mais mil e mil portas”.
Ascensão de uma Espiritualidade Política · 207
A inspiração para a libertação não deve emanar de ideologias [...]
mas do Evangelho. [...] deve-se abordar a política não politicamente
mas evangelicamente. O Evangelho conclama para um compromisso
social, de justiça, e de libertação.
O Alcorão foi revelado por Deus, o onisciente, a Mohammad
(SAAS) a fim de levar a humanidade ao seu estado de direito; salvar
os frutos dos atributos divinos da tirania e do mal; instituir o preceito
da justiça e equidade e conferir soberania a inocentes e divinos guardiões (AS) e autoridades, os quais em troca, possam legar o governo
soberano a pessoas dignas e qualificadas.[...]. (BOFF, 1979, p. 38;
KHOMEINI, 1991, p. 6-7).
Voltando aos termos filosóficos, a alternativa espiritual se caracteriza por não se limitar à matéria em sua análise e pressupostos, o que no
sentido político concreto significa resgatar os princípios morais presentes
na trajetória dos profetas e nas mensagens divinas. O ponto de partida
para a interpretação da realidade social e humana deve ser não desconsiderar o aspecto transcendental do ser humano, pois é alma antes de ser
matéria, ainda que considerando igualmente seu aspecto material.
Desta forma, a mística não está descolada das questões concretas
da vida humana, a busca por se aproximar a Deus não é separada da
busca pela justiça terrena, a espiritualidade não está separada da política.
A justiça de Deus revelada na vida de seus eleitos é a justiça revelada para
todos nós humanos. A miséria, opressão, violência, hipocrisia, usurpação
de direitos faziam parte do contexto em que viveram Jesus, Moisés, Noé,
Abraão e Mohammad, no entanto, se fazem presentes hoje nos quatro
cantos do mundo, mostrando a eternidade da mensagem e que a continuidade da missão profética de espalhar e lutar uma cultura de paz está
em nossas mãos.
Considerações Finais
A Paz é mais que um objetivo religioso, é um caminho, um estado
espiritual, uma conduta, um processo dinâmico e construtivo cujo centro é a libertação do ser humano através de sua humanização em Deus.
Necessitamos mais do que nunca da Graça de Deus e precisamos mais
do que nunca não nos silenciarmos, não apenas porque as mazelas no
mundo superam nosso limite de quantificar, mas porque a religião está
sendo usada para manter as desigualdades e praticar a desumanização
através da disseminação da violência e das atrocidades. Nosso silêncio
significaria a vitória destes hipócritas e nosso levante através de uma fé
verdadeira pode significar a libertação humana, pois a justiça depende
da prática da justiça e do combate à injustiça, e quem pode exercer isso
somos, principalmente, os crentes de coração puro.
208 · Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
Se para alguns a religião é um instrumento de opressão e alienação, para outros ela é a voz que pode destruir as bases nas quais
são erguidos mundos injustos e desumanos. Seguindo a Palavra,
que é eterna, os profetas se levantam e a voz que ecoava no deserto anunciando a chegada do Reino da justiça agora se encontra nas
cidades, nos guetos, nas vielas e avenidas das grandes e pequenas
cidades do mundo. Vozes que anunciam que a efetivação do Reino
deve ser feita também neste e para este tempo; nesta e para esta
geração. (PRADO; SAYED, 2012, p.19).
Para que esta voz seja capaz de triunfar devemos fazer parte da
ascensão desta Espiritualidade Política, ou seja, darmos continuidade
à missão profética para conquistarmos juntos, de mãos dadas, a libertação humana e a paz. Sejamos justos de coração puro e elevemos nosso
entendimento sobre o próximo para diminuir nossa própria ignorância
e ergamos a bandeira da compaixão e do diálogo entre os diferentes.
Reconheçamos uns aos outros e defendamos a justiça com nossas palavras e com todo amor, com todas as forças e com toda profundidade de
nosso espírito com nossos corações resignados à Misericórdia Divina.
Amém.
Referências
AGÊNCIA ECLESIA. Vaticano: Mensagem do Papa para o Dia Mundial da Paz apresentada
hoje. Agencia.ecclesia.pt, 10 de dez. 2014. Disponível em: http://www.agencia.ecclesia.
pt/noticias/vaticano/vaticano-mensagem-do-papa-para-o-dia-mundial-da-paz-apresentada-a-10-de-dezembro/
ALI, Imam. O método da eloquência. Trad. Samir El Hayek . Brasília: Embaixada da
República Islâmica do Irã, 1998.
ASSADR, Mohammad Baqer. A Nossa Filosofia. São Paulo: Centro Islâmico no Brasil, 2012.
ASSADR, Mohammad Baqer. A Nossa Economia. São Paulo: Centro Islâmico no Brasil, 2013.
BOFF, Clodovis. Comunidade eclesial comunidade política: ensaios de eclesiologia política.
Petrópolis: Vozes, 1978.
BOFF, Clodovis. Teologia e prática: teologia do político e suas mediações. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1978.
BOFF, Leonardo; BOFF, Clodovis. Da libertação: o sentido teológico das libertações sóciohistóricas. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1979.
KHAMENEI, Ali Al-Hussaini Al. Discurso do líder da Revolucão Islâmica do Irã quarta reunião
geral da assembleia mundial dos Ahlul Bait (a.s), AZ-ZAQALEIN, Chile, nº 33 2008, p.25.
KHOMEINI, Imam Ayatollah al-Uzma Ruhollah al-Musaui. Testamento político e religioso do
líder da revolução islâmica e fundador da república islâmica do Irã. Brasília: Embaixada
da República Islâmica do Irã, 1991.
PRADO, Patrícia Simone do; SAYED, Adnan Abdallah El. A resistência cristã na América
Latina e o despertar islâmico no Irã: um estudo sobre o papel da religião nas transformações políticas e sociais do século XX. In: Congresso Internacional SOTER, 25, 2012,
Belo Horizonte.Anais . Disponível em http://www.soter.org.br/biblioteca/anais_congresso_soter_2012.pdf. p.1075-1097
In: A BÍBLIA: tradução João Ferreira de Almeida. Rio de Janeiro: Liga Bíblia Brasileira, 1997.
SURATA OS APOSENTOS. In: CORÃO. Trad. Samir El Hayek.
· 209
Political Spirituality in Ascension
for Human Liberation and Peacebuilding
Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
Foz de Iguaçú, PR, Brazil
One of the most outstanding results deriving from the end of
World War II was the ideological division of the world into two systems:
Capitalism and Socialism. These two currents which include distinctive
philosophical, political, social and economic systems were taken as the
only possible alternatives that could establish from social movements
to nations’ economic and political structures. It was imperative for the
nations to align to one of these two blocks in midst this predominantly
ideological war. After decades of this so-called "Cold War", the fall of the
Soviet Union - representative of the socialist block - meant the beginning
the hegemonic period of capitalism, represented by the USA.
Communist China's market opening, in order to be officially recognized as “market socialism", seems to confirm Marxist socialism's failure
and the capitalism hegemony of the USA. The capitalist based U.S' foreign
policy has leaded the county to become the most violent aggressor of the
20th century. Their economic policy culminated in cyclical and catastrophic crises which were damaging to human life, especially for those void
of economic power. The progress of this violence promoted resistance
coming from a great part of the world into accepting the capitalist model.
This model had been idealized by the politics of the U.S. and its catastrophically humanitarian consequences. This resistance can be exemplified
by the emergence of new ideologies and revolutions all over the world
such as: the strengthening of the Social-democratic movement in Europe;
the Christian Liberation theology in 1960's Latin America which would
210 · Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
influence several social movements in the area e.g. 1979's Nicaraguan
Revolution, Pope Francis in Argentina, the thought of leaders such as
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez; the Islamic Revival in 1960's culminating in
the Iranian Revolution 1979; 1990s Bolivarianism in Venezuela as a Latin
American alternative; the so-called "market socialism" officially recognized as a new model in China since the 2000's; Mexico's 1990's Zapatism;
anti-Zionist Jewish movements such as IJAN (International Jewish AntiZionist Network) and American Jews Against Zionism.
Discussing the causes of the failure of both capitalism and socialism are relevant in order to find answers and ideas meant to organize
human life in the way of justice building basis for happiness, social,
human, scientific development and moral principles of justice and dignity
against oppression and promoting peace. Furthermore, it is imperative
to reflect about the universal role of religion and spirituality in political
engagement and their contemporary influence in the movements and
ideologies that emerge as alternatives in the struggle for social organization and the aforementioned principles.
The Failure of Capitalism and Socialism
The central issue of all philosophical currents proposing alternatives to social organization is: which system will provide a happy social
life for all mankind? Both capitalism and socialism have material satisfaction as symbol for human, therefore, social happiness. However, they
come from distinctive perspectives: Capitalism seeks happiness through
individual material satisfaction whereas Socialism focuses on collective
material satisfaction.
Economically speaking, capitalism condemns the socialist nationalization method. On the other hand, Marxist socialism believes that the
root of the problem is the concept of private property which must be
extinct through class conflict and the proletariat's rise to power so that
communism may be built.
According to scholar Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr1 the issue is neither
in private property nor economical nationalization, neither in individual
freedom nor strengthening of the collective. The issue is located in a deeper philosophical question than the materialistic way to view the world.
The materialistic tendency esteeming from both systems has set
away a spiritual content and, consequently, the political spirituality aiming
mankind’s happiness on Earth and on the afterlife. Happiness should be
achieved from a system in which peace and justice are the focus and the
needs of the soul shall be preserved; their development accomplished in
unison with the development of material conditions.
Polítical Spirituality in Ascension · 211
Spiritual denial and materialistic reductionism meant moral estrangement, upheaval of the soul and the teachings from all the messages
sent by God to humanity through prophets and massagers. This limited
focus on the material aspect for life's benefit gave birth to a system of
thought deprived from morality; an ideology responsible for great part of
human catastrophes that were promoted in the name of capitalism and
in the name of socialism. Capitalism, for instance,
(…) was filled with the spirit of materialism, morality was removed
from the picture. It was nowhere to be found in the system. (…) The
individual interest wasdeclared as the highest objective, and all kinds
of freedom as means for fulfillingthat kind of interest. This resulted in
most of the severe trials, catastrophes,tragedies and misfortunes that
the modern world has experienced.(…) it determined the economic
freedom along thelines discussed earlier. It allowed various methods
and kinds of [acquiring] wealth,regardless of how exorbitant the
wealth is, and regardless of how deviant it is in itsmethods and reasons.(AL-SADR, 2012, p.49;51) 2
Thus, it is possible to say that this lack of morality provokes circumstances in which relationship between individuals become set in an
environment favoring human evil. This environment may be called structures and this evil may be called "social sin”:
Social sin is a human evil which came to be prior to the individual
conscience and imposed itself in this conscience. It is exactly to this
that we refer to when we say “structures of sin”. These structures
are not things but forms of relationship between things. These forms
are noticeable through social practices e.g. racial, religious, political,
ideological bias; within laws that legitimize such perverse social practices e.g. slavery, arbitrary power.
(…) the miserable reality, as described by the bishops in Puebla as
“the most devastating and humiliating plague is the inhumane situation of poverty in which millions of Latin-Americans live in; victims of
salaries of hunger, unemployment, subemployment, malnutrition,
child mortality, lack of adequate housing, health problems and work
instability”. (BOFF, 1978, p.174; BOFF, 1979, p.11).
In philosophical terms, the provocative question al-Sadr poses is "if
existence's primary supply is material and if the motive for all essence is
also material?". In his book "Our Philosophy" 3, al-Sadr critically engages
with capitalist and socialist materialistic tendencies. While acknowledging
that matter has to be added in social analysis in order to articulate social,
political and economic proposals, he points out that reducing all human
sciences to point of view of matter is to render to a form of reductionism
which greatly harms diagnosis and its patient. In this case, the patient is
humankind.
212 · Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
The first step is to not deny the characteristics of human nature.
These characteristics must be contemplated in this system such as selflove, refusal to feel pain, moral elevation, the search for material satisfaction. From this premise two distinctive philosophies are thus proposed:
socialism suggests replacing human nature's self-love to social love and
capitalism proposes that each individual may have the opportunity to
quench its human nature of self-love.
However, a third option proposes an alternative to both these philosophies. This third way aims to develop humankind’s features while not
ignoring the spiritual side so that the development of "loving oneself" which must be accompanied by political conscience and for the progress
of one's capabilities - may reach an even more elevated condition, the
condition to "loving your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). Thus, to
love your neighbor as you love yourself means more than satisfying one's
material needs. Even though material needs are included, it add more
mentality and philosophy so that mankind may enhance its spirituality,
preserve peace, develop knowledge, love humanity and follow the path
of the righteous and of happiness in earthly life.
Political spirituality is mankind's involvement in concrete life issues
in order to promote social and ideological change for peace, human dignity and justice. It urges people to embrace a form of mentality which
takes reality in a distinctive way: spiritual and material, political and
mystical; always connected to dialogue, to knowledge and defense of
humankind. Political spirituality is the reflex of the teachings of prophets
and messengers sent by God to humanity.
The Prophets’ Mission of Liberation and Political Spirituality
If God Almighty has His essential attributes in Perfect Justice, how
could humankind be set in darkness? God in all His mercy did not send
just one prophet but thousands throughout human history in order to
guide the world's peoples and serve as examples to them. When the
people of Israel became steeped in greed for wealth accumulation and
greatly trapped in the material world, the divine promise is fulfilled.
The Messiah is sent as a miracle being born from the Immaculate Virgin
Mary. By teaching us through his pristine steps and enlightened words,
Jesus places himself next to those who are oppressed freeing them from
falsehood, greed and moral, material and spiritual poverty. That means
to persist in the way of true justice and not follow the justice proclaimed
by the hypocrites who speak of religion nor of the demagogues, as Jesus
himself has said multiple times: " “Woe to you, teachers of the law and
Polítical Spirituality in Ascension · 213
Pharisees, you hypocrites!" (Matthew 23). He has also said: "For I tell you
that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the
teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
(Matthew 5:23).
When Moses, raised in the privilege of Pharaonic nobility, places
himself with those in need against the arrogant power of the Pharaoh he
also followed the path for human liberation; the liberation of the slaves,
the oppressed, the deprived, the impaired, the subhuman. Moses positioned himself against the injustice carried out by those in power. Thus, it is
possible to conclude that some of the prophets were not born or raised in
a condition of poverty, but amidst a comfortable quality of life provided
with material conditions. However, regardless of their "class" of origin,
they had positioned themselves with the needy.
Other prophets and messengers were sent by guide in order to
guide humanity and fight oppression, such as David, Noah, Abraham,
Joseph son of Jacob and many others. Until God sent his last prophet and
messenger, Muhammad, the highly praised (Ahmed), in order to finish
the divine religion and institute Islam as its religion. Islam is the same
religion followed by Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Noah; the message revealed
by the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad, the Holy Qur'an, is the sequence to the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms. Accepting Islam means to
believe in the Divine Unicity and Justice. It means to follow the steps
of all the prophets and believe in all celestial messages; it means to not
discriminate people according to race, gender or any other differences
but to love one's neighbor like loving oneself. As the Holy Qur'an states:
"We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and
tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in
the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing
and Acquainted". (Holy Qur'an 49:13)
The religion of God stands out for its quest for Peace and for
warning humans to turn their souls over to the Creator of all existence,
God Almighty. The condition for Peace, in turn, is filled with assumptions such as respecting one's neighbor, human dignity and justice. The
word Islam has its origins in two words: Salam, which means Peace, and
Sallama, a verb which means to serve voluntarily. What does it mean to
voluntarily serve (or worship) God? Serving God cannot be just a mystical or metaphysical step of worship not of abstract meditation so that we
may become spiritually or psychologically more "Zen". Worshiping God
without overflowing the ego, without communicating the truth, without
fighting for other and their peace might be respected, without fighting
so that justice prevails of Earth is an empty form of worship. It does not
214 · Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
prepare the world to become a place of Peace. Therefore, spirituality is
connected to social practices, namely “spirituality is found (...) in a global
and complete way: it is spirituality connected to politics, gnosis and social
activities; submitted to a Glorified God that is together in the struggle.”
(KHAMENEI, 2008, p.25).
Peace requires an appropriate effort to be achieved in both an
individual and social levels. The individual level means elevate one's
spirituality, reduce one's sins, enhance one's understanding about the
Creator, and be just and compassionate towards others. The social level
means a struggle to guarantee that the conditions for justice and human
dignity, basis for social Peace, are achieved and respected by all humankind around the world. This peace begins, as Pope Francis stated, when
“human beings recognized in their neighbor a brother or a sister bearing
the same dignity”.(AGENCIA ECCLESIA, 2014).
In other words, to not be in line with the unfair reality that
surrounds us. Conformity in face of such conditions as never a characteristic of the prophets; on the contrary, it was the quest for human
liberation from injustice, obscurity, fear, emptiness, misery and the soul’s
deviations. In this manner, according to Islam and in the words of Imam
Ali5 (1998, p.433) “those who commit injustice, those who cooperate with
it and those who are indifferent to it; the three of them are partners in
practicing injustice”, therefore, being neglectful in the face of injustice
means committing injustice. It goes against the prophetic mission of liberation, meaning that
(...) the action which step by step releases reality from the captivity to which it is historically submitted and that contradicts God’s
historical plan: build His Kingdom where everything is directed
towards Him, filled with His presence and glorifies to both the cosmic
and personal levels.(BOFF, 1979, p.57)
Therefore, human liberation is at the center of the theological
branch which seeks the foundations of divine teaching. This liberation is
only possible through social and political involvement, but not the type
practice by petty politics but the politician who submits to the causes of
justice; a type of politics which sets in justice its mission and the words
of God as method, truth and guidance:
The inspiration for liberating should not derive from ideologies
(...) but from the Gospel. (...) politics should be approached evangelically not politically. The Gospel calls to a social commitment made of
justice and liberation.
The Holy Qur’an was revealed by God, the omniscient, to
Muhammad (S.A.A.W) in order to take humanity to its Rechtsstaat;
save the divine attributes from tyranny and evil; institute the principle of justice and equality and provide sovereignty to the innocent
Polítical Spirituality in Ascension · 215
and divine guardiansand authorities which, in return, may bequeath
the supreme government to those who are worthy and qualified (…).
(BOFF, 1979, p. 38; KHOMEINI, 1991, p. 6-7).
Going back to philosophical terms, the spiritual alternative is characterized by not limiting itself in both analysis and assumptions to the
matter. In a concrete political way, it means to recuse the moral principles present in the path of the prophets and in the Divine message. The
starting point for interpreting social and human reality must be to never
disregard the transcendent aspect of humankind. Even though considering human's material aspect, it is soul before matter that shall prevail.
Thus, the mystical is not separated from the concrete questions of
human life. The quest to become closer to God is not separate from the
quest for earthly justice and spirituality is not separated from politics.
God's justice, as it was revealed by the ones chosen by Him, are not different from the justice revealed to all us humans. Misery, oppression, violence, hypocrisy, the squatting of rights; they were all part of the context
in which Jesus, Moses, Noah, Abraham and Muhammad lived. However,
they are still present in today's world in the four corners of the Earth,
showing us that how the message is eternal and that the prophetic mission of spreading and struggling for a culture of peace lies in our hands.
Final Thoughts
Peace is more than a religious goal. It is a path, a spiritual condition, a conduct, a dynamic and constructive process of which the main
aspect is the liberation of humankind by its humanization through God.
We need the Grace of God more than ever before; more than ever before
we cannot be silence. It is not simply because the world's wounds surpass
our imagination, but because religion is been used to maintain inequalities and dehumanize through violent atrocities. Our silence means the
victory of the hypocrites. Our uprising through honest faith may bring
human liberation, as justice depends on the practice of justice and the
struggle against injustice. The ones who can do that are us, especially the
pure hearted believers.
If to some people religion is a tool of oppression and alienation,
to others religion is the voice that may destroy the pillars in which are
based inhumane and unjust realities. According to the Word, which is
eternal, the prophets rose and the voice that echoed in the desert announcing the arrival of the Kingdom of Justice now is situated in the cities,
in the ghettos, in the allies and the avenues of big and small cities across
the world. Voices announcing the accomplishment of the Kingdom must
be echoed also in this and to this time; in this and to this generation.
(PRADO; SAYED, 2012, p.19).
216 · Adnan Abdallah El SAYED
In order for this voice to be able to triumph, we need to take part
on this ascension of Political Spirituality, namely, we must continue the
prophetic mission so that we all, hand in hand, may achieve human liberation and peace. May we thrive to be just with a pure heart and enhance
our understanding about others so that we may reduce our own ignorance. May we raise the flag of compassion and the dialogue between
all those who are different from one another. May we recognize each
other and defend justice through our words and our love, together with
all the strength and depth of our spirits and heart surrounded by Divine
Mercy. Amen.
References
AGÊNCIA ECLESIA. Vaticano: Mensagem do Papa para o Dia Mundial da Paz apresentada
hoje. Agencia.ecclesia.pt, 10 de dez. 2014. Disponível em: http://www.agencia.ecclesia.
pt/noticias/vaticano/vaticano-mensagem-do-papa-para-o-dia-mundial-da-paz-apresentada-a-10-de-dezembro/
ALI, Imam. O método da eloquência. Trad. Samir El Hayek . Brasília: Embaixada da
República Islâmica do Irã, 1998.
ASSADR, Mohammad Baqer. A Nossa Filosofia. São Paulo: Centro Islâmico no Brasil, 2012.
ASSADR, Mohammad Baqer. A Nossa Economia. São Paulo: Centro Islâmico no Brasil, 2013.
BOFF, Clodovis. Comunidade eclesial comunidade política: ensaios de eclesiologia política.
Petrópolis: Vozes, 1978.
BOFF, C. Teologia e prática: teologia do político e suas mediações. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1978.
BOFF, Leonardo; BOFF, Clodovis. Da libertação: o sentido teológico das libertações sóciohistóricas. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1979.
KHAMENEI, Ali Al-Hussaini Al. Discurso do líder da Revolucão Islâmica do Irã quarta reunião
geral da assembleia mundial dos AhlulBait (a.s), AZ-ZAQALEIN, Chile, nº 33 2008, p.25.
KHOMEINI, Imam Ayatollah al-Uzma Ruhollah al-Musaui. Testamento político e religioso do
líder da revolução islâmica e fundador da república islâmica do Irã. Brasília: Embaixada
da República Islâmica do Irã, 1991.
PRADO, Patrícia Simone do; SAYED, Adnan Abdallah El. A resistência cristã na América
Latina e o despertar islâmico no Irã: um estudo sobre o papel da religião nas transformações políticas e sociais do século XX. In: Congresso Internacional SOTER, 25, 2012,
Belo Horizonte.Anais . Disponível emhttp://www.soter.org.br/biblioteca/anais_congresso_soter_2012.pdf. p.1075-1097
MATEUS. In: A BÍBLIA: tradução João Ferreira de Almeida. Rio de Janeiro: Liga Bíblia
Brasileira, 1997.
SURATA OS APOSENTOS. In: CORÃO. Trad. Samir El Hayek.
Notes
1 Al-Sadr was a great scholar, theologian and Shiite leader in Iraq. He was persecuted for
his ideas and his social and political activism. The Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical regime
executed him in 1980.
2 TN: English version from AL-ṢADR, MUḤAMMAD BĀQIR. "Our philosophy, trans."Shams
Constantine Inati (London (1987).P. 10; 11.
3 Also check al-Sadr other book “Our Economy”.
· 217
Hospitalidade na Tenda de Abrahaão
Para a libertação humana e a construção da paz
Luiz Carlos SUSIN
Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil
Tornou-se bastante conhecida a tese de Hans Küng sobre a paz
no mundo e as religiões: não haverá paz no mundo sem paz entre as
religiões, e não haverá paz entre as religiões sem mútuo conhecimento,
diálogo e cooperação. Em seu livro Religiões do mundo, em busca dos
pontos comuns 1, ele termina conclamando as religiões para que sejam
construtoras de pontes. A substância a ser passada por estas pontes, uma
questão crucial, segundo Küng, para a sobrevivência do mundo humano,
é a criação de um etos mundial. Padrões éticos globais, uma ética para o
mundo inteiro, é tanto condição de diálogo como preocupação e substância do diálogo 2. Aqui desejo enfatizar uma postura ética que pode e deve
ser explorada pelas tradições religiosas e que é condição para o diálogo
e para a paz: a hospitalidade.
A tese que pretendo focalizar é esta: A hospitalidade é a alma da
religião. É alma das grandes tradições da era axial e provavelmente de
toda forma de religião 3. É o que aqui vou discorrer brevemente num primeiro ponto. Mas neste texto restrinjo-me às tradições religiosas abraâmicas, tomando a grande figura comum das três tradições e de seus textos
sagrados em hebraico, grego e árabe. Em primeiro lugar, a memória de
1 Campinas, Verus, 2004.
2 Hans Küng termina seu livro com sua tese: “Repito e resumo os princípios que determinaram aqui o meu trabalho e o de inúmeras outras pessoas: Não haverá paz entre as
nações se não existir paz entre as religiões. Não haverá paz entre as religiões se não
existir diálogo entre as religiões. Não haverá diálogo entre as religiões se não existirem
padrões éticos globais. Nosso planeta não irá sobreviver se não houver um etos global,
uma ética para o mundo inteiro” (Küng H., Opus cit. p280).
3 Sobre as tradições religiosas que se estruturaram na era axial da qual até hoje somos
devedores, cf. ARMSTRONG, Karen, A grande transformação. O mundo na época de
Buda, Confúcio e Jeremias. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2008.
218 ·· Luiz Carlos SUSIN
218
Abraão, nas diferentes versões. Em segundo lugar, em alguns aspectos
dessas tradições, embora deva confessar desde o começo que estou apto,
na verdade, a aprofundar a partir da tradição cristã à qual pertenço. Em
terceiro lugar, os desafios e o método que se deveria seguir para que
Abraão e sua descendência se tornem pedras angulares na busca de uma
ética global. Enfim, é necessário sublinhar que a postura da hospitalidade
é uma decisão ética de princípio, uma experiência radical da existência
humana, que não depende de uma determinada tradição. Ao contrário,
é suscitadora de tradições: seja subvertendo a ordem vigente de hostilidade, de xenofobia, contribuindo, ao contrário, com uma experiência de
theoxenia; seja selecionando e reforçando as melhores atitudes para uma
ética verdadeiramente humana.
1. A hospitalidade é a alma da religião
A antropologia cultural, ao pesquisar culturas não ocidentais, se
defronta invariavelmente com a religião como expressão englobante e
como chave de interpretação da cultura. Desde Émile Durkheim e Max
Weber se pode concluir pelo axioma de que a religião é a alma da cultura, e a cultura, em suas variadas expressões, na verdade constitui-se
como corpo animado organicamente pela dimensão religiosa. O teólogo
Paul Tillich, que se dedicou com cuidado ao estudo das relações entre
cultura e religião chega à mesma conclusão, tomando disso consequências instigantes para o Ocidente secularizado: a cultura é acesso à religião
ao menos enquanto experiência religiosa, que, por sua vez, é sentido
de toda cultura. René Girard desenvolveu uma antropologia sui generis:
primeiro constatou que a cultura decorre da religião e esta se origina em
vítimas expiatórias que aplacam a violência do mimetismo dos desejos;
depois constatou que há uma cultura religiosa que provém da superação
da religião sacrificial, e privilegia a Bíblia como testemunha dessa superação. Portanto, mesmo começando pela cultura, é necessário discernir
a forma de religião, e o “sacrifício” ou “não sacrifício” são critérios de
discernimento e valoração.
Karen Armstrong lembra que a questão da religião se decide não
em termos teóricos, metafísicos, o que em teologia seriam doutrinas,
dogmas, mas em termos práticos: a religião, a experiência religiosa por
dentro das expressões da cultura, é uma questão de postura prática: mil
argumentos em defesa ou contra a religião não valem uma genuflexão,
uma oração. As grandes tradições religiosas fundadas na era axial se
caracterizam por posturas práticas de não sacrifício, portanto de uma
ética universal de compaixão. Isso não significa que resíduos sacrificiais,
surtos e regressões sacrificiais, violência de caráter religioso, não acon-
Hospitalidade na Tenda de Abrahaão · 219
teçam. Mas estes não são a boa novidade dessas tradições. Uma das boas
notícias é o ensinamento da hospitalidade – a theoxenia – como postura
religiosa no fundo da cultura da hospitalidade capaz de superar a hostilidade. Esta, a hostilidade, produz sacrifícios e comunhão no sacrifício. Mas
a hospitalidade produz uma experiência transcendente de comunhão de
vida sem precisar de morte, uma superação em direção à paz disponível
para todos.
No panorama das grandes tradições religiosas que se formam a
partir da era axial, os monoteísmos do berçário religioso do Oriente
Médio, por diversas razões históricas e atuais, são emblemáticos para
nosso assunto: elas são um teste.
2. Abraão, uma figura inspiradora da fé.
Abraão, como se sabe, é uma figura evocativa, um memorial, para
as três grandes tradições do Oriente Médio: judeus, cristãos e muçulmanos lembram Abraão como “Pai” e modelo de fé, “amigo de Deus”. A tradição cristã segue de perto a tradição judaica e adota o mesmo conjunto
de Escrituras na conservação das diversas narrativas que se referem a
Abraão.
Há, no entanto, alguns desenvolvimentos judaicos interessantes
em midraxes que comentam Abraão de forma diferente daquela que os
cristãos, desde o Novo Testamento, estão habituados. Na tradição cristã
Abraão é apresentado como Pai dos cristãos na fé que justifica antes e
até em contraste com as obras da Lei. Hoje se compreende que Abraão
saiu de um mundo religioso que tinha também suas leis férreas, como a
do sacrifício do primogênito. No evangelho de João há uma importante
disputa em torno da figura de Abraão entre Jesus e seus interlocutores,
e o critério de verdade e de valor é que “Abraão não matou” (Cf. Jo 8).
Ou seja, o sacrifício religioso é desvestido e emerge o que ele realmente
é: um assassinato com motivações religiosas. Mas este é um critério para
toda religião, inclusive para o próprio cristianismo. Em Abraão não pode
ser separado das narrativas que culminam neste tremendo dilema.
Já na tradição muçulmana, que honra Abraão como o primeiro
muçulmano, sua interpretação está consolidada pelo viés de Agar e
Ismael de forma bem distinta da narrativa bíblica e da alegoria de Paulo
na carta aos Gálatas (Cf. Gl 4, 21-31). As narrativas em torno de Abraão
e Ismael são, em grande medida, as mesmas de Abraão e Isaac na Bíblia
judaica e cristã, onde o “não sacrifício” triunfa sobre o mandamento de
sacrificar. Com a originalidade da passagem de Abraão por Meca, onde
a promessa divina começa a se cumprir: Ismael é o começo abençoado
220 · Luiz Carlos SUSIN
de uma posteridade de povos e terras. Portanto, completamente oposta à
interpretação que Paulo dá em sua alegoria e que constrange os muçulmanos e também os judeus.
O recurso à figura inspiradora de Abraão como um lugar comum
da fé exige, portanto, alguns cuidados. De fato, as três tradições lembram
que ele, diante do mandamento do sacrifício, “não sacrificou”. Mesmo
com as variantes narrativas, há um núcleo duro comum. Voltaremos ainda
ao tratamento que se deveria esperar, no entanto, diante das diferenças
irredutíveis de cada tradição. Agora é importante sublinhar outro ponto
em comum, pelo qual se compreende o “não sacrifício” de Abraão: a sua
abertura à hospitalidade, lembrada também pelas três tradições na visita
sob o carvalho de Mambré e os acontecimentos em Sodoma e Gomorra.
3. Abraão, uma figura inspiradora da hospitalidade.
A literatura que se multiplica hoje em torno da hospitalidade,
quando busca nas religiões seus mandamentos de hospitalidade cita invariavelmente a narrativa de Abraão e os viajantes que ele acolhe em sua
tenda. Esta postura repercute na tradição bíblica e corânica. É importante
sublinhar que aqui há também uma transgressão a algo mais elementar:
a relação de hostilidade natural com quem é estranho, com o estrangeiro, o que vem de fora. Há algo de perigoso e potencialmente mortal no
estranho que chega. A reação de hostilidade ao aparecimento de quem
chega se explica pelo fato de que o “outro”, por princípio, é potencialmente o “inimigo”, o que pode se aproximar para fazer mal, para trazer
doença, para roubar ou até matar. Como a hostilidade também pode ser
certo mandamento natural de sobrevivência de um grupo que se protege,
compreende-se que a hospitalidade não é algo tão natural, e que exige
ser erigida em mandamento. Assim o mandamento obriga a vencer o
“medo ao outro”, a xenofobia e a hostilidade.
A narrativa de Mambré (Cf Gn 18) apresenta uma cena aparentemente prosaica, Abraão sentado à porta da tenda no calor do dia. Ele
também tem o estilo de vida do viandante, do nômade. E conhece em sua
carne os perigos que corre quem está “do outro lado”. Porque chegar e
se apresentar como estranho diante de outro também pode ser perigoso
e mortal. O forasteiro que chega é normalmente mais indefeso do que
o habitante do lugar. Abraão, como na saída de Ur e sobretudo como
diante do mandamento do sacrifício, está aqui também em um típico
dilema: tanto pode cumprir o impulso da hostilidade como superar-se em
hospitalidade. Ele sabe, por sua experiência, que o que chega precisa de
bebida, comida e descanso. E decide sem hesitações pela hospitalidade
Hospitalidade na Tenda de Abrahaão · 221
completa, colocando tudo à disposição dos estranhos e perigosos que
passam por perto. Vai ao encontro antes mesmo de chegarem e antes de
alguma autoapresentação dos estranhos. Ele toma a iniciativa e pede que
sejam seus hóspedes, e depois de satisfeitas as necessidades dos novos
amigos a visita se concentra numa conversa que se revelará muito fecunda e confirmará Abraão em sua aventura de fé. Na verdade, a postura da
hospitalidade é sua abertura que o permite andar de fé em fé: fecundo
na fé.
Assim, segundo as Escrituras, nos dilemas de Moisés, de Elias, dos
profetas em geral, e inclusive na figura de Maria e de Jesus, repercute
a figura fundante de Abraão andante e hospitaleiro: a superação de si e
de uma forma de religião por outra cada vez mais aberta, mais universal, mais centrada “no outro”, naquele que vem e que chega, ainda que
estranho e perigoso. A filosofia semítica pode ser vista em oposição à filosofia helênica. Nesta triunfa a identidade do mesmo, a viagem de Ulisses
de volta para si mesmo, guerreiro vitorioso sobre os outros e sobre os
que ocuparam sua casa. A peregrinação de Abraão é a superação de si
sem volta em direção ao outro, ao estranho, confiante na palavra de uma
promessa contínua.
4. A hospitalidade para com o inimigo
O relato do que se passou sob o Carvalho de Mambré deve ser lido
em contraste com o que se passou em Sodoma e Gomorra, as cidades
inóspitas, onde a hostilidade triunfa sobre a hospitalidade. Nesse sentido
a hermenêutica de Jesus é preciosa: o pecado de Sodoma e Gomorra
está na sua incapacidade de abrir-se à hospitalidade, embora as cidades
contemporâneas de Jesus estejam em situação pior pelo mesmo motivo
(Cf. Mt 21-24). A derrocada das cidades é intrínseca à violência de sua
hostilidade. Pelo fio dourado de salvação que torna a narrativa sagrada
está a postura de hospitalidade de Lot e sua família, parentes de Abraão
naquelas cidades.
No entanto, é necessário voltar para o Carvalho de Mambré:
Abraão, ao saber do destino trágico iminente, toma coragem de interceder por cidades hostis. A sua oração parece colocar Deus em um dilema,
pois faz um jogo com a justiça divina. Mas assim fazendo, ele coloca a si
mesmo em jogo, em perigo, reconhecendo que diante da justiça divina
ele é pó e cinza. E, mesmo assim, insiste e insiste, barganha. Para não
sacrificar, por mais lógica que isso tenha, e assim preservar, tornar hospitaleiro o que é hostil. A sua oração de intercessão, de fato, é uma forma
de sua hospitalidade inclusive por quem não a merece. Ele intercede por
222 · Luiz Carlos SUSIN
inimigos de seu Deus, mas lembra seu Deus de que o próprio Deus pode
ser hospitaleiro. A narrativa passa a sensação de que Abraão é melhor,
mais hospitaleiro, do que Deus. É que aqui está se superando uma imagem de Deus, e com a abertura hospitaleira de Abraão importando-se
até com o inimigo de Deus abre-se também a nova imagem de um Deus
cada vez mais hospitaleiro, inclusive até para com o outro mais radical,
que é o inimigo.
5. Para Abraão, o outro passa adiante.
No conjunto das memórias abraâmicas, convém lembrar ainda a
encruzilhada do deserto em que Abraão se encontra com seu parente
Lot. Eles precisam se separar para buscar pastagens para seus respectivos
rebanhos. Abraão dá espaço para que Lot escolha a melhor parte antes
dele. Esta atitude faz parte da hospitalidade: o hóspede é servido com
prioridade. Assim também os pequeninos, os pobres, e mesmo o estrangeiro – no caso de Jesus, a mulher cananeia e o centurião, o exemplo do
samaritano, a amizade das mulheres, etc. – ganham prioridade na religião
que consiste essencialmente no cultivo da hospitalidade.
Esta forma de ser religioso destrói ou coloca de cabeça para baixo
toda hierarquia e toda ideia de que aquilo que constitui a própria identidade é melhor e portanto merece o primeiro lugar. A postura hospitaleira,
ao dar prioridade ao outro, ao colocar o outro no centro, é um questionamento perturbador da religião autocentrada. O dilema do sagrado é
que, neste caso, não é sagrado o que se guarda como o mais sagrado,
mas o que se desapropria e o que se doa, e nesse dom do mais sagrado
– na hospitalidade que dá prioridade ao outro – está o verdadeiro novo
sacrifício, desde Abraão.
6. A descendência de Abraão
Quem pode ser chamado de filho ou filha de Abraão? Evidentemente
a filiação abraâmica não é biológica, não é étnica. Trata-se de uma figura
religiosa na virada histórica da era pré-axial para a era axial, figura da
compaixão e da ética universal. Em 1983, participei de uma visita ao lugar
em que se lembra ao mesmo tempo a ressurreição do filho da viúva de
Naim por parte de Jesus segundo a narrativa de Lucas (Lc 7, 11-17) e
a ressurreição do filho da viúva de Sarepta por parte de Elias segundo
o primeiro livro dos reis (1 Rs, 17, 7-24). Um palestino muçulmano da
aldeia caminhava ao meu lado com a chave da pequena capela em suas
mãos para abrir ao grupo de cristãos que iria rezar. Ele me dizia sem me
conhecer mas com um tom amigo e hospitaleiro: “nós somos todos paren-
Hospitalidade na Tenda de Abrahaão · 223
tes em Abraão, e estou feliz que vocês venham nos visitar”. Ali estava um
grande filho de Abraão: acreditava que o estranho poderia ser um irmão
e dava-lhe as boas vindas com a chave para abrir a porta e permitir que
fizéssemos a nossa oração a nosso modo, segundo a nossa tradição.
Há descendentes de Abraão em nosso tempo, inclusive longe das
três grandes tradições saídas do Oriente semítico. Nesse tempo em que
as religiões formadas na era axial estão em grande transformação, em
que será necessária uma transubstanciação das religiões num mundo
em ebulição, o critério abraâmico da hospitalidade se torna ao mesmo
tempo um critério hermenêutico para avaliar e valorizar as tradições
religiosas recebidas de um passado venerável, um critério prático para a
convivência humana no presente com reconciliação e paz, e um critério
hermenêutico de esperança num futuro realmente possível para a grande
família humana.
A grande questão desse momento, para as religiões que ainda mantém uma hierarquia e normalmente se colocam no topo da hierarquia,
não é o que elas tem em comum, mas a irredutível alteridade de cada
uma como uma riqueza a ser respeitada. Atitudes de menosprezo, de
desqualificação e destruição, mas também de assimilação, não são mais
aceitáveis. Não há como universalizar uma tradição ou uma experiência.
Elas podem ser colocadas em comum no sentido de serem acolhidas em
sua estranheza, dentro da biodiversidade própria da vida. Trata-se, pois,
de escutar as diferenças e compreender os outros a partir de suas próprias diferenças irredutíveis, e levar a sério a legitimidade das diferentes
identidades pela narrativa e pela memória que cada identidade mantém
de si mesma.
Isso não significa que estamos condenados a mundos plurais sem
contato e sem comunhão. Abraão, para ficarmos na tradição semítica, é
uma das figuras humanas que ensinam a termos critérios que são maiores
do que as estruturas religiosas para nos conduzirmos como humanidade:
o critério da vida do outro que passa adiante, da hospitalidade como
verdadeiro sacrifício.
De qualquer forma, para o diálogo entre judeus, cristãos e muçulmanos, a pergunta sobre quem é Abraão e quem é descendência de
Abraão é incontornável.
Referências Bibliográficas:
ARMSTRONG Karen, A grande transformação. O mundo na época de Buda, Confúcio e
Jeremias. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2008.
224 · Luiz Carlos SUSIN
________The case for God. What Religion Really means. London: The Bodley Head, 2009.
BÉTHUNE Pierre-François, L’hospitalité sacrée entre les religions. Paris: Albin Michekl, 2007.
GIRARD René, A violência e o sagrado. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 1990.
________ O bode expiatório. São Paulo: Paulus, 2004.
KÜNG Hans, Religiões do mundo, em busca dos pontos comuns. Campinas, Verus, 2004.
MONGE Claudio. Dieu Hôte. Recherche historique et théologique sur les rituels de
l’hospitalité. Bucarest: Zeta books, 2008.
TILLICH, Paul. What is Religion? New York: Harper Torchbook, 1973.
Número especial da Revista «HORIZONTE»
da PUC de MINAS, Belo Horizonte, Brasil, sobre
«O Paradigma Pós-Religional»
número 37, ano 2015, monográfico
Um número especial, em várias línguas, que continua a
reflexão teológica e das ciências da religião após o lançamento da Proposta Teológica do Paradigma Pós-religional feita
pela EATWOT no ano de 2011. O novo paradigma se aprofunda
e prolonga com a reflexão das assinaturas mais reconhecidas
neste campo:
Roger LENAERS, John Shelby SPONG, Marià CORBÍ, Diarmuid O'MURCHU, Lee CORMIE, Danny PILARIO, Geraldina CÉSPEDES, Juan MASIÁ, Simón Pedro ARNOLD, Faustino TEIXIRA,
Sergio OSORIO, Don CUPITT, Stefen BATCHELOR, María LÓPEZ
VIGIL, José Maria VIGIL...
Pode recolhé-la on line, na página da própria revista:
http://periodicos.pucminas.br/index.php/horizonte
· 225
226 ·
· 227
Auf dem Weg
zu einem post-religionalen Paradigma
Ein theologischer Vorschlag
Internationale Theologische Kommission
von EATWOT
Immer öfter redet man vom Niedergang des Christentums im
Abendland. Sowohl der Katholizismus als auch der Protestantismus durchlaufen eine schwerwiegende Krise, gleichermaßen in Europa wie in
Nordamerika. Es häufen sich ständig die Beobachter, die voraussagen,
dass die Krise auch andere Religionen betreffen werde. Man vermutet, dass diese nicht in einem spezifischen Problem des Christentums
gründet, sondern im Naturell „der Religionen“ . Diese erleben und eine
steigende Unfähigkeit, bei der Anpassung an die tiefgreifenden kulturellen Veränderungen, die sich (derzeit( vollziehen. Die Hypothese eines
aufkommenden post-religionalen Paradigmas möchte die Möglichkeit aufzeigen, dass wir vor einem soziokulturellem Wandel von großem Tiefgang
stehen, in welchem die „neolitischen Religionen“ keinen Zugang mehr
haben keinen Zugang mehr haben. Das geschieht nämlich dann, wenn
die Ankunft der „Wissensgesellschaft"1 umfassend Platz greift. Das wird
eine „postreligionale“ Gesellschaft sein.2 Und diejenigen die Religionen,
die sich nicht von ihren alten, „religionalen“ Konditionierungen befreien,
werden sich im verbleibenden Randbereich des geschichtlichen Verlaufs
wiederfinden.
1 Wir legen nicht das Augenmerk auf eine konkrete Charakteresierung der neuen Kultur oder
Gesellschaft, die entsteht, um nicht eine zweite Debatte aufzumachen. Unseretwegen
würden wir sie „Wissensgesellschaft nennen, nicht im Sinn einer sehr gebildeten
Gesellschaft, sondern im Sinn einer Gesellschaft, in der das Wissen die „Produktionsund Akkumulationsachse“ bildet, will heißen: Gesellschaften werden davon leben,
Wissen hervorzubringen. Wie diese Charakterisierung auch sei, für unsere Zielsetzung
ist es wichtig, die epistemologische Struktur (erkenntnistheoretische) dieser Gesellschaft
zu behandeln.
2 Wir verwenden die Neologismen „religional“ und „post-religional“ als technische Konzepte,
welche sorgsam von „religiös“ und „post-religiös“ getrennt werden müssen, wie wir
später erläutern werden.
228 · Theologischer Vorschlag
Es liegt auf der Hand, dass diese Paradigmahypothese neben
Phänomenen koexistieren würde, welche stark gegensätzlich sind, wie dies
für den religiösen Konservativismus, spirituelle Erweckungsbewegungen,
charismatische und neo-pfingstliche Bewegungen sind gilt. Nur in einigen
geografischen Sektoren kann sie sich mehrheitlich behaupten, aber einige
Beobachter bestätigen, dass die Symptome anwachsen, dass in städtischen
gebildeten Schichten, sowohl bei Jugendlichen als auch bei Erwachsenen
mit Zugang zu Kultur und Technologie, dieses Paradigma durchzubrechen beginnt, und zwar auch in Lateinamerika (unter Umständen auch in
Afrika und Asien?). Wir sehen von quantitativen Felduntersuchungen ab
und möchten uns auf die theoretische Ausarbeitung einer ersten reflexiven und noch genauer zu vertiefenden Vorstellung konzentrieren, was
wir hier „post-religionales Paradigma“ nennen möchten; dieses stellen
wir zur Diskussion für die Forschergemeinschaft von Theologen und
Religionswissenschaftlern wie auch für die „Geistlichen“ und alle mit der
aktuellen Entwicklung des Religiösen besorgten Personen.
Das mögliche Fundament der Hypothese
Eine Erweiterung des menschlichen Wissens einerseits und eine
fehlende Auseinandersetzung der gegenwärtigen Forschung mit der
Religion anderseits scheinen unter anderem die intellektuellen Ursachen
dieses neuen Paradigmas zu sein. Die Entwicklung der Forschung regt
die Menschheit an, sich selbst zu betrachten und sich von der eigenen
Religiosität ein weitgehend anderes Bild zu machen, als sie bis jetzt hatte.
Das wirkt sich in einer neuen Einstellung gegenüber der Religion aus.
In unserer Zeit sieht sich die Kulturanthropologie schon in der Lage,
ein anderes Urteil über die Religion fällen zu können als das, was diese ursprünglich über sich selbst abgegeben hat. Gemeint ist die Selbstdefinition,
mit der sich Religion über Jahrtausende beschrieben hat und durch die
die mehrheitliche Meinung traditioneller Gesellschaften geprägt wurde
und bis heute wird. Auch wenn noch viel zu untersuchen bleibt, und
auch wenn andere Wissenschaften (bzw. Forschungsdisziplinen) viel
beitragen können, glaubt die Kulturanthropologie – interdisziplinär betrachtet – bereits zu wissen, wann und wie sich die Religionen durchgesetzt
haben, mit welchen sozialen und erkenntnistheoretischen Mechanismen
sie arbeiten und welche die beteiligten tiefgehenden menschlichen
Dimensionen in Bezug auf den Menschen sind, und zwar als Individuum
und als Kollektiv. Die Neuartigkeit dieser Beurteilung ist radikal und
scheint sich in den entwickelten Gesellschaften ebenso schnell, jedoch
noch nicht auffällig Allgemeingut zu werden. Die Verbreitung scheint
eine tiefgreifende Veränderung der Einstellung gegenüber der Religion
hervorzurufen. Genau das interpretieren wir als das Hereinbrechen eines
neuen, „post-religionalen Paradigmas“.
Auf dem Weg zu einem Post-religionalen Paradigma
· 229
Diese wären – überblicksartig – die Kernpunkte dieser neuen
Perspektive, welche die Kulturanthropologie heute in Bezug auf Religion
präsentiert:
• Die Religionen existieren nicht „schon immer“, sie existieren
nicht seit Anbeginn der Menschheit auf der Erde. Heute wissen wir, dass
die Religionen jung, ja fast „neu“ sind. Die älteste, der Hinduismus, soll
nur 4500 Jahre, die jüdische Religion 3200 Jahre alt (Ergänzung!): und
die christliche gerade einmal 2000 Jahre alt sein. Auch wenn wir uns
auf die Zeit der Gattung homo (5-7 Millionen Jahre) oder sogar homo
sapiens (150.000 oder 200.000 Jahre) beschränken, sind die Religionen
evolutionär gesehen gerade mal „von gestern“. Wir haben viel mehr Zeit
ohne die Religionen verbracht als mit ihnen, auch wenn wir anscheinend
vom ersten Moment an spirituell 3 gewesen sind: homo sapiens und homo
spiritualis scheinen gleichaltrig zu sein. Die Religionen sind also nichts,
was den Menschen notwendigerweise begleitet, wie die Geschichte zeigt.
• Die Religionen haben sich in neolithischer Zeit herausgebildet, und zwar nach der großen Veränderung, die unsere Spezies
(Satz-Umstellung!) durch den Übergang vom Nomadentum der Jäger
und Sammler hin zu einem sesshaften Leben in urbanen Gesellschaften
durchlaufen hat. Dieser ist mit der Landwirtschaft verbunden, besonders
in Folge der „Agrarrevolution“4. In dieser Zeit der Evolution (vielleicht
dem schwierigsten Zeitpunkt ihrer evolutionären Geschichte) hat die
Menschheit sich selbst neu erfinden müssen, indem sie Verhaltensregeln
schuf, die es ihr ermöglichten, in Gesellschaften und nicht mehr in
Gruppen oder Horden zu leben, und zwar mit Rechtsprechung, Moral,
sozialem Zusammenhalt und Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl …, um existieren zu können und als Spezies zu überleben. In dieser Zeit hat die
Menschheit auf das zurückgegriffen, was vielleicht ihre größte Stärke seit
ihrem Erscheinen als eigene Spezies gewesen ist: ihre symbolische und
3 Wir übernehmen mit Argwohn und Resignation das Wort “Spiritualität” und versuchen keinen
Kompromiss mit der nicht zu verleugnenden etymologischen dualistischen Konnotation
einzugehen. Es handelt sich um ein dem Gebrauch nach geheiligtes Wort, und bekanntermaßen übernehmen wir es nicht als Bezug auf einen „Geist“ als Gegenstück zu
einer nicht geistbeseelten Materie… Wir postulieren eine Definition, welche dem mehr
entspricht, was Spiritualität ausdrücken möchte: jene Dimension der Tiefe (Tillich),
jenes Bedürfnis unser Leben in einen größeren Kontext einzufassen (Armstrong), die
tiefgehende menschliche Qualität (Corbí), der letzte Antrieb, die Mystik mit der gelebt
und sich eingesetzt wird und mit der man andere anstecken kann (Casaldáliga-Vigil)…
Um die Begrenztheit des Ausdrucks wiedergutzumachen, versuchen wir diesen Begriff
zurückzuführen und durch Parallelausdrücke zu begleiten.
4 Wir reden von der „agrarischen“ Gesellschaft oder Epoche nicht im Sinn einer ländlichen
oder bäuerlichen Gesellschaft, welche sich dem Primärsektor einer Wirtschaft zuwendet, sondern im Sinn einer kulturanthropologischen Perspektive auf die menschliche
Gesellschaft nach der „neolithischen Agrarrevolution“ als globale Betitelung einer
Epoche bis zu ihrer aktuellen Auflösung.
230 · Theologischer Vorschlag
religiöse Begabung, ihr Bedürfnis nach Sinn und Transzendenzerfahrung.
Es hätte vielleicht anders kommen können, aber es ist faktisch so gewesen.
•Vom Neolithikum bis heute sind die Gesellschaften religiös
gewesen, „religiozentrisch“. Sie sind in allen strukturellen Bereichen von
Religion geprägt. Das bezieht sich auf ihr Wissen (und Nichtwissen), ihren
Glauben, ihre Kultur, ihr Identitätsgefühl, ihren sozialen Zusammenhalt
und auf das Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl ihrer Mitglieder, ihrer
Rechtsprechung, ihrer Politik, ihrer Legitimität, ihrer gesellschaftlichen
Struktur, ihrer Kosmovision (Anmerkung: das Wort müsste etwas erläutert werden!), ihrer Kunst … „Religion ist die Substanz der Kultur und
Kultur die Form der Religion“ (Tillich). Der religiöse Impuls, die Stärke
der Religion ist der Motor des „Betriebssystems“ der Gesellschaften
gewesen. Wenn wir die beiden letzten Jahrhunderte ausnehmen, haben
wir seit der Agrarrevolution weder Gesellschaften noch große soziale
Bewegungen und nicht einmal Revolutionen ohne Religion gekannt; es
ist klar, dass ihre Absichten auch und grundlegend wirtschaftlich und
politisch waren, doch diese sozialen Impulse wurden durch das Religiöse
geführt. Die Religion selbst – mit einem quasi-göttlichem Ansehen, ihrer
unhinterfragbaren Autorität, ihren Überzeugungen, Mythen, Dogmen,
Geboten, Moral … und sogar inquisitorischen Instanzen – diente als
Programmierungssoftware jeder Gesellschaft. Dies ist während der ganzen neolithischen – oder „agrarischen Epoche “ (im weiteren Sinn) der
Fall gewesen. Die Kulturanthropologie behauptet nun, dass sie diese
Epoche zu Ende geht.
•Mit welchen inneren Mechanismen haben die Religionen ihre
Fähigkeit zur Programmierung der Gesellschaft ausgeübt? Mit Hilfe
- der Herausbildung und Auferlegung ihrer Kosmovision auf die
Gesellschaft: Sie ist es, die der Menschheit in jeder Gesellschaft gesagt
hat, was die Realität ist, was ihr Ursprung, ihr Sinn, ihre moralischen
Forderungen sind;
- der grundlegenden Glaubensüberzeugungen, die durch heilige
Mythen vermittelt wurden, die als Voraussetzung, Axiome, Postulate,
tief verankerte Voraussetzungen jeder Gesellschaft, als epistemologische
Architektur der menschlichen Gesellschaft dienten;
- einer „mythische Epistemologie“, die Gott ihre eigenen
Konstruktionen zugeschrieben hat, um sie als Offenbarung oder Willen
Gottes zu präsentieren und sie somit zu verabsolutieren, um der menschlichen Gesellschaft Sicherheit zu verleihen;
- einer radikalen Forderung nach Hingabe [Islam heißt eigentlich
Hingabe, nur im abgeleiteten Sinne Unterwerfung], nach Glauben [eine
grundlegende Forderung des Christentums] und zu „glauben, was man
nicht sehen kann“ (oder was man noch nicht einmal versteht);
Auf dem Weg zu einem Post-religionalen Paradigma
· 231
- der Verwendung all dieser Mechanismen als Steuerungssystem
der Gesellschaft (was in den sozialen Systemen der Imperien mit ihrer
Staatreligion deutlich wird, zum Beispiel der „christlichen Gesellschaft“
oder den „theokratischen Regimen“ in anderen Religionen).
Von diesen Prämissen ausgehend, könnten wir nun eine neue
fachspezifische Ad-hoc-Definition der „Religionen“ in der Bedeutung
formulieren, die wir hier diesem Begriff zuweisen wollen: Wir verwenden den Begriff „Religion“ für die gesellschaftlich institutionalisierte
Struktur, welche die konstitutive Religiosität (Spiritualität) des Menschen
in der agrarischen Epoche angenommen hat, eine Struktur, die als
grundlegendes System zur Programmierung und zur Selbstkontrolle der
neolithischen Agrargesellschaften diente. In diesen Ausführungen verstehen wir „Religion“ in diesem engen fachspezifischen Sinn und nicht in
irgendeinem anderen Sinn des Wortes (Religiosität, religiöse Dimension,
Spiritualität, religiöse Institution …). Diese begriffliche Präzisierung nicht
zu beachten, würde zwangsläufig zur Verwirrung führen. Wir werden den
davon abgeleiteten fachspezifischen Begriff „religional“ für das verwenden, was mit dieser „der agrarischen oder neolithischen Epoche eigenen
sozio-religiösen Struktur“ im Zusammenhang steht.
In diesem Sinn bleibt festzuhalten, dass das Paradigma, das wir
vorstellen möchten, als „post-religional“ bezeichnet wird und nicht als
„post-religiös“, weil es nach wie vor „religiös“ im normalen, lexikalischen Sinn sein wird. Es steht „mit der spirituellen Dimension des menschlichen Wesens und der Gesellschaft in Verbindung“, obwohl sich die
Kulturen und Epochen verändern; wir nennen es post-religional, weil es
sich mit Sicherheit bei der Überwindung der beschriebenen Struktur des
Religiösen durchsetzen wird. Es sind jene Funktionsweisen, auf die wir
uns beziehen werden, die den Religionen eigen sind, die wir allgemein
„agrarisch“ nennen – wobei wir hier die von der Viehzucht lebende und
andere spezialisierte Gesellschaften mit einschließen.
Die Vorsilbe „post-“ verstehen wir nicht im eigentlich zeitlichen
Sinn (als „nach“), sondern im generisch überragendem Sinn: „oberhalb von“. Deshalb wäre es gleichermaßen treffend es „a-religional“ zu
nennen, um eine Verwechslung mit der Zeit-Dimension zu vermeiden.
„Post-religional“ heißt weder „post-religiös“ noch „post-spirituell“, sondern strikt „oberhalb des Religionalen“, das heißt, oberhalb dessen, „was
die agrarischen Religionen gewesen sind“ oder eine „Religiosität ohne
(agrarisch strukturierte) Religionen“, eine Spiritualität ohne die „eigens
in neolithischer Zeit sozio-institutionalisierte Struktur“ (ohne soziale
Programmierung, ohne Unterwerfung, ohne Dogmen …) 5.
5 Diese Präzisionen des Begriffs können erklären warum es erforderlich ist, sich dieser Art
neologistischen Handwerkszeugs zu bedienen – welche innerhalb der eigenen Regeln
232 · Theologischer Vorschlag
Natürlich stützen wir uns auf Vermittlungen, Gesten, Symbole,
Institutionen oder „Systematisierungen“ anderer Art, denn die spirituelle
menschliche Erfahrung kann sich nicht aus dem Nichts entwickeln…;
aber das ist nicht der Moment, diese Schwierigkeit aufzulösen.
Hauptelemente des post-religionalen Paradigmas
Wir wollen versuchen, schon die Hauptelemente des neuen „postreligionalen“ Bewusstseins zu präzisieren. Es ist nämlich charakteristisch für dieses komplexe Phänomen der entstehenden Sozialkultur als
Hauptkonsequenz der Erweiterung menschlichen Wissens.
1. Die Religionen sind etwas Anderes als das, wofür wir sie traditionell hielten, das, wofür sie noch immer von vielen gehalten werden, das, wofür sie sich selbst halten und wofür sie Jahrtausende lang
in der Gesellschaft standen. Die Religionen sind nicht gestützt durch
ein präexistentes Wesen, welches diese in ein höherrangiges Gefäß der
Weisheit verwandeln würde. Sie können sich nicht als göttliche Weisheit
verstehen, die ihnen unmittelbar durch Gott offenbart wurde. Dadurch
wäre ihnen der einzige Zugangsweg zu dieser Offenbarung gegeben
und sie stünden mit diesem Geheimnis in unmittelbarer Beziehung. Die
Religionen sind vielmehr – man vergesse nicht, immer in dem spezifischen Sinn, den wir diesem Begriff geben – ein historisches Phänomen,
eine konkrete soziokulturelle Ausformung, welche die menschliche
Tiefendimension in einer bestimmten historischen Ära geprägt hat. Sie
sind nicht „die Religiosität selbst“. Sie sind nicht ohne weiteres vergleichbar mit „der menschlichen Spiritualität aller Zeiten“.
Die Religionen sind Ausformungen, historische, zufällige und sich
wechselnde Ausformungen, während die Spiritualität eine menschliche
Grunddimension ist. Sie ist liegt als wesentlich für den Menschen vor
allen geschichtlichen Prägungen… Spiritualität kann innerhalb oder
außerhalb der Religionen gelebt werden. Wir könnten auf die Religionen
verzichten, aber wir könnten nicht auf die transzendentale Dimension des
Menschen verzichten …
der Sprache bleiben -, um dem Irrtum vorzubeugen, zum einen ihn mit dem „Religiösen“
in dem normalem Wortsinn gleichzusetzen, zum anderen ihn fälschlicherweise mit dem
„Anti-Religiösen“ oder Atheistischen zu verwechseln.
Auf jeden Fall fragen wir: Ist das Adjektiv „religional“ das adäquateste um dieses Paradigma
zu qualifizieren? Wir antworten: Wir glauben, dass es korrekt, dass es adäquat ist und
dass es nützlich ist (weil plastisch und effekthascherisch), aber wir glauben, dass es
nicht absolut ist und dass es verbessert werden kann, weil es sich vielleicht weder vom
Kern des Phänomens herleitet, auf das es sich bezieht, noch unter Umständen ins
Gedächtnis ruft, was seine materielle Basis oder epistemologische Eigenheit ist. Deshalb
schlagen wir ihn in aller Bescheidenheit als provisorisch und verbesserungswürdig vor.
Auf dem Weg zu einem Post-religionalen Paradigma
· 233
2. Die Religionen sind auch … menschliche Konstrukte. Wie
bereits gesagt, wissen die Forschung und die Gesellschaft bereits viel
über ihren Ursprung, ihren Werdegang, ihre Mechanismen. Das verändert
radikal unsere Wahrnehmung über sie: Die Religionen sind unser Werk,
menschliche Gebilde; genial, aber menschlich – manchmal zu menschlich
– und müssen in unserem Dienst stehen, nicht andersherum.
Die Religionen – ihre Glaubenssätze, ihre Mythen, ihre Moral … –
sind nicht das direkte Werk eines Gottes out there, up there, welcher uns
diese Gabe der Religionen geschickt hätte, sondern sind etwas, was hier
unten sich entwickelt hat. Sie sind etwas sehr Irdisches, was wir uns als
Menschen zu eigen gemacht haben. Sicher sind wir angetrieben durch die
Kraft des göttlichen Geheimnisses, das uns durchströmt, aber nach unseren Möglichkeiten und gemäß unsere sehr konkreten Konditionierungen.
Die Religionen verabsolutierten sich in späterer Zeit, indem
sie ihren eigenen Ursprung auf (einen) Gott zurückführten. Das war
ein hilfreicher Mechanismus, um die menschlichen Konstruktionen,
die sie waren, zu festigen und ihnen unhinterfragbare Konsistenz
zu verleihen. Das geschah in dem Streben, die sozialen Formeln des
Zusammenlebens zu sichern, mit denen die Menschheit erreicht hatte,
sich entsprechend auszustatten. Heute verlieren wir die Naivität und
dieses absolute Merkmal der Religionen, welches Jahrtausende lang die
Wesenskomponente menschlicher Gesellschaften war. Diese Absolutheit
hat das Leben der Menschen leichter und passiver gemacht. Sie erweist
sich uns als eine erregende epistemologische Sinnestäuschung, die wir
als Glaubensüberzeugung angenommen hatten, Sie erscheint uns aber
heute weder notwendig, noch erwünscht, und auch nicht mehr erträglich.
3. Daher sind wir den Religionen nicht unterworfen, wir sind
nicht dazu verdammt, durch die Geschichte den von ihnen hinreichend
skizzierten Weg abzulaufen, als wäre es ein göttliches Vorhaben, welches
unser Schicksal – schon immer und von außen – im Voraus zeichnet.
Wir sind verpflichtet , die Lösungen anzunehmen, mit denen unsere
Vorfahren versuchten, ihre Probleme zu lösen und müssen keineswegs
die Wirklichkeit nach Maß ihrer Möglichkeiten interpretieren… Wenn
die Religionen unsere Konstruktionen sind, heißt das, dass sie uns nicht
das Recht (und auch nicht die Verpflichtung) abnehmen, zur Geschichte
Stellung zu beziehen und auf die Existenzprobleme unsere eigene Antwort
zu geben und mit Selbstvertrauen unter Zuhilfenahme unserer wissenschaftlichen Entdeckungen unsere eigene Wirklichkeitsdeutung dessen
auszudrücken, was wir sind. Wir sind nicht verpflichtet, die obsoleten
Deutungen und uralten Lösungen, welche sich Menschengenerationen
selbst seit einigen tausend Jahren gaben, als unantastbare und unü-
234 · Theologischer Vorschlag
berwindliche Wahrheit anzunehmen, als wären diese Deutungen eine
vermeintliche, von außen kommende „Offenbarung“ mit Verpflichtung
zur Erfüllung. Dieser „religionale“ Irrtum, in dem unsere Vorfahren gelebt
haben erscheinen uns heutzutage als Entfremdung.
Es beängstigt, sich allein zu fühlen, verantwortlich gegenüber
der Geschichte zu sein, nicht gebunden an die traditionellen religiösen
Wege, ohne sicheren und unbestreitbar als verpflichtend von den Göttern
vorgezeichneten Weg … Diese neue Weltsicht, dieses „post-religionale
Paradigma“ erzeugt ein menschliches Selbstbewusstsein, das tiefgreifend anders hinsichtlich dessen ist, was uns das traditionelle religionale
Bewusstsein eingeprägt hat. Jetzt fühlen wir uns frei von den „religionalen“ Fesseln, um unserer persönlichen und kollektiven Verwirklichung
mit Kreativität freien Lauf zu lassen, um voll unsere Verantwortung zu
übernehmen, unsere Entscheidungen, unsere Deutungen auf eigene
Gefahr ohne jede Beschränkung oder vermeintlich äußeren Zwang.
Natürlich sollten wir bestrebt sein, im Einklang mit dem Mysterium zu
sein, das uns bewegt.
4. Die Religionen als vermeintlich einzige Kennerinnen hinsichtlich Zeitenbeginns und Weltenendes sind ihrer Natur nach nicht auf
Dauer, nicht ewig. Jetzt erfahren wir sie vielmehr als vorübergehend,
von Menschen gemacht, neu und zufällig. Wir wissen, dass es nicht
unmöglich ist, dass sie verschwinden. Sie haben uns einen kleinen Teil
unserer Evolutionsgeschichte begleitet. Sie sind nicht wesentlich für unsere menschliche Natur.
Die agrarischen Religionen waren an das neolithische Zeitalter:
wir könnten sagen, dass sie in der Tat entstanden sind, um die menschliche Spezies für den Eintritt in diese neue Ära lebensfähig zu machen,
die der agrarischen Revolution nachfolgte. Aber es ist genau diese Ära,
von der die Experten behaupten, dass sie derzeit an ihr Ende kommt.
Welche Zukunft können wir den Religionen prognostizieren, und zwar
in einer Übergangsphase, die das Ende einer Ära ankündigt, welche
jene Religionen erst hervorbrachte? Es scheint die Hypothese plausibel,
dass die („agrarischen“) Religionen verschwinden könnten. Es scheint
weder an sich unmöglich noch dürfte es ein schwerwiegendes historisches Desaster sein: Wir haben den Großteil unserer Geschichte „ohne
Religionen“ (das gesamte Paläolithikum) gelebt, und es ist bewiesen, dass
das nicht unsere tiefe menschliche Qualität, unsere Spiritualität verhindert hat.
5. An dieser Stelle ist schon indirekt eine sich aufnötigende
Unterscheidung, bewiesen. Traditionell hatten die Religionen unrechtmäßigerweise das Monopol auf das Spirituelle inne: jemand konnte
Auf dem Weg zu einem Post-religionalen Paradigma
· 235
nur durch die Religion spirituell sein. Sie wurden selbst als Quelle der
Spiritualität empfunden, die direkte Verbindung mit dem Geheimnis.
Religion und Spiritualität waren alles eins, ein und dieselbe Sache.
Heute verändert sich – wie wir schon gesagt haben – die
Beurteilung der Religionen radikal in dem aufkommenden post-religionalen Paradigma. Jeden Tag wird mehr Menschen klar, dass die
Religionen nicht die Quelle der Spiritualität sind, sondern sozio-kulturelle
Ausformungen, welche die Spiritualität historisch ausgekleidet haben;
häufig sind sie eine Bremse und eine Hürde für die Spiritualität, die eine
charakteristische Wesensdimension des Menschen ist. Sie hat ihn , die
ihn seit seinem Aufkommen als Spezies begleitet. Die Worte Religion,
religiös, Religionen, die traditionell den ganzen Bereich der Spiritualität
recht austauschbar abdeckten, müssen heute sehr genau das Sieb der
Unterscheidung durchlaufen, das heißt zwischen dem Religiösen (was
mit der geheimnisvollen Dimension des Menschen zu tun hat) und dem
Religionalen (was dem Bereich dieser sozio-kulturellen und institutionellen Konstruktionen zuzurechnen ist, die wir agrarisch-neolithische
Religionen genannt haben).
Das post-religionale Paradigma im Überblick
Nachdem die Hauptelemente der Vision zum post-religionalen
Paradigma vorgestellt wurden, könnten wir versuchen, seinen argumentativen Kern in einem engen Überblick zu umreißen:
• Erste Bedingung: Die Religionen in dem fachspezifischen Sinn
den wir hier diesem Begriff gegeben haben (also weder „die Religion“,
noch die Spiritualität, noch die Religiosität …) sind eine neolithische
Schöpfung aus der agrarischen Altersstufe der Menschheit, sowohl ihre
Konkretiesierungen wie ihre Begründungen betrifft.
• Zweite Bedingung: Der sozio-kulturelle Wandel, den wir derzeit
durchlaufen, beinhaltet genau das Ende dieser agrarisch-neolithischen
Epoche. Was heute überwunden und beseitigt wird, sind die Grundfesten
der menschlichen Gesellschaft und ihrer Ausformung des menschlichen
Bewusstseins während der letzten 10.000 Jahre. Diese Veränderung seit
dem Beginn des jetzigen Zeitalters; zeigt die Tiefe des gegenwärtigen
Wandels. Es taucht ein neuer Typ von Gesellschaft mit unterschiedlichen Grundfesten auf – vor allem epistemologischen Grundfesten
– welche sich als inkompatibel mit dem neolithischen Jahrtausend„Betriebssystem“ erweisen. Es wird deshalb ein systematischer Wechsel
notwendig, sowohl auf epistemologischer Ebene wie auch auf Ebene der
spirituellen menschlichen Bewusstseinsweise. Von daher kommen die
236 · Theologischer Vorschlag
Radikalität und die Tiefe des epochalen Wandels, den wir erleben, es ist
eine neue „Achsenzeit“.
•Schlussfolgerung: Die (agrarisch-neolithischen) Religionen waren,
durch die Art ihres Bewusstseins, durch ihre Weltanschauung und durch
ihre Erkenntnisvoraussetzungen ausgewiesen. Sie verlieren an Grund
und geraten in ein tiefes Gefälle, je mehr – durch die Häufung wissenschaftlicher, fachspezifischer, sozialer und experimenteller Kenntnis
– ein neuer Typus von Bewusstsein, Weltanschauung und Epistemologie
aufkommt. Dieser Typus ist inkompatibel mit dem traditionell-neolithischen Verständnis. Die Menschen der jetzt aufkommenden Gesellschaft
können ihre spirituelle Dimension nicht mehr im Zusammenhang der
„agrarischen“ (sowohl bäuerlichen) Religionen ausdrücken. Sie schaffen
es nicht, sich mit der neuen Gesellschaft in Einklang zu bringen und
sich ihr verständlich zu machen. Die agrarisch-neolithischen Religionen
sehen sich daher herausgefordert, sich radikal zu wandeln oder zu
verschwinden. Die Menschen, Gemeinschaften und Institutionen dieser
Religionen werden sich, je mehr sie in die neue Kultur ziehen, von den
Mechanismen der agrarischen Epistemologie lösen und dazu übergehen,
ihre Spiritualität „post-religional“ zu leben.
Zur Verifizierung dieser Hypothese:
• Es ist notwendig, sich mit dem fachspezifischen Konzept der
agrarisch-neolithischen „Religionen“ auseinanderzusetzen, ohne sich auf
ihren Ursprungs zu beschränken, der diese hinter der Agrarrevolution
ausgelöst haben. Vielmehr gilt es zu zeigen, wie die epistemologische
Struktur und ihre wesentlichen Charakterzüge während der Zeit des agrarischen Zeitalters weiter wirkten und sich veränderten.
• Grundlegender wird die Aussage, wir seien am „Ende des neolithischen Zeitalters“ angekommen. Sie gilt es zu überprüfen und dabei
konkret zu präzisieren, an welchen anthropologischen Elementen wir
diese Behauptung festmachen, und welches die Wesenszüge der neuen
Gesellschaft sind, die sich als inkompatibel mit ihren Religionen erweisen.
• Es wird ein Begleitprojekt für die Gesellschaft dieser Epoche
zu erarbeiten sein, welches sich dem Übergang von der agrarischen
Gesellschaft zur neuen Gesellschaft annähert.
Zusammenfassend nennen wir dies „post-religionales Paradigma“.
Es ist dies die Weise, die Tiefendimension des Menschen zu leben, der
sich befreit und „die eigenen Mechanismen der agrarisch-neolithischen
Religionen“ überwindet. Damit wird klar, dass Menschen geprägt wurden:
Auf dem Weg zu einem Post-religionalen Paradigma
·· 237
237
• durch ihre mythisch geprägte Erkenntnistheorie (Epistemologie),
• durch das Monopol der Religionen auf Spiritualität,
• durch die Forderung nach Unterwerfung, durch die blinde
Annahme einiger Glaubensüberzeugungen als seien diese von Gott
offenbart,
• durch eine heteronom auferlegte Moral, welche von oben kommt
und damit auch eine Deutung der Naturgesetze durch eine bestimmte
Philosophie vorgibt. Es ist eine Moral, die weder einer rigorosen noch
gemeinschaftlichen oder gar demokratischen Prüfung unterzogen wurde.
• durch die Kontrolle menschlichen Denkens mit Dogmen, der
Verfolgung der Freiheit des Denkens mit der Inquisition, mit der
Verurteilung und Hinrichtung von „Häretikern“, mit dem Anspruch auf
Unfehlbarkeit, auf göttliche Inspiration. So wurde Autorität beansprucht
und durchgesetzt, den Willen Gottes vollgültig interpretieren zu können…,
• durch die Verkündigung geoffenbarter „Heilige Schriften“ (im
Fall der „Buchreligionen“) und durch die Sammlung, herausragender
Traditionen als direktes Gotteswort, als höchste Norm und damit indiskutabel für die Gesellschaft und den normalen Menschen…,
• durch eine vormoderne Wirklichkeitsdeutung als Zwei-EtagenWelt mit einer göttlichen übernatürlichen Welt über uns, von der wir
abhängen und zu der wir unterwegs sind…,
• und durch die Deutung von Leben und Tod, die als Prüfung,
Gericht und Belohnung/Bestrafung verstanden wurden, und zwar in
den Händen eines universellen Richters, welcher der oberste Herr in allen
Religionen galt…
Mit dem Ende des agrarischen Zeitalters sind all diese erkenntnisfähigen, achsenzeitlichen und tausendjährig epistemologischen
Strukturen umso weniger lebensfähig, je mehr die neue Gesellschaft
hereinbricht. Sie waren eine großartige menschliche Erfindung.
Dank dieser Hilfskonstruktionen schafften es die nomadischen
Horden von Jägern und Sammlern, ihre Menschlichkeit neu zu erfinden,
indem sie sich selbst befähigten, in der Stadt, geordnet durch Recht und
vereint mit einem religiösem Bewusstsein der Zusammengehörigkeit als
Kollektiv zu leben. Die eigene Identität wurde dabei den Göttern zugeschriebe…
Die gegenwärtige Krise ist nicht hauptsächlich den
Säkularisierungsprozessen geschuldet, dem Werteverlust oder der
238 · Theologischer Vorschlag
Verbreitung des Materialismus oder dem Hedonismus. In den hier
erfolgenden Schuldzuweisungen werden tun sich besonders die amtlichen Religionen hervor. Es fehlt allerdings auch nicht an Beispielen
und moralischen Skandalen der Religionen (auch wenn diese sehr einflussreich sind), sondern es bricht eine neue kulturelle Situation auf,
welche die radikale Umwandlung der erkenntnisfähigen, axiologischen
und epistemologischen Strukturen zur Vollendung führen wird , eine
Umwandlung, die im 16. Jahrhundert mit der naturwissenschaftlichen
Revolution, der Aufklärung des 18. Jahrhunderts und den verschiedenen
Wellen der Industrialisierung begann. Die sozialen Symptome sind ein
gewisser verworrener Agnostizismus, der Verlust der epistemologischen
Naivität, ein betonteres kritisches Denken. Dies gilt im Sinne einer stärker
utilitaristischen Deutung der Religion, die sich als Dienst des Menschen
versteht, statt Empfängerin der totalen Loyalität seitens ihrer Anhänger zu
sein. So verschwindet die Idee „der einzig wahren Religion“; und es zeigt
sich das langsame Ende der Plausibilität einer heteronom geoffenbarten
Moral. Der strukturelle Wandel ruht in jedem Fall auf den aufgeführten
epistemologisch-kulturellen Umwandlungen.
Wir stehen somit nicht vor einem wirklich neuen Phänomen,
sondern lediglich vor einer Radikalisierung. Das
post-religionale
Paradigma ist kein völlig neues Deutungsmuster. Vielmehr stehen wir
vor einer Bewusstseinsbildung, in der die Achse in der Häufung von
Veränderungsprozessen besteht, die vor allem die Erkenntnis betrifft und
damit eine radikale Veränderung anzeigt.
Zwei Vorsichtsmaßnahmen:
a. Wie schon zu Beginn aufgezeigt, wollen wir nicht sagen, dass
allein auf dem religiösen Feld eine solche Veränderung geschieht, so
als ob nur dies der gesamte Schauplatz der Umwandlung des agrarischen Religionsparadigmas hin zum post-religionalen Paradigma sei. Auf
religiösem Gebiet finden zeitgleich, sogar auf chaotische Weise viele
andere Phänomene statt und sind bisweilen in einigen Aspekten widersprüchlich. Neben dieser Religionskrise gibt es religiösen Aufruhr und
Revivals, Rückschritte und Fundamentalismen. In diesem theologischen
Vorschlag haben wir unseren Fokus selektiv auf einen konkreten Aspekt
des laufenden Wandels zentriert, der nicht den ganzen Rest gegenwärtiger Elemente leugnet. Es geschieht viel auf dem religiösen Feld, aber
es ereignet sich eben auch das hier Beschriebene. Dieser „theologische Vorschlag“ ist (noch) schwer vernehmbar und hat in vielen Teilen
Minderheitencharakter, er möchte aber dennoch die Aufmerksamkeit auf
sich ziehen.
Auf dem Weg zu einem Post-religionalen Paradigma
·· 239
239
b. Was wir gerade gesagt haben, kann man auch nicht wahllos auf
ALLE Religionen anwenden. Denn nicht alle Religionen sind „agrarisch“.
Es gibt eine Vielzahl von Religionen, eine ganze Gattung derselben,
die nicht die agrarische und urbane Revolution durchlaufen haben. Sie
bewahren in ihrem Schoß wie in einer Gebärmutter religiöse Erfahrungen,
wie sie bestimmend in Zeiten vor der neolithischen Umwandlung waren.
Sie beziehen sich auf die Zeit vor der Trennung von Sakralität und
Natur gegenüber dem „Mutterkuchen“, also or der Aufnahme der dualistischen und a-kosmischen göttlichen Transzendenz, etc. Sie wurden
nicht den Doktrinen, Dogmen, Inquisitionen, den kontrollierenden und
programmierenden Kursabweichung der Gesellschaft unterworfen. Hier
können wir die große Familie der kosmischen, indigenen, animistischen
Religionen verorten. Auch andere kann man hinzurechnen, obwohl sie
historisch zur neolithischen Periode gehören und obwohl sie Religionen
von rein agrarischen Gesellschaften sind. Sie blieben abseits dieser dogmatisch-doktrinalen Kontrolle, wie zum Beispiel der Hinduismus, eine
„Religion ohne Wahrheiten“. Das will besagen, dass dieses Paradigma
sich auch nicht auf alle Religionen anwenden lässt. Die Wirklichkeit ist
komplexer als unsere simplifizierenden Verstehensversuche. Das drängt
uns zu einer größeren Präzession, zu einer tieferen Demut und einem
größeren Interesse für das Studienfeld, die Forschung und den Dialog.
Angesichts baldigen Übergangs
Das, was wir machen, ist eine theologischer Vorschlag, eine
theoretische Vertiefung, um besser die Wirklichkeit umwandeln zu können, die im Sinne von Ausformung umwandelt, auslegt. Aber es liegt
auf der Hand, dass das sehr große pastorale Auswirkungen hat. Denn
das, wovon wir reden, ist ein kultureller und religiöser Tsunami, eine
Metamorphose, die es uns vielleicht schwer machen wird, uns selbst
in naher Zukunft wiederzuerkennen. Das kann eine für die Menschheit
schwer zu durchlaufende Situation sein. Die Anthropologen sagen, dass
der Übergang von der paläolithischen Gesellschaft hin zur neolithischen
mit der agrarischen Revolution die schwierigste Situation war, die das
Menschengeschlecht durchlaufen hat. Vielleicht sind wir heute in einem
ähnlichen Entwicklungsmoment. Es wird nötig sein zu planen, wie dieser
„Übergang“ zu begleiten ist, den die Gesellschaft durchführen wird oder
der bereits beginnt. Der Weg geht von den „agrarischen“ Religionen zu
einer neuen Art von Gesellschaft, deren spirituelle Verwirklichung eher
auf Wegen und gemäß Modellen in Gang kommen wird, die weiterhin
religiös, aber „post-religional“ sein werden, ohne dass wir heutzutage
konkret wissen, wie diese Wege und diese Modelle sein werden – nun…
wir haben sie zu erfinden.
240 · Theologischer Vorschlag
Die Religionen werden sich mit Abwärtstrends konfrontiert sehen,
mit Mitgliederschwund, Glaubwürdigkeits- und Plausibilitätsverlusten.
Das ist die eine Seite. Auf der anderen Seite werden sie die Widersprüche
mit ihren eigenen agrarischen Mechanismen spüren. Das ist schon an
vielen Orten der Fall Es nehmen schon viele Menschen wahr, dass sie
ihre Religiosität radikal verändern müssen, aber sie fühlen geradezu
verbissen den Widerspruch mit der offiziellen Doktrin, welche als unfehlbar und unveränderlich galt. Das verbietet ihnen jegliche Veränderung
oder Abschaffung uralter Prinzipien. In einigen Gesellschaften zählt man
schon seit Jahrzehnten, in Jahrhundert vielleicht Millionen Menschen, die
stillschweigend den Religionen den Rücken kehren, um post-religional
religiös zu bleiben. Es ist möglich, dass einige religiöse Hierarchien, die
in der Illusion einer heiligen Loyalität verhaftet bleiben, es vorziehen, in
Verbohrtheit ihre eigenen religiösen Institutionen untergehen zu lassen,
indem sie deren Entwicklung verhindern – und das in bester Absicht und
vermeintlich alles zur größeren Ehre Gottes tun. Aber es ist auch möglich,
dass viele Menschengruppen in der Lage sein werden, den Wandel zu
vollziehen. Es ist sehr gut möglich – und wir halten das zudem für wünschenswert – dass die agrarischen Religionen sich hin zu neuen religiösen
(post-religionalen) Formen weiter entwickeln wird, die mit der neuen
Wissensgesellschaft kompatibel sind. Sie werden merken, dass, ähnlich
wie die Wissenschaft zu Recht den Geozentrismus widerlegte, den jene
damals gar als geoffenbart betrachteten, dass heute die Wissenschaft uns
aufdeckt, dass der Religiozentrismus eine religionale Sinnestäuschung
war. Genauso wie es damals ist es möglich, sich von der alten Weltsicht
abzuwenden und mit dem spirituellen Erleben voranzukommen. – Es ist
schließlich auch nötig , uns von den Fesseln des Religionalen zu befreien,
um die spirituelle Verwirklichung auf einer neuen Entwicklungsstufe zu
finden.
Alles scheint darauf hinzudeuten, dass die Titanic der agrarischen
Religionen es nicht schaffen wird, in den Breitengraden des Ozeans der
Wissensgesellschaft zu navigieren. Alles scheint darauf hinzudeuten, dass
nicht viel Zeit vergehen wird, und sie wird untergehen. Ihr kairós ist vorbei, auch wenn ihr noch ein wenig kronos bleibt. Aber das ist nicht das
Ende der Welt. Das ist nur das Ende einer Welt, das Ende der agrarischneolithischen Welt und ihrem Weltverständnis und damit das Ende der
religionalen Konstruktionen der Spiritualität, die wir „agrarisch-neolithische Religionen“ genannt haben. Das Leben und seine Tiefendimensionen
gehen weiter. Und es ist unsere Pflicht zu verstehen, was gerade geschieht, damit wir uns nicht als gegen die Wirklichkeit Kämpfende wiederfinden. Angesichts dieser neuen anhebenden Entwicklung, gilt es,
Auf dem Weg zu einem Post-religionalen Paradigma
· 241
unserer Spezies zu helfen, um uns wieder neu zu erfinden, wie wir es
zu Beginn des Neolithikums getan haben. Es ist auch unsere Pflicht,
vorsichtig zu sein, niemanden über das Maß der eigenen Bedürfnisse
oder der eigenen Möglichkeiten hinauszustoßen. Wir müssen auf klare
Weise warnen, denn die Situation schwierig. Es ist eine neue Geburt, eine
Metamorphose, eine „spezielle Veränderung, Veränderung der Spezies“,
ein Wandel im Betriebssystem und ein Moment hoher Risiken, sowohl
auf sozialer wie auch auf individueller Ebene. Und es ist Aufgabe der
Theologie, das Neue zu erspähen, nicht bloß in dekonstruktiver Hinsicht,
sondern in konstruktiver: nicht bloß erfassend, was wir nicht mehr glauben können, sondern wie wir in Fülle unsere transzendente oder spirituelle Dimension entwickeln können, die menschliche Tiefenqualität, welche
die religionalen Religionen letzten Endes in mehr oder weniger großer
Begrenztheit stützen wollten.
Viele Dinge sind im Begriff abzusterben und hören nicht auf,
abzusterben, auch wenn es unausweichlich ist, dass sie sterben. Wir versuchen, ihnen zu helfen, gut zu sterben im Sinne der ars moriendi, der
Kunst zu sterben und das Leben für andere zu geben, also eine Geburt
einzuleiten. Inzwischen ist es eine ganz neue Welt, die versucht, geboren
zu werden, die nicht aufhört, auf die Welt zu kommen. Wir wollen ihr bei
dieser Entstehung helfen.
Die Religionen werden sich genötigt sehen, ihr symbolisches Erbe,
welches unter den epistemologischen Bedingungen des agrarischen
Zeitalters geschaffen wurden, neu zu interpretieren und umzugestalten.
Es würde sich um eine Neuausarbeitung, eine „Re-Rezeption“ (Yves
Congar) des gesamten Erbes handeln, dessen Anfänge vor Jahrtausenden
ausgearbeitet wurden. Sie wurden historisch bewahrt – in Unwissenheit
und Unbildung. Hier sind wir erst seit sehr kurzer Zeit dank der wunderbaren Entfaltung der Wissenschaft ausgebrochen. Die Religionen werden
suchen müssen, was von den vielen Glaubensvorstellungen, Dogmen,
heteronomen Moralen, agrarischen Riten bliebt – wen etwas bleibt – und
was kompatibel ist … und wie das innerhalb dieser neuen Situation des
Wissens und im neuen Rahmen der Interpretation zu verstehen ist.
Viele Menschen werden ernsthafte Schwierigkeiten mit der spirituellen Integrität ihres Lebens haben, wenn sie sich unfähig erleben
und sich weiter auf die (bisherigen) Religionen zu stützen, um spirituell
zu überleben. So wie das Flugzeug beim Start die Räder als Hilfssystem
am Boden eingeklappt und dazu übergehen muss, sich auf eine anderes
völlig geändertes Haltesystem einzulassen, nämlich dem seiner Flügel,
so wird auch der Großteil der Menschheit Momente von schwierigem
Gleichgewicht durchlaufen müssen. Der Wechsel von einem auf das
242 · Theologischer Vorschlag
andere Achsensystem ist ausgesprochen unterschiedlich. Es gibt einen
gewissen Punkt ohne den natürlichen Fortbestand zwischen beiden, wo
der Wechsel nicht automatisch verläuft.
Was kommt, ist tatsächlich ein Tsunami. Die Risiken sind gravierend, in jeder Hinsicht. Es ist die Verpflichtung der verantwortungsvollen Theologie, diesen Problemen vorzugreifen und zu versuchen, den
unausweichlichen „Durchgang“, in den wir bereits eingetreten sind, zu
begleiten. Sowohl in theoretischer Hinsicht als auch in praktischer verdient dieses Thema mehr Ausbreitung als dieser einfache „theologische
Vorschlag“. Wir belassen es dabei und übergeben ihn der Anhörung und
Debatte. Wir wollen, dass er geprüft, korrigiert und verbessert werden
möge. Seien Sie dazu herzlich eingeladen.
Weitere Informationen in:
Interreligiöses Dialog-Journal
Aktuelles und Grundsätzliches
zu interreligiösen Begegnungen
und wirkungsgeschichtlichen Ereignissen
http://web-intra.blogspot.de
Auf dem Weg zu einem post-religionalen Paradigma:
http://intra-tagebuch.blogspot.de/2012/03/religiosehorizonterweiterung-religion.html
· 243
6th World Forum
on Theology and Liberation
Tunis, Tunisia, March 23&29, 2015
Tentative Program
Sessions will take place on days 23th and 29th of March, 2015
SESSION I – InterFaith/Religious and Ecological Mobilization for Justice and Peace
- Guillermo KERBER, Interfaith Mobilization for Climate Justice, Europe.
- Kemdirim PROTUS, Earth Reading of Jn. 9:6-7; Implications for Sustainable
Development in the Niger Delta, Africa.
- Kochurani ABRAHAM, De-Gendering: Towards a New Relationality Among
Humans and With the Earth, Asia.
- Erico Joao HAMMES, Peace Among Religions as Basis for Peace Among People
Latin America.
- Marcelo BARROS, Building Religious and Cultural Peace through Principles of
Islamic-Christian Dialogue, Latin America.
SESSION II – Indigenous People, Religions and Human Dignity
- Eleazar LÓPEZ, Environmental Justice and Food Safety From the Perspective of
Indigenous Peoples, Latin America.
- Jean-Francois ROUSSEL, Churches and Indigenous Peoples of Canada: From the
Pastoral of Reconciliation to an Intercultural Solidarity, North America.
- Elochukwu UZUKWU, Multiplicity of Deities in Indigenous Religions of West
Africa: Celebration of Hospitality and the End to Religious Violence in Nigeria,
North America.
244 · WFTL 2015 Tunnis Encounter
- Gerald BOODOO, Liberation and Indigenous Peoples: Who, What, Where is
the Indigene?, North America.
- Luiz Carlos SUSIN, “Call for Dignity”: A Question of Foundations, Latin
America.
SESSION III - Religion, Politics and Liberation
- Sonia Dayab HERSBRUN, Secularity, Religions, Emancipation, Europe.
- Adam K. arap CHEPKWONY, The Kenyan Constitution, Politics and the
Christian Church: Who Will Speak for the Voiceless?, Africa.
- J. B. Banawiratama (BONO), Religion, Politics and Liberation, Asia
- Jose Maria VIGIL, Theology of Religious Pluralism as Political Urgency. The
Spirituality of Pluralism As Political Praxis and Transformation, Latin America.
- Lee CORMIE, Epistemology of the South: New Spaces for Hope(s) and Faith(s).
North America.
- Maria Pilar AQUINO, Justice and Gratitude: Embracing the World Forum on
Theology and Liberation, North America.
· 245
246 ·
· 247
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