Religion has emerged as a major source of conflict across the globe. Ideological strife has now given place to the “clash of civilisations” and it is felt that in the foreseeable future, religion will be a major source of conflict within and among nations. The possibilities of conflict are greater in countries such as India where different cultures and religions meet. However, such clashes can be prevented if appropriate strategies are formulated and implemented at an early stage so as to ensure religious harmony.
The United Nations (UN) designates the first week of February every year as the World Interfaith Harmony Week. All religions lead to the same God and differences among them are not essential. Indeed, the goal of every religion is the same. The spirit of the founders of the different religions was the same though rituals differ. All religions proclaim similar principles.
Mahatma Gandhi, who devoted a large part of his life to the study of religion and discussions with religious leaders of all faiths, affirmed that every scripture should be treated equally, that there is no justification for the claim of supremacy of any one religion and that we are all children of the same God.
He said, “What is needed is a living friendly contact among the followers of the religions of the world and not a clash among them in the fruitless attempt on the part of each community to show the supremacy of its faith over the rest.”
Swami Vivekananda asserted that all religions preach ethics, virtues and good character. Yet, all major religions, instead of uniting people often divide them due to the lack of understanding of the purpose of religion by their followers.
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