Standing Together Notes from February 21st.


Session Two: Yesterday’s Wisdom: Today’s World

KNOWLEDGE: Pivotal religious scholars in the three Abrahamic traditions emphasize the critical role that knowledge plays in maintaining both a just society and personal satisfaction.

Panel Framing Questions

What wisdom teaching(s) do you feel is (are) most relevant and would be most beneficial if intentionally practiced more in today’s world? Please select teachings from your own tradition, or from another tradition that you believe are consistent with your own.

How might we foster awareness, understanding and expression of this wisdom?

Panel Notes:

  1. Father John Whitney – Jesuit priest – St. Joseph’s Church Seattle


There are two Jesuit teaching’s that are great examples of wisdom

  1. The first pertains the Environment that the poem “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins calls out.
  • God is present in the world, everywhere.
  • It is a faithful presence if we remember.
  • All is Holy; it is our duty to look for it.
  • It is at the core of environmental stewardship.
  1. The Spirit of Discernment
  • Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit movement concluded that:
  • God was calling him to be his authentic self
  • Once achieved he could develop a personal relationship with God.
  1. Rabbi Anson Laytner
  • Wisdom quote – “We were given two ears and one mouth – Listen before talking”
  • Following the commandments of God (mitzvoth) as laid out in the Torah is the foundation of Jewish wisdom
  • 613 Mitzvot (Good Deeds) can be reduced several formative wisdom sayings:
  • Rabbi Hillel: – “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others” that you would not want done to yourself.
  • “You can only despise another if you despise yourself????
  • “Love the Lord with all your might”
  • “Path to holiness is through “Hesed” – Loving kindness
  • There are three acts that are on this path to holiness and happiness
  • Study of Torah
  • Avodah – Prayer
  • “G’miluit Hasadim” – Acts of loving kindness
  • “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them”. It implies you have to have a relationship first to know the other.
  • Fear can be looked at as a shared lovelessness.
  1. Tarek Dawoud (MAPS Interfaith Outreach Coordination Committee)
  • The Prophet Muhammad gazed around and notices that most people are poor.
  • One key Islamic commandment is “To love the poor”
  • Connect and get to know them.
  • American dialogue on the poor is dismissive, often calling them lazy, et al.
  • Bring your children in contact with the poor.
  • The Day of Judgment for the rich as they have to account for all their money.
  • Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) honoring the poor they need and create a deeper relationship with Allah.
  • In some ways the poorer are more ethical as they are not a


Panel Answered Questions


  1. What were the contributions of Prophets Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad?

– Moses brought down God’s laws to the Israelites. Also the Torah tells of the

covenants with Noah, Abrahamic and Moses .

– Jesus – gave us the gift of mercy; he gave his life and would not turn away from the needs of the people. His love was non-conditional; Just before the resurrection Jesus uttered” I love you even now”. Love of God has no limits.

– Muhammad – Surrendering to Allah

  1. What factors in America contribute to Islamaphobia? (Tarek)

– Willingness to act solely on fear

– Unwillingness to spend the time to get to know Muslims, their religion and culture.

  1. How do and should we practice our religious principles today?

– (Tarek) – Knowing and helping the poor;

– (Father John) “Listen before you give”; “Reality is greater than the idea or ideal”;

Take time when encountering the poor to talk with them on a personal level to treat them as a unique creation of God”

  1. What wisdom does each tradition give to those suffering?

– (Anson) – God is testing us and our responses to the less fortunate.

– There is much chance in life; Listen and keep your mouth shut.

– (Tarek) Common faith and hope; “with hardship camels ease”



Panel unanswered questions:


  1. Is it possible to separate yesterday’s wisdom from the enduring retelling of yesterday’s insults/aggression/grievous wrongs of your faith?
  2. How can I learn more about Muhammad’s teachings about loving the poor? What are the best sources?
  3. What does your religion say about questioning your faith? Most of us are the religion we are because we were born into it. What does each faith say about this cardinal sin?
  4. If Muhammad himself said in the Hadith that he was not sure he would go to heaven, how can an ordinary human be sure he/she will escape hellfire?