The Importance Of Religious Differences

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Perhaps like no time in history before, religious differences are having a major impact on a global scale. From differing beliefs on marriage and abortion, to intolerance of different faiths, religion is a major cause of suffering and strife in our world. However, this need not be the case. Throughout history, there have been numerous societies where a variety of religions have existed side-by-side in mutual respect and toleration. Parthian, Roman, Greek, and Muslim empires all tolerated and accepted multiple faiths within their borders. Despite historical precedent, all around the globe various groups are expressing exclusivist viewpoints that ignore the commonalities found across religions. It is through these commonalities that the gap can, …show more content…
506). This simple statement of treating others as you, yourself would want to be treated is the starting point for every civil engagement. This is a statement about respect. While your first instinct may not be to respect someone else’s beliefs, you would want them to respect yours, and as such, you must respect theirs as well. The Prophet Muhammad expressed this in the Quran, just as it was in the Jewish Torah and Christian Bible.
But simply respecting another’s belief is not enough. In order to bridge the gap, people of differing religions must also see each other as their brother or sister. They must recognize the commonality of the human experience and the desire to understand the universe through a system of beliefs. In the book of Matthew, Jesus taught his followers to avoid hypocrisy by not judging others and warning that they too would be judged in return (Matthew 7:1-2). This is a simple lesson that should be easy for any Christian to follow: if you do not treat those of other religions as your equal, they will not treat you as theirs. The Prophet Muhammad referred to Jews and Christians as “People of the Book”, meaning they were people who worshipped the same God and had also received the prophets before Muhammad (Fisher, 2014, p. 414). In this, Muhammad is expressing a kinship between these three faiths that
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Christianity has grown on the idea that is the only “correct” religion on Earth. However, the bible contains no words attributed to Jesus that make this statement. Similarly, while the Prophet Muhammad does state that Islam is the correct path, he tells that once Jesus returns in the Second Coming, the world be united under Islam at that time. From this, it can be inferred that tolerance, especially to other “People of the Book”, should be extended. By exclusivist religions moving toward a universalist viewpoint of understanding and tolerance, communication between faiths can be strengthened and

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