Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Faith, Hope and Charity or Pay It Forward: The Elevator Pitch

Abid was introducing the idea of the Workzine to bloggers last BHH and he was asked for an elevator pitch of the entire concept. An elevator pitch? I asked myself, then it dawned on me that it simply meant that you had to sum up the idea in the time it takes to ride an elevator to say 11th floor of Worker's house. If you can't pull it off then, you might as well proceed to the roof and take a dive. So I thought I would give it a shot and introduce The Pay It Forward Foundation Uganda before we get to the 10th floor.

Then I got thinking: Since when did our culture evolve to this point, when all the time another person has for your thoughts is an elevator ride? Obviously I wandered into debate concerning capitalism and socialism and many other places. I realised that I could not do it, I'm too wordy to sum up an entire concept thus. So I debated on how to introduce our idea of The Foundation and I came across a simple truth. I have the ability to take that which I wish from any religion in the world. So I decided to sample these religions and introduce this concept to you. I choose to go with a Judeo-Christian theme, complemented by the religion of submission, Islam and what I consider the true religion of Peace, Buddhism. My choices are simply because I have intimate knowledge of Christianity and I have chosen to discover these others. I have come to preach people, stop the elevator!

Romans 13:8-10 (Duties towards One Another)

Be under obligation to no one – the only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law. The commandments "Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not desire what belongs to someone else"-all these and any others besides, are summed up in the one command, "Love your neighbour as you love yourself." If you love someone, you will never do them wrong; to love, then, is to obey the whole Law.

This is perhaps one of the most important messages in the bible. Paul, in his letter to the Christians in Rome, explains his understanding of Christ's message. I have read the bible and even though it is full of hatred, anger, death and destruction, it still contains a message of peace. Jesus may have proclaimed that there was no other path to paradise than through him and however much I may disagree with that I cannot fault his teachings on peace, love and kindness. In today's world, there are many who profess a belief in these teachings but act otherwise. I do not have the moral authority to condemn anyone for I too have sinned, but I have a belief that if you hold these words to be the living word of God, then you must follow them with all your heart. The call truly is simple; it is not beyond anyone's means or ability. You cannot say I am not rich enough or I do not have enough because all you're asked to do is to love your neighbour as yourself. It is a simple call to love one another genuinely, one that has been interpreted in many ways with life's hardships forcing us to ask who our neighbours truly are. Some have interpreted it to mean that a neighbour is one who shares your belief and helps you when in need and all others do not qualify but life in its randomness will provide for you no matter your beliefs for the tree gives of its fruit to all men alike. God, in his infinite mercy did not judge you unworthy of his blessings and sent you his only son. It is perhaps only right that we live our lives by Christ's example and message.

The Quran S. 2:62 Al Hilali & Khan

Verily those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

Paramount to all religions is the message of faith. That you must first and foremost believe. The religion of submission to God's will, Islam has one fundamental difference from Christianity. While the latter requires only belief in Jesus Christ (and perhaps by extension his teachings) as the son of God to enter paradise, Islam requires in addition to belief in Allah, a belief in the Last Day of judgement and acts of righteous good deeds. I am not yet well versed with the Quran but I know that among Islam's five pillars is Zakat, the charitable giving that all able Muslims are called upon to perform. In Islam, every act of kindness performed is an affirmation of faith and brings you that much closer to paradise. It is the sacred duty of every Muslim and perhaps non Muslim to help those who are in need. Sura 99 states:

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

  1. When the earth is shaken with its (final) earthquake.
  2. And when the earth throws out its burdens,
  3. And man will say: "What is the matter with it?"
  4. That day it will declare its information (about all what happened over it of good and evil).
  5. Because your Lord has inspired it.
  6. That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds.
  7. So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.
  8. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight on an atom (or a small ant) shall see it.

The Teachings of The Buddha

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. – Dalai Lama

Buddhism is not a religion per se but it can be interpreted as such. It is in my opinion the true religion of peace. At its core is the simple message that life in all its beauty, wonder and splendour is suffering. There is so much of it that nature will dish out of its own volition that we should hold all life, especially human, as sacred. We are simply called upon to try to the best of our ability to make it better for all others, and if we fail to do so, we should at least "Do No Harm", an oath that we require our physicians to take before practising. Buddhism holds the values of kindness and compassion above all others in this life. Belief in a deity does not matter, what matters most is that you are truly kind and compassionate.

The Torah

The beginning and end of Torah is performing acts of loving kindness. – The Talmud

Everything Else

Even if we profess a different faith other than the above or none at all, there are a few simple truths that life teaches us. The most important of these has been learned over millennia. Our ancestors knew it from the very beginning, from the moment the first of us became aware, it was obvious that life's journey could not be undertaken alone. We knew from the very beginning that "people need people". So we learned to live together in communities and have evolved thus far. Sometimes, actually most times it seems that we have lost something essential to our nature because we have managed to make the world seem like a very mean place when that shouldn't be the case. Those of us who believe that human beings are inherently wicked and selfish are sorely mistaken. The idea that it is a "dog eat dog" world serves nothing less than to doubt the true nature of God and God's promises to us, for we are made in his image, our bodies are his temple and should be treated as such.

So, with the above in mind, at least for some of us, we have ganged up together to start "The Pay It Forward Foundation Uganda". We seek to make the world a kinder place and believe that such a dream starts with us. We hope that you will join us or at the very least be a little kinder to those whose lives you touch every day.

Let me conclude this sermon with some of my favourite bits of the bible, the teachings about love as written in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians.

Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail.

You may now restart the elevator, I am done preaching. May peace and the love of God, the all Merciful, be with you all.


nevender said...

Interesting piece Rhino, however I do not know what Pay it Forward is yet. I got to know a bit about Islam, Buddhism, Judaism but not PIF. Care to explain?

As for religions, I am convinced that is not God's point- His point is relationship and since we cannot approach God in our sin, we have a lamb and a High Priest- Jesus.

Grace to you homie.

nevender said...

O blimey, I have socks!

sleek said...

you guy! give Rhino back his blog!!

Ashy said...

The elevator in Burj Dubai, maybe? ;-)

There should not be a need to set up a foundation, if one is 'raised' right, learns and teaches, it might just be a better world...

Anonymous said...

Rhno - you truelly are finding yourself, I too take the same journey.

Though the journey that i take, is to strengthen my faith, hope and belief.

Anonymous said...

I have always contemplete whether humans are inherently good or inherently evil. You have explained it in a way that makes so much sense to me i think i am now content with believing that we are inherently good. Fiona

nevender said...

"i think i am now content with believing that we are inherently good. Fiona"

My Bible tells me there is none that does good, we are inherently evil. That is why we need a solution for the evil- Psa 14.

But I like Rom 3:23,24 which say For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freelyby his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

My cents.

Xiona said...

Ashy sweetie...wat du min no need for a foundation??? are u sure u have read this properly?? we can not go back in time and "raise" people right...

Cavalier said...

Fiona, we are neither inherently good nor inherently evil. Just inherently human

Nevender, bible preachers lie or don't know what they are talking about.

This is why the elevator would have been better. Instead of going out and being nice to one another, we are in the beginings of a religiousdisagreements

Rhino said...

Okay people don't start arguing and losing track of what is important. For those who believe that we are inherently evil, I have to ask, what makes you wake up in the morning? You might as well go put a hole in your head if you believe that your spouse is Lucifer in disguise, and your kids are no less than Beelzebub's offspring.