In God's Name

Last night on CBS there was a 2 hour special named “In God’s Name”. 12 worldwide leaders of various beliefs and religions are interviewed. The 2 men who made the documentary were in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and they had a desire to seek out answers to some of the tough questions about God from these people. Here is another blog on the documentary.

Anglican Church leader: Rowan Williams
Chief Rabbi of Israel: Yona Metzger
The 14th Dalai Lama: Tenzin Gyatso
Southern Baptist Convention President: Frank Page
Grand Shiekh Sunni Muslim: Muhammad Tantawi
Grand Ayatollah Shia Muslim: Mohammed Fadlallah
Hindu Leader: Sri Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma)
Supreme Sikh Authority: Sri Akal Takht
Russian Orthodox leader: Alexy II
Shinto High Priest: Michihisa Kitashirakawa
Roman Catholic Pope: Pope Benedict XVI
President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: Mark Hanson

Key points:
The Dalai Lama wakes up at 3am every morning for prayer for 2 hours.
Amma spends her entire day, every day, hugging and praying with the sick in India.
Rowan talked about the importance of doing family and marriage well…if he can’t do that well, he doubts he can lead well.
Rowan looks exactly like Gandalf.
Alexy II believes thousands were killed for their faith in Jesus during the height of Communism.
There are 1 billion Catholics worldwide.
Buddhism believes that the Dalai Lama is Buddha incarnate and is therefore, God.
Frank Page believes there is a misconception that baptists are narrow-minded and unforgiving.
Page believes that the common link between all religions is human desire to touch the divine.
Metzger believes that a Rabbi must be knowledgeable in the law.
Grank Shiekh Imam Muhammad believes it is his job to show his followers what is right and what is wrong.
Metzger believes God does not permit killing to be done in god’s name.
Mark Hanson believes that the terrorism that has occurred in the name of religion is not a reflection of religious faith but of the wickedness of man.
Both Islamic leaders believe terrorists have misunderstood the premise of religion.
Metzger fought with the army of Israel.
Islam is based on compassion and only involves violence when self defense is needed according to Grand Ayatollah Fadlallah.
Hanson believes fundamentalism is attractive today because we are drawn towards structure in a world full of chaos.
Hanson believes that our focus on terrorism is deterring us from the millions that die of curable diseases.
There are 900 million Hindu believers worldwide.
During Sikh meals, everyone in the church eats together (rich and poor, young and old).
The Shinto religion has no scripture or doctrine.
Before he was High Priest of the Shinto religion, Kitashirakawa was an executive at Toshiba.
Amma beliefs death is not an ending, but a new beginning.
The Dalai Lama believes that if we have spent a good life there will be nothing to repent of at death.
Alexy II believes the meaning of life is to be a Christian, not just in name but in life.
Amma believes she has hugged 26 million people in her lifetime.
The Pope believes that religion cannot become a vehicle to hatred.

The producers came away from their journey around the world knowing that there is much more that unites us than divides us. “The search for truth is in itself a religious act.”

Hanson said, “I don’t think the way we are living today is how God designed it…and the greatest challenge today is the relationship between unity and diversity.”
According to Hanson we need a sense of what holds us together, or what divides us will conquer us. If we live through what unites us, then our diversity enriches life.