“Without respect for people of different races or ethnicities or religions, how can we have a peaceful and harmonious society or world? And without a harmonious society, how can there be the necessary economic development and atmosphere conducive to spiritual happiness and self-realization?” Jagad Guru
After the recent events around the blasphemous film (which I have not seen) depicting the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), I found it necessary to share my thoughts and feelings.
(Please note that this is entirely my opinion)
So, I like a silver car, you like red, I prefer white bread, you prefer brown. I’m an evening person, you’re a morning person. These are the kind of differences that we have as people and need to accept it. And we do, most of the time anyway. So why is it so much more difficult when it comes to accepting the beliefs, religion, way of life, faith, (whatever you want to call it) of others?
Religion can be a touchy subject, a taboo. However, the fact that it is taboo needs to be addressed. Belief, whether in religion or science, is a concept that should be respected and admired in us as humans, not something used as a tool for persecution.
As a woman of Islamic faith, born into a marriage of interfaith, (where my dad’s born Muslim, and my mum reverted to Islam from Hinduism), I feel that I have gained something that not many people have, and that is exposure.
I have had the freedom of being able to practice my religion, but at the same time be exposed to other religions as a result of having family and friends with other beliefs. If I have to single out one valuable lesson that I’ve learned from my parents; it would have to be respect! Respect for others beliefs, culture, traditions and race.
We must begin to reach common ground, where we can all believe as we wish without fear of discrimination. There is no justification for trying to oppress any religion or lack of religion, for that matter. A lack of religion is another aspect of the issue that needs addressing. There is nothing wrong with a lack of religion, just as there is nothing wrong with believing in any religion. The only wrong in the equation is the intolerance between belief systems.
In a perfect world, we would all have the freedom to believe as we wished or not at all, if that was our choice. To grow closer to that ideal, we have to make the first step and stop our discrimination of other beliefs, so they can grow in their tolerance of us in turn. This wouldn’t be easy, but it’s vital. The religious must stop trying to prove that their belief is the only way, while the ones who don’t believe in much must stop trying to prove that religion is a lie.
Why is it so difficult for us to reach a common ground? Religion should be something worth respecting and valuing, not a tool for mockery.
How can we expect tolerance of our faith when we cannot be tolerant of the faith of others? Tolerance is a two-way street; we cannot expect to change or fix anything when all we do is demand respect for our views.
This unfortunately is one of those issues that are not going away anytime soon. Perhaps one day, we will all be able to live in this world in peace and harmony.
I believe that the world can be a better place.