The Parliament of the World’s Religions major convening, held virtually this last October, was an amazing coming together of hundreds of dedicated organizations and thousands of participants. From groups dedicated to the healing of our planet and our bodies, religious reconciliation, the fostering of basic human rights, and the empowering of local communities, it was an incredibly inspiring success.
I was amazed at just how many dedicated groups are out there all striving to make this world a more peaceful, tolerant, and ecologically healthy place. But there was also a very somber undertone present regarding the urgency to take action to make a real difference in these areas before it is too late. Environmental devastation, the crushing of basic human rights by despotic governments, drastic and expanding income inequality, and the increasing risk of major nuclear conflict, all cast an ever darkening pale over our planet’s future.
Would it not be wonderful if all these organizations and the millions (billions?) of dedicated souls could come together in one, ultra-powerful alliance to effect these needed changes? We all know that there is strength in numbers, especially if those numbers are united in one grand vision. Maybe something, perhaps, like a Free Nations Alliance?
Back in early 2020, before the pandemic reared its ugly head, the New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, penned a piece entitled “2019: The Best Year in Human History.” Such statistics were cited as adult literacy now approaching over 90%, diseases such as polio, leprosy, river blindness, and AIDS on the dramatic decline, and overall poverty relentlessly falling daily. But that was then, and now is now. Fast forward to 2021 and 2022.
Mainly due to COVID, all categories cited in Kristof’s article are now reversing—some dramatically. And also for a time there, it looked like democracy and the expansion of basic human rights were going in a positive direction. But still around seventy percent of all humans continue to live under an authoritarian ruler, and that percentage in now starting to expand.
Hypersonic missiles, growing advanced nuclear warheads, cyber-warfare, and brutal modern suppression techniques are adding up to what seems like a looming apocalypse. Add to that the complacency of our dwindling democracies, the predominant allure of profit at any price, and the chase after cheap goods, and it is definitely time to wake up—and wake up before it is perhaps too late!
Nations and people of goodwill must be encouraged to stand together to demand the expansion of basic human rights, religious reconciliation, economic fairness, and environmental restoration. It is not too late! Our world has in front of it many daunting challenges, but there is hope, for as all our religions teach, “In the end, the good prevails.”