Desmond Tutu's Recipe for Peace

One of the world's heroes believes, 'God works through us and through history to bring about God's dream.'

Desmond TutuNobel Laureate Desmond Tutu is one of the world's most beloved religious figures. A longtime foe of apartheid, he retired as Episcopal archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and was then named chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the organization charged with bringing to light the atrocities committed during apartheid and achieving reconciliation with the former oppressors. Beliefnet conducted an email interview with him about his latest book, "God Has a Dream."

What is God’s dream, and how was it imparted to you?

God's dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion. In God’s family, there are no outsiders, no enemies. Black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, Jew and Arab, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Buddhist, Hutu and Tutsi, Pakistani and Indian—all belong. When we start to live as brothers and sisters and to recognize our interdependence, we become fully human.

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This dream can be found throughout the Bible and has been repeated by all of God's prophets right down to Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.

Is it realistic to say there are no enemies when we are involved in a war?

God’s love is too great to be confined to any one side of a conflict or to any one religion. People are shocked when I say that George Bush and Saddam Hussein are brothers, that Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon are brothers, but God says, “All are my children.” It is shocking. It is radical. But it is true.

Aren’t some people simply beyond redemption?

We in South Africa had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and we had the most devastating revelations of ghastly atrocities. We could describe them as monstrous, even demonic. But even these torturers remained children of God, with a possibility of being able to change. After all, a thief on the cross was able to repent and Jesus promised that thief, "You will be with me in paradise." Jesus didn't say, “Look at what kind of life you have led up to this point.” All of us have the capacity to change, even to become saints.

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A Beliefnet interview
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