What constructive contributions can religion bring to Canadian society?

You know I think there is a lot of
shared values in and amidst all the talk of all the mutual suspicion between
the different groups and all the different kind of polarizations that are
unfortunately deepening in society. I still think there’s a basic deeper level
of shared humanity. Most people would like to live in a society where the most vulnerable are protected and cared for and where we all live together in
environmentally sustainable ways so that we leave the world as a habitable place
for our children. Once you start talking about those sorts of things I think you find that people share a lot. All major religions, there is something about taking care. Like taking care of your neighbours taking care of your community
and that like from the perspective of the Muslim community it’s a big part of
the Muslim faith to take care of your neighbours. It’s like it’s something that
we greatly value. I think one central aspect of religion that I see represented at the conference as well as is a desire to to find common ground with
people and this belief essentially in an existential aspect of our reality or the
transcendent, the divine. That aspect of us that is spiritual is one. So once we connect with that essential oneness we’re able to bring a level of maybe peace or zooming out in terms of like thinking about the bigger picture when
we’re looking at very specific problems, challenges of the neighbourhood or
societal level we can zoom out and really draw on those higher-level
principles to ask ourselves: How does this apply to this challenge, this
situation this crisis? And how can we draw in those principles and kind of mobilize them and make them active and useful in our society. There is something about religious groups and people who are committed to a faith tradition, that it speaks to their perseverance trying to address an issue, a given societal issue. Doesn’t have to be at the same one all the time and there is a sense that that social transformation requires perseverance, dedication, commitment that is not only about kind of a reactive one-second issue. It’s about maintaining change or about knowing that change won’t be achieved
overnight then knowing that there needs to be a motivation that goes beyond just very kind of – practical goals but that that there is something about the role that
we have in the universe that that compels us to to transform for the better. To help each other. So all those – kind of that’s the cluster of things that
religions then do look at and try to address. And not that secular organizations don’t do the same. They motivate people for social action. They do it long-term. When would they do it properly and for the right reasons they create communities that are cohesive and then that can collaborate with the rest
of society.

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