Initial reports on Tuesday's bombings of the commuter rail network in Bombay, India – which killed close to 190 at press time and wounded many others – link it to the Kashmir dispute. At this writing no one has claimed responsibility.
If there's any silver lining at all to this tragedy, it might be the speed and forcefulness with which Paki-stan President Pervez Musharraf and Pakistan's Foreign Ministry condemned the terrorist acts. In addition to Mr. Musharraf's words of condolence, the Foreign Ministry added, "Terrorism is a bane of our times, and it must be condemned, rejected, and countered effectively and comprehensively."
How to do that? Perhaps the condemnation of terrorism and even the rejection of it come naturally to most all of us. But how does one truly counter terrorism effectively and comprehensively? Isn't that what pretty much the whole human race has been yearning to know for some time now? As I ponder the questions, I feel a conviction, which has grown over the last few years, that prayer brings an extra dimension to countering terrorism. Prayer, and a spiritual perspective. After all, every available resource is plainly needed. We'd be naive to overlook the power of prayer, the efficacy of a spiritual perspective. Leave aside prayer, and we'd be making a less than comprehensive response.
Perhaps prayer can be uniquely helpful in bringing comfort to those now in mourning. And almost certainly, prayer can reach those injured and in need even faster than other first-aid efforts. But I think prayer can do even more. Can it leaven the overall mental atmosphere? Can it help bring to light the basic brotherhood of all those in the region, a brotherhood which is divinely based and spiritually factual, even though humanly invisible?
A Scriptural passage, attributed to St. Paul, occurs to me. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28). I wonder if a modern day St. Paul would add, "There is neither Muslim nor Hindu nor Christian nor Buddhist nor..." and on and on. The fatherhood of God spells the brotherhood of all mankind. And feeling that brotherhood is something we each have a right to. A spiritual perspective, a kind of God's-eye view, opens to us that this brotherhood/sisterhood is already true, already natural, already something humans everywhere have a right to feel and feel good about.
This spiritual perception is a challenge to me. Can I genuinely think of those on each side of the Kashmir dispute as brothers to one another? Can I truly know them as my own brother? I want to deeply see and authentically feel that God is the Father of us all and that Christ is the spirit of unity that emanates from the Father to each of us. Something that Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, helps me on this score. "With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 469-470).
Love, another name for God, is not lost. Divine Life, divine Love is ever present, is universal. The fatherhood of God, divine Love, and the brotherhood of all mankind, the offspring of God, remain fixed and powerful facts. These facts help to effectively and comprehensively counter terrorism. As I hold to this in prayer and maintain the spiritual perspective that sees it, I'll be making a positive difference.