Do Gülen Movement participants draw back into the group and break off relations with others?
The cohesiveness of the group, in contradistinction to cults, does not derive from belonging to it. Belonging is not for its own sake; that is, it is not turned inward, but for the service of others, and always looking outward. Motivation and incentivization are realized through the relational networks and the services provided altruistically alongside others. This is what ties individuals together.
Fethullah Gülen often refers to a Turkish maxim: “An individual should be among the common folks like any ordinary individual, yet with the constant consciousness that he or she is with God and under His constant supervision.” This means living among people and amidst multiplicity or diversity. Therefore, unlike sects or cults, the Gülen Movement participants prefer being with and for people, not avoiding them; they do not draw back into themselves and break off relations with social partners, or sever relations with the outside, nor do they renounce relevant and feasible courses of action.
Fethullah Gülen stresses the interdependence of communities that have emerged with modern means of communication and transportation, and that the world has become a global village. He teaches that any radical change in one country will not be determined by that country alone because this epoch is one of interactive relations, so nations and peoples are more in need of and dependent on each other. This situation requires closeness in mutual relations, and people should accept one another as they are and seek ways to get along with each other. Differences based on beliefs, races, customs and traditions are richness, and should be appreciated for the common good through peaceful and respectful relationships.
Fethullah Gülen points out that “this network of relations, which exists on the basis of mutual interest, provides some benefits for the weaker side. Moreover, owing to advances in digital electronic technology, the acquisition and exchange of information is gradually growing. As a result, the individual comes to the fore, making it inevitable that democratic governments which respect personal rights will replace oppressive regimes.”
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