The NSW Branch of Religions for Peace met on 6 November at the Vedanta Hall, Croydon. Discussion included the Diwali festival, the Church and the Referendum, and the problem of evil and suffering.
Religions for Peace Meeting – 6 November, 2023
Acknowledgment of Country
Minute of silent meditation led by Pravrajika Sridharaprana
Sharing of news from Faith Representatives:
Vasantha and Siva: Birth of Baha’u’llah celebrated from 16-17 October. She and Siva continue to host Thursday weekly Meetings with guest speakers.
Ab Malak: Reflecting on tragic events unfolding in Middle East. Noting Coptic Community were offered police support, but they are not expecting any problems here.
Rev Gill: Noting Christian community preoccupied with referendum. Through his long distance pastoral work connecting with indigenous community finding them angry and depressed. Also noting Religious leaders, in their advocation of the Yes vote, were found to no longer have the authority they once had. Also described recent initiatives of the Catholic Church, discussions in Rome and nationally about how the church is to adapt and relate itself to a rapidly changing society: such as the role of women and the ‘LGBTIQA+’ community etc. Ecumenical progress has been made in different denominations formally recognizing each other’s Baptism.
Pravrajika Sridharaprana and Robert Grant talked about the significance of the upcoming Diwali Celebrations and the symbolism of ‘Kali.’ It was specially noted that Kali is derived from the word ‘Kala’ which means ‘time.’ Time is the all-destroyer, all things will pass. Kali, as does Diwali, also signifies the triumph of good over evil, of the light of wisdom overcoming the darkness of ignorance etc.
The group then shared their Faith’s perspectives on The Problem of Evil and Suffering. What role does it play? How should we view it, how should we face it, how to explain it/ justify it? We could acknowledge that given the imperfections of humanity it was unavoidable that conflicts arise. What required more understanding was accounting for the evil arising from natural disasters (apart from those fuelled by human impact on the environment).
We also noted that many of the regulars in our group are in their very senior years and there is a need to bring in some younger faith representatives.
After the Meeting the group had lunch together.
We look forward to meeting again, with a larger group, in the New Year.