THE COEXISTENCE SUBSTANTIATES RELIGIOUS HUMANISM; By Muhammad Rizwan (Pakistan)

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Religious humanism, the centre of Stephen Gill’s novel The Coexistence, is largely a modern concept that presents solutions to contemporary problems, concerning fanaticism, terrorism, dogmatism, minorities, and intolerance. Focusing on democracy, religious humanism challenges every form of creed and political extremism because extremism is the font of chaos. Fanatic robots misuse religion to pollute the minds and hearts of citizens for their own greed. Mark Twain highlights these pollutions or uncivilized qualities in The Damned Human-Race. He wants to humanize people after showing them the true historical evidences. He compares a man to an anaconda. A man kills seventy buffaloes just for his joy and eats only a part of a buffalo with his companions and leaves other to rot. On the other hand, the anaconda kills only one little calf out of seven to satisfy his hunger. Mark Twain demonstrates that man is more cruel and greedy than an animal is.
There are different kinds of humanisms, including existentialist humanism, naturalistic humanism, Christian humanism, secular humanism and religious humanism. All these humanisms are interlinked and often they are difficult to differentiate one from the other. Curtis Reese refers to humanism as a “religion of democracy”. In his sermon in 1916, he made a distinction between democratic religion and autocratic religion. (qtd. in Murry 37). Corliss Lamont in his book The Philosophy of Humanism defines the concept of humanism as a philosophy that teaches to declare what we mean and to mean what we declare.
In a broad sense, humanism deals with the problems humans face in the world. In one form or the other, this view about humanism has far and deep roots in history, but its importance in the world of today is felt more than it was felt before. It is because religious and political Lucifers are manipulating facts just for their petty gains, causing untold deaths. Their lust is yet not satisfied. They are cruel to humans as well as to other creatures. They cannot be humanized. These Lucifers or robots give several baseless arguments to defend their brutalities. They misinterpret religions to spread their false beliefs. They do not tolerate others; do not love others and do not spread messages of peace around.
Most humanists think that religion is a personal matter and human needs to learn to coexist with the people who have different views about religion and society. They hold that there is one life and that life is here in this world and therefore everyone is obliged to make this life beautiful for his or her own good, and for the good of others. The cardinal purpose of religious humanism is to care humans and work for the well-being of all. Humanists may or may not believe in a paradise after death. Rather, they believe in making the world a paradise. For them humanism is a way of living and they not divorce humanism from their way of living. A religious humanist brings religion from heaven to earth, considering it his social responsibility to make the world a better place to live. His approach is rational and scientific without sacrificing spiritual dimensions.
Stephen Gill elaborates this way of thinking in his poems, novels, interviews and essays. His novel The Coexistence is a manifesto of religious humanism. He is obviously religious when he talks of love and peace in his poems after poems and novels. Love and peace are everything for him. In the last pages of The Coexistence he advocates that “Love is deathless.” He believes “Love is the language of God and God is peace.” (Coexistence, 279). It is obvious that Stephen Gill’s religion is love and peace. He further says:
Loving is a prayer and this prayer is to live beyond and the essence of the beyond is in coexistence. The deeds which abide in love bring forth much fruit. The tree that exudes the fragrance of fulfilment is in love with the earth. The nightingale that carols on its branches loves freedom, as the air and sky do. Every branch that bears fruit is pruned to produce more fruit. Love is the expression of Truth, and Truth is in deeds. The love that does not abide in deeds is cast forth to whither to be gathered as wood for the fire where they are burned. The hearts in love are neither troubled nor fearful, even when anxiety is at a boiling point. Their joy in love is full. In life there are tribulations, but love overcomes them. The universe breathes in the openness of love in an egoless state.
When the waves of the ocean fuse, they drive their energy from eternity. Love is the spark of eternity, and eternity is not born in time. Trusting love is trusting the arms of mother that are without strings. Abuse of love is the rape that is the reckless disregard of the trust, ending in the demise of relationships to become a sepulchre of emptiness. Love is the absence of the dust of self desire, and self desire uproots serenity to seduce infirmities. Love is the language of God and God is peace. (Coexistence, 279)
Gill deals with every individual as a branch of the same tree. He suggests forming a democratically elected world government. Gill believes that only the religion of love, compassion and tolerance can make this world beautiful. Gill is of the opinion that man is responsible for brutalities and wars. After the First World War, statesmen and intellectuals formed a union of all countries to resolve their issues under League of Nations but this League could not stop the deadly devastations of the Second World War. After the Second World War, social scientists thought of constituting a more potent organization to bring peace in the world. They founded United Nations Organization. Now the world is going to suffer in the third world war. The dove of peace has been assassinated or stolen by maniac messiahs. Stephen Gill wants to explore peace in the form of a dove-- a symbolic bird.
Literature is the reflection of the era in which it is written. After the post modernism, the 21st century has become the era of War Poetry again because there are armed conflicts throughout the globe. Humans kill and are being killed in the name of country, race and religion. Many poets of this era of armed conflicts are writing about this sickness. The most authoritative creative writer of the era of sickness is Stephen Gill. His poetry and fiction describe the agony of war. Gill does not accuse supernatural powers for the current chaos. Rather, he blames humans for killing humans and disgracing life. Instead of peace, the world is coming closer to the threshold of complete annihilation. Stephen Gill writes:
War is the most terrifying kind of human interaction. Wars have never been economically favorable. Both victors and losers suffer. Wars are mostly for economic gains but they cause chaos. When there is economic chaos, leaders, called misleaders, take the nation to war, fabricating the giant of fear. They tell citizens that that they are fighting for the flag or for God. They hypnotize the population with the power of their talks, buying the media with the taxpayer’s money. Most developing, or the third world nations, these days face these giants manufactured by their misleaders. Therefore they are walking on the carpet of the military culture. Most of the taxes that go to the government are for peace and safety of the citizens. On the other hand, they are used to buy bombers and tanks. (Coexistence. 153-168)
Wilfred Owen, T.S. Eliot and W.B. Yeats also present the same calamity of war in their poetry. The body parts of human beings scatter around and the screams of children echo everywhere during any war. No one comes to help them. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” and Yeats’ “The Second Coming” have got a prominent status in this respect because they express the atrocities of war and the innocent killings in a cold war as well.
A writer’s works can be appreciated properly if the reader has knowledge of the writer’s biography and has studied the area and era in which the writer had lived. So, Stephen Gill’s biography is important in this respect. Most of the Coexistence relates to his early experiences. Professor Agarwal is right when he states in his book:
The pain that Stephen Gill has experienced during the days of the partition is responsible for his creative urge and this creative urge has shaped his poetic voice. His emotional experiences are somewhat akin to the emotional experiences of sage Vakmiki. Such experiences changed this distinguished sage of India into a celebrated bard of epical poetry. (Agarwal, backcover)
Below are a few lines to reveal some blood-curdling incidents that took place as a result of the division of India in 1947. It was the massive exodus in the recorded history:
In most areas, for reason of safety, exodus was in caravans. On the way, they were looted of whatever they had by armies and often separated from family members. Those who saw people being killed and women raped could not protest because protestors were instantly killed. Women were raped often by men in groups. Forced conversions to other religion were common for abducted women. They were also forced into prostitution. Amputation of the breasts of women was the most gruesome act. (Coexistence, p.6).
Such stories shaped the pen of Stephen Gill to infuse blood in his writing. He was born in Sialkot, a famous city of Pakistan for its sports goods. His father had a company of sports material before the partition of the Indian Sub-continent in 1947. After partition, the company became bankrupt due to the prevailing crisis. His father got frustrated and moved to India for a better future but his family never found peace even in India. He has not written much about his early days because they are full of agonies. He got a chance to teach in Ethiopia for three years then he migrated to England. His soul was not satisfied there either. He moved to Canada where he found harmony and peace to write.
During Stephen Gill’s stay in Pakistan and India, he faced religious and social fears. He had to leave the country of his birth in search of a peaceful land. He has written about issues, such as ‘Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan’, ‘Pakistani Laws & Women of Minorities’, ‘Stop Rape Before India Becomes a Replica of The Middle Ages’ and so on.
He believes that Canada is a land of multicultural population where each citizen can express his or her views freely. Religious fanatics are less active there, and he mentions this all in his poem ‘Canada’. So, we can say that he is tri-dimensional personality. He is Indo-Pak-Canadian literary legend. He says in an interview that he published his first short story when he was just fourteen years old and wrote poems even before.
He has produced more than twenty books including novels and poetry. His well known novel is The Coexistence. In his writing, he focuses on the prevailing turbulence, chaos, war and terrorism. He writes about peace, not because he has it but because of its absence.
William R. Murry, a top advocate of religious humanism, points out its five tenets in his prominent book Reason and Reverence. He finds this philosophy consistent with science and also secular. These tenets surfaced in Europe during Renaissance, also called the period of enlightenment. This way of thinking has become a part of the freethinkers of the United States of today. The five tenets that William R. Murry points out abound in the writings of Stephen Gill, particularly in his novel The Coexistence.
The first tenet of a religious humanist is that he embraces both reason and reverence. Here, reason means rationality of a person and reverence means his respect for the given natural phenomena. Both these elements are found in the philosophy of Stephen Gill, particularly in his novel The Coexistence that provides a blueprint to live and let live. He gives solid examples from every source to confirm its legitimacy. He says that a man should be rational in every action of his life but the respect for others should also be kept in mind. The freedom of a man ends where the nose of the other fellow starts. Religious humanism emphasizes personal freedom and the application of critical thinking. It emphasizes natural intelligence in making choices and guiding one’s action. It is devoted to learning and increasing knowledge by the use of reason. Gill supports this view when he says
The sun, the moon and other planets do not clash. They coexist within their own spheres. If they come out of their spheres, there will be clashes. Even the human body is composed of different organs, like the eyes, ears, hands and other parts. They all are needed for the healthy function of the body. If one organ is sickly, the whole body suffers. It is like the world that consists of nations, races and others who all rely on one another for their survival. Even within a nation there are males and females, young and old, strong and weak. They are composed of the same elements and have the right to exist. (Coexistence, The. P.78- 79)
The second tenet of a religious humanist is to defend the rights of every individual. Democracy is the only form of government in which every citizen is considered equal before law. In enlightened democracies justice is given the top priority. U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined democracy as: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” (Lincoln 184). Believing the same, Stephen Gill goes a step further in the favour of establishing a parliament of nations to tackle the problems of the globe which has been reduced to a village. Gill supports United Nations Organization but he is not fully satisfied with its performance. He wants some amendments in its charter. He wishes that the power of veto be abolished or made less effective to make UN more democratic. He writes in his novel:
In a democratic setup every human has the right to contribute to the welfare of society. This is what democracy is. Discrimination in any shape violates the basic principles of democracy. Awareness of one’s rights to survive with dignity is the way to unity and prosperity... (Coexistence, The. Page 118).
The third tenet of a religious humanist is that life here and now is real and important. The cosmos runs in a planned and harmonious way. Human should work to make this planet more beautiful. Every theistic religion makes a utopia of a heavenly world where there are too much blessings for a person who follows the major principles of that religion. With these temptations religious fanatics exploit the innocent people to fulfil their senseless aims. Stephen Gill calls these religious fanatics maniac messiahs who sell passports for their quick entry into heaven by bombing and shooting innocent people and children.
The fourth tenet of religious humanist is the rejection of all forms of religious and non-theistic dogmas. It says that religious and political fanatics are busy in turning this peaceful world into chaos. Gill says that maniac messiahs are busy in turning the doves of peace into vultures. Religious humanism rejects all type of absolute authority, totalitarianism, autocracy whether these are secular or theistic. Gill has talked about Nazism and other types of isms that have inflicted pain and suffering to humanity. Because of this lust of power, the world has witnessed the destruction caused by two world wars.
Professor Dr. Zotta Alexandru from Romania discusses this concept of “absolute authority” in his paper “The Coexistence is the conscious of today” when he says:
Mircea Eliade, a Romanian, also condemns ethnocentrism because it leads to disorder or chaos. In primitive societies order was created by divine mandates. They saw order coming from God or gods. But modern societies are moving towards multiculturalism which is causing disorder at national, international and other levels. Divine mandates are not acceptable today because of the wide spread of education and means of communication. The best way now to create order is through the mandate of discussions. (Coexistentia, 108).
Religious humanism rejects the ideal belief in supernaturalism. As per religious humanism it is not important to have a belief in a deity, it is more important that man should define his values and preferences to promote peace and harmony in this world. In his interview with Dr. Anuradha Sharma, Stephen Gill says “any human who does not believe in an organized religion, but believes in peace and love is religious to me.” (Sharma, interviews).
The fifth tenet of a religious humanist is the belief in the competence of man in governing this world. It holds that man is capable of doing evil and good; it is up to him to choose what he wants. According to religious humanism, no supernatural gods are ruling over this universe; everything is going in a natural way. Nature is governing the universe and man is a part of it. We are here to deal with our issues and problems; no one from outside the nature shall come and solve them. It strives for the uplift of humanity without an intervention.
Stephen Gill and Murry faced the same dilemma when they witnessed the deaths of innocents. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has shaken the beliefs of several intellectuals in a supernatural deity. Stephen Gill is a multi-dimensional personality who has experienced living in four major continents of the earth (Asia, Africa, Europe and North America) having firsthand knowledge of their social, religious and political issues. The critics from all corners of the world have done their works on Gill’s philosophy. While evaluating Gill’s poetry, Professor R. K. Singh and Mitali De Sarkar write:
Stephen Gill has taken writing as his mission or goal because his humanitarianism is seriously challenged when he sees waste, loss and mutual destruction again and again. He stridently denounces forces that promote extreme and vicious nationalism or fundamentalism… Gill delineates a basic struggle of the soul, the mind, and the body to comprehend life in its totality; what he communicates through the poetic medium is a confrontation of his whole being with reality and his response to it in a pungent and straight-forward manner. (qtd. in Arora 205)
Dr. D. C. Chambial says, “Stephen Gill is a true humanist who wages a war against the evil designs of men which drag them into the pit of humanity” (qtd. in Arora, “Critics on Stephen Gill” 204). Dr. Shaleen K. Singh gives his opinion about Gill: “Though his poems are full of dismal and terrible pictures of terrorism and its consequences, yet they encourage man to ride through the rough tempestuous sea of life and cross all the boundaries of callous calamities and dreadful disasters. (qtd. in Arora, “Critics on Stephen Gill” 217)
While assessing The Coexistence, Professor Dr. Daniel Bratton from Canada highlights the importance of Gill in the contemporary world because of Gill’s concerns for peace:
Stephen Gill helps us understand that without these bridges of communications, with love and compassion, our lives are essentially meaningless-- and increasingly imperilled.... In these dark times of state-sponsored terrorism and global conflict-with the republic of reptiles waiting to be born- Stephen Gill’s work demands our utmost attention and ask us to cultivate a greater mindfulness of the world around us. The Coexistence is a wake-up call, but are enough people listening? (Coexistenta, 38-39)
Stephen Gill believes in the ability of human beings to establish the true democracy in this world. He rejects all types of discriminations and accepts only the identity of man being a human being. This concept is obvious in his poem ‘I Am Still a Man’ in his collection Songs Before Shrine. Gill respects the holy books of other religions in a sense that everyone should value other’s opinion and should not discriminate them on the basis of their religion. This respect is to avoid the violence that these religious robots have caused in the world that Stephen Gill tries to uproot. (Songs Before Shrine 30)
Stephen Gill is not happy with all these identities. He wants to be his own self. No writer wants to flutter in a cage of prevailing society’s set rules and norms. Gill wants to fly in a sky where the fetters of religious and political dogmas cannot reach. In the same quest, he has been wandering throughout the globe. He has witnessed many atrocities not from a specific religion towards other religions but it is contextual. Here he has used the idea of Expressive Realism in explaining the relativity of religion. Every religious man calls the followers of other religions heathen. Indian sub-continent was divided on the base of such sentiments.
An important element of the religious humanism is to give personal freedom of critical thinking to every individual; a conscious man is supposed to be a critical thinker about his or her own surroundings. Everyone should have this freedom to look at the world through his own glasses. These religious humanists are sulphites, a scientific term sometimes used in literature for the people who have their own points of view and who do not follow the set rules of the society and in case of this study, the set rules of religion.
Gill introduces the term Agents of Lucifer for war-mongers and terrorist in the Coexistence. Gill does not attribute them to any particular faith. He suggests that these satanic figures are present in every corner. According to Gill, these polluters of peace are not from a specific group of a society but they are “educated and illiterate, rich and poor, men and women, politicians, engineers, medicos and religious leaders of all ages.” (The Flame 25). So it is difficult to find them out and cure them. These maniac messiahs misuse the deadly weapons to inflict injuries to innocents. They have many faces. Gill openly expresses that they are “from every community and every background” ( Flame 20-21). Gill does not mention their political and religious background. They are equipped with modern technologies. They resembles Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus’ who sold his soul to devil in exchange for twenty- four year’s of physical pleasures with the eternal suffering in hell.
Religious humanists talk about peace through peaceful means because this approach is in their own interest, whereas these fanatics glorify violence. They claim to be the champions of peace but actually they are the champions of terrorism. Gill in his novel The Coexistence says that tolerance for the faiths of others as well as for the cultures gives birth to a legitimate child of bliss.
Religion is becoming dangerous day by day because of the dogmas. There are many controversies amongst these religions but with tolerance and with the power of humanism, humans can lead the world towards a peaceful future to stop the ultimate disaster. Gill in his novel The Coexistence says that no God or supernatural deity would like these innocents’ be killed in His name.
Curtis Reese referred to humanism as a “religion of democracy”. In his sermon in 1916 he made a distinction between democratic religion and autocratic religion:
The theocratic view of the world order is autocratic. The humanistic view is democratic. In the theocratic order God is autocrat; and under him are various minor autocrats, called divinities, angels, spirits, fairies, demons, and the like. In the democratic order the people are the rulers of their own affairs, and above them are no autocrats, supreme or minor, whose favor they must carry.” (qtd. in Murry 37)
Even a cursory view of The Coexistence reveals that its writer is a democrat at heart. With the message of tolerance, religion is supposed to improve human relations to foster peace. On the contrary, with the hammer of intolerance, religion has been shattering the delicate glass of peace into pieces. Terrorism and religion have become synonyms in some nations. No one has seen God, yet His devotees are ready to kill and be killed in His name. There is ample evidence to testify that God is not pleased with killing and that He wants His followers to practice and preach charity, righteousness, goodwill and friendliness, not hostility.
The definition of peace by Stephen Gill is “the absence of use of force to solve conflicts,” (Flame 181) but the people who use violence are the savage avatars. They are engaged in killings of innocents. Religious humanism has strong connections with other prevailing literary movements.
The story of religious humanism is a story of struggle for the freedom of human race. Ludwig Feuerbach suggests in his book The Essence of Christianity that God is a human invention, and humans deserve religious and political freedoms. (Feuerbach 38). Religious humanism is a story about the liberation of human mind from religiously set rules and from dogmas that sow the seeds of hatred and intolerance. It is a story of all those who struggled hard to uplift men and women equally. It is a story of a fight to eradicate racial discriminations. Feminism adds a little to religious humanism. Rebecca Parker says that we humans have bodily existence and we need to take it seriously. It is an interdependent relationship between male and female. She says that male is not an independent individual but he needs others as well as other need him. Religious humanism also celebrates man’s relationship with the natural environment because it considers natural environment as an integral part of human lives. (qtd. in Murry, 56) Modernism and postmodernism also talk about the individuality of every character. Every character and its feelings are taken as the important source of modern and postmodern literature. Every individual is responsible for his or her own deeds.
Religious humanism emphasizes natural intelligence in making choices and guiding one’s action but religious dogmas go towards the opposite directions. They perform the role of a brainwasher. They have their legitimate institutions where they train innocent children for the use of their own devilish schemes.
Gill believes that the world is full of diversity. Nature itself supports diversity. This is the reason why there is transformation of the day to night, coming of seasons one after the other, the gender differences between every living being, etc. He tries to convey that every individual and every entity is important on this beautiful earth; we just need to learn to coexist. The world is formed in harmony.
Every element of the cosmos is essential for the survival of the system. The diversity in the religion, race, nationality, language and colour of each human being is a beauty of this wonderful world. There are people in our surroundings we do not like to talk. We need to learn how to tolerate them. Their presence may torture us but they are as important for the society as we are. The people having different points of view help us in many ways. They are needed like the feathers are needed by the bird to fly although the feathers are lighter than the body of the bird. Now many countries have multicultural societies where people from every corner of the globe live together. It is the need of the time to spread the message of The Coexistence. Stephen Gill is a writer who has been attempting to harmonize people from different backgrounds. Mark these lines:
Multiculturalism refers to acceptance of the language and life of other groups, prohibiting ethnics and religious discriminations and the use of weapons to address conflicts. It refers to the situations beyond just tolerance to embrace equality in diversity and interdependence.... The groups which oppose the stalwartness of these bodyguards are myopic because progress and peace are the children of these bodyguards. Multiculturalism is an unimaginable powerhouse if it is managed effectively that includes recognition and respect of similarities and dissimilarities for the cause of blessings. (Gill’s The Coexistence 39)
Gill says that modern technology has made the world a global village and no one can survive in isolation; every country has to form economic, military, technical and political relationships with the other world on bilateral basis. To help other nations in building peace is to remain peaceful at their own ends. Diversity is an essential element in this global village and instead of escaping from this diversity, one need to accept it and work with this diversity. He says:
Loneliness is akin to death. Every individual needs company and all humans are interdependent. As a child, a human is dependent on parents. This dependence goes on for whole life. That is why coexistence is the core of life. Humans need nature and nature needs humans. No one can exist by his or herself. Even the earth needs the sun and the rains to give life to others. Humans need the caring hands of others, starting with mother. Life means coexistence. Human needs other organs of body, even to breathe. Loneliness produces the sounds of emptiness.(Coexistence 77-78)
Instead of developing nuclear weapons, nations should develop the ability to live and let live. The variation in colour, language, religion, races, and genders are necessary. These differences exist even within families. No one can be justified for killings others on the basis of discrepancies. Gill says that there is no need of getting cultural assimilations. What is necessary is to recognize these differences and respect them. UNO can perform a better role in this area.
Gill has written about the destruction of mankind, chaotic world, wars, conflicts, brutalities and massacres by religious, political and economic evils. He writes in his poem ‘Terrorists’ about these fanatics and how they exploit the uneducated people under them.
Religious humanists condemn not only religious fanaticism but also political and national fanaticism that has become the main focus of the theory of religious humanism. The best example of this national fanaticism is Gill’s poem ‘Go Back’. People from time immemorial have been migrating from one place to another in quest of a safer place, greener pasture, and job or for study. This migration is not always easy because of the discriminations by national fanatics. People of the host countries do not accept them with open hearts.
Artists of all times have been in search for a better future for this beautiful and peaceful world. Emily Dickinson has given the same idea of hope in the following words:
Hope is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops-at all. (Dickinson 18)
Gill is warning the world that if people would not take any serious step to accept harmony, the world is going to a greater chaos. The lava of the hell will come out to burn the mother earth. This way the religious and political fanatics shall get a chance to destroy this beautiful world with the lava of their anger, lust and hatred.
The world has become global village and the actions of one nation can affect other nations. The world has already suffered because of Adolph Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan and other maniacs. Gill is afraid that such men may appear again if a democratically elected parliament of nations is not formed to monitor every nation. Religious humanism believes in the ability of humans to solve their problems themselves. Gill says that peace is very important for the progress of every nation. He says that peace is necessary for health, and health is necessary for prosperity; so peace, health and prosperity walk together. It is in the interest of every human to learn to tolerate the points of view of others with calm. He believes that human is responsible for all the chaos on this world. No supernatural deity will come and save the world. Human is killing human and so humans have to stop the senseless killing to solve their problems. Humans are capable of solving them. Nature depicts cooperation as the main ingredient for success. That is what all cultural and ethnic groups should do to make life meaningful. No organism is an island. The web of success as a network of interdependent efforts of cooperation is abundant in nature to convince those who notice only survival of the fittest. Take the case of the bee who receives nectar and pollen from flowers. This give and take procedure helps the bee and also the flower. Flowers reproduce better this way. After offering their nectar, the flowers stop producing food for bees and insects because they lose their scent. After this, flowers drop their petals or change their color to indicate to the bees to go to other flowers now. This cooperation is found among ants also, though in another way which is a healthy prototype of cooperation. Ants assist their wounded members back to their nests and are able to carry heavier material. Ants are the best example of cooperation in nature. The coaches of football and hockey teams know the worth of cooperation. (Coexistence, 232-236).
Religious humanism is the need of today. In the present era of religious conflicts, every religion is divided in several sects. No one accepts other’s point of view. Many philosophies have failed in maintaining peace in this world. Human can make this earth beautiful and peaceful by following the advice suggested by Stephen Gill. In his novel The Coexistence he gives a blueprint to prosper. .
According to Oxford Dictionary, religious is the person who has faith in a religion. Stephen Gill has his faith in the religion of love and love is humanism.
Humanist societies openly profess that humanism itself is love with freedom that rejects killing and terror. This humanism that manifests in Stephen Gill’s novels and poetry has been recognized even by international religious organizations, though he is not active with them. One of such organizations is CM International Bible College, headquartered in Florida, USA. It honoured Stephen Gill in 2009 with a Doctor of Humanities for serving the cause of humanism through writing. Stephen Gill worships in the temple of flame of unconditional love that gives birth to peace.
Work Cited
Arora, Sudhir K. Critics on Stephen Gill and His Poetic Corpus. New Delhi, Authorspress: 2007. Web
Agarwal, Nilanshu Kumar. Discovering Stephen Gill, Authors Press, India, 2008,
Dickinson, Emily. A Collection of Poems. London, Poemhunter.com- The World’s Poetry Archive: 2012. Web
Feuerbach, Ludwig. The Essence of Christianity. Michigan, J. Chapman: 1854. Web
Gill, Stephen. Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan. (www.stephengill.ca) Web
Gill, Stephen. Shrine. Allahabad, Cyberwit Press: 2008. Web
Gill, Stephen. Songs Before Shrine. New Delhi, Authorspress: 2007. Web
Gill. Stephen. The Coexistence. Ghaziabad, UP., Orientalia: 2011.
Gill, Stephen. The Flame. Canada. Vesta Publications: 2008. Print
Iacob, Olimpia (ed.). Coexistentia (a collection of articles and papers), Timpul, ISBN: 978-973-612-526-3, 2013, PB. p. 38-39
Lamont, Corliss. The Philosophy of Humanism. New York, Humanist Press: 1997. Web
Murry, William R. Reason and Reverence, Skinner House Books, Boson, 2007
Sharma, Anuradha. Selection of Stephen Gill’s Interviews, A. Orinetalia (New Delhi), 2011.
Twain, Mark. On The Damned Human Race. New York, Hill and Wang: 1962. Web
125…a study in the coexistence
www.stephengill.ca
Yeats, W.B. “The Second Coming.” Michael Robartes and the Dancer. New York, Literary Licensing LLC: 2014.
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About the author
Muhammad Rizwan from Gujrat, Pakistan, teaches English at a college. This paper is based on his dissertation he is writing on the works of Stephen Gill. He is thankful to his supervisor professor Saima Anwar Dhamyal for her able guidance in his research.
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