The Gate of Artemis


The many existing fora on intercultural dialogue mostly aim at emphasizing what binds us together rather than what divides us. They look for the common denominator of fundamental values at the core of all the great world civilization.
But most attempts at achieving spiritual harmony between the faiths has ended in theoretical constructs, well meaning conferences, without clear positive impact on our personal lifestyle or society as a whole. These interactions cannot raise from the mental to the spiritual levels.
Hinduism spoke of liberation and sammadhi. Buddha of enlightenment and nirvana; Christ said we must be born again, Mohammed spoke of the inner Jihad of self purification. Jewish mysticism invites us to feel the Presence or the Shekina.
The question that can be termed in secular terms is: how to reach these new frontiers of consciousness? Kant’s categorical imperative would plead for an answer, which works for the individual as well as society at large. Can this be done in today’s context?
The history of mankind is replete with episodes of conflicts, aggressions or repression of our freedom of beliefs, linked to the assertion of religious creeds and dogmas. Despite the spread of modernity through globalization, the contemporary era is no exception. Armies camp around Jerusalem. Recent wars, from Kosovo, Kashmir or Syria and terrorist aggression remind us that such misuse of religion is still alive in the present era of globalization. Caught between dogmatism and decay, the world religions are in crisis.
Alienation and the waning of personal morality, in turn, contribute to a worldwide reaction of rejection of modernity, which unfortunately translates in the return to jingoism and fundamentalism. Henceforth, in a global world, modern amorality and religious fundamentalism are in an opposite yet, mutually reinforcing relationship.
It is not rare to hear that this third millennium challenges us all to review the foundations of our civilization. On one hand, the eagerness of zealots to destroy in the name of a God of Love is a paradox that recalls the medieval past. On the other hand, corrupt governance encourages widespread ethical and moral corrosion. The Middle East, for instance, is ablaze with such contradictions while in other regions, often, people disconnect from their spiritual dimension in the prevailing shallowness of postmodern societies.
Squeezed in a global village and a shrinking biosphere, the human tribes must rediscover the common message hidden behind the teachings of the religious instructors of mankind to reach the spiritual core of their humanity.