Sunday, June 14, 2009

Essence of God and Religion

Pluralist Mike Ghouse sees opportunity for faith discussion after Holocaust Museum shooting .

By DIANNE SOLÍS / The Dallas Morning News

Carrollton resident Mike Ghouse was horrified when he heard last week that a security guard had been shot to death at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Mike Ghouse discusses interfaith tolerance and under- standing online and on air.

"I thought, 'Why do people have hate?' " said Ghouse, who 15 years ago founded the Foundation for Pluralism. "That was my first response."

The 57-year-old homebuilder and property manager sees the tragedy as a way for people to discuss their separate faiths, to forge understanding and to defuse religious tensions. His foundation's mission is to embrace the ecumenical ways of the world.

"There is not a faith we haven't covered," he says.

Ghouse is a Muslim who originally emigrated from the Bangalore area of India about 30 years ago.

"I will never claim my faith is superior to others," he said. "Every faith is beautiful to me. The inability to accept the differences of others causes conflict."

Ghouse is a frequent-flier in cyberspace, and many of his commentaries on ecumenical respect can be found at , on Facebook and on Twitter. The multilingual Ghouse also started talk shows on the radio geared toward the Diaspora from India and Pakistan. And when weekend worship comes, Ghouse visits services at Muslim mosques, Hindu temples, Jewish synagogues and Catholic churches.

His own daughter was so swept up by her father's pluralism that she became a Baptist.

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Pluralism; the Essence of God and Religion

Mike Ghouse

Thanks to Dallas Morning News for sharing different religious ideas with the public.

Pluralism is not a religion, but a practice of 'living and letting others live'. It is simply an attitude of accepting the otherness of other and respecting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. Pluralism is an attitude of religious co-existence, letting others be who they are and resisting the temptations to look down upon others who believe differently. What is the need and the authority for it?

The fact of the matters is we exist, and we can trace us back to a singular source be it the intelligent design, big bang or the evolution. For the sake of using a common word or a generally acceptable identification we can call that causer, creator and the sustainer, a God.

When the matter and life came into being, each one was designed to seek its own balance. For example, the Planet has been set to circumambulate around the sun precisely for millions of years, it has its own place in the scheme of things, and designed to stay on its course, it respects the other planets and stars and does not collide with others.

Whereas the humans were not put on that trajectory, they were given the freedom to create their own space and balance. The creator is all about love and reached out to each one of the seven billion of us and delivered a beautiful formula (religion) through the spiritual masters to live in peace with oneself and others. God did not sign a deal behind any one's back that he will favor one over the other, or he will privilege one or the other, he just cannot do that, if he did, he would be a sneaky God and that is not what God is all about. Just as we love whatever little we create, God loves us all despite our shortcomings. He blessed us with an opportunity to be his best in creating balanced societies (own family to the world) where one can live without fear of any kind, where justness is the norm of the society.

Each one of us is dear to the creator and it is our individual and collective responsibility to keep that ecological, social, moral or spiritual balance within us and with what surrounds us; life and environment. Those of us who sin, i.e., creating an imbalance in the society through murder, theft, falsities or taking advantage of others, will pay a price for it in terms of un-settling emotions and discomfort within. Those who work for keeping that balance intact rejoice a balanced tranquil life.

To be religious is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill, indeed that is the purpose of all spiritual systems from Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every tradition in between.

Jesus was a Pluralist, he embraced every one and set the example to us that we should not reject any one because they are lepers, prostitutes or whatever we differ from, he was representing God's point of view. Moses was a Pluralist uniting the tribes to live in peace under One God; Muhammad was a Pluralist who brought all the differing tribes and faiths to co-exist and live their own traditions under the Madinah pact and he declared no man is superior to the other and that all are equal (acknowledging the otherness of other) in God's presence. Buddha was a Pluralist and taught the principle of pain (internal hell) and pleasure (paradise), Mahavir taught to accept the different views to find solace within; Krishna the Pluralist said whenever there is immorality on the earth, he will emerge and bring the balance back to the society; Zarathustra taught the concept of what is good and bad some five thousand years ago; Pluralist Nanak said service to mankind with a blind eye amounts to creating beautiful societies, and Bahaullah, the pluralist said we are all one race and one humankind and all religions are beautiful. The Shamans in Cherokee, Mayan, Toltec and all other native traditions in America, Africa, Europe, Australia and Asia taught us to co-exist, live together with our differences. They were all God's men and women and God is all about pluralism; i.e. co-existence.

I am personally blessed to have a pluralistic environment around me, my family members and friends are made of many faiths, races and cultures and I honor each one of them, we are a part of the same (God’s) creation. It is beautiful to feel love towards every human regardless of their make up, try it you may fall in love with the idea and enjoy the serenity of life.

I will be happy to speak to your group be it in a Church or a civic place. A day is coming when you find every faith, race and ethnicities will live in the same neighborhood, same street and the same community. We have to learn to keep that balance and it comes from learning to accept the otherness of other, and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Pluralism, interfaith, terrorism, peace, interfaith, Islam, civic issues and India. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network offering a pluralistic perspectives on issues of the day. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at




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