As humans we are involved in a very interesting creation process. In our mind we build constructions that then manifest themselves in physical reality. That happens with both material and mental constructions. For example: we think of a place to live, and then thus we manifest our house and home, either by building it, buying it or renting it. Another example: we long for a place to worship and create a Temple. (That is why the Temple of Salomo has so much meaning for many people in different religious and cultural backgrounds all over the world). Or we think of God, make an image of God and thus God is created.
Now the real interesting thing is that our manifested constructions in turn determine who we are, or at least have a strong influence on us. So we create a God in our likeness, including our characteristiscs, and then are influenced by our own creation. So, if we create a loving God, we become more loving ourselves. If we create a revengeful God we too become more revengeful. It is like positive and negative vicious circles. This happens on an individual level, but also on a collective level. It is what happens in fundamentalistic religions.
What the above shows is that there is a narrow connection between our creative constructions, religion and culture. This is true not just for mental constructions but also for material constructions. So there generally is a close connection between our homes, our religions and our culture. That is why loosing our home is a violation of our personal integrity. It is as if we are loosing our roots. And we all know what happens with living organisms loosing their roots. In the end they die. This is what is happening with the refugees in this world. It explains why refugees cling to their religious and cultural values as a drowning person to a lifebuoy or rescue ring. And it means that asking from refugees to accept our cultural and religious values is inhuman. Of course you may ask from them that they respect our values, but that’s it.
The implication for us is that it is compassionate to try to understand te religion and culture of the refugees who enter our countries. If the flight from their countries was justified, it is not sufficient to accommodate and feed them, but we also need to meet them with respect and understanding.That of course doen’t mean that we have to accept their values and opinions, but we could at least try to accept them as our brothers and sisters. Which in the end they are, if you come to think about it.
This is a lifelong assignment. May we be able to live up to it.
*) This blog is inspired by a lecture by prof. dr. M. Barnard for the freemasons lodge Post Nubila Lux, Amsterdam
(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker).