Religions aim to promote peace
Dariush Azmoudeh, associate editor. / The Advocate
Most religions talk about promoting peace and love for your fellow humans, but there are people in this world who have turned these words around into violence and hate.
Sometimes cultures are divided by religion, by different beliefs that people cannot agree upon. Not even just cultures, but groups of people themselves.
Religious differences have been the cause of many wars, with the most notable being the Crusades, when the Christians and the Muslims fought each other in a war that lasted for a period of 200 years.
The original objective was for the Christians to take control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims.
Jerusalem was an important place for both religions. For the Christians, it was where Jesus spent most of his life and where he was crucified. For the Muslims, it was where Muhammad had been and prayed at the Dome of the Rock, which is a very holy place for them.
But even today we see followers of these religions hating one another. The main reason for hate in these cases is ignorance.
Islamic extremists are one of the religious groups that unfortunately promote hate and violence against others. While there are radical Christian groups, they are not as widely known but do still exist.
What is usually highlighted when looking at these religions are the negatives of their individual God and their leader, either Jesus or Muhammad. Sadly, it is the similarities that are overlooked.
Christianity, Islam and Judaism all come from the same line of religion and actually follow the same God, but they all call their God by a different name. They all believe in the same beginning that includes Adam and Eve and study the Old Testament in their own holy books.
The main difference is who they follow. Judeans believe that their Messiah hasn't arrived yet, while Christians believe Jesus is the son of God and Muslims believe Jesus is a messenger of God but Muhammad is the main messenger.
Despite all these differences, their goal was never to promote violence, but instead to spread coexistence and peace to the world.
Having parents of differing religions, one Christian and the other of Bahá'í faith, I was able to see the differences yet similarities each brings.
Bahá'í is another religion that somewhat follows the same lines but sees Jesus, Muhammad and others as divine messengers.
Being a Christian, I can see how Jesus tried to make the world a better place, and from what I read about Muhammad, I can tell he tried to do the same.
Individually, we don't have to be part of a religion to see the wisdom in their words, and the words of faith they promote do not have to be directed toward a religion, but just toward life.
To promote peace, we need to respect each other's religions and not try to pressure them with our own. This philosophy goes not just for religion, but everything in general such as culture and sexual orientation.
To use part of a quote from Jesus, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you."
Dariush Azmoudeh is an associate editor of The Advocate. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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