Sunday, September 17, 2006

Religious Diversity

When Mike asked all of us to be guest bloggers, he proposed this question as our topic:

How do you feel about religious diversity? Is diversity important, or would a single, or no, religion be more beneficial for our world today?

Religious diversity is a tradition that goes back many years in our country's history. From Religious groups fleeing their country of origin because of persecution to the start of religious tolerance, the U.S. has a history of embracing diversity. In the last 30 years, according to the Pluralism Project, this penchant for religious diversity has become more pronounced.

I see religious diversity as an asset to society in that it creates dialogue between people of different beliefs which in turn opens doors for religious tolerance. I find that having the option to learn about other religions helps me to understand my own beliefs in a way that I wouldn't have otherwise and also helps me to strengthen my views on religious issues. When we have the opportunity to experience religious diversity, we are better able to find the system of belief that is best suited to our beliefs.

As to the question regarding whether we would be better off having just one (or no) religion, I would have to say that it would not be beneficial. Having the ability to explore other viewpoints on religion opens up the possibility to incorporate new ideas into a religious path. I believe that this prevents a religion becoming stagnant.


Angela said...

Sojourner, I agree. However, as I noted in my post, what I dislike is the labels that come with claiming yourself to be of a particular religion. I feel we should all have the opportunity to create a collective personal belief system by embracing the beliefs we identify with from all religious traditions, schools of thought and great thinkers wihtout having to label yourself. Religious labels wield such power and can create such a sense of rightousness and entitlement, and have caused far too much suffering and grief throughout human history.

Billy Jones said...

I'm afraid I agree and disagree at the same time.

Religon is doomed and is the biggest threat to humanity to date, but the Diest in me understands that religious diversity must be allowed to flourish if people are to ever come to enlightenment.

After all, any effort to force people into or out of their religious beliefs is doomed to failure with the proof being that despite thousands of years of attempted world-domination, no religious viewpoint has been successful in its bid to crush all other ideas.

Religions die only when left to their own devices. To fight against religion only makes it stronger.