Why the world needs faiths

Tony Blair, Washington Post, Nov.17, www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/why-the-world-needs-faith/2011/11/17/gIQAf0d5UN_blog.html

There will be no peace in our world without an understanding of the place of religion within it. The past decade has seen many convenient myths which disguised the importance of religion, stripped away. Many thought: as society progressed, religion would decline. It hasn’t happened.

Then there are those that insisted that as the Arab Revolution knocked over long established regimes and created movements for democracy, so those societies’ religiosity would take second place to the new politics. It hasn’t happened. Religion is fundamental to those societies and if anything, in the foreseeable future, will become more so. And do we seriously think the issue of Jerusalem can be resolved without at least some discussion of its religious significance to all three Abrahamic faiths?

The virus of terror based on a perversion of the proper faith of Islam, shows no signs of abating. But it is not only the acts of terror that should alarm us. It is the extremism that promotes persecution of religious minorities too. The challenge is that much greater where human dignity is not respected and freedom of religion denied. This results in a general oppression of people of faith. It means we must support Muslims in Gujarat, India; non-Orthodox Christians in Moldova; Bahai’s in Iran; Ahmadis in Pakistan; all Christians in North Africa; Hindus in Sri Lanka; Shi’a in several Sunni majority countries, and other places.

The basic point is this: On every side, in every quarter, wherever we look and analyze, religion is a powerful, motivating, determining force shaping the world around us.

Read the complete article here.