Religious Harmony in the World

Religious Harmony in the World

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” – Abraham Lincoln

Religion is one of the topics which I have diligently steered clear ever since Symphony of Love was set up in 2006. It is a sensitive and controversial topic to talk about. Yet, I have always believe in the conscious need for us to show respect and understanding for other religions. Mutual respect and understanding towards differences in each other religious beliefs are important steps in maintaining religious and social harmony. This is especially critical in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation like Singapore.

Over the past few days, the religious harmony which religious leaders and the general public has been working hard to achieve was disturbed by one senior pastor’s insensitive and inappropriate presentation and comments about Buddhists and Taoists in front of his congregation. The pastor’s comments had been video-recorded and made available on the church’s website and subsequently became available on Youtube and other websites. His comments also gave rise to tension and conflict between the Buddhist/Taoist and Christian communities.

Fortunately, the incident was quickly contained and resolved even before it got any worse. The pastor has since made public apology to the Buddhists and Taoists for being insensitive and offensive in his presentation and comments. He also solemnly promised that it would never happen again. I certainly hope he meant what he said. I can’t imagine what the dire consequences would have been if this matter was not taken care of.

This brings me to the important role a religious leader plays in leading and setting the right example. I believe that religions are good in general as they promote good-will, peace, and the acceptance of others. Religion, in fact is neutral; it is the misinterpretation of the teachings in religion by individual that will either do good or do bad. While we must have faith in our religions, we must understand that the religious leaders who preach the teachings are human too. Thus, each of us can play a policing role to contribute to religious harmony too.

When I was reading on the basic of Buddhism during my younger days, I came across something written in the book which left a deep impression in me. In his teaching, Buddha advised his disciples not to accept his words on blind faith, but to decide for themselves whether his teachings are right or wrong, then follow them. He encouraged everyone to have compassion for each other and develop their own virtue, “You should do your own work, for I can teach only the way.

I am not religious in person but like Abraham Lincoln, I believe in doing good; That is my religion too. I believe in supporting the highest good of ourselves and others.

Do you have any personal experience where religious caused a conflict or tension between you and others?

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27 thoughts on “Religious Harmony in the World

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Hilary, indeed, those lessons are wise and timelessly. They remind us to evaluate and explore the lessons we are learning and not just to accept them with blind faith.

  1. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    I love what you’ve said here, and I agree: religion is neutral, but those who preach religion and try to persuade others to do or NOT to do, are where the issues reside.

    My religion is love, and love – as I’ve learned – is a feeling. Much like the quote you used and adhere to, doing good makes me feel good. Doing bad makes me feel bad. I always “know” the difference because I feel it in my heart.

    Thanks for sharing this.
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last blog ..Underwear in the Jungle! =-.

  2. Gabriele

    I was brought up to be a Catholic. Many times I was told that all other religions were false.
    At a very young age I started to hate to have something forced upon me. Never mind that I didn’t agree in a few details.
    When religion becomes dictated to you by your own family it may eventually do great harm to this social circle.
    Such happened with one of my brothers.
    Our family relations suffered greatly as a consequence of it.
    .-= Gabriele´s last blog ..Feb 13, Spanish news Tenerife Jazz and video-Live concerts-Jazz online =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Gabriele, thank you for sharing you experience. It is most unfortunate to hear about religion doing harm to your own family. I hope it has gotten better already. I agree with you that family plays an important role too in this case as what we preach to our children, may go on to divide the community further. The consequence is undesirable to think of. I hope we can learn from your experience.

      @ ECL, thank you. Same wishes to you and your family.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Mike, sadly but I have to agree with you that the challenge for some is that they do not understand the difference between good and bad or that they are easily influence by others.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Fatima, religion is indeed a sensitive idea which I have hesitated to discuss on my site. I believe in the goodness of all religions. It is how a person perceives his/her religion that makes the different.

  3. Tracy

    “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” “Be your own lamp, your refuge.” These and other teachings of the Buddha had a profound effect on me after borrowing a book on Buddhism from my high school library. It all made such sense to me, for the first time I experience compassion–for myself, for others. I was brought up in a strictly Catholic household. I wanted to leave the faith in my teens, and this cause much friction between my father and myself. It wasn’t until I left home that I felt at liberty to follow the path that lead me to freedom, and living by the Buddha’s Eightfold Path. It’s a long story really, but to this day my father and I cannot speak of religion, or our religious differences without him becoming angry at me. It is a very sad situation, that I am sure many other have experienced even within their own families. Tolerance, acceptance, support, compassion and love…these can heal divides.

  4. Jannie Funster

    Oh nooooo, a post on religion! Run! 🙂 Just kidding, just kidding.

    Love is my cathedral.
    Love will be the answer.

    Megan says it well — when we do bad we will feel it in our hearts.

    I did feel a little weird as a child when someone cast aspersion on another religion. It made me feel uncomfortable, and it wasn’t until later that I knew that uneasy feeling came from my understanding that all people are equal in love and my heart had known that from an early age.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..5 More BIG Photos — Whoo-hoo. (and a poll, in case you’d missed it in the sidebar.) =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Tracy, I felt the same way too with regards to the teachings of the Buddha when I was reading a religious knowledge book back in high school. My character was mainly formed during that period of time; to love and be compassionate to all. Although I am a long way to achieving that, I will continue to work towards this goal of loving and being compassionate to all. And through the years, I also believe in the goodness in all religious; it is the person who is in contact with his/her religious and how he/she interprets his/her religion that makes a big difference. The differences between different religions divide us when we choose to focus on them. However, if we focus on the love and compassion for all, we can stand united.

      @ Jannie, LOL! Usually I would run too; that is the one result that I always choose to refrain from writing about religion on this site. And yet for the same reason of the sensitiveness in this topic, I hope that we can all learn to respect the differences in individual religion and to focus on loving and being compassionate to everyone.

      When we do something bad, even if we can hide it from the world, we cannot hide it from ourselves.

  5. Belinda Munoz

    BK, I totally agree with everything you’ve highlighted in this post. It’s people, us, who twist religion around with the way we interpret and execute the teachings. When we cling to antiquated ways, ugly stereotypes, with complete disregard for the changing times, it’s a recipe for dissonance.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Belinda, indeed, just as a lot of things in this world, like money, drugs etc, each has a positive use for it but then some of us have to abuse the use of them.

  6. jacqueline

    Dearest BK, i love what you’ve said here too, and totally agree that religion is neutral. I am not religious in person eventho i am brought up as a taoist but one thing i do believe in is love, hope and dreams. 🙂 Have a lovely merry happy day and happy chinese new year! Love to you!

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Jacqueline, me either; I am not a religious person too. I believe in love and compassion. Have a lovely merry happy day and happy Chinese New Year to you too. Lots of love to you.

  7. One of The Guys

    Religious institutions have caused so many problems in this world. Fighting, wars, criminal acts all in the name of religion…..even though they are essentially saying the SAME THING!

    But religion and spirituality are generally good.

    I don’t know what this is all about, but I wish people would be more accepting of one another.
    .-= One of The Guys´s last blog ..Easy Motivation =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ One of The Guys, I truly believe that religion and spirituality are generally good; it really depends on how we are understanding and interpreting the concept. I certainly wish that people would be more accepting of one another.

  8. Jude

    I was exposed to many religious groups as a child and each group thought their way was the only way. As a grown up I steer clear because I am not wise enough to actually judge anyone as right or wrong. I follow my own heart and do unto others as I would have done to me.
    .-= Jude´s last blog ..Too Tired To Blog =-.

  9. Tina t

    Religion is an important part of my life, and as a Christian I think that when we strive to be like Christ that we are at our best. I think that it is when people try to make judgements that only God should make that religion causes conflict.
    .-= Tina t´s last blog ..Are You Too Picky? =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Jude, ‘do unto others as I would have done to me’; that is probably the best advice.

      @ Tina, indeed, one of the grave mistakes that most people do is judging others.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Ben, CS Lewis couldn’t be more right. Indeed, of all bad men, the worst could possibly be bad religious men. That make them the most dangerous too.