The Sense of Religion

Arquivo BV

Alziro Zarur    

I don’t see Religion as wrestling rings, where the many faiths violently coerce each other in the attack or defense of principles or the Divine Power, which is Love, and therefore, can’t approve hatred manifestations in Its Sacred Name, and doesn’t need the raging defense of anyone. Alziro Zarur (1914-1979) warned us to the fact that “the worst criminal in the world is the one who preaches hatred in the name of God.”

I understand it as Fraternity, Solidarity, Union, Respect for Life, Enlightening of Souls . . . I can only understand it as something dynamic, alive, pragmatic, accomplishing, that opens light pathways in the Spirit of people, and for that reason has to stand in the forefront. I would not accept it distant from the reality that torments the peoples, needing God, the antidote to the social, moral and spiritual evils, such as degrading immobilism, sectarianism, and intolerance, that darken the Spirit of the multitudes. Religion aims at a better Human Being, integrated with his Creator, by Fraternity among His creatures. The Heavenly Father is an endless source of Wisdom and Understanding, when not seen in the anthropomorphic way.

Tela: Fray Juan de la Miseria

Saint Teresa de Ávila

It comes to my memory the manifestation of Saint Teresa de Ávila (1515-1582), who said: “Let’s always search for the virtues and goodness we see in other people and cover their defects with our great sins.”


Everything progresses. In the past, people affirmed that the Earth would be the center of the Universe. Everything really develops. Why, then, would creeds stop in time? On the other way around, Religion, when synonym of Solidarity and Mercy, has to walk harmonically in the forefront. According to the septic Voltaire (1694-1778): “Tolerance is as necessary to Politics as to Religion. Only pride is intolerant.” By the way, a true religious person respects the atheists, because they are also children of God. This is an ecumenical truth because we must be fraternal. Otherwise, what is the use of the religiosity feeling, that should, for instance, unite us in an effort against unemployment? We must also remember here this comprehending thought of dear Zarur: “Religion, Philosophy, Science and Politics are four aspects of the same truth, that is God.” Well, to try and keep those branches of the Universal knowledge confined to stagnant departments, or in odious conflict, has been the origin of many evils that afflicts us, specially concerning Religion, understood in the highest meaning of Fraternity, and not sterile formalism. The coolness of feelings that have stamped human relations lately is the outcome of the missing Solidarity spirit, lacking in Communication, Science, Philosophy, Education, Economy, Arts, and Politics. . . . The lack of Fraternity has caused great displacement between material progress and moral and spiritual maturity. But it is always time to placate resentments. However, there won’t really be Peace while cruel human prejudice and criminal social differences persist, which we try to fight through Education with efficiency.

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The progress distant from God (I repeat: when venerated as Love), condemns us to permanent inhumanity. This state of planetary anomaly is the consequence of the law of retaliation that generations have preferred, for instance, instead of the New Testament of Christ, that is so sublime as to parade over any devotional conflict. "A New Commandment I give you: Love one another, as I have loved you. This is my Commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Remain in my Love." (The Gospel of Jesus according to John 13:34, 15:12, 13, and 9). If we don’t choose similar paths, we will be sentenced to the reality denounced by Gandhi: “An Eye for an eye, and Humanity will end up blind”.

João Periotto

When men loyally make the effort the outcome is always good. That has made civilization, miraculously, survive its worse times of craziness. The wisdom of the Talmud gives a practical message: “Peace is for the world what yeast is for the dough." Exactly!

Reginaldo de Souza
Arquivo BV

Martin Luther King

There are some people who refer to the religious spirit, enhancing pathological detours that occurred in the past millennia. (I don’t include in this comment the historians and analysts of good sense). I believe that this period is over, as the reasons for us to fraternize are greater than those that incite resentment. Hatred is a weapon aimed at the beholder. The warning of Pastor Martin Luther King (1929-1968), who didn’t deny his own life to defend his ideals, is very appropriate: “We learn to fly like the birds and swim like the fish, but not the art to live together as brothers”

That is the reason for my statement in the broadcasting speeches: the miracle God expects from us is that we learn to love each other.

José de Paiva Netto is a writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) and of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI-Inter). Affiliated to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Radio Broadcasters of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). He is also a member of the Academy of Letters of Central Brazil. He is an author of international reference in the concept and defense of the cause of Ecumenical Citizenship and Spirituality which, according to him, constitute “the cradle of the most generous values that are born of the Soul, the dwelling of the emotions and of the reasoning enlightened by intuition, the atmosphere that embraces everything that transcends the ordinary field of matter and comes from the elevated human sensitivity, such as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Ethics, Honesty, Generosity, and Fraternal Love.”