Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.
President Obama goes up to Capitol Hill Wednesday night to deliver his State of the Union address. Of course, he does so having just suffered a serious setback in Massachusetts. He described the anger that fueled Scott Brown's victory as akin to the revolt that elected him president.
Whether he's right or not, we certainly are seeing swings back and forth in our political system. We're going through rapid movements between left and right, right and left. And that leads to this week's question:
The question: Is there a defect in our social and political fabric that religion or religious leaders can speak to so that we can find more stability in our politics? If so, what are the defects and what message or messages can religious leaders deliver?
Our Texas Faith panel weighs in:
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
There was one God-fearing political leader who had stated "God has no place in politics and is irrelevant." But by definition God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. Therefore such an illogical statement implies that an eternal, ever present reality is somehow not relevant to a certain feature of its own reality. Therefore such an idea is atheistic.
What does God consciousness have to offer socially and politically? Although this topic has no limit I will focus on just two benefits
1. "Bhagavata communism". Unlike the failing concept presented by Marx, Bhagavata communism recognizes that God, not the state, is the owner of everything. Faithful servants of God have this realization that, "God is the owner, I am simply a borrower, I should take only according to my needs or thus become liable as a thief." A faithful servant of God will also not make distinctions between nationalities, race, religion, or even species. Not that, "let my brothers and sisters eat and others starve." No, rather a God conscious person is so compassionate that he would not even unnecessarily harm even an ant.
2. Selfish Gain. Why selfish gain? Every political leader or party advertises that they will work for your self interest. But hardly does anyone attempt to define what is the self.
If we identify our self with the current temporary body then we can hardly stretch beyond hedonistic goals. Physically everyone is constantly reincarnating in this present life. Our 5-year old body had different cells then our 15-year old body. Our 40-year old body, completely different carne, flesh, then what we started out with.
But we, the eternal observer, still remain. So, although the body has changed there is something that has not, the soul, we. We the soul are different from our vehicles, the body. Knowing ones identity means that one can actually work for their own actual gain, satisfaction. A satisfied person is peaceful and an asset to society.
Hare Krishna :)
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here