Home Editorials An opportunity to stop the hate – Lent and Ramadan

An opportunity to stop the hate – Lent and Ramadan

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Dr. John E. Warren, publisher, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

by Dr. John E. Warren

Publisher, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

We, the citizens of the United States of America, as well as our fellow citizens of the world, are living in a period of unprecedented conflict. While the word ‘hatred’ is rarely used or mentioned, it is the source of the worst among us toward others. In this country, founded upon the melting pot idea that there is room for everyone, we find people continuing to be attacked based on their race, color, religion, nationality and appearance. It is timely that two of the world’s greatest religions would intersect this month with a shared idea that for ages has been the solution to hate and its destruction.

The Christian observance of Lent and the Muslim observance of Ramadan are intersecting with a shared religious practice known as ‘fasting.’ The Christian observance calls for giving up certain foods or practices for a 40 day period as a symbolic sharing with Christ in his suffering. Lent is calculated based on the spring equinox.

Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which follows a lunar cycle. As a result, the dates for Ramadan change every year, and the period of fasting is for one month. Muslims fast from dawn until sunset for the entire month. The fast is broken each evening with a meal called ‘iftar.’ Fasting is one of the five Pillars of Islam, which are the foundations of Muslim life. Christian fasting in contrast, as established by the Catholic Church, leads up to Easter which celebrates the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.

The importance of this discussion rests with the fact that the concept of fasting in both religions is to bring one closer to God. For the Christian, prayer and self denial during this period seeks to draw one closer to God by reflecting on one’s life and conduct in regards to others. Muslims believe that Ramadan is a time of heightened spirituality during which they can purify their souls and seek forgiveness for their sins.

It sounds like this is a good time for all of America to engage in some prayer and fasting for a nation at odds with itself and for a people engaged in hatred and violence against others. What greater way to stop the hate than through prayer and fasting, regardless as to whether one is Christian or Muslim or any other faith. The concept of fasting with both religions appears to be in line with this scripture from the Bible:

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” 2 Chronicles 7:14.

We as a nation have an opportunity during this period to set in motion the healing we all so desperately need. Prayer and fasting have changed the course of individuals, people and nations and it is not too late for us. Let’s get about the business of ‘Stopping the Hate.’

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