Less then twenty minutes from the city center of Munich, surrounded by residential areas lays a place tucked behind dense forests that serves as a memory impossible to forget. After crossing through the gates of Dachau, with the inscription “Arbeit macht frei”, it is next to impossible to remain unaffected. Walking past buildings still lingering with the blood and cries of the oppressed will continue to resonate with me for the rest of my life. The concentration camp instilled in me an unexplainable understanding of oppression and persecution. It took everything I had ever learned in a textbook and stripped it down to a single emotion, compassion. I still remain hopeful for the possibility of peaceful religious co-existence in the world, although at times I must confess my faith is shaken violently against these utopian ideas. As Rob Bell said in his most recent book Love Wins, “when we work for peace and justice in the world, we work toward the establishment of Heaven’s future dominion over the earth.” I can’t believe that true peaceful co-existence among religions will ever be a true reality until the end of days. What I do find truth in is the notion of respectful co-existence among religions. As Rifkin put it, “ When we seek to build an empathic civilization [one including peaceful religious co-existence] we are not trying to be utopian, but rather we are trying to cultivate are innate ability as human beings to show solidarity towards one another.” It was built inside of us to be able to feel empathy for one another regardless of the situation. But, somewhere in our development as a species we learned how to disconnect from certain experiences and connect with others, basically denying ourselves of our true empathetic nature. The ignorance that came with the nationalist movement that consumed the world in the early 1900’s has caused human beings to forsake solidarity and embrace individuality. The individualization of nations in many cases has created “We’re right” and “You’re wrong” complex, in turn causing a domino effect, making everyone enemies. This was one of the major reasons why the UN was created. They try to peacefully de-construct these individualistic lifestyles and replace them with a policy of solidarity. I don’t think that we can ever achieve true solidarity on earth. But, its definitely worth trying to get as close as possible.

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