SONGSOPTOK: To what extent do you practice ‘religious tolerance’? Since when (how long ago)?

GEORGE ONSY: Through my writings, artworks and active memberships in associations working for peace and religious tolerance since more than 35 years.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you believe all religions are the same?

GEORGE ONSY: I believe they could be all the same, tolerant and calling for love and peace, but it all depends on their followers’ conception based on their education, biases and psychological tendencies.

SONGSOPTOK:  In case you practice religion, do you consider all your religious beliefs to be true? What about those of others?

GEORGE ONSY: They are all true to the extent of their appropriate living up-to-date understanding and practical application. I would say the same for those of others too.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe that all faiths are equally beneficial and equally harmless to society?

GEORGE ONSY:  It all depends on interpreting and understanding them.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe all religious groups are equally beneficial and equally harmless to their followers?

GEORGE ONSY:  The same previous answer as interpretations and understanding play the key role in that.

SONGSOPTOK:  Should members of any given religious group refrain from criticizing religious practices of others?

GEORGE ONSY:   Yes they should, ABSOLUTELY.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you usually refrain from talking about your beliefs to others? Should you be ignoring your own religious ideas?

GEORGE ONSY:   I actually try to present what I believe in through a common human language that all followers of any religion can understand and accept, and even, live by. I’ve been practically doing that for many years through my non-stop posts on face book using my writings, paintings, and analytical diagrams.

SONGSOPTOK: What are the different ways religious tolerance, including secularism, can help (or hurt) the demands of a complex world?

GEORGE ONSY:   In fact, secularism is heavily criticized and rejected by many religiously oriented people. I would rather use the term humanism instead, as humanism is the common value among all races and religion followers that need to be cherished and enhanced. So, stressing the humanitarian values in all religious texts is a must. That does necessarily need a contemporary human-centered rereading of all religious texts being, supposedly, the very message sent from the ONE God of all men however their beliefs or rituals are different. Please, see the attached diagram that I’ve designed and displayed at many Muslim-Christian gatherings to visualize the relationship between one’s self and the other with respect to each one’s religion and his/her relationship with God who’s supposed to be its very source. It’s a matter of actual experience that the response from both religions’ followers have always been 100% positive.

SONGSOPTOK:  Should ‘religious tolerance’ be a part of the school curricula?

GEORGE ONSY: Yes, ABSOLUTELY, with case studies, applied practical sessions/researches/exercises and field work.

SONGSOPTOK:  Religious acceptance and bigotry appear to be the two sides of a coin (unbiased). People are equally likely to choose one over the other. Do you agree with that observation? Please explain.

GEORGE ONSY:   Yes, I agree. But, again, it depends to a large extent on the spiritual, psychological, and emotional structure/formation of each person simply because intolerance, if any, can be understood as a psychic/emotional outlet of negative energies accumulated within the individual from different sources and previous experiences he/she has gone through.

George Onsy, is an Egyptian professor at the faculty of Engineering, The Egyptian-Russian University in Cairo, as Humanities as well as Art & Architecture History lecturer. A writer, poet and artist regularly publishing his works on face book literary and peace-making pages as well as on a group page that he founded more than 3 years ago, AWAKENING-صحوة , for opening a wider forum of dialogue between The Arab World afflicted by extremism-terrorism and the entire world of peace lovers, advocates and makers. He mainly publishes mystic poems and writings trying to create a common spiritual experience that could be shared among people of different religions, hence, trying to unify them. He is also a board member at the international association IfC, Intiatives for Change/MRA, Moral Rearmament Association for peace making and conflict resolution. His doctorate, “The Geometrical Approach for Problem-Solving” submitted in 1987 under an Egyptian-American supervision is relevant to all that.

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Subhodev Das

(Chief Advisor: Songsoptok)


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