This post was provided by Marina Glogovac, President & CEO of CanadaHelps, as introduction to our series on Faith & Giving.
This time of great upheaval and discord in the world is producing terrible suffering, often in the name of religious doctrines and the radical assertion of the “right” path. It is easy to forget, when we are driven by fear and reaction, that all spiritual and religious frameworks have more in common than not, and that often wars are waged based on perverted, power-driven dogmas and ideologies that have nothing to do with the original teachings.
In Canada, almost 50% of 86,000 organizations with registered charity status are places of worship, and 46% of all giving is done within them. In light of how much giving in Canada is religiously-inspired, we wanted to explore how major religions view giving and charity and have asked seven spiritual leaders to share with us some major precepts of their respective teachings.
As I expected, there is much commonality between religions in urging us to overcome our deep attachments to money, property and the material, to give generously of ourselves in as many ways as possible, and to realize that nothing is ours. In many ways, it’s a call to raise above our selfish and possessive nature. And above all to love and support each other and to realize our deep interconnectedness with each other and all of creation. Bottom line: we can not love God and not love each other.
I echo the sentiments of Mary Lynne Stewart: Canadians are so blessed. In Canada, we can model, for the rest of the world, both religious tolerance and the understanding of what unites us in these different ways of connecting to something bigger than, or outside of, ourselves, such as our shared desire to leave a better world for our kids.
I especially love the concept shared by Howard English, that charity is what literary keeps the world going! Imagine what would happen if we, one day, have the critical mass of people in the world with the consciousness of unity. We must all work for that dream to become reality. For me, that more than anything else will signify the arrival of a better and more just world.
CanadaHelps’ team is comprised of Eastern Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and atheists. When I look at us, I see Canada in miniature, an example of what we should all aspire to in supporting each other’s shared human journey. Our paths to truth and enlightenment may be diverse but our destiny is inextricably and unavoidably shared and we are all equally responsible for it.
We invite you to explore our Faith & Giving series of inspiring posts about charitable giving from the perspective of those in various faith groups, including Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam.