There is something much more sublime than the practical at work in human faith. If we were limiting ourselves to the logical and practical, then education and vocational training should do the trick. Religion is powerful precisely because it functions somewhat illogically. […] The illogic of religion allows for a greater possibility than our own limitations, for acts of charity and selflessness, of forgiveness of both the other and the self, that fly in the face of every intellectual and visceral reality. ~Mr. James Patton, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, GPC 2013
In the many conflicts around the world, spiritual leadership can lead the way out of conflict and then further towards true peace. The acts and attitudes that make up true peace can seem almost irrational – the idea of giving up land or money for something other than one’s own benefit, forgiving one’s enemy, giving aid to strangers. Yet when we re-discover the truth that we are, in fact, deeply interconnected as One Family Under God, all of these irrational acts are then made natural.
If we are all family, we need to help everyone, just as everyone needs to help us.
Yet even as the message spreads and the seeds of peace are planted in the hearts of people, we must also work to improve the greater cultural climate in the institutions and policies of the community and nation.
This is but one of the many questions we are asking our partners and ourselves in Nigeria as we work to build a model of One Family Under God.
Peacebuilding is a process of building trust and relationships on the community level and shared agreements on a societal one.
Rather, we need to look at peacebuilding as a process of building trust and relationships on the community level and shared agreements on a societal one. Perhaps as we learn these lessons, we become all the more effective at making and keeping peace.
The One Family Under God Campaign in Nigeria is one example of the role of faith leaders in resolving conflicts and building peace as a Nigerian nation and especially on the local levels. Undergirded by the South African ideal of Ubuntu, a philosophy that points to the deeply interconnected sense of humanity, the One Family Under God Campaign works to reconcile communities as well as Nigeria as a whole.
The One Family Under God campaign is a multi-dimensional campaign that engages moral leadership to act as a catalyst for societal transformation. Through national and regional level programs, forums and workshops, GPF has been working towards a national, spiritual awakening and movement to transform the culture of Nigerian society.
Without a national and public conversation on the ideals of a Nigerian nation, any local and grassroots efforts for peace can easily become lost in the cacophony of issues that ebb and flow in the life of the people. Likewise, without regional and grassroots engagement and practical feedback on the applications of such an ideal, work at even the highest levels can become irrelevant and possibly impractical.
In the aftermath of election violence and interreligious strife, communities that were driven apart need to be made whole. As part of this process, GPF has been working to instill in the Nigerian people the hope and vision of a peaceful and prosperous society as One Family Under God. The exemplary interfaith models of the “Kaduna twins,” Christian and Muslim leaders, Reverend John Joseph Hayab and Sheik Abdulahi Maraya, have been instrumental in moving the campaign forward on the grassroots level. Furthermore, their example has brought together new interfaith pairs working for the sake of the greater good.
These are some of the results from the peacebuilding programs in Nigeria.
How can you begin this movement in your own community and nation?
The original post appears on Global Peace Foundation. Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision of One Family under God. GPF engages and organizes a global network of public and private-sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peace building models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies. Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon is founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation.