The essence of religion is good values; however, in reality we can see tension between them. How can religions contribute to sustainable peace? Ms. Marcia de Abreu from Spain moderated the session.

Mr. Stein Villumstad, Secretary General of the European Conference of Religious Leaders, asked why it is important to involve religions in the peace process? He gave five answers: 1)The importance of God cannot be ignored; 2) there’s a growing movement towards interfaith engagement; 3) religions need to be engaged to solve the problems of society; 4) the power of religious assets, e.g., The Golden Rule; and 5) religions have important social groups such as women’s organizations and youth groups.

Imam Abduljalil Sajid, Chairman of Dialogues and Cultures in Europe, said we all have to work together for our common good. He said that action speak louder than words. If no action, words are meaningless. We must speak to other people peacefully. We cannot use force or compulsion on each other. Respect each other. Without the family there is not going to be any peace. Without role models, we will go nowhere. Religions need to be engaged. Secular society needs to make space for religions. For the text of his presentation, click here.

Venerable Bhante Sobhana, from Stockholm Sri Lanka Theravada Buddhist Temple: Morality is the first step in our training. The importance of right speech – abstaining from worthless talk. The importance of right action – abstaining from robbing, stealing, etc. The importance of right livelihood. The world is like a mirror; if you look at the world with a smiling face, you will see your own smiling face. Even if things are others’ fault, you must see it as your own fault. If you treat others kindly, they will treat you kindly.

Mr. Tim Miller, chair of UPF Europe, spoke on the relationship between the public and the private dimensions. Public values and affairs need to have priority over private ones, always.

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