Catalyst House

A Quest for Peace & Nonviolence: Video by Matthew Evans

Here is an outstanding film by a teenager that Arun Gandhi met in San Luis Obispo, CA.  Matthew J. Evans takes a look at one of the most pressing issues in our modern society: violence among religions. Through discussions with Arun, and local religious leaders from the Central Coast of California, Matthew learns powerful lessons about nonviolence, acceptance, and cultural understanding. As my grandfather has said, ‘We must become the change we wish to see in our world!’ This film helps us understand how we can make these changes.

Hi Arun! Below is a link to the documentary I made featuring you called “A Quest for Peace: Nonviolence Among Religions”  I think it came out really well, and I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Thanks so much for allowing us to interview you, and give us such amazing material to work with. You did such a great job in the interview, and in your talk later the evening. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet you.      Thanks again, Matthew

God Without Religion – a forward by Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi

The question “What is God?” has baffled humankind for eons and will continue to defy logical understanding as long as we live with the concept that there is a heaven up above, where God sits judging all of humanity and punishing those who misbehave. Eminent thinkers throughout history have tried to find a logical answer to this vexing question, with little success. On the other hand His Holiness Gautama, the Buddha, did tapasya (Sanskrit for asceticism) under a banyan tree and, like some others, found that God exists within every human heart in the form of love, compassion, understanding, and other positive attributes humankind is capable of but often chooses to suppress. It seems that instead of trying to assert strict logic or put a solid image to our concept of God, we ought to follow their example and devote greater energy to intuitively understanding the meaning of God.

This book, God Without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths by Sankara Saranam, helps us do just that. It offers a refreshing attempt to provide humankind with a modernized spiritual road-map for use in our eternal quest to comprehend God.

Since the identity of God is so inscrutable (if not the best-kept secret in the world) and the philosophy surrounding this power so impenetrable, religious leaders of various faiths have defined God in ways that raise more questions than they answer. The easiest and most accepted explanation is to see God in the shape of those who are considered God’s messengers-among Jews, Moses and the Hebrew Prophets; among Christians, Jesus; among Muslims, Muhammad; among Hindus, Krishna; and among Buddhists, Gautama.

Read more

The inconsistencies of terror & religion

Western democracies proclaim that in politics they keep church and state separate but in reality this is not always true. How many of our nation’s policies and laws have religious overtones and are a result of the majority party’s religious affiliations?

It seems virtually impossible for any average politician to act contrary to his or her religious background.



The same rule applies to terrorists. In reality terrorists are quite simply mass murders. But when an individual commits murder we don’t associate religion with the act because the murder is an act of passion and not an act motivated by religion.

Terrorism, like politics, has its roots in religious beliefs and individuals, or collectives, are motivated by their warped understanding of their religion. But, whether this justifies branding a nefarious act of terrorism as “Islamic” or “Christian” is debatable. We all know that religious scriptures are ambiguously written so that anyone can interpret them to mean whatever they want it to mean. This should not be construed to mean that the essence of any religion is evil. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, misinterpretation of religion is the act of an insane individual or a group.

Read more

Arun Gandhi on Monotheistic ‘Dormancy’

Our dear friend Arun Gandhi posted a critical piece on monotheistic “dormancy” religion and politics at his Washington Post blog, which we are moved to repost here.  Arun examines the grossly apparent hypocrisy of the primary monotheistic traditions in his typical humble and insightful manner.rp_Gandhi_Arun-Photo_HEADSHOT_2011_Photo_Credit_Scott_Kafora_rdax_250x333.jpg

Arun Gandhi at Washington Post

I have never been able to reconcile the Catholic notion that the life of an unborn child is of greater value than the life of a living adult. They are willing to go to extremes to stop abortions but they have never, in living memory, called upon Catholics not to participate in any wars where innocent lives of adults are freely taken. This is justified by the notion of “Just War.” When is a war “Just?” The popular argument is that when it seeks to eliminate an evil personality like Hitler or Stalin or, in modern times, Saddam Hussein. This line of thinking implies that people who do bad things can be summarily eliminated to make the world a better place. But what of the millions who are killed in the process of eliminating one evil leader? Can it be said that all who follow orders of one evil leader automatically become evil themselves?

Read more

Catalyst House