Gus Dur spoke in a Paramadina dialogue about a couple of weeks ago. The title of the seminar was Muslim Jesus. We talked about how the Muslims and the Christians see Jesus. The way I see it (and you might differ, I don’t mind), there were so many similarities, despite the different terms used bt each religion.
Two responses from Gus Dur that I loved most. First, he was asked what he would do when he was faced by people with different belief. He simply said, this is what I believe, that is what you believe, and that is that. End of story. He acknowledged and respected the differences. And moved on.
Second, my favorite, was when he was asked how can we downplay the differences among us. He said it is by focusing on general ideas: on poverty, on lack of education, on all the catastrophies happening in our country, on health and prosperity for the many. The ideas that stand true in every religion.
I was late that night. I came about one and a half hour after the talk had started.
I was late but I have got what I came for. That message of peace. That message that it is okay to have differences. That message of working together on a common ground, on things that we agree upon: to fight against poverty, corruption and lack of education.