We believe but do we listen?

Our beliefs are largely conditioned by our upbringing, it is as if we are born to follow our parents/family and indeed most of us do.  Political persuasion, for example, more often than not, runs in the family, once a Republican believer,  seldom a Democrat convert. Some belief systems are capable of change others run a good deal deeper, particularly religions.

Belief systems dictate the thinking and practice of lifestyle, and to a large extent define our prejudices. What is true in one belief system is not necessarily so in another. The idea of the non-believer is the epitome of conflict. It is here that the intolerance of ignorance, the refusal to listen to another viewpoint is inevitably entrenched.

The good news is that virtually all belief systems including religions are centrally tolerant, it is only the extremist who sees the non-believer as a threat. Those that see the alternative belief system as simply that, are those who the world needs.

There is,, of course, the view that beliefs if they are worth anything,  must be shared with those others outside the circle of belief.  The record of missionary exploits is not good and history shows that the extremists seem always to get the upper hand. History is littered with examples wildly extreme acts of desecration of human life and values. All in the pursuit of spreading beliefs of one sort or another.

How then are we to fight against the extremes? The answer is to learn, to listen and to tolerate those other belief systems, not necessarily to accept them. To be aware that they have a place in our world despite the prejudices of our own history.


Listen to the crying child.

Listen, can you hear the children cry?

From earthquake street or Yemen’s misery

Do you hear the mother’s scream of pain?

As Aung Sang Suu Kyi lies, staring blindly on.

Do you hear the whimpers of the dying child?

As drugs so needed rush too late to their breathless side.

Do you hear the mother’s tears that soak the ground?

In tortured villages that ISIS found.

Do you hear the cries of empty bellies?

In Bangladesh’s soaking drowning fields

Can you hear the buzzing bombs?

That flatten towns and schools.

Listen! Listen! – Will you reply?

To quiet the cries of that child of ours.

We grieve- use words not bombs

Once more we grieve because some  maniac has killed and maimed good folk gathered in Boston for the Marathon.  A small boy who went to see his daddy is amoungst the dead – how tragic is that.  Who ever did this awful thing is one of many sad people who have poisoned minds.

For the rest of us we cannot comprehend the evil of their ways let alone understand what it is these people seek to achieve.  If these people ever had a God they have lost him, for no faith I know of would countenance such evil.

Writers, all of us must stand full square and proclaim that words not bombs are the way to a harmonious family of mankind. Words not only of love and reconciliation but also words about the human condition and the rights and responsibilities of us all.

Words too of solidarity with all who share our grief for those we do not know or will never meet.

May peace be upon them and may they find solace in the friendship and love of their families and friends.

We hope too that we respond to this evil not with evil and hatred but with measured justice and our beliefs in harmony unshaken.

We Grieve. for the people of Boston


They know we love them,

Yet we tip toe round their grief,

We are afraid

to touch the open wounds.


They know we love them,

And we know we are afraid

To hold them,

or just give them  time to chat.


They know we love them

we don’t know what to give

A smile, a minute

A hug, a greeting on the mat.


We know we love them

And all they want from us

Is just the time of day

To talk of this or that.


They know we love them

So come and share a prayer

Hold their hands and shed a tear

You know that’s where they’re are at


They know that we love them

So please don’t walk away

Grief is not a gift they bring

Just help them bear the pain.


Anthony James (c) 2013