Morality and respect
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Well, can morality exist without God? That was certainly the question that stimulated some serious discussion at the 12th World Religions Conference on May 31. Organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community of Calgary and held at the Cochrane RancheHouse, it brought together panelists representing Christian, Muslim, Baha’i, Humanist and Indigenous perspectives in a mutually respectful dialogue.
Mutually respectful? If nothing else spoke to the heart of the question, that certainly did.
Indeed, Stoney Nakoda Elder Tina Fox pointed to waahogipabi (Stoney Nakoda for “respect”) as central to the virtues the Creator gave to the various cultures of the world for living together in harmony. This was echoed by Christian theologian Scott MacDonald, who noted that humans have this as an inherent sense, a reflection of the presence of God, incarnated in Jesus Christ, and, Baha’i panelist Daniel Kohm pointed out, articulated in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done.” Thus, added Imam Atta ul Wahab, such respect for God underlies his community’s motto, “Love for all, hatred for none.”
Even in the case of Humanism, Nathan Klassen commented, our reasoned concern for the welfare of all humanity itself, and not belief in the existence of God, is the essence of our life together.
Here, I would have to add as a Christian, to love/respect our neighbour as ourselves is tantamount to loving God.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only attendee who was touched by spirit of the evening. Calgary Muslim attendee and event volunteer Kalim Ahmed emailed me his thoughts. I’ll close with his letter.
© 2023 Warren Harbeck