The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Reflection About World Religion. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.
Conflict due to differences can only be addressed if understanding exists among people. The aforementioned adage greatly exemplifies the way by which various religions in the world should be viewed by people. In the past decades, many changes have taken place in the society, which involves the greater interaction and interconnectedness of states and people of different nationalities.
Being the case, it cannot be prevented that religious differences will become an issue in the relation among people and nations. In most countries, people have a strong adherence to their respective religious beliefs and practices, which usually has a huge influence in the decisions and actions that they make. As a result, studying different religions in the world is necessary and pivotal in order to understand other people and establish a society that actually understands each others’ religious differences.
The idea of “us” versus “them”, which is actually rooted from the difficulty of most people to understand and accommodate beliefs and practices that are different from them can be better addressed by means of studying world religions. People should learn to tolerate each other religious beliefs, which is exactly the same argument of Voltaire when he introduced the concept of deism. Deism is “a vague substitute for traditional religion which acknowledged a creator and some sort of divine justice, but rejected most of the other fundamental beliefs of Christianity” (Voltaire, 1763, n.
p.). Voltaire created A Treatise on Toleration during the time wherein the Christian leaders rule the society. He preached that all people have the obligation to tolerate each other when it comes to religious differences, even to the point of tolerating superstitious beliefs. In the same manner, Immanuel Kant, who is also one of the leading minds during the time of enlightenment like Voltaire also supported the idea of bestowing more freedom among individuals in practicing their respective religious belief. According to Kant, in order for enlightenment to be established and be fully realized freedom is necessary. For Kant the essence of freedom is seen in the way by which every individual can be able to use his or her sense of reason in various matters, which include public use (Kant, 1784). In this sense, for an individual to be truly enlightened it is necessary to use his or her sense of reason in making important decisions and actions, which also include choosing his or her own religious belief and practices.
The ideas of Kant and Voltaire actually works hand-in-hand with each other because freedom is necessary in order for people to have liberty in adhering to a religious belief that they want and tolerance is also important in order for people to understand each others’ differences. The revolutionary ideas that Kant and Voltaire proposes took place during the time that people are under the rule of Christian beliefs wherein the only religion that are recognized is that of Christianity. Nevertheless, Kant, Voltaire, and other important people during the time of enlightenment pursued greater freedom for the people, especially in thinking and deciding for oneself that included religious decision. At the present time, people are also facing another problem and that is the conflict brought about by religious differences. In order to address the aforementioned dilemma people should understand other religion in the world and should not merely focus on their own respective beliefs and practices. In line with this, my experiences in taking a course about world religions have also substantially changed and influence my way of thinking about other religious beliefs and practices wherein I was able to understand and accept other religious faiths that are different from mine.
During my free time, I tend to watch television and observe what is currently happening in the society. After surfing different television channels, I was able to find a channel with which discusses religion. I was curious; therefore I tried to listen to the message given by a pastor. After listening to the preaching, I have realized that his religion and message is only similar to the religion I am practicing. The message of the pastor was very logical for it points that people must put important to worship as an individual. In my own religion, worship is needed to be practiced by everyone for many times a day. A worship of an individual is very significant to secure a person’s belief and have a stronger connection with God.
Nonetheless, the pastor mentioned that prayer is a personal way to ask for forgiveness, talk to God and praise him for all the kindness and love that He gives. It was mentioned that there are people who forget to pray due to the busy lifestyle of the current society. Hence, people must be aware that they have a duty to communicate give worship to God.
Moreover, it have realized that the both my religion as well as the religion of the pastor is encouraging every individual to have a deeper connection and relationship of God. The only difference of both religions is the practices and norms. For I practice an Islam religion, we call our god Allah and we use the Quran to see the message of God. However, this is only few details that make Islam and Christianity as different religions. In reality, I do view Christianity as similar religions with different practices and priorities.
In my reflection of what I have seen on the television, I am reminded of the lines provided by Jalal ad-Din Rumi where in he mentions: “ The man of God is drunken without wine…The man of God is made wise by the Truth…” (Nicholson, 1898). Therefore, it is states that a man could not live without God. The author presents that the word God is a universal word for a being that is served and worshiped by most people. In addition to this the author mentioned that he is neither a Christian, a Muslim nor a Jew, for he is placeless and his body and soul only belongs to God. Therefore, he states that no one owns him but the God who created the earth and the sea for He is the only one he believes to have created him.
In the writing of King Ashoka, it was clearly mentioned that the religious belief of an individual is not based on the label of the religion but on attaining similar goals. King Ashoka stated that his men were required to work together with other ethnic tribes that would be an able to allies for attaining one cause. There are different people whom they create relationships and understanding in order to relieve themselves from harassments and violence. Each of the sectors of the society come together for them to obtain a higher form of relationship that would be helpful in attaining peace, understanding and unity. Thus, the literature of King Ashoka sought o explains that it is the duty of one individual or one group to link each community to attain growth the stop chaos (Dhammika, 1993).
On the other hand, John Locke also has his own perspective with regards to religion. Due to various religions which are present in the society, he stated that there had been instances where people boast of what they know and what they have. There are debates which had happened yet he questions the authenticity of the true religion. Locke views that due to human nature, they tend to boast and proclaim that they are the best religion. Hence, it is human nature which creates such type of conflict with religions. The theorist elaborated that people should not base their actions and pride with the scriptures present hence, the logic of love must make individuals act for the realizations of the goals of a religion. Given this, the scripture which is being read by all religious groups must be practiced with association to love. Through love any religion is effective in attaining its goals. Love enables individuals to pass the love and create good deeds for others. In addition to this, the efficacy of religion becomes evident with the actions done by its disciples. It is not through superiority of religion that people could see the greatness of a religious belief but through the love being extended towards others (1689).
Conflicts due to religious differences are no longer a new occurrence or issue for me because I have observed and even personally experience being part of a dispute that is caused by the various religious belief and practices that people have. Debates about religious differences is a common incident among my peers, especially since we all have strong convictions and emotions about our respective religion. There are instances wherein my friends and I would talk about a certain issue like the on-going disputes and war that are happening in the Middle East. The 2003 Iraq War is one of the most common topics that we talked about, especially during the time that the war is still taking place. One of my friends has clearly hated the Bush Administration and even the American society because he believes that these people have a superiority complex wherein they want other nations to bow down to them. On the other hand, my other friends will try to reason out with him and point out that the untoward and violent actions of Muslim fundamentalist should be blamed for the invasion of American in Iraq. A simple discussion about war and politics would eventually lead to religious differences wherein one of my friends will say that most Americans hate Muslims and in-turn one would say that the dogmatic ways of Christians is actually the problem. I have to admit that I also have my own take in the discussion wherein I believe that most Christians just do not accept the Islamic faith.
However, my untoward feelings about the Christian religion were changed once I have participated in my world religion class. I can still remember one of our topics about the Blind Men and the Elephant wherein blind men were asked “what sort of thing is an elephant?” after they have already touched a certain part of the animal (Wang, 1995). The blind men gave different descriptions of the elephant based on the parts of the animal that they have touched. However, despite the differences in their description the blind men are all describing an elephant, which is also synonymous to religious differences. The existence of various religious beliefs is similar to the different parts of the elephant wherein people are actually believing in one divine being the only difference are the way they call their religion and the manner by which they practice their faith towards the supreme being that they believe in.
In the end the current society there are many religions which are present. There are debates over what is the best religion in the world. But in reality, religions are merely beliefs that could not be measured. Hence, there is no such thing a “greatest religion.” As mentioned by great theorists in the past, religion is important in the society yet every religion is similar to one another. There are differences but all of those are caused by norms and practices. As mentioned by John Locke, it is love that makes the world a better place. Through the devotion of each individual with their own beliefs, love will arise and extend the goodness towards others. Furthermore, religion should be a factor that bind people together not an aspect that would hinder individuals from attaining goals such as peace, equity and understanding (2002; 2010).