True Compassion is an Action: stop the fatal love of suffering

love-of-suffering_2-550x550
From Mother Teresa and the fatal love of suffering

Unfortunately, there is a lot of suffering in this world. What should we do when we see someone suffering? To me the answer is simple: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Work hard for the positive change in this world by combating suffering. To me that’s the true nature of compassion and empathy, morality and spirituality. I could never understand why so many religious leaders and ambassadors refuse to take action, opting for prolonging suffering on this planet. Mother Teresa’s work provides an example of that approach.

Hitchens-Mother-TeresaFrom Mother Teresa Was No Humanitarian

The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education.  These researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Their findings were very disturbing.

“At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. People coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, but were left dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money—the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars—but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.”

“Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid?”

How can people understand the compassion by silently witnessing suffering and refusing to provide any help? As David Hayward points out, “it’s one thing to suffer well, it’s another thing to invite it and then keep it long after it wants to go. It’s one thing to sit with others in their suffering, it’s another thing to let it continue when you have the power to change things.” Let’s get that right and stop prolonging the suffering on this planet. True compassion is an action.

help
From Expanding our Capacity for Kindness

THE END

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Seek the truth in everything you see…

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

Bible, Matthew 5:6

AND

“And whenever you give your word, say the truth.”

Quran, al-An’aam 6:152

search-for-the-truth
From Autonomous Mind

 It is amazing how quickly facts and real life images get misrepresented in mass media or on the internet in support of a certain agenda, perspective or viewpoint. Therefore I often try to find real stories behind images I see around, rather than ‘blindly’ believing the captions. Below are a few of my ‘discoveries’:

You probably have seen that image on the internet or in the mass media, thought you might not have seen it with that caption: ”

Image1From Random Steer 103 

This caption implies that the soldier on this photo is on the ‘wrong side’ and he might be regretting that. I did a little research and discovered the following story provided by Michael Yon – the photographer who took that photo:

“Major Mark Bieger found this little girl after the car bomb that attacked our guys while kids were crowding around. The soldiers here have been angry and sad for two days. They are angry because the terrorists could just as easily have waited a block or two and attacked the patrol away from the kids. Instead, the suicide bomber drove his car and hit the Stryker when about twenty children were jumping up and down and waving at the soldiers. Major Bieger, I had seen him help rescue some of our guys a week earlier during another big attack, took some of our soldiers and rushed this little girl to our hospital. He wanted her to have American surgeons and not to go to the Iraqi hospital. She didn’t make it. I snapped this picture when Major Bieger ran to take her away. He kept stopping to talk with her and hug her.

The soldiers went back to that neighborhood the next day to ask what they could do. The people were very warming and welcomed us into their homes, and many kids were actually running up to say hello and to ask soldiers to shake hands…

One thing seems certain; the people in that neighborhood share our feelings about the terrorists. We are going to go back there, and if any terrorists come out, the soldiers hope to find them. Everybody is still very angry that the insurgents attacked us when the kids were around.”

Do you think that the caption reflects the true story behind that image?

In another case, the following photo has been circulated in the social media with the caption: “Heartbreaking image by an Iraqi artist taken in an orphanage. This little girl has never seen her mother, so she drew a mom on the ground and fell asleep with her…”

Image2From Info For U

You can find the true story behind this thought-provoking image at http://www.flickr.com/photos/khatt-khatti/7577505576/in/photostream  . Below are the words of the artist Bahareh Bisheh who created this image: “This little girl is my cousin and she actually fell asleep on the asphalt just outside my house. She must have played for some time and just lied to rest and fell asleep. im used a chair to stand on in order to take this shot. There is no orphanage involved and no tragic story behind this. i took this opportunity to be creative. It is a style of photography You can use my photos in your webblag If you mention my name as the photographer of this photo. Thanks to all for the consideration .”

Even though this caption is not true, it is still a good reminder for all of us that there are lots of children on this planet who live without mother’s and father’s love. Lets appreciate what we have and take care of those, who are less fortunate in life than us.

However if we want to use a real life image to express our views, let’s not forget to check the story behind it, mention the author’s name and provide the link to it’s source. If we come across an image we like, let’s still remember to follow the same steps before sharing it to avoid spreading false memes and viruses of the mind. As H. L. Mencken once said, “Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt.” Seek the truth in everything you see…

truth
From A Leading Philosophy Rather Than a Leader

Related posts:

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Researching the Money-Empathy Gap

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Bible, Mark 10:25

CamelFrom Class Warfare?

New research suggests that more money makes people act less human. Or at least less humane.

Psychologists at the University of California at Berkeley have found that “upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals.” They also discovered that “Putting someone in a role where they’re more privileged and have more power in a game makes them behave like people who actually do have more power, more money, and more status”.

Check out their experiments on the Money-Empathy Gap in the video below:

These experiments also demonstrated that while a poor man playing in a ‘rich world’ becomes more self-centred, a rich man playing in a ‘poor’ world becomes more compassionate to others. That can potentially help people understand their subconscious biases and relate better to others.

Prince Pauper“As long as the King lived he was fond of telling the story of his adventures, all through, from the hour that the sentinel cuffed him away from the palace gate till the final midnight when he deftly mixed himself into a gang of hurrying workmen and so slipped into the Abbey and climbed up and hid himself in the Confessor’s tomb, and then slept so long, next day, that he came within one of missing the Coronation altogether. He said that the frequent rehearsing of the precious lesson kept him strong in his purpose to make its teachings yield benefits to his people; and so, whilst his life was spared he should continue to tell the story, and thus keep its sorrowful spectacles fresh in his memory and the springs of pity replenished in his heart.”

From “The Prince and The Pauper” by Mark Twain

THE END

A chicken is not a bird and a woman is not a person…

“A chicken is not a bird and a woman is not a person.”

( old Russian folk sayings )

( From Angels in Distress )

* * *

Bible

(From My View and Opinion blog)

“Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”c 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

( From Ephesians 5 )

BUT

  • Every hour one Russian woman dies at the hands of her husband or partner
  • Over one half (52.9%) of Russian women believed that intimate partner violence in Russia was a “serious problem”
  • Current statistics suggest that approximately 36,000 Russian women are physically victimized at the hands of their intimate partner on a daily basis and that 79% of married women in Russia have experienced physical abuse by their partners during their marriage
  • Women in Russia are four to five times more likely to experience intimate partner violence than women in the West
  • Women in Russia are two and a half times more likely to be murdered at the hands of an intimate partner than women in the United States
  • Certain interpretations of beliefs regarding the sanctity of marriage, the divine authority of men over the family, and the acceptance of suffering and endurance as necessary in individual lives, as an emulation of suffering of Christ, have been cited as common deterrents prohibiting women from actively questioning or challenging the inappropriateness of the use of violence by their partners
  • Spiritual abuse includes the misuse and abuse of religious doctrine as a means of maintaining male power and control in intimate relationships (including the use of religious doctrine as a justification for male violence)
  • The teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church have “condemned women as sinful – wanton, deceitful, instigator of lust and pollution to encourage men to fear and distrust women and to control their sexuality in order to protect the family from dishonor and society from disorder”. Women are assigned an inferior position within the family and society as man’s servant. As such, the main duty of a woman is obedience to her husband
  • The priest and Director of the Diocesan School of Orthodox catechesis and the church pedagogy of St. Sergius Radonezhskiy Anatoly Garmayev points out “The duty of the wife is to honor and respect her husband. … The next duty of the wife is to be submissive to her husband. After all, submissive to her husband – so, revering him”
  • The Church’s characterization of women as the servants of men not only influences the development of individual attitudes that support men’s use of violence against women but have also impacted the status of women in Russian society as a whole.
  • When cases of domestic violence are reported to the militia (police), the issue is often referred back to the family to address as a private matter.
  • The climate of social acceptance in Russia that allows violence against women by their intimate partners to remain largely unchallenged has been heavily influenced by the traditions and principles of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church’s construction of the family as a private patriarchal institution contributes to the prevailing opinion of Russians that domestic violence is a private matter and should be solved within the family.

( From “A chicken is not a bird…” )

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Qur’an
  • According to the Qur’an, men and women have the same spiritual human nature.
  • Men and women have the same religious and moral duties and responsibilities. They both face the consequences of their deeds
  • Nowhere does the Qur’an state that one gender is superior to the other. Some mistakenly translate “qiwamah” or responsibility for the family as superiority. The Qur’an makes it clear that the sole basis for superiority of any person over another is piety and righteousness not gender, color, or nationality
  • The Islamic Shariiah recognizes the full property rights of women before and after marriage. A married woman may keep her maiden name.
  • Greater financial security is assured for women. They are entitled to receive marital gifts, to keep present and future properties and income for their own security. No married woman is required to spend a penny from her property and income on the household. She is entitled to full financial support during marriage and during the waiting period (‘iddah) in case of divorce. She is also entitled to child support. Generally, a Muslim woman is guaranteed support in all stages of her life, as a daughter, wife, mother, or sister. These additional advantages of women over men are somewhat balanced by the provisions of the inheritance which allow the male, in most cases, to inherit twice as much as the female. This means that the male inherits more but is responsible financially for other females: daughters, wives, mother, and sister, while the female (i.e., a wife) inherits less but can keep it all for investment and financial security without any legal obligation so spend any part of it even for her own sustenance (food, clothing, housing, medication, etc.)
  • The Qur’an effectively ended the cruel pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide and went further to rebuke the unwelcoming attitudes among some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy
  • Education is not only a right but also a responsibility of all males and females
  • Marriage in Islam is based on mutual peace, love, and compassion, not just the satisfaction of man’s needs
  • The female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals. Her consent is prerequisite to the validity of the marital contract according to the Prophet’s teaching. It follows that if by “arranged marriage” is meant marrying the girl without her consent, then such a marriage is nullifiable if she so wished.
  • The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall headship of the family (qiwamah) within the framework of consultation and kindness. The mutual dependency and complementary of the roles of males and females does not mean “subservience” by either party to the other.
  • Divorce is seen as the last resort, which is permissible but not encouraged. Under no circumstances does the Qur’an encourage, allow or condone family violence or physical abuse and cruelty. The maximum allowed in extreme cases is a gentle tap that does not even leave a mark on the body while saving the marriage from collapsing.
  • Prophet Muhammad taught kindness, care, and respect of women in general: “I command you to be kind to women”

 ( From Gender Equity in Islam )

BUT

There exists, among Muslims a big gap between the ideal and the real.
Cultural practices on both extremes do exist.

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Related posts:


Religious writings: normative teachings vs. diverse cultural practices

“When dealing with the Islamic perspective of any topic, there should be a clear distinction between the normative teachings of Islam and the diverse cultural practices among Muslims, which may or may not be consistent with them.”

From Gender Equity in Islam

From One Chinese Muslimah

Core Islam Values

Family Life
The bonds between family is something that is extremely sacred. To illustrate that point the Prophet said that “no sin is more swiftly punished than oppression, and the breaking of family ties.” Also, the nature of the family in Islam is one that allows for everyone their specific roles and rights.

Humility
Often times during the life of Prophet Muhammed he would be sitting in the masjid with his companions. When others would walk in looking for him, they wouldn’t be able to distinguish him from the crowd because, unlike many rulers and kings of the time, the Prophet didn’t dress or speak in a way that was different or above those that were around him.

Generosity
The word for the charity given by Muslims yearly is Zakah and literally speaking, it means to purify and to make grow. These two definitions can be combined to conclude that giving from your wealth, no matter the size or your financial situation will not only purify your soul, but will put blessings in and increase your wealth as well.

Loving Your Neighbor
Islam isn’t just a religion that’s focused on only for one day–it’s a way of life, and because of that so many societal customs are emphasized. One prominent example is the importance of treating your neighbors right, no matter where they come from.

Trustworthiness
Trustworthiness is a trait that’s appreciated in all spectrums of society and is essential in order to promote community cohesiveness.

Holding Your Tongue
The idiom “if you don’t have anything nice to say you shouldn’t say anything at all” spans countless cultures and times, and is an important aspect of Islam as well. Along with trying to speak the truth always, refraining from speaking bad can be just as noble.

Tolerance
As the world seems more to be heading to the extremes, it is important to learn and understand one another. Tolerance is an extremely important concept in Islam, whether it be understanding other races, religions, or customs.

Education
Whether it be seeking Islamic knowledge of secular knowledge, it’s important for Muslims to constantly be absorbing information. Many Muslims scholars throughout history are credited with inventing or discovering ideas that revolutionized the modern world, such as Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi and his work in algebra and the chemist Jabir Ibn Haiyan. Education in Islam is important for the Muslim to seek at all times in life, from the cradle to the grave.

( From Curious About Islam? )

It is important that we study the religious texts in their proper context…

“It is important that we study the religious texts in their proper context. When these texts are not read in their proper textual and historical contexts they are manipulated and distorted. It is true that some Muslims manipulate these verses for their own goals. But this is not only with Islamic texts, it is also true with the texts of other religions. I can quote dozens of verses from the Bible which seem very violent, if taken out from their historical context. These Biblical texts have been used by many violent Jewish and Christian groups. Crusaders used them against Muslims and Jews. Nazis used them against Jews. Recently Serbian Christians used them against Bosnian Muslims.”

(From Islamic Writings)

* * *

From OpEdNews

“Orthodox Christians have often failed to proclaim the severe tension between the use of violence and a life of holiness. Serbia, however, provides a recent example of the church opposing the abuse of the faith in support of war. In the midst of the Bosnian civil war, Patriarch Pavle proclaimed that “the Church must condemn all atrocities that are committed, no matter what the faith or origin of the person committing them may be. No sin committed by one person justifies a sin committed by another. We will all face the Last Judgment together where each of us must answer for his sins. No one can justify his sins by saying someone else is guilty of a crime.” The Serbian bishops declared that “The way of nonviolence and cooperation is the only way blessed by God.” They also added the following petition to the Liturgy: “For all those who commit injustice against their neighbours, whether by causing sorrow to orphans, spilling innocent blood or by returning hatred for hatred, that God will grant them repentance, enlighten their minds and their hearts and illumine their souls with the light of love even toward their enemies, let us pray to the Lord.”

(From In Communion)

“I want to assure you that we Muslims also do not hate non-Muslims, be they Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist or followers of any religion or no religion. Our religion does not allow killing any innocent person regardless of his or her religion. The life of all human beings is sacrosanct according to the teachings of the Qur’an and the guidance of our blessed Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him and upon all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah. The Qur’an says about the prohibition of murder:”

(From Does the Qur’an teaches violence?)

“The Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes that defensive war — fighting to protect oneself against invading enemies — is the only kind of combat sanctioned (2:190 – 191). In numerous other examples, it teaches that the use of force should be a last resort (2:192, 4:90); that normal relations between peoples, nations and states, whether Muslim or not, should be peaceful (49:13); that necessary wars must be limited in time and space (2:190); that maximum effort must be applied at all times to advance the cause of peace (10:25); that whatever means are undertaken to work for peace during a conflict (such as mediation and arbitration) must be attempted over and over again until resolution is achieved (8:61); that freedom of religion must be granted to every one (2:256), and so on.”

(From Does the Qur’an sanction violence )