Kids Corner


Learning From An Inter-Faith Gathering:
Postcards From The Road






September 21 was UN Peace Prayer Day.

My wife is active in the inter-faith movement. She has initiated a WIN (Women's Interfaith Network) and COMMON (Centre Of Melbourne Multifaith & Others Network). So, for her, it is a big, big day initiating dawn prayers and discourses, forums, etc. on World Peace.

I do help, when required -- albeit somewhat selfishness -- by doing my bit; it adds to the reputation our popular 'Multi-Chant'. More importantly, my whole family gets involved. It is all good fun. As to how much good all this does, is hard to say. But, the ongoing effort to bring people of different faiths together is important.

My gripe is that many of the faith representatives who turn up appear more interested in proselytising than adding to the occasion in some meaningful, spiritual manner. The other sad point is that the same folks appear to involve themselves in every such function rather than spreading the message of universal harmony amongst others - schools, universities, public servants, even the armed forces, perhaps.

This year the Church of Scientology was invited by the above-named two organisations to join. There were some reservations, as would be expected due to the highly publicised scandals involving the said group - even though, strangely enough, there are even bigger scandals involving the Catholic church, to take but one example, and nobody wants to exclude them!

It was even stranger that the biggest objection for them to join came from a Humanist representative!

The function was held this year on the premises of the Church of Scientology. We have previously held this special occasion in the Town Council complex, in  churches, gurdwaras, mandirs, mosques, synagogues, stupas and pagodas.

I have not seen a more efficient 'religious/spiritual/faith' organisation! The  entrance is like the entrance of a grand custom designed audiovisual arts centre. It is well thought out and designed with a well planned foyer with a reception counter, chairs and sofas to sit on and the Church's literature well displayed.

There are also enclaves where one can sit and watch videos of the activities of the organisation, including a fascinating life story of the founder R.Hubbard. There is even a small canteen with food and drink at very reasonable prices.

There are courses on happiness, family values, workplace harmony, children's grooming, self-confidence and many, many more. There is even a Department of Human Rights encouraging adults and especially youth to get involved in human rights issues. Very polite staff, all on a volunteer basis, attend to anyone coming through the doors.

One of our Australian pop superstars, Kate Ceberano had volunteered her services to sing a few songs with the help of other church volunteers. She is apparently a fourth-generation Scientologist. Her mother and daughter were also present as volunteers.

As I mentioned earlier, we have had these functions for many years in Melbourne, but none as efficiently run as this year's.

A fellow attendee said rather cryptically, "They pick stuff from other religions and have created one of their own. It is just another business with good marketing!"

I am not quite sure. They have set up a world-wide organisation which is helping a great many people with their daily life and being successful and happy. In fact, judging from the Humanist objection of their being part of the inter-faith organisation, I would say that they appear to be more 'humanist' than the Humanists themselves!

I was under the impression that the Church of Scientology had a 'cultish' mentality, but I saw Catholics, Hindus, even Jews being part of this organisation. More importantly I saw youngsters attending courses on family values and self-confidence. I now believe there are very good reasons why some very prominent folks including some screen idols and pop stars are Scientologists.

The Church of Scientology appears to be set up 'to do good' and I think they are carrying out that function. In fact I do believe other 'faith' organisations could learn a thing or two from them. I have.

Yes, it is sad that they do not believe in one all-pervading God, but if it is an organisation which is set up to help people -- all people notwithstanding one's status in life, caste or even faith or religion -- then, as far as I am concerned, good for them!

As I always say jokingly - God just happens to be 'Good' with one 'O' missing. Scandals will come and go because human beings have weaknesses and sometimes those in power, even in Scientology, and like other religious organisations, do get consumed with power and do bad things.

As for the multifaith or interfaith activities my wife drags me into, I guess, I shall continue as long as she has an interest and carries on organising them! It is all for the bigger good of fellow human beings.

September 24, 2015


Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), September 24, 2015, 8:31 PM.

A lovely trip, Dya, Jessi and Jamel jio. Just the other day, Manjeet ji and I were sharing this ‘tuk’ that kept ringing in our heads: “Ha-o moorakh kaarai la-ee-aa Naanak har kammay” [GGS:449.13] -- “I, just a fool, O Nanak, but you merciful Lord have appointed me in your service”. You and your family have always been using any given opportunity to talk and propagate interfaith understanding. has played a major role in this journey. The latest one was: “Guru Granth Sahib – A model for Interfaith Understanding” By Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam: -- But, here is an excellent presentation of a documentary by Bhai Mohinder Singh of UK who took a group of different faiths to Punjab to see for themselves the concept of interfaith getting down to actual business. Please do not miss this excellent documentary that would answer every question.

2: Christopher Mercon (Sunland, California, USA), September 30, 2015, 12:14 AM.

I am a Scientologist. Scientologists definitely recognize the existence of a creator. A majority of the spiritual activity that a Scientologist experiences in his spiritual journey is toward reaching a level where they may know and understand, for themselves, that creator. In my experience in Scientology, I find that the stress is on the Scientologist finding out for himself what these ultimate truths are rather than having some other person or book dictate or evaluate to you what that truth is or should be. My relationship with God is mine alone yet I do find it in others and in life around me. And I will never go to war or harm someone in the name of that creator.

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