Living With Other Gods
In lieu of an abstract, below is the essay's first paragraph.
"America the melting pot,” how many times have we heard this remark, yet it is so true. It is a diverse melting pot of many people, cultures, and religions. Diversity can lead either to intolerance or to acceptance. It is up to us, as Homo sapiens, or wise humans to accept the latter. This however comes with a challenge, for we are compelled to defend ourselves in the face or ignorance and cruelty. We live in a very complex country and time, yet we face the same problems that humans all over the world and different eras have. Even though we are all humans, it is hard to accept another person at a same level as us, and it is hard to comprehend that those who are different from us, share the same emotions and feelings as ourselves. We are also sometimes afraid to share our life with those who have other gods or a different God. Religion plays an important part in human life and affects millions of people worldwide. This great worldwide variety of religious devotion indicates that for thousands of years, humanity has had a spiritual need and yearning. Man has lived with his trials and burdens, his doubts and questions, including the enigma of death. Religious feelings have been expressed in many different ways as people have turned towards God or their gods, seeking blessings and solace. With the wide diversity of religious expression that has developed around the world over the past 6,000 years, it is at least educational and mind broadening to understand what others believe and how their beliefs originated. After all, all religions try to answer the same questions raised by humankind: Why are we here? How should we live? Where do we go after we die? In many countries now, owing to immigration and population movement, people of different religions share the same neighborhood. Therefore understanding one another’s viewpoint can lead to more meaningful communications and conversations between people of different faiths. It may also decrease some of the hatred in this world based on religious differences. People may strongly disagree about their religious beliefs, but there is no basis for hating a person just because he or she holds a different viewpoint. The ancient Jewish law stated, ‘You shall not hate your kinfolks in your heart. Reprove your relative but incur no guilt because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love you fellows as yourself: I am Lord” (Leviticus 19:17-18 Ta). In addition, the founder of Christianity stated, “But I say to you who are listening, Continue to love your enemies, to do good to those who are hurting you…your reward will be great…” (Luke 6:27). The Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, also states a similar principle. “It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those whom you hold as enemies…and Allah is powerful, forgiving, and most merciful” (Surah 60:7). When it comes to worship, God himself should not determine what is and is not acceptable."
"Living With Other Gods,"
Verbum: Vol. 2
, Article 5.
Available at: http://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/verbum/vol2/iss1/5