As Joseph Fort Newton put it, already a 100 years ago, through sermons in which he urged understanding between England and the United States as a basis of world order and abiding peace: “Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.” A century later, there are still at least 65 walls and fences completed or under construction, mostly in Europe and around the globe, across 4 continents.

Religion is widely blamed for much of the violence in our world, both today and in the past. All religions declare that peace and reconciliation are their goals, yet all too often they appear to exacerbate conflicts. But, even so, it still leaves the question of why religion is so easily exploited for violent ends.

Since 2008, like an isthmus connecting isolated strips of land, the Humanisthme Association fosters and strengthens human bonds to celebrate diversity and encourage inclusion. In times of raging extremism of all sorts, building bridges instead of erecting walls against all reductive ‘isms’ seems to be the only viable alternative.

I used to think that I was a victim of my story until I realized the truth; that I am the creator of my story. I choose what type of person I will be and what type of impact I will leave to others.

Steve Maraboli