Tonight, I found myself at a film screening hosted by the Minnesota International Center called "Beyond Our Differences" - a movie about the connective value of global spirtuality. Last winter, I joined MIC and got these free passes to any event (that allowed them) and I've been sitting on them all year. Being cheap, and not wanting to let a good educational opportunity go to waste, I made plans to go.
Admittedly, global spirtuality isn't really my thing. I'm not interested in prosteletyzing and I don't go to church all that much. I invited my friend Megan, who is a pastor in her grown up life, but she had to bail on me due to pastoral duties. Still, in the interest of self-improvement and stepping out, I went.
I was pleasantly surprised - the movie was uplifting, even beautiful. My favorite part was when it listed the golden rule, as spelled out in each of texts of the major religions:
"Do Unto Others as you would have them do unto you" - Christianity
"Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill" - Buddism
"Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself" - Baha'i
"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." -Confucianism
"Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you." - Islam
"That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." - Judaism
I felt validated that it had its roots across so many other faiths. It underscored my own belief that this indeed is the most important way to live your life and the most important sentiment to take away from organized religion. The director interviewed many religious leaders - and highlighted individuals (both well known and not) who were putting their faith into action, and creating new standards for compassion and understanding.
I actually stayed for the dialogue afterwards, and it was super interesting - mostly due to the self-effacing director, Peter Bisanz, at the podium. As soon as the movie closed, a tiny woman in the back row asked: "Why didn't you focus more on the genocides of the world, perpetrated by hate and religious intolerance?"
His answer (to paraphrase): I'm not in the practice of focusing on fear. Others do that too well. I'm in this line of business to create hope and look for connections, not divisions.
(I had to leave before I fell in love with this guy.)
Anyway, it was a super interesting way to spend an evening. Please, go see the movie. It might still be airing on PBS.