Hindus laud Vatican for effort in uniting believers

Nevada (US), Jan 31: Hindus have applauded new Vatican initiative of uniting believers and non-believers.Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement at Nevada (USA) today, called it “a step in the right direction”.Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was unnecessarily offensive to atheists in the recent past as he appeared to associate atheism with the Nazis in his speech at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (United Kingdom) on September 16 last.Rajan Zed further said that as Catholics and Hindus and others had freedom of their belief systems and were respected for their respective choices, and so should be the atheists. A religious leader of Pope’s stature should have been more inclusive.Zed argued that in his encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth) issued in Rome in 2009, Pope was also highly critical of atheists and humanists: “…ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today. A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism.” This encyclical letter is considered the highest form of papal teaching.A Vatican release said that on March 24-25 next, the Pontifical Council for Culture headed by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, will launch a new permanent Vatican structure to be known as the "Courtyard of the Gentiles", the aim of which is to promote dialogue and encounter between believers and non-believers.This launch will reportedly involve three colloquia on the themes of "religion, enlightenment and common reason" to be held at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, the Sorbonne University and Institut de France; followed by a round table discussion at the College des Bernadins.A celebration; involving artistic creations, music, drama, lights, meeting and reflection; and open to everyone, will be organized on the forecourt of the cathedral of Notre Dame with the theme: "Into the Courtyard of the Unknown". Cathedral will remain open for those who wish to participate in a prayer vigil and shared meditation, Vatican release adds.Atheism is disbelief in the existence of God and atheists argue that there is little or no real evidence for the existence of God. Pope Benedict heads the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest of the Christian denominations. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
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