Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gee Dad, God can be worshipped in so many different ways!

I am pleased to share the wisdom of a seven year old girl, my daughter. Who wants to raise their child as a bigot? Some of us recklessly do.
When we hear hate spout out of the mouths of men and women in politics or religion against Jews, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Hindus, Blacks, Mormons, Gays and Lesbians, Hispanics or Immigrants, we just shake our heads with disbelief, that is of course, if we are not bigots ourselves.

I must give credit to face book, a great equalizer for humanity. Even though the hate mongers and bigots don't survive on the face book, they still continue to rant with a few or no friends liking their hate material. They still don't get the message - hate is not natural. .

When she was visiting the Baptist Church, as a father, I just advised her, if the Pastor by any chance denigrates other faiths, he is not being truthful and you don't need to listen to him. She was around 9 then, and argued with me, a part of our routine to argue as equals, "Dad, if he does not say bad things about other religions, why would people to go his Church when they can go somewhere else? I know it, don't worry Dad, I won't hate anyone".

I took my kids to every place of worship, so they were raised with familiarity of fellow humans with no bigotry towards others. At each place of worship, I would summarize to her what they were saying…over the years, I learned that, all she wanted to hear, a six year old, was a simplified version of the talk. I had gotten it down well - a standard reply - "Sweetie, they are telling that we must thank God, that God gives us life, ability to breath and live…" Mind you, I was an atheist then, but not anti-religious.

One day, we were in DFW Hindu Temple joining the group singing Bhajans (Chanting) in the sanctuary. In the middle of a Bhajan, she leans over me, and asks the standard question, "Dad, what are they singing"… out came my standard reply. To that, oblivious to the crowd, she gets up, and throws her hands up in the air, and cheerfully announces "Gee Dad, God can be worshiped in so many ways" to the amazement of the devotees!

That, my friends is pluralism. "Respecting the otherness of others." Thank God she ain't a bigot today. She is a rationalist and would question any one's ill-will or hate towards the other. If nothing else in my life, I have feel good about raising my kids with no bigotry. Like me, she would defend any faith, we won't let any one put down a faith, any faith - individuals yes, but not their faith.

I am writing a fuller article with Religion News with a few more anecdotes with my daughter. Meanwhile, enjoy this.
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes all his work through many links.

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