One of the great attractions to Sathya Sai Baba felt by people from many countries has been his evangel of respect for the various faiths.
Has Sai Baba Kept Promise of Reaching Through to World Faiths?
One can search in vain for any decently researched examples that show any capacity by him or his global Sathya Sai Organization to succeed in interfaith outcomes. See my articles: Muslim Leaders Initiative Bold. Sai Baba’s Efforts Fail and Will World Accept Sai Baba? He Says Yes. Very Soon).
From time to time, when Sai Baba attracts a prestigious Moslem, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, etc., this individual is keynoted and the impression given to audiences that to a significant degree Sai Baba’s “divine love” is making a significant impact around the world. It is not, as the media or anyone else can readily determine by asking the major international interfaith groups or the spokespersons of any of the world’s great faiths.
One naturally queries, then: Where, if anywhere, is Sai Baba in the interfaith equation? What, if any, distinctive contribution to interfaith conferences have Sai Baba and his Sathya Sai Organization made?
The Gallup Poll Project Among World Populations
One vast undertaking to obtain facts about the attitudes and values of people around the world is being undertaken by the Gallup Poll organization. Even one project such as this makes Sai Baba’s statements about creating understanding and unity among the various faiths pale by comparison. It is about practicality, not about preachments. It is also about letting people speak for themselves, instead of being dictated to, which is endemic to the authoritarian, unaccountable, Soviet-style Sathya Sai Baba cult.
“In the largest undertaking of its kind, Gallup will
measure the well-being of the world for the next
100 years, annually polling 95% of the Earth’s adult population. The Gallup World Poll is the largest available source of key world data, providing access to the voices, hearts, and minds of citizens in more than 130 countries and territories”. Source: The Gallup World Poll
Gallup Poll Muslim Project
Here, for example, are its aims for its project on Muslims:
“Gallup’s self-funded Poll of the Muslim World is conducted in 40 predominantly Muslim nations and among significant Muslim populations in the West. It is the first set of unified and scientifically representative views from 1.3 billion Muslims globally, and will provide the basis for the Center’s unique analytical perspective. The Poll of the Muslim World is part of Gallup’s larger World Poll, a self-funded effort aimed at consistently measuring the well-being of 6 billion world citizens (a sample representing 95% of the Earth’s population) on a wide range of topics for the next 100 years”.
Solvents For Dangerous Misconceptions
Here are but a few findings in relation to Muslim attitudes to 9/11, which should assist in clearing away a great deal of misunderstanding, a result that should obtain, too, as other major faith groups are polled:
“What we have here is the ability to get beyond the battle of the experts” and let “the data lead the discourse” on beliefs in the Muslim world” Source: John L. Esposito, a professor of international affairs and Islamic studies, Georgetown University
- 93 percent – condemned the Sep 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. Substantial majorities in all Muslim countries said they supported bringing democratic principles to their own countries
- 7% saw the Sep 11 attacks as “completely justified”. The results indicate that none in this group employed a religious justification. The view was based on fear of US plans for occupation and domination of the Muslim world
- There were strong Muslims concerns about a perceived “moral decay” in the US and the West. However, these were typical of those widely shared in the West.
What a Billion Muslims Really Think. This excellent, succinct outline of the book by John Esposito Ph.D, Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, and Dalia Mogahed, a senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, is at the Gallup website