Anand Ashram and STFK Ledalero Celebrates United Nations` Interfaith Harmony Week 2012

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Maumere – To commemorate and celebrate the United Nations’ Interfaith Harmony Week 2012, the Catholic School of Philosophy (STFK) Ledalero held a national seminar entitled “The Role of Religions in Building a Multicultural Indonesia” on Saturday, February 11th, 2012 – Attending as the speakers are Anand Krishna and Dr. Philip Tule, SVD, and Dr. Paul Budi Kleden, SVD, as the moderator.

In his introduction comments, the moderator Dr. Paul Budi Kleden, SVD, was linking February the 11th as the Day of the Catholic Church to Pray for the Sick Person in the World with the theme of the seminar today. He said that the nation’s of Indonesia and the world is in a state of pain that one reason caused by the disharmony relationship between some religions. That religion is often used as a tool of legitimacy of doing criminal acts that cause suffering of others.

The first speaker, Dr. Philipus Tule, SVD, with a paper entitled “Religions in Indonesia Dealing with the Challenge of Radicalism and Globalization”. He said that radicalism exists in every religious group such as Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and it is a challenge for inter-religious harmony, an inhibitor of progress, peace and prosperity in Indonesia and also worldwide.

In his presentation, Pater Lipus percentage composition of the present data of the number of faiths in this country where 85% of Indonesian is Islam. While Potestan 5%, Catholic 3%, Hindu 2%, Buddhist 1% and others 1%. However, although the largest amount is Muslim’s population but Indonesia is not an Islamic state.

This Islam logy doctor who graduate from Cairo underscored the importance of building diversity in the light of Pancasila Awareness. So even though we are composed of various religious and ethnic groups, we can live in harmony. But he acknowledged that nowadays this harmony harmed by many acts of the religious radicalism.

Furthermore, he explained that radicalism comes from the root word: radix, that means back to the roots, which implies that all religions should return to their roots in the scriptures as a revelation. Instead, we should not obligate the religious theology that is only a commentary on the text of scripture. Because if we obligate theology and liken it as the scriptures or revelation it shall give birth of radicalism with the destructive impact caused.

STFK party, he said, has tried to build relationships with other religious groups. It is characterized by the delivery of seminarians (future priests) to some Muslim boarding schools (Pesantren) in Indonesia. He also recounted the experience in his own village where his relatives are Muslim weave priest’s ceremonial dress, and it has been lasted a long time until today.

Anand Krishna, the Indonesian interfaith spiritualist and activist, began his talk by saying that before come to the seminar he visited the residence of Bishop Maumere, and asked for blessings and prayers to Mr. Bishop so the seminar can be done well. That he did not admire the magnificent of the church building, but bow down to the large hearts and stately souls of Catholics in Flores who are very appreciative toward the differences.
As a note, Anand Krishna in a brief meeting with the Bishop Gerulfus Kherubim Pareira, SVD, had given his own writing book titled Sabda Pencerahan.

Furthermore, this columnist and author of more than 150 books explained that Indonesia is a country with the largest island in the world and unite the local wisdom in the motto: Unity in Diversity. According to Anand Bhinneka Tunggal Ika should be translated into Appearing As Many, Essentially One. For an example, although our religions are different but basically we have one and the same aim, namely God.
Therefore, according to Anand, the relationship between religions should begin and disseminate terms of appreciation rather than tolerance. Because it still implied arrogance, in a sense that my religion is the best and better than yours, but I still tolerate other religions. Instead, appreciation means an award, a respect and recognition to other religions as different paths toward a goal: The One and Same.
Anand emphasized that education is the key solution. He explicitly advocated secular education as the early lessons for character building at schools, where children are taught to appreciate the values and history of every religion that exist in Indonesia. Recently, in schools, the children were separated into their own during religion lesson catechism. Religion, faith and theology are affairs that should be taught in the mosque, church, temple or taught by parents, religious teachers and priests.
Anand closed the presentation of religions diversity in Indonesia with an interesting analogy. Diversity, he said, should be like gado-gado, rather than being forced mixture into juice. Therefore, gado-gado is mixed of some vegetables, but its original form is still visible although each has been mixed. Moreover, it’s taste better together with some peanut sauce as a seasoning of love. Whereas in juice, the form and its original taste of fruits has already disappeared when put together in a blender machine.
Anand Krishna’s analogy of the relation of religions such as gado-gado inspired Pater Budi Kleden, the moderator in his conclusion. According to him, religion and the stomach are the two things that caused the conflict and victims. In the name of religion because of the stomachs’ needs committing several criminal acts. In closing, he asked a reflective question, “Are the religions in Indonesia able to create a situation so that the stomach problems can be overcome?”

National Seminar which is jointly held by STFK Ledalero and Anand Ashram was attended by about 800 people. Some participants were students of philosophy (S1) and theology (S2) STFK Ledalero. The youth activists from PMKRI and BEM University Nusa Nipa Maumere, Muslim leaders, Hindu, Protestant, Catholic Women of Indonesian Republic (WKRI) branch Sikka, Sikka district legislators and the civil public. Rector of the University STFK Ledalero and Nusa Nipa also presented.
On this occasion, Anand Ashram held a book shop of Anand Krishna’s writing. Similarly, Ledalero publisher also sold many good books written by the lecturers at the only Catholic School of Philosophy in NTT. Anand Krishna’s books were sold out and many participants were disappointed because the books and T-shirts’ number were limited. For examples: Sabda Pencerahan, Soul Quest, Life, Christ of Kashmiris, A New Christ, Sandi Sutasoma, Sehat dalam Sekejap, Be Happy, Semedi 1 – 2 books were sold out. The enthusiasm of participants was increased because Anand Krishna patiently sign all books and the T-shirts.
Photographer: Nando Watu / Reporter: Dominggus Koro / Translator: Nugroho Angkasa