Fundamental to the “ubuntu” philosophy is that each person is set within a nexus, a network if you may, of other people. What happens to you necessarily affects me and what happens to me impacts you. The Nguni people put it like this, “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” – literally, a person is a person through other persons.
Our world is one of great strife and vicious conflict. Unfortunately, much of this derision is caused by religious tension. History books are full of the stuff that makes religious moderates cringe and fuels the fire of the new atheists’ tirades against faith in any form.
As the new report from the Pew Forum suggests, one possible cause for this ubiquitous religious conflict is the lack of knowledge about religion (see post “Time to Get an Education”), whether one’s own or the beliefs of the person down the street.
In the past I’ve often touched on a myriad of religious issues from a variety of backgrounds and in different contexts. Taking on such topics as the new atheism, Islam and most notably Judaism I’ve commented on ignorance and understanding, compassion and cold-heartedness, in hopes of inching America ever closer to “religious literacy” (this term is credited to Stephen Prothero, whose views on religious education are very much akin to my own).
With this in mind, the Ubuntu Spirit blog is heading in a more focused direction. From this point on the Ubuntu blog will target specifically religious topics. More accurately, the Ubuntu blog will comment on religion as it intersects with society, popular culture and education.
I do not hold to any utopian vision of a world of religious literates living in harmony together whilst each claiming their own epistemological truth. I believe there will be no pervasive peace until the parousia, and then we will all share the same confession (Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:10-11). However, this blog’s intention is to raise awareness of religious issues, educate those who desire to understand more about other religions and prayerfully increase dialogue between people of both faith and non-faith in an effort to better understand one another in today’s (post)modern age.
To that end I invite you to join the dialogue and help all of us to better understand one another as persons, and in so doing better apperceive the thrust of the ubuntu philosophy that posits our blithe existence as necessarily tied up in the well being of others.