One day a monkey was repeating through the forest that only her religion was true. He found a gibbon, which came from an unknown oriental race, and they began to argue animatedly.
The monkey insisted: “My religion is the only really true religion.”
The gibbon, who came from the east, called him a liar. But the monkey, with the air of an Integralist, repeated: “No, your religion can not be true like mine. There can not be two truths: therefore yours is false!”
The gibbon, who had been educated to tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others, could not bear the arrogant and the very sure of their certainties. It seemed absurd to despise the religion of others, to exalt his own.
And he repeated to the monkey, “You are treading on a path made by millions of people over many centuries with superficiality and arrogance. The spiritual path of my Eastern ancestors is very high and perhaps older than your tradition. Why do you offend the people who follow it?”
His lively discussion was interrupted by an old chimpanzee who was praying in front of a large banana tree. He approached and also entered the theological discussion about the one true religion. He said, “How foolish of you! The true God is great and merciful, just like mine. He gives me his fruits and makes me stand in the shadow of his leaves.”
They were thus busy discussing animatedly, when they noticed that there was a great fire approaching them and threatening their lives. When they became aware of the danger, the astonishment was so big that, they end the arguments, and they all sought to save their lives. The monkey and the gibbon scrambled to a tree and then tossed a rope at the old chimpanzee. So he also climbed the tree and then, helping each other, the three managed to flee out of the forest in flames. As soon as they felt safe, the three reflected on the experience. The solidarity demonstrated at the time of danger, in addition to the differences in religion, convinced them that it was possible to agree on facts, rather than clinging to principles. Each one asked for forgiveness for each word uttered with less respect for others.
When it was time to separate, the monkey said, “We have to get together more often, to help each other. So by loving each other, we will walk together into the truth.”
- What was the conditions to establish a true dialogue between the characters of this tale?
- What can I do to make possible a dialogue between the different Christian Churches in my country?
Decalogue of Assisi for Peace
1. We commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of religion, and, as we condemn every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or of religion, we commit ourselves to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.
2. We commit ourselves to educating people to mutual respect and esteem, in order to help bring about a peaceful and fraternal coexistence between people of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions.
3. We commit ourselves to fostering the culture of dialogue, so that there will be an increase of understanding and mutual trust between individuals and among peoples, for these are the premise of authentic peace.
4. We commit ourselves to defending the right of everyone to live a decent life in accordance with their own cultural identity, and to form freely a family of his own.
5. We commit ourselves to frank and patient dialogue, refusing to consider our differences as an insurmountable barrier, but recognizing instead that to encounter the diversity of others can become an opportunity for greater reciprocal understanding.
6. We commit ourselves to forgiving one another for past and present errors and prejudices, and to supporting one another in a common effort both to overcome selfishness and arrogance, hatred and violence, and to learn from the past that peace without justice is no true peace.
7. We commit ourselves to taking the side of the poor and the helpless, to speaking out for those who have no voice and to working effectively to change these situations, out of the convinction that no one can be happy alone.
8. We commit ourselves to taking up the cry of those who refuse to be resigned to violence and evil, and we are desire to make every effort possible to offer the men and women of our time real hope for justice and peace.
9. We commit ourselves to encouraging all efforts to promote friendship between peoples, for we are convinced that, in the absence of solidarity and understanding between peoples, technological progress exposes the world to a growing risk of destruction and death.
10. We commit ourselves to urging leaders of nations to make every effort to create and consolidate, on the national and international levels, a world of solidarity and peace based on justice.