Chain The Dogma
Violating the Sanctity of Scriptures
by Perry Bulwer
The Second Global Conference on World’s Religions After Sept. 11 is taking place tomorrow in Montreal. The organizer, Arvind Sharma, a professor of comparative religion at McGill University, says the purpose of the conference "... is to bring together the various religions of the world in an ecumenical spirit to address the many issues facing the world today, in the hope that this will help all of us become better human beings." According to the Montreal Gazette, Sharma
... says the goal is to debate how religions can contribute to peace in the world. He is also hoping to have the participants adopt three resolutions, including one which says that violating the sanctity of the scripture of any religion amounts to violating the sanctity of all religions.
The conference speakers are hardly representative of all religions in the world, but even if they were it is highly unlikely this particular group of god frauds can make any useful contributions to world peace and the betterment of humans based on religion. The Gazette article cited above includes a photo of the Dalai Lama, one of the speakers, praying for and blessing a river in Washington. Just what we need to make us better humans and achieve world peace: a religious leader who believes he is the reincarnation of his predecessor, whose worldview has been totally formed within the framework of a spiritual fantasy world, who prays for and blesses rivers.
Another spiritual con artist speaking at the conference is Deepak Chopra. Here are a few of the extraordinary, supernatural claims he makes without backing them up with extraordinary evidence:
That a person is a field of vibrating energy, information and intelligence connected to the entire cosmos.
That this view is substantiated by Ayruvedic medicine of ancient India as well as theories of quantum physics.
That all organs of the body are built up from a specific sequence of vibrations, and that when organs are sick they are vibrating improperly.
That certain herbs and aromas, when applied, can help restore proper vibrations to malfunctioning liver, heart, stomach, etc.
That certain gems and crystals can rejuvenate human skin.
That good thoughts can heal the body and reverse the aging process.
That people can levitate and that he, while sitting and meditating, has flown a distance of four feet.
That one can know God at seven different levels corresponding to physical and psychological reactions in the brain, and that miracles, including visits by angels and reincarnated relatives, occur when a person leaves the material level of existence and intersects a "transitional" level called the "quantum domain."
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the conference speakers really can have meaningful discussions that further world peace, all of their efforts will be completely undermined and wasted if they adopt the resolution proposed by Sharma, which proposes to prohibit blasphemy. That seems to be what he means by "violating the sanctity of the scripture of any religion". Whatever Sharma means by that, it is simply ridiculous for him to claim that it amounts to violating all religions. Obviously, not all religions can be true because many contradict each other, which means at least some are false, though I think they all are. Given that fact, it is necessary for some people to question, doubt and criticize religious scriptures as they search for religious truth. That is a futile search, in my opinion, but for those inclined to search the freedom to question and criticize is necessary. However, there will always be believers who are offended by such criticisms of their scriptures, so Sharma's solution appears to be to deny everyone the right to criticize all religious scriptures, even the most blatantly fraudulent and fictional ones such as the Bible, the Book of Mormon or the writings of Scientology founder, Ron Hubbard.
On the conference website, Sharma's message invites attendees "to explore the more positive possibilities of the religious dimension". Apparently, he wants to ignore the negative possibilities of the religious dimension, and so his resolution to prohibit free speech as it relates to religious scriptures. But any debate or discussion on the possibilities of religion fostering world peace is a meaningless, one-sided conversation if it does not allow or acknowledge any criticism of the doctrines found in the scriptures of various religions that foster bigotry and war.