Do you have the heart and soul to join our community, a Global Community that embraces Religious Tolerance, bringing people together in love and peace, no matter what faith you hold dear? Our world is is painfully divided by our apathy, at times even animosity, towards people who are not part of our own religion. Even as I write there are people who are being killed just because of their religion. How many more lost lives would be enough to wake you up? The world is in a dire need for bringing people of all faiths together to join forces and advocate religious tolerance and love. And the time is now!
Religious Persecution Instead of Religious Tolerance or
Religious persecution has been around for thousands of years. There is not one religion that was spared this phenomenon. Even as I write there are those who disagree with the religion of their neighbors and based on that alone they feel they have the moral right to mistreat these people. When will mankind overcome this ugly trait? What will it take for Christians and Muslims to leave in harmony or for Muslims and Jews to embrace all the goodness that unites them from a religious perspective, rather than focus on their differences?
Eric Brahm in his article titled Religion and Conflict tries to answer the above questions: Here is the solution he offers
“In the eyes of many, religion is inherently conflictual, but this is not necessarily so.
Therefore, in part, the solution is to promote a heightened awareness of the positive peace building and reconciliatory role religion has played in many conflict situations. More generally, fighting ignorance can go a long way. Interfaith dialogue would be beneficial at all levels of religious hierarchies and across all segments of religious communities. Where silence and misunderstanding are all too common, learning about other religions would be a powerful step forward. Being educated about other religions does not mean conversion but may facilitate understanding and respect for other faiths. Communicating in a spirit of humility and engaging in self-criticism would also be helpful.“
I whole-heatedly agree that ignorance about your neighbor’s religion is some of the reasons why a different religion may seem to you as sinful and therefore merits mistreatment. But I would beg to to add to this that it is not with the masses that the problem begins but rather in the higher hierarchy of each religion.
It is the Rabbis, The Imams and the priests that should initiate the conversation; it is on their shoulder that the responsibility for advocating religious tolerance rests. Holding the power and the key to uprooting any inaccurate notions about other religions is at the hands of these religious leaders.
Tatarstan: model for religious tolerance
it is mind boggling to me that humanity insist on not learning and applying the lessons taught to us, ever so painfully, by the destructive nature of religion intolerance. History cannot be erased; millions upon millions of people from various religions have been murdered merely for holding dear
a different religion. And in many cases the murderers had the audacity to excuse their brutally and in fact attribute their action to God. “By the name of God,” they would explain and excuse their action.
How could any true religious person associate murder of another human being and God at the same breath?
The God I know is an all loving God. The God I understand is a God that created all humanity equal and hold them dear equally, just like a father would his children. If so, then where does hatred and intolerance come from? Not from God! The all Mercy, GOD, wouldn’t be as cruel to create so many different religions for his children just so they can kill each other. That would be absurd to even imagine, let alone suggest or conclude. Wouldn’t it be?
Imagine a Singular Religion – a Fantasy
Hatred and intolerance, I dare say, come from us the people. Just imagine for a second a world where only one single religion exists. All humanity worship one God – not under different religions, but the very one and only one religion. Can you see the wonders that this will create. Can you imagine the potent impact?
Name the religion “One” or whatever, but let it be a religion that doesn’t impose itself on the people. Let the people come to it if so they choose..
In fact - if we lived in a world with a single religion- that religion would not need to be
named. It is when you have more that one, that the need to assign it a name is born. How else will you be able to distinguish it from the ‘other’?
The ‘other’ is where division, and often animosity, begin to take roots.
Now you have another religion that interprets God, and how to worship God in the way that is different than yours. Christians have their ways. Muslims have theirs. Jews have theirs and so on and so forth.
Moreover, even within the very same religions there are different branches that are constantly in conflict with one another.
Why does the world need this chaos? Yet, it is an undeniable fact; religious chaos is what we have!
It is nice to have your own religion and worship God the way you choose. It is your religion; If you were not born into it, you have converted and adopted it. Being a person of that faith
your were taught, and came to believe, that your religion is the way. Some would say it is the ONLY way.
This is all nice and dandy, but then a person born to another religion thinks and believes the same about his. He or she may be just as passionate as you might about your religion.
I am not here to argue or to presume to know which religion is right. Since they already exist, they are all right, at least to the faithful within that religion.
The problem is that we still remain with the burden that if they are all right – and that is a matter for each to decide – then who is not right?
When searching in Wikipedia for a “list of religions and spiritual traditions,” here is what we get:
- 1 Abrahamic religions
- 2 Indian religions
- 3 Iranian religions
- 4 East Asian religions
- 5 African diasporic religions
- 6 Indigenous traditional religions
- 7 Historical polytheism
- 8 Mysticism and Occult
- 9 Neopaganism
- 10 New religious movements
- 11 Left-hand path religions
- 12 Fictional religions
- 13 Parody or mock religions
(2 images above are my addition)
If I belong to religion X and claim that this is the way, then it is fine. I choose to believe and this is my prerogative. However if I claim that this is the Only way to God, it is also OK for as long as long as I tell it to myself and do not try to impose my this belief upon others.
it is OK for each religion to claim that its way is the way. But when it claims that its way is the only way and then become antagonistic, let alone aggressive towards members of another religion, then a dangerous line is being crossed. And that line has been crossed endless times all throughout history.
The purpose of this site is to bring people together – no to incite, point fingers or further divide. And, therefore, trying to remain neutral, I purposely refrain from citing examples of any particular religion that its people were persecuted, simply because they chose to worship God differently then those who decided their fate.
History books on the subject of religious persecution are abundant and those who wish to study them are free to do so.
The past is gone. All we have at our disposal is the present, that with the movement of time it eventually becomes the future. Learning from the mistakes of the past is the wisest thing we can do.
“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it,” said the English philosopher, Edmund Burke (1729-1797).
The idea of having a single religion – promising as it may be - is, at best, a fantasy. The world is way too divided for that, at least from a religious perspective. It would be naive to think that anyone can take thousands of years of deeply rooted traditions and make even a slight dent in it in an effort to achieve anything that is even remotely resembles the concept, the fantasy, of a Singular religion.
But what is not a fantasy or too late is for humanity to raise its level of consciousness to a point where religious tolerance is the norm and not some sort of anomaly. And that is the role of all that the world’s religious leaders should assume.
For a more peaceful world, those who preach to their respective congregations should assume the role of educators and begin to promote religious tolerance. The world is in a dire need of it and the sooner they realize it, the better.
A simple Solution, but Practical, to Religious Tolerance?
We as individuals can begin by opening our hearts and and minds and let us join together as a Global Community that promotes religious tolerance and brotherly love.
if we could only live by these simple words attributed to GOD….
“לֹא-תִקֹּם וְלֹא-תִטֹּר אֶת-בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ, וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ: אֲנִי, יְהוָה
“Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD”
Leviticus Chapter 19
…then, that alone is all that is required to bring people of different faiths together in love and harmony. Amen!