In society the things we look at aren’t always the correct or positive way to look at these certain aspects, one of those topics are religion. We look at religions and mainly look at the differences that we have rather than looking at the similarities, we stand by our religion if we follow one and don’t tend to look at the other side of things and try understanding why people believe the things they do or just the aspects that we have similar. We tend to bash religions because of the stereotypes, what’s put on media and what we just hear about them without truly taking a deeper look at the things that come with the faith and how they all tend to follow a superior and simply want peace to exist everywhere. Rather than religion being what its supposed to be which is to want peace on earth, respect and to follow the Divine or the superior, creator of the universe, it has become an argument and a topic that is debated within groups and populations that usually end up causing issues which is the complete opposite of what people of religions should be preaching or showing within society.
Within all the major religions we see similar aspects whether it be big or small things; they are still aspects that we have in connection that we can use to the advantage to build a more peaceful coexistence with each other; the first is how all the major religions attempt to defend human dignity; “Respect for a person as merely being a human being is dignity.” The Christian understanding of human dignity it is something that cannot be taken away. It is taught and states that each and every individual no matter what race, gender, ability/disability has value, are worthy of respect and must be free from slavery, manipulation and exploitation.
They show this with the fact that they follow the ten commandments that are shown within the Bible and apply those to situations that occur within the society we live in today, those are examples of showing human dignity. Also, connecting to Christianity we see a similarity with Judaism; within the Torah, specifically within the Genesis story it is told that everyone is created ‘in the image of God”. One who accepts the view that all of mankind was made in the likeness of God must respect all people, regardless of how s/he feels about her/himself (Torah). Looking at this in the Jewish teaching this expression would be meaning that all people do deserve to be treated with dignity and that there is no one that is more worthy or deserves more respect than anyone else, therefore we are all equal. Islam is one of the religions that aims to understand, uplift and maintain honor and dignity, we see things through the Holy Book; The Quran teaches a philosophy that prevention is better than finding a cure, also identifying the term Jihad which is an Arabic word which means to “struggle” or “strive”, which is further divided into three parts which are shown to attempt defend human dignity, crime and war. Some people within society have defined it as “Holy War” which is incorrect. We see Hinduism is also a major religion that takes an attempt at defending Human Dignity by using the caste system which can be understood as a type of reflection of dharma or “the moral code” within their society, each group respects the rights and dignity of the others.
Although the Buddhist society view on human dignity is slightly different it is still connected to all the other religions in a way. Essentially, the Buddhist understanding of human dignity is rooted in the idea that we are able to choose the path of self-perfection basically showing us that we all have a path waiting for us and we are the ones who are able to choose it but with that being said we must respect people, treat them with kindness and equals and make sure we are not hurting people while following our individual paths. We see that within all these religions it is shown that they all attempt to defend human dignity which is some cases they are attempting in such similar ways or even identical, nonetheless the message beneath the idea is the same concept which is to treat everyone equally and with respect. Most people are blinded with all the complications that gravitate to begin between the human populations that identify with dividing religions, sects or faiths in trying to preserve a peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding with each other. We don’t tend to see the attempt that religions take to create a more peaceful coexistence amongst religions. While often the case is that complications can be more understanding with the predominant of one religion, sect or faith within a particular society or arena. It could be possible that if it could be shown that a good amount of the faiths and religions share coherent similarities in their spiritualities that the amount of division that is between them could be decreased. Underlying the revelations of all the great world religions that we see, the teachings that we see of the wise and holy within all of the faiths and the stories of mystical experiences of every race, age, gods/goddess’, there lies an elemental unity of belief which is the convenient similarity that people can obtain to realize to the truth and a transcendent reality.
We see that the connection between the religions is either with the aspect of following ‘one superior’ which can be looked at as the ‘Divine’ which is the aspect that Jewish, Catholics, Muslims and Hindus look at it because they all follow one God; although there may be stories that could be different they still mainly focus on the following of one God who is the creator of everything. They also connect by the belief of ‘divine reality”; “the nature of this one Reality is such that it cannot be directly or immediately apprehended except by those who have chosen to fulfill certain conditions, making themselves loving, pure in heart, and poor in spirit.” Which all religions in some way, shape or form tries to show the ways they support or try to promote peace whether it is with other people of the same faith or not, treating them with respect and as an image of God. Christians look at this by focusing on the message of love from Jesus, by teaching limitless love including enemies so if any Christians look at other religions and have something they don’t like about it they still are to love them. The teaching of forgiveness of sin; We cannot be forgiven unless we forgive those who trespass us, showing us that we have to forgive the ones who have hurt us and not hold something against others. Lastly, Jesus equated love of God with love of people; we cannot truly love God unless we love other people, including enemies and those who have wronged us.
Therefore, they are to love everyone including the people who may not share the same faith as them, which is what they do by welcoming however to their church and welcoming people to convert from whichever religion, but mainly will not treat them differently because of the difference in faith; which is also similar to the Jewish understanding except not using the interpretation of Jesus within their faith. Amongst Islam the most recognizable way they attempt to build a more peaceful coexistence is where the common origin, to which all human beings are “created of a single soul”, and that all did originate from the same parents, so there shouldn’t be any kind of discrimination based on race, religion, etc. The Quran also identifies diversity as a sign of Allah and therefore it is to be respected. The idea of different identities are to be used for recognition and not to be used for pride, therefore it should not cause any conflict. The concept of division and harres that’s based on cultural and religious differences is absolutely against the Islamic religion.
Hinduism shows their ways of a peaceful co-existence by doing their five daily duties; honouring parents and elders for their wisdom and self sacrifice, helping the needy and poor, which also is something the less fortunate need to obey this duty and of course worshipping the Divine. They look at Dharma as an everyday routine during their day to day lives; moral and religious duty/obligation and by doing so honestly and with best effort, will earn good karma. So therefore they must care for people and help the less fortunate whether it being a person of different race or religion, and if they don’t do it because of that it is against their beliefs.
For example, if a Hindu man is walking and there an old man that is asking for money but he knows he’s not from the same faith so he brushes it off, while walking further see’s someone of his faith asking for money and giving it to him, that good karma is not actually ‘good’. With those two topics we also witness an attempt of care for creation within each religion. Christians show their respect for the Creator by their maintenance of creation. Caring for the earth is not just another Earth Day, it is a requirement to their faith. They are called to protect the people as well as the planet with all of God’s creation. Judaism also looks at this topic in the same sense; They believe they Yahweh created the earth, heaven and all forms of life in the span of six days (Six days of Creation) “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,a and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
“… God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”(Genesis 1:26 and 28) Although this comes from the Bible they take it the same way, and therefore because of this passage, individuals consider themselves responsible for the world that Yahweh created and it is up to them to take care of it. Hinduism has a very interesting form of caring for creation; which is with the concept of ahimsa (respect for life and non-violence) preventing a Hindu from causing any harm to a any creature, therefore that is the reasoning why a large portion of Hindus are vegetarian.
The universe to them is the divine creation and should be honoured in all its parts. Plants, animals, rivers, all form of the earth and a lot are worshipped for the honourable qualities acquire. Islam looks at it very similarly in a way that us as human beings are on the world to be trustees and they are told to look after the world for the future generations and for Allah. “The Earth is green and beautiful, and Allah has appointed you his stewards over it. The whole earth has been created a place of worship, pure and clean. Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded. If a Muslim plants a tree or sows a field and humans and beasts and birds eat from it, all of it is love on his part.
” The eventual hope of all the World Religions is that they will finally accommodate with each other and think about unity or friendship amongst each other. The main necessity for this to occur is for the followers of these religions to come to the realization of this process is to begin the road of acceptance of the truth behind all of the religions. Rather than looking at religion with an open mind and taking everyones faith into consideration but instead it’s more of people against each other, sad part is the conflicts are between different religions but are also between the same exact religion.
It is possibility to begin unity and friendship by taking recognition of the fact that within all of these religions there lies a central truth that is common. We find that within religions the main separation is within the more available aspects of the spiritual life; such as the rituals, rules and the regulations that are within them if we put ourselves in a circle and all of the aspects; the mysteries of the religions, the rules, rituals and regulations, then the heart of every religion, the practices and disciplines that are created to bring people into a union with God, where we would later find God. Therefore leaving us in this example of the circle we would all end up with a creator or Divine, although God is given a different name within these religions they are really referring to the same thing. I think that there is hope for unity/friendship among religions if we just realized that amongst all of our religions/faiths we all have a connection and we should all work together to make the world a better place and take care of it the way we were told to. In conclusion although within our society the way we look at things may be incorrect and negative by some means, especially religion.
There is a hope to create a bond between the religions regardless of the small differences. These small differences do not defeat the main message that we are trying to bring and show within our day to day lives, which is defending human dignity, building a more peaceful coexistence and caring for creation, why should we be divided and be ‘enemies’ if we all are wanting the same thing end?