Working the God Mall

December 5, 2009

The Buddhist Temple, near the Mosque, Synagogue and Churches

Along Bayview Avenue, just north of where I live in Toronto, there are a string of establishments, one next to another, next to another.  It goes along for a kilometer or so on one side of the street.

It starts with the Zoroastrian Temple on a little hill.  There is a Buddhist Temple, various flavours of Christian churches, a Mosque, a Synagogue.  They are all pretty much next door to each other, one after another.  My son and I call it the God Mall.

True, it is like a strip mall along the street where one can shop one’s soul.

They are neighbours in many ways.

I have this hopeful fantasy in my mind – “Hi Moishe, Arshad here.  Say we are having a very big Ramadan celebration coming along, can we use your parking lot for the overflow?”

“Oh, sure, no problem, boobala.   If you wouldn’t mind letting us use your lot for the Yom Kippur extra parking.”

While the institutionalizing of religion has caused a lot of conflict and death over the centuries, I would like to believe that we have matured as a species and can now peacefully respect our neighbours and their beliefs as they respect ours.

We can wish our neighbours a Jolly Diwali, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, or Eid Mubarak or Gung Hay Fat Choi.  And mean it.

If you give a little to the other guy, you win big.  Cooperation brings respect.

But to me the true lesson is one of hope.  If all these people can cooperate as neighbours on one street in Toronto, why not in the rest of the world.

And that’s our message for the end of the year.  I wish you all the best for 2010.

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