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Interfaith Programs

Toronto Interfaith Forum: The Fruits of Wisdom and Altruism

Toronto, Canada - The Central District of UPF-Canada held its first meeting of 2010 on February 6 in Toronto. As usual, the meeting started with coffee and donuts amid a pleasant atmosphere of respect and faithfulness to God.

Rev. Earl Smith opened with a special prayer for the people of Haiti, especially for the restoration to health of the injured people and the success in the work of reconstruction.

Rev. Mitch Dixon invited me to speak on the "Fruits of Wisdom." Wisdom is a deep understanding of God, His creation, people, things, events, situations, and actions, that empowers people to consistently choose the optimum results with a minimum of time and energy. It is comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment about actions.

In Islam, certain qualities are associated with wisdom. These include good manners, humility, chastity, obedience, contentment, patience, mercy, and kindness. Some examples of wise sayings:

  • And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years [Abraham Lincoln].
  • The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing [Albert Einstein].
  • Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody's power that is not easy [Aristotle].
  • Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice [Baruch Spinoza].

Rev. Mitch Dixon took the podium to speak on the topic of Root Causes of Human Conflict. The number of conflict-related deaths is only a small indication of the tremendous amount of suffering caused by conflicts. The denial of fundamental rights of employment, housing, and food as well as exclusion from the decision-making processes of society cause many grave crises today.

In human relations, giving and receiving, learned in the family, cements a bond by which everyone is fulfilled. God only gives, and we humans must learn that we should be more willing to give than receive. Every one of us must live for others so that depravity is eliminated and instead of promoting conflicts people nurture love and helpfulness. With such a conviction in our hearts, we build families, families build communities, communities build states, states build nations, and nations build United Nations.

He concluded by describing God as our Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to be successful in this life and to return to live in His presence.

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