KarmaTube: Interfaith Amigos

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KarmaTube: Interfaith Amigos.

On the occasion of the Jewish New Year and the Hindu Ganesha Chautri and Hope for all of us humans to evolve in such a way that we can truly embrace one another as ONE…please do view this video, share it and discuss with others, thanks. OM

[do click the link below the artwork to view the video]

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162 responses »

  1. As a person who often reads the description first in order to get a basic sense of understanding about the article, I was interested to discover that the Interfaith Amigos use humor and compassion to discuss such a serious topic. I find it difficult to understand topics concerning religion and inter-faith collaboration, because I have never embraced any higher spirit, and so it is not easy for me to relate to, but instead I rely on humor to assist me in clarifying. Theatre relies very heavily on comedy and human interaction to make light of serious situations, and perhaps I am used to the means in which this occurs so I understand it better than a more straight, vocal explanation. Humor allows the audience to establish a connection with the performers or the lecturers, especially for children and young adults, because it helps make the subject more interesting. With that being said, I found it easier to pay attention to the discussion at hand, and I feel like I understand the bridge between common points of faith immensely better now.
    Beginning with Rabbi Ted Falcon, I was expecting a different set of rules that we were told to follow, but to act justly, love kindness, and to walk with integrity are ideals that we become aware of from birth. Following after, Pastor Don Mackenzie and Imam Jamal Rahman both speak of unconditional love, and repelling evil with something that is better to change the role of an enemy into a friend. All three faiths are seen as so different, where Imams are leaders of a faith that appears as violent, or Rabbis are viewed as the leaders of the money-hungry, but in the end, we are all searching for only one thing: happiness. However, as all three leaders suggest, we are stuck in a pattern that prevents us from moving forward, and in some circumstances, we end up taking a few steps backward.
    We place such intense emphasis on labels, like Muslim, and words similar to these become second-nature with a violent connotation, and we can’t seem to shake the effect it has over us. However, as Imam Rahman calls both the Pastor and the Rabbi “two of the best Muslims [he knows],” and people react with a laugh, he continues on to clarify the true meaning behind the word. While “Muslim” may hold a negative connotation, it simply means to surrender one’s attachment to the ego, and as we learned from the yama Aparigraha, that only once we release our ego will we reach immortality. Once they changed the view that is associated with “Muslim,” they were able to divert the conversation to inter-faith dialogue, that which assists in breaching the barrier between the particular and the universal. There is no right way to pursue a relationship with a higher power because spirituality is the connection that all beings can form with other human beings through compassion and oneness.
    We as humans are afraid of the truth and the unknown, and often times, we divert our pain through humor as to move away from that which truly scares us. One cannot have humor without pain, and vice versa, because both are completely interconnected, just as Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are. While religions are different in many ways, they all desire to follow the same path and establish the same connection with God, and using different religions to further your own is the ideal passage of life. Like Paster Mackenzie states, the cross, while currently a sign of Christian faith, has the power to symbolize the overflowing love that Jesus came to teach to all, not just to those in one part of the world. The making of humanity, whether it be by Allah or God, was purposeful, so everyone can learn from one another, and the world would be a more accepting place.
    Along the same lines of human acceptance, I have discovered that, upon beginning the Isha Kriya, I have formed a strong sense of belonging within myself and my soul. Last week, I had begun completing the Isha Kriya twice a day because I had not had a break to breathe necessarily what with classes and rehearsal from 8:30 in the morning to 11:00 at night. After noticing a very laudable difference in my levels of fatigue and irritability, I began to believe that the Isha Kriya has had more of an effect on me than I originally thought. With that being said, I completely the Isha Kriya 8 times, and I have noticed a severe difference in how I handle different stresses of everyday life. Whenever I do begin to feel some sense of stress, I often take note that it could be because I did not allow myself enough time to complete the practice, and I try and make up for it when I complete the Isha Kriya the next time. I am beginning to believe that, even once the class is over, I will continue to participate in the Isha Kriya, and I will hopefully be able to assist others in changing their lives, as well.

  2. This was one of my favorite homework assignments because interfaith has always been something that held deep importance to me. Due to personal experiences as someone from a Middle Eastern area that once had peace between religions before I was born, I’ve always been deeply saddened by the current warring areas due to religious beliefs. These three men are people I would definitely like to hear more from, especially since they mentioned equality between race, gender and sexualities.

    I was so happy to hear about the part of the Quran that states that if Allah wanted to He could have made all of humanity one community but decided instead to create diversity so that we could see how well we could connect with others. It’s beautiful because if we all shared this belief no madder what religion, we wouldn’t kill each other over perceived slights. He is right in saying that sometimes the institution of religion makes this belief difficult to hold. Not only because (if you belong to a major religion) you are constantly being told that your religion is the one divine truth and anyone who doesn’t correspond with your belief set is to be damned, but because institution benefits from this belief.

    Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend why each of us belonging to a major religion believes that we were born with this great divine privilege of being that specific religion and others simply weren’t born good enough. It is such an egotistical thought that it’s almost difficult to understand why some would even want to believe such a thing. Especially since there are so many similarities between the religions and most of the hateful parts of our religious literature were written by those who were working in special self-interest.

  3. The video is very eyeopening to see how there is relation between all religions and faiths. Our world is so quick to divide others based on their religion and there has even been wars fought over it.Even today people are discriminated against because of their faith. I always thought it was confusing how there are so many different versions of Catholics and Christians when they all believed in the same God. This video goes to show that there are common points to all faiths. Fighting on religion does more to divide us as each religion believes their are right and “only” their way is right. Religion should be a way for us to bond and be together, not apart.

  4. This video featured the group “Interfaith Amigos” who are a group of three men who are of different religious views discuss the ways in which they are able to be friendly and understanding of each other despite their differing religious views. They say that the root of all of their religions is love and that they find common ground in knowing that they all want the same thing: to be rid of all evils in the world and to feel and give love. The three share a story about a man who does not like cheese sandwiches, but he is the one who is making his own sandwiches. The meaning of this story is that if there is something in your own life that you dislike you should find a way to go about changing it. The three feel that through interfaith collaboration there can be serious progress made on moral issues in our world today. They say that there is not one specific way to be correct about religion, that there is not one group of “chosen” people. They say that through spirituality one can achieve enlightenment but it does not matter in what way you worship.

  5. In addition to my previous post here, this week I have done the Isha Kriya 5 times. I have noticed it becoming easier with time and now I am beginning to not think about doing the Isha Kriya and it has become more of a routine for me.

  6. This TED Talk begins, quite appropriately, with a nod the an age old joke set-up: A priest, a rabbi and an imam walk into a bar…From there, differently punchlines are filled in. The three men sit on satge, and just the sight of them evokes laughter, for everyone has heard some iteration of this joke. What is interesting, however, is that they play into this laughter. They understand the comedy of the situation they have presented their audience. How can a TED Talk be conducted by three people who study and preach the word three most dominant and contentious religions in the world? The answer, is that they are attempted to represent a kind of interfaith dialogue because so much of the world wars and strife have come from our inability to understand eachother’s faith.

    The priest begins by saying that it is a mistake, and a grave one, to believe that any one religion is ultimate. Coming from a man who preaches the words of the New Testament, and given that so many who believe in God and Jesus believe it exclusively, it is refreshing to hear spoken words of camaraderie. Spirituality is and should be inclusive. Yet to truly engage with people from other religions, it is important to address that which is taboo in each, including the fact that so many religions practice–however inadvertently– exclusivity. The imam makes the point that God chose to create diversity so that one might get to know someone different.

    I find this TED Talk to be very refreshing to watch. As a person who has never followed any major religion, I have often found myself looking for something greater than myself. I strive to find meaning and connections in my everyday life, for I truly find the world to be beautiful and magnificent place. However, I have been raised in a time of religious strife that goes beyond the Islamaphobia that has run rampant post 9/11. People have been losing faith in the world, and those who d cling to their religions do so in a manner that excludes all other ways of thinking. It is unhealthy, and I have always been turned off to the idea of converting to one religion or another. However, this talk was a pleasant reminder that,, even some of the leaders of the world, are working towards tarting a dialogue that will produce love and not hate. across religions.

  7. To start off, I enjoyed the humor of the Interfaith Amigos. It eases you into their presentation which touches upon the widespread topic of the connection between the faiths. The top three contenders being Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Those three faiths in particular have been at each others necks for centuries. In other words, seeing these three men, each one representing one of those three religions, stand together and do so using humor here and there, it’s refreshing. Not only is it refreshing, but it’s well needed. Especially if you take a look at what is happening between Israel and Palestine; there is so much hatred and violence being transferred within the holy land. The same thing goes for the Crusades. Endless war and mistreatment toward the other religion. It’s unnecessary but what is necessary are those who are from all faiths standing together.
    Each of them shared their faiths with one another; they rejoiced in their beliefs and their very spiritual being. Religious union is absolutely needed in this world and if it were unanimously feasible, there would most likely be widespread peace. At the beginning of the TED Talk, each of the Interfaith Amigos read from their spiritual scriptures. Each of the sections that the 3 chose to read from their separate scriptures all had the same theme: to live life through unconditional love. This is skipped over by so many because the majority is “stuck in [their] patterns of behavior”. At this point, what has been normalized in their lives is engrained. It’s hard to undo. But the gap must be bridged. Compromises must be made in order for peace to be at large.
    Falcon, Mackenzie and Rahman have dedicated their lives to bringing those of all faiths together. Being religious does NOT mean being against progression; these 3 men are an example of this. Effective collaboration between the faiths would result in more action being taken in the light of the issues that face our world. We need to work together because no ONE person or separated group can progress without the help of others. We need each other. The differences between everyone and each religion does not have to be sacrificed in lieu of working together. Instead, they shine even brighter and with friends by their sides. The inconsistencies must be acknowledged as well and discussed in order to move on as a whole. The inconsistencies are the things, in each faith and opinion, that require progression as times are constantly changing. And change should be welcome.

    This week I practiced the Isha Kriya 5 times. I’ve been doing it before I go to bed in hopes of getting a more peaceful sleep.

  8. What a wonderful video- enlightening, and present in a time of need. The interfaith amigos are admirable. In an age where differences can let us decide weather or not we interact with someone, I find this ted x event inspiring. I myself was not raised in a religious or spiritual household, and am not familiar with having a feeling of preciousness towards that aspect of life. I do however, hold many of my beliefs closely, and understand that in order to function properly in society and optimize my experience, I must accept those who have opposing views.

    It is hard to consider opposing views when you are not able to comprehend the other opinion. The interfaith amigos found similarities among their faiths, which produced conversation and bonding. In turn, they were able to apparently broaden their knowledge on faith.

    This past week’s been very difficult as we have had to digest the fact that a very hateful person will be running our country. Particularly difficult has been understanding how people could appoint him into such a position. Watching this video helped me in understanding a possible approach to people with opposing views. I have to approach them with humility, understanding, and hope, disregarding how frightened or discouraged I may be.

    • Please continue to listen to your heart, find supportive resources like this video to insulate and protect your thoughts during this challenging time. We all will get through this together if we daily fortify ourselves and speak our truths collectively, Namaste

  9. This was such a striking video. It sends the message that love transcends any one doctrine, and belongs to the inhabitants of the earth. Love is not meant to be given out like an allowance, but more to be felt on a constant basis, for it is ours to feel. The gentlemen discussed the theme of stuckness: how being too caught up in an ideology causes you to cause harm to others, sometimes inadvertently.
    Stuckness can create airs of in-groups and out-groups, hate, violence, shame, etc. As simple as that term is, stuckness, it can cause a world of trouble. It can further the notion of separation, and keeping others oppressed or at bay. I appreciate the level of simplicity this group dedicated to this topic. It is so easy to understand why they have decided to team up, without pushing their ideas on the viewing audience. They simply make an observation, and aim to educate.
    I grew up in a traditionally Christian household, without much room for anything else. My grandmother was an observer of some Jewish customs, but the Bible was her law. I saw that like many of the members of our church, had a dislike of Catholicism. They described them as “half-truths,” and didn’t agree with the place the Pope held. I never took on these beliefs, and it’s very interesting to see how those age old memories have a place in this journal entry. There is so much separation. There is so much distrust. It is a little disheartening to know that many of us may never get to mending of ideologies as in the video. We may continue to see the degree of separation go higher and higher.

  10. Religious leaders like the ones in this video give me hope for a future where we find peace in the shared meaning, rather than specific nit-picky differences.
    I was raised Jewish, I believe we were fairly secular, although we did celebrate the major holidays, go to temple on the high holidays. I am the first and only female to be Bat Mitzvahed, in our family which is easily 80% female, and I’m possibly the least religious of us all. I was constantly bullied in school by kids who were taught by their parents that I am going to hell and they need to try and save me. So I, the only Jew, became best friends with the only Muslim. We taught each other about our religions and traditions and found that She and I fundamentally believed the same things. She had a very small girl scout troop run by her grandmother, and I joined. Then My mom took over as troop leader along with a few other moms, and our troop grew.
    We were a very diverse group with girls who’s families came from many different cultures all over the world. Out Troop leaders/parents made sure that we all learned about each other’s heritage and beliefs, which led to very successful community service projects and participation. Most notably, we built a great float for a Holiday parade. We made the front page of a local newspaper for our float, which was the only float in the entire parade that featured holidays other than Christmas. We had sections devoted to different seasonal holidays representing each girl’s family heritage and everyone was encouraged to dress as they would for their own family traditions. As diverse as we were, we all wanted peace and friendship and acceptance and understanding.
    A group of girls ages 5-15 understood each other, and had a comprehensive grasp of what the Interfaith Amigos speak about in their TED talk.
    I spent 7 years in girl scouts. I’m older now and my experiences have shaped me. I no longer believe in the existence of a higher being, although I value my Jewish ethnicity. I still believe that everyone is born good, and that everyone is capable of respect and understanding what a group of adult religious leaders from different faiths, and a group of 15 little girls could so easily take to heart.

    • So wonderful your experiences from a small girl having the courage to make friends with someone outside your faith, and that your Mother and other parents continued to support your multicultural friendships! I loved reading about the Float your group created…..young people like yourself are the hopes for a brighter future for yours and future generations, thank you!

  11. This video mainly focuses on how patterns of behavior can be detrimental to people coming together in different cultures and religions. In relation to the ego, and how it can determine how people operate, due to what they want. When you begin to segregate other groups because of their beliefs, you find yourself in an ignorant world. Most religions have the same basic principles of kindness, unconditional love, and compassion, they just go about it in different ways with different customs. So why the barriers? Why the judgement and segregation? All we need to do is communicate, connect with them and understand them. When you make snap judgments due to ignorance, nothing is solved. We need to stop and think, be aware of the ego, what we and others want, and how to get there, without hurting someone in the process. Granted, it is not easy to grasp someone else’s view if you are taught to go against it, but that is why, you need to pause you thoughts, your ego, and understand. Be mindful, be kind, be considerate, and we can have a different world.

    -Sophia

    Mondays 6:30-9:50

  12. Interfaith Amigos

    These three religion: Judaism, Catholicism, and Hinduism share wisdom of their spiritual traditional.
    They mentioned how they stuck on behavior patterns which prevents people believe religion coexist.
    The priest mentions about true interfaith that involves moral issues in the communities. There is confusion between the particular and universal. There are many global conflicts that deals with violence, homophobia, racism, sexism, equality, justice and greed. Spiritual interconnections are with all being. Sharing the teachings of traditional, oneness, compassion, and love will truly engage communities.

    As a catholic, the cross is a symbol of unconditional love real that Jesus came to teach.
    Sometimes I find it hard to get along with my neighbors and people surrounding me in the church community. Even after church mass, people are just cruel and insolent. It does not even seem they listened or followed. Most of them that I accounted are judgmental; therefore it is a challenge to connect with them heart to heart. With interfaith it is about fullness of a human being. “It’s all one, I am as I am.”

    Note: The painting used in your blog is very lovely. Mr. Randy has a way to express dynamic connection with cultural, color, and history.The different medium used in the painting are experimental. His body of work can be read in different sections.

  13. Watching “Karmatube: Interfaith Amigos” made me ponder how stuck we are in our own patterns. People, myself included fear of all things different than what we know which results in our need to create our own self stability. The speakers discussed having true interface dialogue as a way to open a conversation up about religious believes and the morals that come into play. This concept is a crucial and progressive way to talk about global politics. If more collaborations such as the one between these men happened, less wars and social disturbances may occur. The men talked about how all spiritual path is essentially is apart of a larger path and we should not to blame another but rather open up a dialogue. Also that spirituality is inclusive, we must share with each others the issues with own religious practices. Openness to other cultures, religions and moral codes is something I have felt is a large issue with the presidential race. People refuse to talk to others about politics based on who they are voting for. If this country promotes its freedom of speak, we should use it with openness instead of hatred. They also bring up how laughter is a tool to diminish our egos, comedy is always equilipse hope. One man discussed a passage in the Quran promotes connect from heart to heart, I found this to be crucial to the audience’s understanding of his culture by presenting something that diminishes stereotypes they may have. The group also talks about how religious institutes are the core reasoning of complicating things, which I believe was brave but intelligent to present.The overall inspiration i found from this TED Talk was by collaborating with people of different cultures and religions then you we can share and work towards achieving common goals.

  14. This was one of my favorite assignments this semester for our yoga class. I really enjoyed this video and how they chose to use humor and love to tackle such serious topics regarding religion. Their main goal is inspiring, which is choosing to actively listen and talk to those with different opinions, cultures and religions in order to work towards common goals more effectively and from a better place.

    One key element of this idea was the concept of Universals vs. Particulars. When a religion decides that its particulars outweigh the universals, that’s when complications and strife divide people. The universals are the most important aspects that can join us together to fix the problems of this world through systems of love, hope, and encouragement. Not fear, or hate. We must openly talk about the differences that lie between cultures, and work towards resolving the issues that deeply plague society because they exclude certain groups and people. The touchy subjects of homophobia, gender equality and violence that we so often avoid or become angry about are things that we could just communicate and work on if we came together. Religious institutes can interfere with these goals and often set us on the wrong track.

    “Its all one and I am, as I am.”- I loved their “theme song.” We are all connected, we are all the same, please accept me for who I am because it is simply who I am. We must come together.

    The main universal goals are meant to inspire love, faith, forgiveness and hope. Together we can come together to work on those goals and break free of the false religious institution and rather find community and connection with one another in spite of adversity and embrace diversity.

  15. Through all the readings, listenings and videos I have encountered this semester for my yoga journals, this is definitely one of the most humorous ones and it made me chuckle here and there. I found it quite fascinating how the three men in this video teach. Instead of being stern and old fashioned they are playful and comical to display the difference in understanding and the typical focuses of all faiths. Even though they are getting laughter and a pleasant response from the people, the three individuals also spoke about oneness, unconditional love, and compassion. This reminds me of an activity I participated in in an acting class a few years ago. In this lesson my teachers were acting as if they were a celebrities. Although the point of the activity was to make fun of celebrities and overexaggerate their trypical traits, they were trying to enforce to us the concept of the true meaning of ourselves and to look deeper behind the exterior of certrain people. The video made me conclude that it is important to be open to experiencing and interacting with people that come from different backrounds and have different values and beliefs by looking beyond an unfamiliar force and creating unity for progress in our journey for self awarness and conciousness.

  16. This video highlights one of the biggest problems in our world today. Each religion is so isolated, yet their similarities are incomparable. Even though they are saying different things, they are saying the same thing…only in a different way. It’s a communication problem.
    The three men in the video admit the difficulty of communicating, but the rewards of attempting communication between people that “shouldn’t” communicate according to society. After 9/11, they tell a story about how the tragedy affected their appreciation for “interfaith dialogue.”

  17. These three men are very adamant about spirituality as opposed to religion. Religion is what caused colonization, the occupation and exclusion of already occupied land, and the forced assimilation of indigenous peoples in all parts of the planet. Spirituality, however, is universal. Hence why these three men talk about interfaith discussion. I think if these men weren’t brought up in certain cultures and there was no religion, there would be no need for specific labels and there would hopefully be one general understanding of spirituality. Nonetheless, as history shows, the top three monotheistic religions make up a huge part of many cultures. Pastor Don Mackenzie explains how interfaith discussion has helped him better understand his “repudiation of anything non-Christian”. These three men understand that cultural identity aside, their faiths have more to offer and are spiritual in nature. Mackenzie wants for all people to understand “the unconditional love that Jesus came to teach”. Imam Jamal Rahman asks “can you get to the other on a human level”? This once again brings up the point of connecting with those who are different than you and understanding their humanity. These men learned to embrace diversity and embrace the differences and in turn learned that they were not so different after all. I think a problem with modern society is the reliance of analytics to deliver us information we already enjoy, and it creates an echo chamber. So, when we come into contact with things we do not like, we are more likely to respond with fear or anger. However, given what these men have done, it is important to seek ideas we do not like and it is important to talk with people we also may not like. I found myself wanting to leave my echo chamber of politics about a year ago and began watching YouTube videos of people who have completely opposite ideas than I. At first I was angry, but as I kept watching them and really listened to what they had to say I understood where they were coming from. It is crucial for continuous development of the mind to look outside of our own worlds.

  18. As someone who refuses to associate with religion, I understand the importance and meaning it takes on in the lives of others. Although I do not personally find meaning in the teachings of or association with religion, I can appreciate the impact it has had on the lives of my friends and family. I respect the differences in belief systems and the complexity and dualities of living within the communities and the teachings they practice. It is important to note that we live in a country which often preaches religious liberty and the secularism of the government. Our country was however founded by white Christian men, and the cultural traditions and practices of holidays center on the teachings and beliefs of Christianity. Recent events, such as 9/11 and other terrorist attacks have led to a resurfacing of prejudice and hate towards certain religious groups, especially muslims. What most white Christian people in America do not seem to understand is that Islam and Judaism have been practiced on our land for as long as Christians have occupied this soil. Each of these three religions were at one point foreign to American soil. Native peoples had innumerable different belief systems and faith practices that were tied to nature and spirituality. It just so happened that the conquest of native peoples here was lead by Christians, namely protestant and puritan. Though muslims and jews faced prejudice even back in those days, the founders of the United States enacted enlightenment ideals of tolerance and liberty, creating laws that do not abridge the freedom to practice any particular religion.

  19. This listening came to me by surprise, because it isn’t quite often that you meet, or hear about religions and beliefs collaborating to make a universal understand and appreciation. I enjoyed this listen and learned a lot about allowing space for understandings in order to bridge gaps. The collaborations of faiths will lead to great moral hopes and will eliminate the confusion of particulars. By coming together, we are creating a greater world than any particular path or religion.

    Chosen people have their own views and beliefs creating global difficulties and crisis’s. I think that believing in a specific religion is an amazing devotion to god and self- respect, and it creates community. But this community is not better than any other. This community is not the right community. It is just a belief of ones perspective. We, as a society, need to respect every community and allow for sharing traditions. By acknowledging others, and reciprocating unconditional love, we will be “complete.”

    This is a thought I would like to spend more time with. I am not one to turn down others beliefs, and I am open to hear about others views.

  20. As humans we divide ourselves based on our religion. But, we are all the same. They may come from two different cultures, but the important part to take away from the video is that you have to understand the common points of all faiths together. We are all one, we just feel like we have to divide ourselves based on what we label ourselves to be. As long as we unite with each other we can all be happy. All faiths need to collaborate with each other because that is what God wanted. He wants mankind to be in unity with each other.

    We all look at ourselves through one lens. If you are a Christian, you feel like any other faith is wrong. But, that is not true. We can’t look at other faiths as, “the other.” We have to come together because we are all brothers and sisters. No matter our faith, we are all Gods children. This means that we are all equal, but we use religion to divide us. Little do we know, all faiths practice practically the same thing, we just think its different because it isn’t what we label ourselves to be.

    In my personal opinion, Christians look at other religions as wrong. A person can be catholic or a Buddhist, but because they don’t identify as Christian they aren’t true believers. God didn’t want it to be this way. He wants us to be united with each other because we all are here living by the same things: to love and be good to others. Its just that people can’t see that because they are so focused on separation rather than unification.

  21. The humor of the three amigos smooths the way for a discussion of a topic that has been contentious for centuries. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism have been adversaries in many wars and it so important to see a positive, funny interaction between three representatives of this religion. Especially if you take a look at what is happening between Israel and Palestine; there is so much hatred and violence within the holy land today. The same thing goes for the Crusades. Endless war and mistreatment toward the other religion.

    At the beginning of the TED Talk, each of the Interfaith Amigos read from their spiritual scriptures. Each of the sections that the 3 chose to read from their separate scriptures all had the same theme: to live life through unconditional love. This is skipped over by so many because the majority is “stuck in patterns of behavior”. At this point, what has been normalized in their lives is engrained. It’s hard to undo. But the gap must be bridged. Compromises must be made in order for peace to be at large.
    Falcon, Mackenzie and Rahman have dedicated their lives to bringing those of all faiths together.

    I believe that religion no longer has the meaning it once did in the world. Religion should be about finding a community for spiritual growth and worship, however from an outsiders perspective i see that religion has become a divisive tool often used to segregate and alienate groups of people from one another. What i saw demonstrated in this video is that religion really is just a label, and the actual beautiful spiritual philosophy is practically universal. If religion were practiced in a way of spiritual honesty, then i believe that the whole world needs more religion, in order to respect and love and understand one another better.

  22. “it’s all one and I am as I am”. This was beautiful and so, so essential in today’s world. With the amount of violence and self-centered attitudes that divide us as a people, seeing an multi-religious group spread their message so powerfully is so moving. They mention that thinking of religion as a my way or the high way concept is destructive. I liked Imam Jamal Rahman’s idea that the acceptance of other religions is making one a more complete human rather than challenging different ideas. If we could only view our world like that, too – as accepting others and their ideas into our lives as making us more complete human beings rather than seeing it as something caustic to our own ideals, we could make innumerable changes. So many believe that their beliefs are the only believes and I think this really ties in with McAfee’s chapter on ego. We separate the thought from the thinker and suddenly the thought is so precious and fragile that the thinker will something go to unfortunate lengths to save it. But, if we could break down that separation and let the thoughts mingle with the world, they could grow so large, and help others grow, too.
    I could imagine it would be a glorious moment for mankind and I hope that it comes soon.

  23. This talk is something that the entire world needs to see. To have these three individuals in the same room and cheerfully and eloquently discuss the concept of religion while admitting small pitfalls and describing plans for the future, is wonderful. The song that they sang together, which included words in their associated languages, was inclusive and heartwarming. Now, granted, the physicality of the talk is not without its flaws: the fact that there were only three religions represented (although the justification would be that these are the major ones so it only makes sense) out of so many in the world, as well as the panel being entirely made of men, was a little weird at first given that the topic of the talk was inclusivity. Sure, they were speaking about religion and perhaps only the inclusion of that aspect really mattered, but when you mention in the conversation that homophobia, gender inequality, and perhaps racism is a problem for many major religions, why not try to reflect this in the actual speakers? But I digress; let’s analyze the talk itself.
    One of the major tenants of the discussion was that spirituality should be inclusive, as it is by nature. Therefore, the existing “taboos” referenced within the religions is indicative of how followers have strayed from the core truths of their beliefs; spirituality has become a tool, not for community and belief, but dominance. The fact that Pastor Mackenzie described the problem of the cross becoming a symbol of oppression and corrupt pride, rather than love, is something that really resonated with me and I felt it was incredibly relevant. The religious leaders on the stage directly represented the major religious conflicts we are facing in the world today: mainly, the issue of the Palestine-Israel conflict as well as the troubled triumphalist history/imperialism of Western Christianity. The symbols that used to function as a light in the dark have now become corrupted with man’s greed, to the point of their meaning being manipulated to fit the individual will rather than the benefit of entire communities. Oftentimes, this mindset escalates into violent conflict, and thus the association with any type of spirituality is rendered meaningless. The “othering” of people completely destroys the concept of community against which so many religions are built on. Ironically, even religions that promote individual gain and selfishness seem to have a better sense of collectivism than many other so-called “spiritual” people (1). Therefore, how do we find a solution to this type of hypocrisy?
    The fact is that humans are egotistical; we enjoy being right. So when we become deeply entwined in certain major beliefs, we may begin to see things in the world that don’t fit in with our beliefs. This is normal, of course, but for many individuals, the only reasonable reaction is to impose their own beliefs and ideals upon that other person, in order to change the world to fit the image they have in their heads. But the truth is that using sacred beliefs as a method of control and the illusion of “triumph” actually pushes people away from the beliefs they associate themselves with because as soon as the ego takes over, the principle of connection and acceptance is destroyed; only the individual exists. It becomes the antithesis of what it should be. Therefore, it was important for Imam Rahman to bring up the story of when he described Ted and Don as being “the two best Muslims I know”. The obvious explanation here is that the concept of pushing aside the ego in favor of connection is the core tenant of the religions represented on the stage, and therefore, who is to say that one who is a true Muslim is not also a Christian, or a Jew, or vice versa? As stated earlier, true spirituality is inclusivity, so “othering” should not even enter the vocabulary. There should be no erasure, only unity; collectivism in the spiritual sense can only exist if man is not afraid to detach from his ego and absorb spiritual teachings in full. We are different in our experiences, perhaps, but our core values are the same; therefore, the “othering” occurs not to a “disbeliever”, but to the fake believer himself.

    Sources:
    (1) https://youtu.be/FmFCLZbdvAk

    • Excellent, thanks for sharing your thoughts and references. Maybe just sometimes 3 guys could get together due to some affiliation and decide to make a video. I don’t think they are against women, other ethnic groups or religions….but this is where they stood and I feel it was valuable to share. Namaste

  24. My first and initial reaction was laughter. These three men brought joy to be working and sharing together. They were able to have a light heart and bring smiles not just within me but also within the people in the crowd. Comedic relief in this world is one of the most important attributes. We cannot be so serious all the time, this can mask into anger and defense. If we use comedic relief, we can reveal that the opposite exists as well; tragedy. “Comedy always eclipses tragedy.” This idea stems from a prevalent topic in my life. If one thing exists the complete opposite must always coexist.

    This was honestly one of the most beautiful videos I have watched in this class. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation that each person shared. Neither one or the other was trying to persuade or change the other. This is what I found to be most beautiful of all. There is not one particular path but several paths to the shared universe. I believe this idea is tangible to thinking the macrocosm will play our game… no it is not that way. We will be tortured, in agony if we cannot find a way to work together. We were given diversity to get to know the other, not to change the other. If we get to know the other we can understand, have compassion, true humility.

    This idea that interfaith is completion, I truly wanted to shed tears. Something moving within my center just wanted to outburst in joy. Especially as these beings sang together; I want to be able to share this experience with all my loved ones. “It’s all one and I am as I am.” This also reminded me of one of my favorite commercials which I will share below.

    I also forgot to mention my Isha Kriya practice in my other entry. So here I will share the practice of my Isha Kriya. I have been doing my Isha Kriya every morning at 7am. I plan on continuing this routine after this class as well. I believe I am receiving benefits from this continuous and daily practice. I have noticed a reduction in stress and anxiety. I have noticed more rational thoughts and actions. I am grateful to have been introduced this form of meditation.

    • Wonderful news about your IK practice and that you plan on continuing after the semester. In time you may want to advance to other Isha Foundation practices, do look online for the online Inner Engineering program. Glad you found the video of value, Namaste

  25. I thought it was really amazing that these three people of different faiths could come together and have a real conversation about religion and life. I think that the main part of our societal separation is because of butting heads between people with opinions. If everyone could just come together, like these three people did, then we would not have arguments or war. We are all allowed to have our own opinions and faiths, but we do not need to hate those who do not share the same opinion as us. Everyone in the world has something in common with one another, so why are we always pretending that we are so different from one another this conversation goes back to our ego. We feel that our “group” or “faith” is better than the next but no one is better than the other, no one is worse we all just are. This is how we can find a path towards a utopian world.

  26. I really enjoyed watching this video and listening to the three men speak about their three different religions. The speakers made very beautiful statements about how each of the religions share the same basic foundations of having compassion and love for one another. One of the men said “spiritually is all-inclusive” which I highly agree with and which reminded me of an earlier reading where it was discussed that yoga practices are inclusive of all religions and are meant to help all people connect to their spirtuallity, whatever spirituality may mean to them. This video was one of my favorite assignments to watch and I was very inspired by hearing the speakers talk about the interconnectedness we can find spiritually with each other even if we practice different religions.

    This past week, I was able to do the Isha Kryia six days in the morning and five of those days also before I went to bed. I have found that the Isha Kryia has helped me to clear and center my mind and to better focus both before I start my day and before I fall asleep. The Isha Kryia practice has helped me become more mindful in my everyday life and I hope to continue to benefit from the practice.

  27. I really enjoyed watching this video and listening to the three men speak about their three different religions. The speakers made very beautiful statements about how each of the religions share the same basic foundations of having compassion and love for one another. One of the men said “spiritually is all-inclusive” which I highly agree with and which reminded me of an earlier reading where it was discussed that yoga practices are inclusive of all religions and are meant to help all people connect to their spirtuallity, whatever spirituality may mean to them. This video was one of my favorite assignments to watch and I was very inspired by hearing the speakers talk about the interconnectedness we can find spiritually with each other even if we practice different religions.

  28. Not only do all religions connect, but everything is connected. The elements that make up a humans body are the same elements found In the trees, in animals, rocks and minerals. We all come from the same origin, and if we look closely, we slowly begin to see the harmony and the interconnection in all things.
    The common root of all religions is utter compassion for all things. They all emphasize love as the most important thing in life. Though all of their teachings vary widely, they all contain themes that teach people how to live a moral life.
    We can say that love is the universal religion, but because there are so many people in the world and so much history in cultures, it makes perfect sense that there are different religions. How would the whole world be able to agree on one religion, or one story that was simply made up by an inspired individual(s).
    The unfortunate thing is people warp religions in to something political, or something it wasn’t intended to be by creators as the years go on. People take the stories too seriously, as if the events that took place in the stories actually happened. They forget the soul purpose of the religion they practice, which is love. Maybe people don’t even believe the point of religion is love, and those people sadly have a distorted view of religion, they do not fully embrace the power of religion.

  29. The Interfaith Amigos restored some of my faith in humanity. I’ve always said that too often, religion has divided people, rather than brought them together, which is of course its original intention. The interfaith dialogue that the amigos engaged in onstage was very inspiring, even as someone who does not practice a religion. All of the major religions have more in common with one another than many of their practitioners care to admit. To speak in absolutes, to speak in “ownership” of these intensely complex and grand ideals is foolish, when so many other belief systems offer so many differing ways to consider essentially the same concepts. The way they spoke was so humble, down to even just their specific language. There were no absolutes and there was zero self-importance. The push towards collaboration between faiths is an initiative that can only take the human race a step further in the endless pursuit of harmony.

  30. The video was interesting because it showed people from different spiritual and religious backgrounds coming together to explain the human condition. In the video one of the men explained how we as people are “stuck in patterns of behavior.” The cheese sandwich portion of the talk shows the hilarity in us repeating these behaviors that we know won’t make us happy or progress us any further in life. They speak on how the term muslim refers actually to “One who surrenders one’s attachment to the ego.” Which all of these men of faith have done, making them all muslim in a sense. This comical take on serious matters could take us far as a society, as these once debilitating stances on culture and religion could propel us into a more intrinsic future. As there is a “confusion between the particular and the universal.” As every authentic spiritual path is an avenue to a shared universal. The universal is far greater than any particular path. As particular paths come along with the assumption that they are equal to or greater than the universal. This was further broken down when they explained how the individual religions claim they are the “only chosen people, or the only way to god is following their spiritual figure.” This close mindedness is keeping us from fully engaging with the world. The interfaith program isn’t about conversion but about completion. We can properly deal with the issues such as social justice and earth care. OM

  31. Within the content of this tedtalk, I personally feel as if this video tackled a lot in regards to numeros aspects of religion. Unfortunately we live in a world where we see a constant divide in regards to race, religion, and i.e. The fear of discrimination and persecution is something that will seem to always reside within spectrums of our earth, but as time further develops I like to believe we grow closer humans. Despite diversity and understanding of all culture being something that not every individual can physically grasp – I feel as if appreciation and acceptance over other culture is something that grows within our youth, at least the surrounding environment in which I’m from.

    This talk primarily dissects all forms faith/religion, and the crossroads at which we all discover to find ourselves at. The constant debate amongst religion is something that only separates us further as coexisting individuals. Arguing and conflicting over dominance over who is ethically right or wrong in a given situation is not what religion is intended for. Religion is supposed to be foundation of unfolding your life through the most natural course and learning that it’s okay to have faults, but how we resolve these faults, especially with others is whats most essential. We can’t let ourselves become blind to oppositional standpoint, but allow for that standpoint in so we can lean properly through nature of discourse.

  32. The video commenced being very humorous and enlightening. The Interfaith Amigos highlighted many issues in the public eye today regarding religion or morality. In today’s society, It might be difficult to discuss these topics however, they are topics that need to be discussed. They started by talking about expressing unconditional love and kindness because being stuck in patterns of behavior will limit oneself to spirituality and interconnections. Spirituality is thought of as expressing interconnections with all human life. Spreading unconditional love not only makes both ends feel more positive, it also gives a sense of hope that is contagious. Through this, all humans have connections to one another in our behaviors, feelings, thoughts, religions, etc. It was interesting to learn about these different religions( Judaism, Catholicism, and Hinduism) and how they are interconnected in some way. Personally, I do not believe/practice one particular type of religion however, I am open to all knowledge and a sense of spirituality within myself.

    The video continued to talk about how Muslim people surrender attachment to the ego, making them disconnected from the term “I”. The ego plays a big role in the conscious and unconscious worlds, making it prominent in how we think, feel and act. I feel as though in today’s society, the term “I” is thought of in most every situation or idea and it may be hard for people to fully grasp this concept. Additionally, the “theme song” at the end of the video was very moving. Hearing the different languages and words “It’s all one and I am as I am” showing that humans are all in one universe and each person are created as they are. Excepting and freeing oneself while stating these words comes a very powerful energy within. Namaste.

  33. I really appreciated the humor in this video. It made the touchy subjects touched upon in this video much more approachable. The message about acceptance in the video is clear to me. They believe the world needs to see how differences can unite us. These men start by reading from their individual sacred texts; the words are different but the message is the same.

    I think it is great how these three men are able to discuss their religions, see other points of view and share ideas in such a civil way. Anymore, the world is so divided by religion, politics and many other social issues that seeing openness and tolerance is rare, refreshing even. It gives me hope that more people will come around and learn tolerance and become accepting of new ideas.

  34. I really found this video to be a form of inspiration for the world. I think interfaith is such an important concept that should be performed more often. Putting aside differences is something that is so clear. This is such a positive way of moving on from such a tragedy that 9-11 was. Instead of causing a wedge between these religions even further, these people are an example of coming.

    People use religion often as walls they put up from those who don’t follow the same accords. It is such an amazing thing to see that these people can get together and show the world their capability. Especially putting the twist of humor on it is such a good part. Humor makes things smooth over when it is used correctly and positively. As a raised Catholic this is such a beautiful things to see.

  35. This relates to what I wrote just about a week or two ago. It was related to one of your readings. People feel so disconnected from each other most of the time and this causes isolation and upsets people; it also causes violence. However this is so unnecessary. People focus far too much on the particulars instead of the universal just like they say. We search for every difference instead of similarities. People need to realize and focus more on the similarities in order to feel peace and unity with the world. I believe happiness can come from a place of belonging and similarity. I also loved the concept that spirituality is mean’t to be unifying. Religion claims to be spiritual, but often fails and is separating. Not all religious sects, groups, or places of worship are spiritual. Spiritual and religious are not synonymous. I think I have always been a spiritual person looking for unity since even as a child I rejected parts of my religion that attempted to teach me to hate certain groups or other religions. I loved this video.

  36. I have always said and believed that religion is like languages. They are different ways of communicating with our Creator, and every religion is essentially based around celebrating the lives we live as well as the Universe and forces in which we stem from. I thought it was really interesting to see the way the three men in the video interact and talk about how difficult communications between different religious communities is. I do think though, that communication and interaction between different communities will improve as people educate themselves and become more empathetic towards those around them.

  37. The video actually talks about something that is a big problem in the world. Each religion is so isolated, yet they are so similar. They are saying the same message, just in a different way. It is a communication problem. Plus you also have the religious nutcases saying that their religion is the only one true religion.

    The three men in the video talk about the difficulty of communicating, but the rewards of people that shouldn’t talk to each other are talking to each other. They also talk about how the cross of Christianity has become a symbol of oppression and how they hope that that oppression stops one day and people can come together in harmony.

  38. Throughout this semester we have been listening to readings from John Mcafee’s book The Secret of the Yamas which touch upon the ego and the mind. This video contains a very important message, that is constantly forgotten in society. Religion has always been a dividing factor for society but this is a perfect example of unity despite big differences such as religion. In the video, Imam Jamal Rahman explains that the word Muslim means one who surrenders one’s attachment to the ego which was understood by Pastor Don Mackenzie and Rabbi Ted Falcon. One of the points that really stood out is when Raddi Ted explained the difference the between a particular path and the universal. The universal is greater than any particular path and that is something society tends to forget. He explains that when the particular path thinks it owns the universal is when society lets differences such as religion get in the way of unity. Understanding each other’s differences allowed them to use faith to collaborate and respond to events taking place.

  39. I found this video to be very interesting. I think that while all religions are different they are also similar in some aspects. Every religion teaches about love and not to be judgmental towards others and to accept people for who they are. Im not sure where this bias of “not liking people because they are a different religion” came from. I don’t believe that any religion preaches to hate one another and to go to war because someone is of a different religion. I think having this ‘interfaith amigos” is a very beneficial thing to society. This can teach many people that if even the rabbi’s, pastor’s, and imam’s can come together and speak about their faiths and respect and show love for one another it it possible for everyone to do the same, no matter their religion, color, or beliefs.

  40. These three gentlemen are extremely charming and break through a huge barrier that seems to be getting bigger and denser every day in our political world. “when a particular path says we are the universal we are all in trouble” This could not be more true when we talk about people or ideology that don’t acknowledged the damage they can cause. Its even more toxic when we observer spiritual groups participating in the same activities. Spirituality is inclusive and should subside from repudiation of any sort. In all honesty thought there seems to be barely any hope out there for this to change and in the long run it seems like we will just be stuck trying to mitigate another whole in the ship till it goes down.

    • I believe that there are loads of small pockets of people working together with positive intentions. When we seek and engage with others it helps us to realize positive aspects of life nowadays. Namaste

  41. The work of the Interfaith Amigos is a true work of faith that is necessary for us as human beings to connect to one another. They all acknowledge that the institution of religion has separated so many people and they work together to break that pattern. Interfaith is about collaboration to educate and empower people to become complete spiritually through the understanding of the universal. That the God that many serve may have a different name, face, and rituals but the heart of it is all the same.

    True interfaith dialogue can create conversations to combat issues we all face today.
    Confusion between the particular and the universal has kept people divided, but all of these three faiths (Muslim, Jewish and Christian) and many others share many commonalities. But the concept of the universal is greater than particular paths, and those individual paths believe they alone own the universal which causes problems and fuels the ego. Spirituality is inclusive and is the interconnectedness of all beings, and through interfaith people can collectively share the understanding of oneness, healing and happiness. At the root of this is he ego, and in order to grow and live a fulfilled life we must remove the ego. Out of divine design, God allowed diversity in order for us to get to know one another, to connect heart to heart on a human level.

  42. I really enjoyed the Interfaith Amigos, in the past I’ve seen men of different religions come together, the way these men do it is in a humorous way. I think this video should be seen by all in order to understand, even if you believe in different things doesn’t mean you can’t respect other through your own journey of life. More than thinking about it as different religions, they express that faith is what’s important for a better human healing and happiness. I’m not religious myself, that was an eye opening thought, we can love each other and live in peace even if we don’t pray to the same god. I’m happy to say that I want a better understand of others in order to love them and myself in the best way I can. Humans tend to dwell on the negative and the differences in each other, in all honesty we experience a lot of the same things and that should bring unity to humans. Instead we are so focused on labels and that along side the lack of knowledge to cause hate between different people.

  43. This was one of my favorite videos thus far! I sent this to a lot of people I felt should see this and would be able to truly comprehend what the Interfaith Amigos are doing. I’ve been finding the more I do these assignments the more I’m sharing this with others or taking these teaching into my everyday life and trying to tell others as well. I related to this deeply as I think interfaith would put a halt to a lot of divides in today’s world. I’ve been fortunate enough to have parents who exposed me to all religions without ever demeaning any of them or making one seem superior over another. I remember my childhood friend was Muslim and her family was kind enough to let me partake in fasting with them one summer. I think it’s beautiful to be able to practice such a ritual and makes you see the importance and worth of another’s faith. I’ve been to Jewish ceremonies and Buddhist temples. I’ve been taught passage from the Quran and you learn how interconnected they all are and we as mere humans can say which is right or wrong.

  44. I really enjoyed this video and it’s discussion about faith and religions. People jump to judgement and are quick to divide others from themselves in a negative way. This typically leads to misinterpretation and hatred between us. I absolutely loved how they pointed out how in the end we all share very similar ideas and morals in the end of the day. I also appreciated how the men were patient and willing to understand each other and attempting to comprehend each other’s perspective on things. Unlike most people I see, they were truly open minded and very loving about it. It was very motivating and hopeful to see these three men who may appear very different to each other, connect and break the stereotype that people who hold different faiths can never get along.

    – Samantha Diaz

  45. This was a great lesson because of the union of three faiths so divided, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. I was raised Catholic and have since chosen it is not for me, although of course I can appreciate some of its main tenets. What’s interesting is how similar all three of these faiths are when stripped down to their main tenets. All teach love, kindness, and peace although there are many misconceptions about each faith around the world. The whole of humanity is so divided that it seems impossible for peace, love, and acceptance to overcome. Through respect for one another and recognition of common values, like the priest, rabbi, and imam in this video, we can all come together and achieve common goals. Our world needs to become one again, to heal itself of these terrible wounds caused by society, religious differences, anger, and hatred. Through spirituality and the inner-peace obtained through yoga practice we could all become united by a common purpose that is higher than the ego, world peace.

    Catherine Halstead

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