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Love and Submission Sitting in a Tree… P-E-A-C-E Treaty


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/02/05

In recent news, and important mind you, there was a meeting of enormously relevant to their respective communities and influential international personalities, and authorities, within the religious world; the Roman Catholic Christian Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad el-Tayeb, met in a historic moment in relations between some of the Christian and some of the Muslim global communities.

This is good news. These are rapidly growing and large faiths with significant leaders considered major representatives or, at least, important intellectual lights in their respective traditions meeting in Abu Dhabi with the, on the one hand, an important public relations representation with the print media coverage and the photography and, on the other hand, the theological import of two powerful religious figures with a history of opposition meeting together.

This can change individual relationships among those who, more often than not, live life and die without being prominently known and, sometimes, known at all, but these acts by leaders can change their lives and embolden them — the lesser-known people of the world — to make individual changes to reflect gatherings such as those at Abu Dhabi. You may disagree with either or both of the theologies. You may detest actions by the religions in their history. But on the ground, these meetings can have impacts, which is worth some modicum of praise.

There was a document signed, which will be, probably, covered in some of the next articles. It was signed by both Francis and el-Tayeb. The preface stipulates, according to reportage, states, “Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved.”

As reported, “The document opens with a series of invocations: the Pope and the Grand Imam speak ‘in the name of God who has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity,’ ‘in the name of innocent human life that God has forbidden to kill,’ ‘in the name of the poor,’ ‘orphans, widows, refugees, exiles… and all victims of wars’ and ‘persecution.’ Al-Azhar, together with the Catholic Church, ‘declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path; mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.’”

Not bad, a document of reconciliation, mutual devotion to their God, and working to help the least among us. Even if not a outright document with force, it can, at a minimum, retain its quality as an encouragement. Would you rather no encouragement or the encouragement? People have the right to their religions and their beliefs, working within and not against this current respects rights and can increase what most ethical and rational individuals desire: peace and security advanced throughout the world, whether in religious-transcendent or secular-universalist language.

“Viva il Papa!” as the love poured out from adoring crowds of people number in the tens of thousands with an estimate as many as 180,000 in the United Arab Emirates for the first papal Mass in the Arabian Peninsula, where this was a call for the Christians of the region — a minority, no doubt — and of the Muslims to seek greater understanding in the region.

As reported, “It was considered to be the largest display of public worship by Christians on the peninsula, the birthplace of Islam. A large, golden-hued cross on an all-white stage provided a simple and profound backdrop.”

Catholics from over 100 countries came to the Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium, just think about that. An incredible feat of those who simply worship this man and what, more properly, what he represents in their minds.

el-Tayeb and Francis urged followers to find, once more, “the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity and coexistence” in addition to affirming their own beliefs in “that among the most important causes of the crises of the modern world are a desensitized human conscience, a distancing from religious values and a prevailing individualism accompanied by materialistic philosophies.”

Some of this seems rather correct. The need for things of value beyond the mere monetary remain important: love and companionship, solidarity and fidelity, and so on. The Grand Imam and the Roman Catholic Pope consider this a form of “moral deterioration.” What they conclude from this in other regards could be taken as derogatory, saying, “…moral deterioration that influences international action and a weakening of spiritual values and responsibility… to fall either into a vortex of atheistic, agnostic or religious extremism, or into blind and fanatic extremism.”

They are viewing these as signs of a brewing Third Word War fought in a “piecemeal” manner. Aside from some of those statements, the directly relatable ones to every religious stripe and political denomination speak to the need to redistribute the inordinate wealth held in too many of the ultra-riches’ — how ever few of them — coffers, who hoard as if Smaug guarding the Arkenstone.

Many poor, infirm, and deceased individuals are being created because of these inequalities, which, as with most of the reasonableness of the general global population, the majority of he planet’s inhabitants have a problem with now, because they can note the direct impacts, if not in their own families then, in their own communities and societies. The religious leaders are affirming the importance of dealing with this; that is, they are making incredibly important statements for their communities to work on common problems ravaging the majority of the world’s population, akin to the mass of refugees and migrants around the world.

The affirmation of the importance of the family. This reflects much of the United Nations affirming the salience of the family as a fundamental unit of society. This is an international value. As with the non-parochial and particularistic values of multiple mainstream — read: majority — faiths, the values remain universally found throughout them, as with those found within universalistic in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and associated documents for decades since its instantiation following the creation and growth of the United Nations. All seem bound to some form of Golden Rule.

More modern understandings, properly speaking, they work within an understanding of the source of human consciousness as intrinsic to being a human organism; something Chomsky brought into the mainstream with the Universal Grammar and the Generative Grammar, as in a naturalistic and organic emergence of capacities with implied constraints to co-emerge/co-develop with those developments. In some sense, with an increase comprehension of information processing and the brain as an information processor, and thus the mind as a result of information processing through time, the Golden Rule, properly speaking, could be placed more within a context of an informational golden rule. One in which consciousness becomes the defining factor here, rather than the ordered molecular structure of a crystal or the disorganized one of an ordinary rock.

But even without these considerations, we can, obviously, see the obvious and direct implications of these statements for their constituents numbering, at least, over 1 billion individuals. One can disagree with the basic claims of the religions while still working for the advancement of common values, as a pragmatic matter; peace is better than war, as we all know.

Some of the other positive notions or statements that they stipulated together were the need to ensure religions never declare “war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood.” Of those particulars that most would, probably, agree on, be the condemnation of genocide, terrorism, displacement by force, and human trafficking”; whereas, other items that retain more modernized questionable areas are “abortion and euthanasia,” of which much of the secular community agrees with but the religious communities, at least those represented by Francis and el-Tayeb, may disagree on to a significant extent. One reason being the idea of ownership of one’s body by God and not oneself and so not being able to end it, as in the case of euthanasia. Another is abortion with some of the similar concerns about bodily autonomy, when life starts, and so on. But there is, nonetheless, a broad set of stipulated points that many would agree with here.

There also opined, “We thus call upon all concerned to stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism, and to refrain from using the name of God to justify acts of murder, exile, terrorism and oppression… God, the Almighty, has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want His name to be used to terrorize people.” This seems reasonable. Why does the most powerful entity in the entirety of existence, for now and forever, require the help of limited — in time, in space, in mental abilities — creatures who may or may not be followers? God, if he/she/it exists, helps — or if the gods exist they help — those who help themselves, apparently; the Grand Imam and the Roman Catholic Christian Pope mirror this, too. The statement covered a variety of topics including freedoms, rights, worship, terrorism, and so on.

The article concluded, “Al-Azhar and the Catholic Church ask that this Document become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation… [a] sign of the closeness between East and West, between North and South.”


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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