Envisioning Peace through Different Faith Perspectives

Atheist
As an atheist, I believe in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” As a teacher and parent, I believe in the power of education, beginning in early childhood, emphasizing this “network of mutuality” and this “single garment of destiny,” fostering empathy, stressing that different does not mean deficient. I believe in King’s words, “Human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability.” Thus, I believe that individual inaction is unacceptable; we must overcome complacency; we must not wait for the “inevitability” of world peace.
Elizabeth Schabel is a retired ISU Senior Lecturer and currently volunteers as a teacher at an Iowa prison.

Baha’i’
For members of the Bahá’í faith, peace is evolutionary. The peace process takes place at all levels of human endeavor: individual, family, community, nation and world, from personal initiatives to organized global plans. As a Bahá’í my role is to foster Bahá’í principles with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers that assist the development of peace, principles such as the oneness of humanity, equality of the sexes, understanding among religions, elimination of prejudices, harmony of science and religion, investigation of truth, and education for all. All actions that encourage these principles change the discourse, promote a culture of learning and promote peace.
Bryce C. Abel is a member of the Bahá’í community of Ames.

Buddhist
Peace in this world is not a group effort but the effort by one, then another and another; collectively, this is the power of one to many, from many to one. Buddhism has two schools: Theravada which focuses on reaching the level of an Arhat who is free of suffering by becoming a monk, staying in forests and meditating, and the Mahayana whose monks and nuns go out in the world practicing the bodhisattva path, enlightening themselves as well as others. Practice, study, and generosity keeps a peaceful community.
Venerable Hong Yang is a Buddhist Bhikshuni.

Hindu
Each person has four parts: a physical body, the mental faculties (mind), the life energies (heart) and the presence of Divine within (soul). Peace must be stabilized in all parts. In the body, peace is represented as health. A peaceful mind is free from worry and fear. A loving heart is peaceful. A soul that constantly remembers God is the source of peace. Personal peace, however, is only the beginning. Then, one must contribute to peace in the family, the community and the world, with service. The best way to serve world peace is to work towards removing hunger.
Manjit Misra is Dean’s Chair of Distinction in Agriculture & Life Sciences, Director of the Seed Science Center at Iowa State University.

Native American follower of Jesus
Raised white and Christian by parents who meant well, but were, perhaps, fearful of acknowledging Dad’s Native American roots, I did not know my native spiritual heritage. I am still a beginner and a learner. But this I have discovered: embracing a “beginner’s mind and heart” opens me to the wisdom and hospitality of people of peace and to the Great Spirit who moves the universe in loving ways to bless those who sincerely seek and follow. First learning to drum, and lately with the flute, I have learned to open myself to the wisdom and hospitality of all traditions, and to pray.
Rev. Dr. William B. Daylong is the pastor of the United Methodist Church in Jefferson, IA.

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